Apr. 2005
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Week ending 23 Apr 05 (Bob)

Bus to Ankara - This week we decided to visit the capital - our previous attempt with the campervan was aborted since we could not find any place to park.  This time we took a 10-hour day bus from Marmaris to Ankara and watched the countryside roll by, glad to be doing it in nice weather:

  • Steep, rocky hillsides with little civilization,
  • Flat, long valleys with bright green grain poking out of the fertile soil,
  • An excellent road system,
  • Sizeable flocks of sheep and cattle,
  • Newish towns with monotonous concrete buildings,
  • Old, dusty towns with red tile roofs.

Angora House Hotel - The Lonely Planet identified a hotel in the Citadel, a fortress overlooking Ankara that sounded very nice.  Our taxi driver had never heard of the Citadel (or 'hisar' in Turkish) but finally 'kale' entered our English-Turkish conversation and Judi confirmed our destination so off we went.  After a few stops and intense exchanges with the locals we found a cute, 6-room Ottoman home with Ahmet and his friendly staff and our cozy room.  The furnishings were first-class, breakfasts fresh and tasty, and location was interesting although a little bit of a hike from most parts of town.  Since fortresses are usually at the highest point in the city, we had to climb back up to our hotel at the end of a couple of very long days - but it was worth it.

Ankara - As the capital of Turkey, we were disappointed; traffic was hectic, sidewalks were crowded, the city was dirty, and highly praised shopping areas were quite mediocre.  But everyone we dealt with was friendly and the subway (i.e. Metro) was new and clean (and little-used). 

Museum of Anatolian Civilization - The main purpose behind the trip to Ankara was to visit this museum, reputed to be outstanding - and it lived up to its reputation.  A European Union Award winning museum, the exhibits were very well organized, with excellent English translations, plenty of places to stop and rest - truly a world-class operation.  Some of the the factoids we picked up along the way:

  • Anatolia as a cross-roads - The portion of Turkey located on the Asian continent was on the path for humans migrating out of Africa as they moved between Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.  Thus many groups of people left their mark on the rugged land now known as Anatolia.
  • Paleolithic settlements -  Humanoids roamed the territory that is now Turkey as long ago as 2.5 million years ago and left evidence of hunting and gathering lifestyle, one of the earliest areas populated in the world.
  • Neolithic settlements - Organized settlements date from 8000 BC, and �atalh�y�k is a recent find south of Konya.  �atalh�y�k was inhabited around 6000-7000 BC where mud-walled houses were built side by side and access between houses was by walking on the roofs since there were no streets.  It was reminiscent of Southwestern US Pueblo housing.  Paintings were found on the walls, including one showing a plan of the village with a volcano erupting in the background.  Although primitive, the painting (reproduction to the right) clearly shows the houses, rooms within the houses, and the volcano, that can be seen from Konya today.
  • Bronze Age - Waves of settlers crossed Anatolia and the Chalcolithic period saw the beginning of metallurgy which was to become the Bronze Age.  The museum had fine examples of bronze, copper, and silver tools and ornaments - all well presented and documented.
  • Greek Period - Much of what students learn about ancient Greek is actually located in Turkey and the museum presents artifacts, sculptures, and carvings from the period 1000 BC to 30 AD. Greece proper probably has a wider assortment of coliseums and theaters, but certainly Turkey has its share.

Ataturk Mausoleum - The "Father of Turks", or Ataturk is the man who fought to create the modern Turkey as we see it today - and he is revered in Turkey.  As a Colonel he fought the English, French, Australians, and New Zealanders to a standstill at Gallipoli in WWI.  Following the war, he fought the Greeks, English, French, and Italians who were trying to carve up the Ottoman Empire into convenient-sized colonies, and fought the Sultan who wanted to keep his palace in Istanbul even though the empire was gone.  From the 1920's until his death in 1938 he banned extreme Islamists creating a secular society, changed the country to a Western alphabet, introduced Western clothing and generally made the entire country a model which many Middle eastern countries could copy.  The Mausoleum has a wonderful museum and large dioramas depicting the major battles between Turkey and the countries on the Grand Entente from 1915 to 1923 - it was fascinating!

Back to Marmaris - Another day-trip, this time seeing the sights in reverse.  It was a long day, culminating in construction delays so we arrived late, tired but glad that we had made the effort to visit Ankara.

Ready to visit Eastern Turkey - We plan to head east to Antalya and thence Sanliurfa and parts beyond, so the next couple of weeks will be full of bus rides and stops at out-of-the-way hotels.  Reports to follow when we return to Marmaris.

Week ending 16 Apr 05 (Bob)

Projects  - Varnish and Soundproofing - The week was occupied with sanding and sawdust - plus a little laying down of layers of varnish.  Bob is trying to make the engine so quiet we will need a light to tell us it is on (fat chance) and Judi is making the exterior look great!

Week ending 9 Apr 05 (Bob)

Visa Run - to Rhodes - Once again our clock was winding down and we had to renew our 90-day visa, our permit to visit Turkey.  Again, Rhodes was the destination but fortunately the fast ferry is now running for the summer, so a smooth 45 minute ride, 4 hours of shopping and sightseeing, and a 46-minute return. The extra time on the return we surmise is because of the extra load of bacon, booze, peanut butter, cheddar cheese, and other goodies that are hard to come by in Turkey.

Trip Planning -  We have decided to visit Eastern Turkey, traveling by bus and other local transport to see a little of what Turkey was before it has become so Westernized.  In our sights are Sanliurfa, Mt. Nemrut, Dogubeyazit,  Gazientepe, Mardin, Lake Van and Mt. Ararat (to check out any arks that may have been left stranded recently).  Details to follow.

Week ending 2 Apr 05 (Bob)

Songfest - The weekend highlight was a songfest at the local cave, where 20-30 cruisers dragged themselves as well as a keyboard, drums, saxophone, fiddles, flute, and a piccolo to a cave about 1 mile from Yacht Marine.  We (author excluded) sang in English, German and Danish while eating lunch and sipping wine.  Our Kiwi friends broke out their fiddles and then one cruiser sang a cappella.  The acoustics was excellent, and those perched on rocks 50' above the action enjoyed it very much.  From what we can tell, this is a yearly event, so we were lucky to have a chance to see this one.

Pasta Lesson - Learning never ceases and so Luisa, our Italian neighbor on La Piatta offered to share her pasta making secrets with others.  So, mid-week, La Piatta filled up with eager students as she taught the techniques of mixing, kneading, kneading, kneading,..., and then running it through the pasta-making machine.  The previous week Luisa had shared some of her homemade pasta with us, and it was delicious - we may become converts when we have the room for a pasta-making machine.

Birthday & Farewell party - On 1 April our friend Peter from Voyager celebrated another year, so Judi prepared a delicious dinner for Voyager and Quest.  We ate and drank the evening away, and then the coup-de-grace: a chocolate mousse cake made by a cruiser that disappeared in record time.  The other occasion was that fact that Mike and Ligia had just sold Quest, and were about to leave for new adventures in Spain - a fun evening for all.

Marina Thinning Out - The marina is undergoing a real transformation, many people who left their boats here and went 'home' for the winter are returning and setting out.  Some are going to local anchorages to enjoy a little freedom and lower costs, others have appointments and are moving faster - La Piatta is on its way to Italy, pasta-maker and all.  During the next month hundreds of boats will be launched from the hardstand area and set out around the Mediterranean - and we will join in with them about Mid-May.


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