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.

Ephesus 2 – Silk Carpets, Turkey 11 – 5/2014

July 12, 2016

Once when I was visiting a small village in a remote area of Iran I remember watching a young girl, maybe she was 12 or 13, sitting on a dirt floor in a small room, nearly in the dark because there was no electricity. She was painstakingly weaving on a loom, one thread at a time, carefully tying a knot and then trimming it to the correct length.

Ephesus 1, Turkey 10 – 5/2014

July 2, 2016

Ephesus, the Ancient City in Anatolia. Sorry, more ruins, but really, this one is amazing. Aside from its physical presence, its history is fascinating.

Aezani, Turkey 9 – 5/2014

June 7, 2016

Arriving at the deserted parking area of the ancient city of Aezani we were first greeted by the local tourist dog. We bargained for permission to park for the night with a bowl of bread and milk and he immediately claimed us as his territory, sleeping outside The Turtle V the whole night and barking when any other dog approached.

Eskişehir, Turkey 8 – the people – 5/2014

May 18, 2016

The smell of fresh bread beckoned us into the bakery and close-by we discovered how the popular sesame bread rings called Simit sold throughout Turkey are prepared. The busy bakers invited us in and happily posed for photos. In the end, we were presented with a tasty Simit just pulled out of the oven.

Eskişehir, Turkey 7 – In search of Meerschaum pipes – 5/2014

May 11, 2016

Meerschaum, (German for foam of the sea), is a soft white clay mineral also known as sepiolite. Pure white Turkish meerschaum has been prized for centuries. The first recorded use for making pipes was around 1723. Our trail led us to the town of Eskişehir and then to the countryside where our search for meerschaum ended at a hole in the ground about 20 feet deep.

Istanbul 6, Turkey – 4/2014

March 30, 2016

We are market junkies, and we’ve wandered through some of the best, but there is only one Grand Bazaar. Call it a “shopping mall” if you want to homogenize it, but Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar is much more. It started as a small market in 1455, and grew into an important trading center on the Silk Road, expanding into what must be considered a city within a city.

Istanbul 5, Turkey – 4/2014

March 23, 2016

After a quick Shish Kebab on the street and a glass of fresh-squeezed pomegranate juice, we headed over to the astounding and fascinating Topkapı Palace and museum, home of the Ottoman Sultans for nearly 400 years.

Istanbul 4, Turkey – 4/2014

March 14, 2016

Some of the most amazing examples of engineering and architecture in the world are places of worship. We had seen a few of the most impressive in Europe. Standing in a class by themselves are the imposing mosques of Istanbul, and we just happened to be camped beneath the most famous one, The Blue Mosque, (called Sultanahmet Camii in Turkish).