A Travellerspoint blog

Turkey

Excellent Last Day in Istanbul!

Today we took the ferry to one of the Prince's Islands called Buyukada. It was an outstanding end to our time here. The island has no motor vehicles, tourists are taken around in horse drawn carriages, lots of people on bikes, and lots of people just strolling around. Stunningly beautiful homes everywhere with gorgeous gardens and amazing views. We found a picnic area/day-use park filled with pine trees with paths down the rocky cliffs to the water's edge. Very "Big Sur" feeling. We had a late lunch before heading back and the people at the next table pulled out a guitar and tamborine and started singing (I'm guessing) Turkish folk songs. Pretty soon people from every other table were clapping and singing along. The food was very good, the atmosphere was perfect.
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Posted by Pelham Family 08:52 Archived in Turkey Comments (4)

Dear Family,

We know you are all concerned about our trip to Egypt tomorrow. Believe me, I am too and I have spent hours researching, coming up with options, and making decisions. It has been difficult and stressful for all three of us. I know you are seeing reports on the news, which I have been reading as well. I have also been following the US State Department travel alerts and warnings, as well as the warnings being issued by the British government and the Canadian government. Their basic advice of "staying away from crowds and demonstrations and being aware of your surroundings" has not changed. I have also been following several blog sites and message forums where travelers and residents of Egypt are posting current observations of the areas they are in. Because of the recent violence we decided not to stay in Cairo at all as we had originally planned. We are going instead to a beach resort area called Sharm el Sheikh. It is a major European vacation destination on the coast of the Red Sea. We will basically only see the airport in Cairo and on the last day, if we have time and if there have been no other problems in the area, we will try to join a tour group to see the pyramids right before we leave.

I'm sure that some of you will think this is not a cautious enough alternative and others of you may think we are over-reacting and could safely still see the historical sights of Cairo. Believe me, my first concern is for the safety of my daughter. I feel that we are seeing the world in a wonderful way so far and as I expected it is not always what you see on TV.

If you are especially worried about us, please don't look up Sharm el Sheikh right away (there was a major shark incident in December :) ) Also, don't look too far ahead at our itinerary....

We love all of you. Please trust that we are being vigilant while we are out here exploring. We really do plan to come home safe and sound!

Posted by Pelham Family 22:58 Archived in Turkey Comments (4)

Two days of rain

Yesterday was day two of pretty heavy rain, but I really didn't want to stay cooped up all day. We went out during a light sprinkle, but later got caught in a real storm. Right after this picture was taken the wind picked up so much that umbrellas were useless. We walked a pretty long way in some cold, wet conditions. At least the rain jackets have definitely earned their place in our luggage!

We have been spending a lot of time on the computer the last 2 days trying to make decisions and plans for our next stop. We are supposed to fly to Cairo on Friday, but with the recent violence we are really up in the air right now. I know my family is concerned, so as soon as we have figured out our plans I promise to let you know :)

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I just had to post this picture. We walk past this apartment every day and every day there is a different huge clump of mystery hair hanging out (to dry?) What kind of creature do they have in there? And what is this hair for?

Posted by Pelham Family 00:02 Archived in Turkey Comments (6)

Back to sightseeing

It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it!

Went to Topkapi Palace today. Saw one of the largest diamonds in the world...86 carats. Lots of other jewels and jewel encrusted items - very Aladdin-ish at the Sultan's palace. We walked through a beautiful park, ate lunch at a tiny hole-in-the-wall kebab place, and took the slow ferry back to our side of the strait. On the ferry we met the nicest Turkish guy who was so thrilled to talk to some real Americans. He played me some of the English-language-learning recording he was using and asked for some help with some phrases. The very generous lady we are renting from right now has offered to make a Turkish breakfast for all of us tomorrow and invited Baylie to join her 11 year old daughter at her volleyball practice, and then she is taking all of us to a mountain area on the coast of the Black Sea. We really lucked out with this apartment!
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Posted by Pelham Family 08:33 Archived in Turkey Comments (4)

It's not all glamorous and exciting...

I do not like to do laundry. Even in my lovely, spacious, well-appointed, indoor laundry room with my large capacity washer AND (something we have yet to run into abroad) dryer, I still hate laundry. Today we did not sight see at any amazing ancient sites or skip around exotic locales. Today I did three loads of laundry (the washing machines are generally so small I have to do three loads) and I hung them on the clothes line with a million clothes pins so our underwear would not be blown into the trees.

I also usually complain about grocery shopping, which involves driving a half-mile to the modern store with every possible choice of thousands of perfectly predictable items and bringing the groceries home in the large trunk of my comfortable car. Today I spent about 25 minutes trying to identify a cucumber (I did succeed, by the way). We walked about a mile and a half, down the steepest road I have ever walked, knowing that whatever we might buy would have to be carried back UP. We spent a ridiculous amount of time walking up and down the four small aisles trying to piece together a few meals. Shawn had a momentary crisis trying to buy sugar for his coffee, but at last the powdered sugar and brown sugar were avoided!

I guess the point of this post is that I will not complain about mundane chores when I return to the land of ease (at least for a little while).
I promise, we'll get back to the exciting job of exploring the world tomorrow!

Posted by Pelham Family 09:52 Archived in Turkey Comments (7)

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