Monday, November 28, 2011

Turkey - 3

Hi, On the third full day of our visit to Turkey we joined our tour group and left Istanbul.  On our way out of town we stopped at the Spice Market.  Adjoining the Spice market was a seed market, and

a pet market.  Animals sold in the pet market included dogs, chipmunks, and all kinds of birds.

One shop even sold Turkeys.

From Istanbul we drove to Gallipoli, the site of a WW I battle that was a disaster for the Allies.  The objective was to take Istanbul and thereby knock the Ottoman Empire out of the war.  After trying a naval attack up the Dardanelles, which failed, the Allies settled on a landing with ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand) and French colonial troops followed by an overland march to Istanbul.  We made the drive in a few hours the ANZAC troops were held on the beachhead from August 25, 1915 until December 20, 1915, when the last Allied troops left.

The photograph below shows a view from the landing area.  The Turks occupied the high ground.  Casualties were high on both sides with the Allies loosing about 45,000 men and the Turks almost 87,000 men.

The area is now a national park with some individual graves and some mass graves in the area.

These are remarks of Kemal Ataturk

After our visit to Gallipoli we took ferry like the one below to the Asian side of the Dardanelles and drove a short distance to our hotel.

Before dinner Ruthe and I went for a walk.  During the walk we split up and I spotted some kids getting ready to play soccer.  After I took this photo I was spotted so I walked over and the kids indicated they wanted a group photo.

While their English was limited they were able to convey they hoped their photo would be put on Facebook, which it will be when I link this blog to my Facebook page.

This our view of the hotel view from our bedroom window.

The next day we visited Troy where we learned that the story of Hellen of Troy and the Trojan Horse is just that.  The battle that was fought here was over access to an important harbor and trade routes.  Ironically, over time the harbor has silted up and become a huge field with the Dardanelles being about 5 miles away.

Blood sacrifice was a part of ancient religions.  These 3 structures were used to catch the blood.

From Troy we drove to our next overnight stop, Izmir, where we would spend the next 3 nights.  I hope you have enjoyed the photos.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Turkey - 2

Hi, For our second day in Istanbul Ruthe booked what I consider a very unique tour; Istanbul Eats.  We met for our walk outside the Spice Market in the Old Town and our group of six set off to sample typical Turkish fare.  A large flock of pigeons congregates here and vendors sell food you can give the birds.

In addition to spices, sold mainly inside, there are a variety of food shops outside.

Our first stop was at an Olive shop where we sampled the merchandise.  Then our guide bought some olives.

Next we stopped at a cheese shop where our guide Angelis explained the various types being sold.  He then bought some cheese.

Fresh fish also was for sale.

At the start of our walk Angelis had purchased Simit, shown on the left in the photo below.  These cost 1 Turkish Lira, about 85 cents.  We also stopped to buy some beef sausage.  Then we went to a storage area in the back of the Spice Market where we sat around an old desk covered with newspaper and breakfasted on the olives, cheeses, Simit, and beef sausage Angelis had purchased.  We had our choice of Turkish Coffee, which was gritty and had the consistency of loose pudding, or tea.

Our next stop was a shop specializing in Baklava.  Angelis went behind the counter and picked various pieces of the pastry for us to sample while explaining how the pastry was made and what went into each type.

Around the corner was a little hole in the wall with something on spits rotating horizontally over a fire.  The something turned out to be sweetbreads bundled in lamb's intestines.  While it sounds gross, when chopped up and served in a baguette it really is quite good.

After a short walk we came to a restaurant that had been a soup kitchen where we were served a bowl of lentil soup and more bread.

As we walked we encountered the natives of the Old Town.

We also saw the various shops.  Generally, all the shops of a given type are clustered together.  This one sells pots and pans.

I think these are kitchen utensils.

More food awaited us at a Pita shop.  This is the Turkish equivalent of Pizza.  After the dough is rolled out and tossed around it is filled with cheese and some or all of beef sausage, and various vegetables.

Once the fillings are in place the edges are bent over, and

the Pitas are place in a wood fired brick oven.

The result, shown, here was delicious.

Another group of shops sold scales.

More sweets were next on the agenda.  This candy shop specialized in Turkish Delight.  It also sold a wide variety of other candies, which we sampled.

Turkey's republic was established on October 29, 1923 so the 29th is a major holiday. In anticipation of the holiday we saw many vendors selling Turkish flags.

Turks must really love cats as we saw them everywhere we went.

Our next stop was a former caravansary where we were served hallava and tea.

A Turkish magazine ran a story about Angelis and the tour.  One of the photos in the story was taken at the caravansary so I asked Angelis to pose with the article in the spot where the photo was taken.

More food!  This time its lamb with alternating layers of tomatoes, onions and bell peppers.  It's shaved off the spindle and

served on a crisp roll.  We each had 1/2 a sandwich along with fresh squeezed Pomegranate juice.  You can have some orange juice squeezed in to sweeten the drink a little bit.  I should have done that.

Our next to last stop was a shop selling a fermented millet drink.  It is more like tapioca pudding.  Roasted chick peas are added to the beverage.  It doesn't sound like it, but the drink really is quite good and the gentleman providing the service puts on quite a show.

The decor is elegant too.

Our final stop was a Kurdish restaurant for a full lunch.  When desert came I could manage one fork full and I was done.  After lunch Angelis gave us ride in his Taxi to Taksim Square near our hotel.  From there we took the historic tram and then walked to the Galata Tower.  These were hanging outside an adjacent building.

Finally, here are 2 views of the Bosphorus from atop the tower.

Yes, that's smog, a real problem in many Turkish cities.

I hope you enjoyed the photos.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Turkey - 1

Hi, From October 18 through November 3 my wife and I visited Turkey.  I am going to try to break these posts into shorter segments than usual, although I suspect I won't always be successful.

Our trip began in Istanbul.  As we had seen the major attractions during our first visit a year and a half ago we elected to spend the first 2 full days on our own and join the group only for the welcome dinner on the first night and then when the tour left Istanbul on October 21.

For our first day we decided to see the Jewish Museum and then take a boat ride on the Bosphorus.  A cab from our hotel got stuck in traffic and, as we thought we were close to our destination, we decided to walk.  However, although very close, the museum was not easy to find, even though we had an address and a google map.  We were fortunate in that the local Turks were very friendly and tried to help.  When we encountered someone who could not speak English he would find someone who could.

While wandering the streets we encountered this gentlemen with his cart.  On the cart was a copier and his business was bringing his copy machine to people's doors.  He is in the process of making a copy.

Even with a great deal of help it seemed no one knew the location of the museum until we got within a few blocks.  At this point we were told we would find the museum if we walked down 2 blocks and turned left.  It would be at the end of the street, and it was.  The statue is outside the museum which at one time was a Synagogue.  Inside the museum there were interesting displays concerning Jewish History in Istanbul.  However, photography was not permitted inside the museum.

As we exited the museum I noticed this parabolic mirror and thought the reflection looked interesting.

We the walked from the museum down to the Golden Horn which we crossed.  This view looks back across the Golden Horn toward the new part of Istanbul.

The bridge is a favorite spot for fishermen.

After lunch we took an excursion boat along the Bosphorus.  A mosque located along the Bosphorus contrasts with a high rise office building.

One of Istanbul's universities is located along the Bosphorus.

The walls of an old fortress come down to the water's edge.

The shore's of the Bosphorus and the Dardenelles are favorite places for the wealthy to build homes.

A military academy is on the Asian side of the Bosphorus.

Two suspension bridges cross the Bosphorus.

Crossing the major streets is accomplished with tunnels.  These tunnels provide prime locations for selling all kinds of merchandise.

I hope you enjoyed the photos. The next post will have something I think is truly novel; so please stay tuned. Bob