Samarqand, Uzbekistan 7/2014

August 4, 2017

Samarqand, Mirror of the World, the Garden of the Soul, the Jewel of Islam, the Pearl of the East, the Center of the Universe. Lying in the river valley of the Zerafshan, and flanked by spurs of the Pamir-Alai mountains, this fabled oasis at the fringes of the Kyzyl Kum desert has never failed to […]

Bukhara, Uzbekistan – 6/2014

June 8, 2017

Finally, we are back on track. We apologize for the delay in our blogs, but a three-and-a-half-month trip to Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and Singapore, places where we may not want to drive our expedition truck, in combination with a problem with the plug-in that was transferring our blogs to Facebook and Twitter, well —let’s just […]

Khiva, Uzbekistan – 6/2014

January 30, 2017

Escaping from Turkmenistan with full tanks of $1.00-per-gallon diesel, we entered Uzbekistan. Of all the countries we would visit following the Silk Road, Uzbekistan was certainly one of the most anticipated. Along with Samarkand and Bukhara, Khiva was an important trading point on the historical Silk Road. It was also famous for its long and […]

Azerbaijan 4 – The Caspian Sea – 6/2014

January 6, 2017

It was Sunday, June 15 now, and still no sign of the ferry. Sometime late that night or early Monday morning it docked and we woke up to find two Brits and an American who had arrived from Kazakhstan by ferry camping next to us. They were coming from Kabul, Afghanistan and headed for London. All […]

Caravanserais, Turkey 17 – 5/2014

September 2, 2016

We were now starting to feel that we were truly following the Silk Road and imagined long caravans of camels carrying furs, hides, charcoal, iron, gold, wool, jade, silk and other luxury goods traveling from Europe to China and vis versa. Some of these caravans may have been made up of hundreds of camels, “The Ships of the Desert”. Their route was determined by safe stopping points where they could replenish food, water and exchange goods. Small fortresses called caravanserais sprang up.

Konya, Turkey 16 – 5/2016

August 26, 2016

For Muslims and non-Muslims alike, the main reason to come to Konya, Turkey, is to visit the Mevlânâ Museum and to witness the famous Whirling Dervishes. So you might be wondering, what are these Whirling Dervishes all about? Read on….

Myra, Turkey 15 – 5/2014

August 15, 2016

Following our short visit to Patara, the birthplace of the man we know as Santa Claus, we couldn’t resist stopping in Myra to see the church where he spent much of his life and where he died. According to one source, the earliest substantiated records of Myra was in 168 B.C.

Kaş, Turkey 14 – 5/2014

August 8, 2016

We still had not dipped our toes in the inviting water of the Mediterranean. As we headed down the coast, any number of tempting peninsulas invited us to explore the unknown, though with our time schedule hanging over us, we headed straight for the town of Kaş. A short five-minute walk into town brought us to the little yachty harbor where we were immediately hailed over by the gregarious Ismail Inan, owner of Smiley’s, a cute little café restaurant overlooking the marina. After a complementary cup of Turkish coffee and a glass of wine and some nibbles, we knew we had found the place we had been looking for.

Patara, Turkey 13 – 5/2014

August 4, 2016

Leaving Ephesus, we headed south along the coast of the Mediterranean. We didn’t really want to rush but we could start to feel the pressure of our march route. We had to meet our guide, mandatory for crossing China, on August 28, and now here it was already the middle of May. We had a short four months to cross the next six countries. We could easily spend a year or more just seeing other parts of Turkey, but it was time to get to the water.

Ephesus 3 – Pottery, Turkey 12 – 5/2014

July 25, 2016

Even before recorded history, humans have been creating plates, pots, vases and other things from some kind of clay and decorating them for no functional reason other than their beauty. From the Danish Masters who painted the Royal Floral Danica set of dishes (hundreds of them) commissioned by Catherine the Great of Russia to the famous Delft tiles from the Netherlands, the Azulejo tiles from Portugal, the Moorish tiles from Spain to the Iznik tiles we discovered in mosques in Turkey, the art of painting burnt clay left hardly a culture or country untouched. Monika is particularly entranced by this form of art because her mother, Agnes Mühlebach-Flory, was a master porcelain painter in her own rights.