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
- 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
- Old, dusty towns with red tile roofs.
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.
- 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.
settlements - Organized settlements date from 8000
BC, and Çatalhüyük is a recent find south of Konya.
Çatalhüyük 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.
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
Ataturk Mausoleum -
"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
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!
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.
ending 2 Apr 05 (Bob)
- 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
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.