August 2003
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Check out Weeks ending: [2 Aug 03] [9 Aug 03] [16 Aug 03] [23 Aug 03] [30 Aug 03]

Week ending 2 Aug (Bob)

So you think you know Turkey? - We had no idea that many of the household names we have learned since childhood really come from Turkey:

  • Florence Nightingale - This famous nurse who contributed so much to modern medicine gained her fame nursing in the Crimean War, operating at the Selimiye Barracks near Istanbul, Turkey on the Black Sea. 

  • Troy - Many of the famous cities from Greek history are really in what constitutes modern-day Turkey, including Troy which sports a Trojan Horse replica - we look forward to seeing it!

  • St. Nicholas - Just down the road from Antalya in Kale is the home of St Nicholas, a 4th century bishop who gave anonymous gifts to children, and is one of the people reputed to have led to the legend of Santa Claus.

Waterfalls -Turkey Duden Falls upper falls.jpg (36704 bytes) Over the weekend we drove to a park on the north side of Antalya, and joined hundreds of locals wander throughTurkey Duden Falls lower part.jpg (28155 bytes) streams and under waterfalls as mountain water cooled the shady park by a delicious 20°.  Just outside the park we had lunch at a delightful restaurant that served only fish (naturally, from their own fish farm) and had tables that appeared to float on the cool river.  The fish was delicious and we will have to return to this spot.  Later we followed the Duden river to the coast where the cold water poured directly into the Mediterranean at another beautiful restaurant site

Planning Travel - Now that our feet are firmly planted on shore (we have removed all sails and stored them on shore), we have started to look at travel and are contemplating a trip to Britain in a couple of weeks - stay tuned! 

Week ending 9 Aug (Bob)

Instant Survey - Our insurance company has been reminding us to have the yacht surveyed for a while, and finally put their foot down, and so we set about to find a surveyor in Turkey.  The first ones we talked to spoke little English, and wanted a large fee for what appeared to be a large ship survey.  Finally a Canadian who lives 300 km away, was coming to Antalya in a couple of days so we agreed on a price.  At the appointed time Richard showed up and did the in-water portion.  Next morning we scheduled to pull the yacht for an hour to do an out-of-water portion.  This is when it got interesting:

  • They scheduled and priced us on their 60-ton lift (we weigh only 11 tons), no problem here.

  • But their slings are not adjustable, so they wanted us to remove our head-stay to fit easily on their lift - "...for an hour check-up? No way, we said!"

  • Well, then they said we could use their 200-ton lift, but the price would double.  "No way, we said!"

  • Finally they fine-tuned the sling placement, and lifted us with inches to spare between the lift and the mizzen.

  • An hour later, we were back in the water with us considerably poorer and the insurance company happy for 3 more years.

Travel Plans - We have decided to keep the boat stationary for the rest of the summer and do some land traveling now that we are in (or near) to Europe.  The 95F heat in Turkey makes us dream of northern climes, so we started looking at northern Europe and Scandinavia.  Finally we have settled on a trip to England (and probably Wales and Scotland) with a short detour to Amsterdam.  As we were making the plans, via email we have discovered that Europe is a popular place so we will:

  • Meet cruising friends from Voyager in Amsterdam,

  • meet Bob's IBM co-worker and new wife now living in London,

  • meet good friends from Auckland in London,

  • meet cruising buddies from Akwabba in London,

  • meet Judi's Telecom co-worker now living north of London

  • meet another of Bob's IBM co-worker's from Gaithersburg in London.

  • And we will just miss another couple from Gaithersburg on their way to an opera in Germany.

With all of this socializing, we will barely have enough time to stop by Westminster Palace and see the Royals or visit the cliffs of Dover - so much to see, so little time!

3 Weeks ending 30 Aug (Bob)

Travel to the UK - At a reasonable time we popped down to the airport at Antalya, through a lax security system with hundreds of sun-burned British tourists, and flew the 4 hours to Stansted airport.  A short taxi ride, and we were safely ensconced in the Great Hallingbury Manor, a cute bed and breakfast, with a pond, swans, (we discovered that all swans in England belong to the Queen, our host is merely the current custodian), geese, ducks and wonderful breakfast menu!  We spent a day, on the quaint streets of Bishop's Strotford, a typical small English village and in the evening, on our stroll to the local pub, a lady stopped us on the country road, and chatted for an hour about the wide variety of flowers and vegetables she had in her garden.  It was a wonderful introduction to England

Amsterdam - We took a £6 flight on Basiq Air that landed us at Schipol Amsterdam airport in 30 minutes - the gateway to this beautiful Venice-like city.  We planned to meet Peter and Jeanette from Voyager who were returning to Thailand. and had a great time, eating too much, walking through museums and other sights, and sharing a brew or two at the Hard Rock Cafe.  After 4 short days, we hopped back across the Channel to London, and Peter and Jeanette diverted to Israel to see family in that war-torn country.

Sex, Drugs, Torture - These were 3 of the many museums we missed while we were in Amsterdam, but we did make it to:

  • Maritime Museum - Wonderful selection of models and paintings from the time, not long ago, when the Netherlands was a major power in the world.

  • Von Gogh Museum - Many paintings by this popular artist who's productive years spanned a mere 10 years.  He only sold two paintings in his life-time, now they worth a fortune.

  • Rembrandt House museum - This Dutch master painted gloomy pictures, but it was fascinating to see where he lived and try to visualize how it must have been when he painted here.

  • Boat House Museum - Since we live on a boat, we had to visit this canal-boat fixed up like many of them on the canal.  Steel hulls, worth little, but commanding $200,000 prices tags because they come with a great view and rights to a spot on the canals.

  • Red-Light District - Not really a museum, but the ladies of the night are on display just like the items in the museums.  We were a little disappointed in the quality on display, but then we went early as do most of the middle-aged tourists, the real customers come later at night.

London Again - 

  • London Tower - While in London, England guide at Tower of London.jpg (21288 bytes)this is an obligatory stop, with almost 1000 years of history and the real Crown Jewels it was quite a sight.  The guides in their regimental regalia add a very authentic touch to the tour.  We walked the ramparts, gazed at the suits of armor (hard to believe they could move, let alone fight, in those things), and drooled over the crowns and scepters from previous generations of monarchs.

  • Pub Crawl - There is an outfit that has guides to many interesting spots in London, and all one has to do is show up, with £5 in hand and join in the fun.  We chose a pub crawl, and were entertained by ... with stories of Old London, as well as a few pints along the way.  We ended the tour at 9PM at The George Pub, a 16th or 17th century spot that crawled with history and oozed traditional pub fare.

  • Buckingham Palace - Queen Elizabeth did not greet us on our rounds through the palace, but it is magnificent with paintings from famous master s and gilded ceilings and walls - truly fit for a queen.

  • River Thames Cruise - A 2 hour cruise took us from midtown to Greenwich, past the money-losing Millennium Wheel (now known as London Eye), under the Tower Bridge, with views of many famous spots along the waterfront.

  • The Underground - This is the way to get around central London, a subway that reaches pretty much everywhere, runs frequently, and only had 2 fires, a power outage, and one evacuation while we were waiting for a train - perhaps with a little more maintenance...!

  • The Balmoral House Hotel - We stayed in this small hotel - a converted brownstone - in the Paddington area and it was clean, convenient and adequate for our needs.  The owners were sort of grouchy, but the price was OK considering it was still the high season in London.

Something Old and Something Blue - While in Turkey, a friend offered to let us 'have' his car, drive it around, and trade it in if we decided to buy a vehicle.  So we chased down his brother-in-law, sussed out the blue 1987 VW Golf, and picked it up as we were about to leave London.  Of course the vehicle inspection had expired, so it took £280 to get it back on the road, but finally we were mobile and made our way south to...

Ringwood - Where we met up with our good friends Rory and Sandra from Pacific Voyager in New Zealand who were visiting family in the English countryside.  It has been great to catch up with them, and we anticipate sharing a few stories and brews with them over the next week.  Their family kindly has invited us to stay in their guest quarters as we look for a...

Seeking a van - We have decided to buy a campervan or motor-home, drive it through England and Europe to Turkey, and return it to England in about 16 months. So the last few days have been consumed with visits to used campervans dealers.  As we look, our price target moves up^ as our requirements become more demanding.  Hopefully  by next week, all will be settled.

 

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