Wednesday, April 25, 2007


On the fortress/castle walls overlooking Ankara

Uyum and I on the bus. There are so many pictures of us because that's what we did most of the weekend.

Uyum and her anne (mom), Nüket, at lunch in Old Ankara.

Old stuff and a kitchen

Ankara's newest and biggest mosque. It has a parking garage under it.

One of Uyum's friends read my fortune from my Turkish coffee grounds.

Cool reflection of a mosque outside the küafor where I got my hair cut.

We went up a tower (Atakule) in Ankara and had tea underneath

My Turkish haircutter working hard with his hair-dryer of fury

Another rather large Atatürk poster (I have about... 30 more of these type of pictures)

Atatürk's face on a building size poster for Children's day (April 23). Almost every major building had a picture like this up, and there were more Turkish flags around than I've seen all the time I've been here up to now.

At Anıtkabır

Outside of Atatürks mausoleum, Anıtkabir

Uyum's parents, Sencan and Nüket in their home in Ankara

I went to Ankara, the capital of Turkey, this weekend with my roommate Uyum since that's where she's from.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Ballıkayalar iki

Ralf climbing. We don't like to climb after Ralf, because he's about 6'3" and has a monster long reach. He skips about every other hold.

Left side of the canyon called "Ballıkayalar" (Rocks with Honey), and one of the walls where we climbed.

Ralf and the friendly water truck driver that gave us a lift for a few kilometers to the entrance of the park.

Walking towards a mosque after our half an hour bus ride to Asia, hour on the commuter train to Gebze, and two very confused dolmus rides later.

Alex (US) telling Ralf (Germany) how he throttled a moose with his bare hands.... or something like that.

This weekend, Ralf, Alex and I went out to go rock climbing in a Canyon that's only a few kilometers away from Istanbul, or about an hour in the car if you're driving. It took us three hours to get out there - we had to take the bus from Rumeli Hisar to Kadıköy (Asian side) then from there walk to the trains, and take a train all the way to the end of the line town of Gebze. In Gebze, we had nice conversations with many unhelpful but enthusiastic Turkish men and figured out how to take two dolmuses that dropped us of on the freeway 3 K from the park. We walked for about 5 minutes when the driver of a very large water tank truck picked us up so we squashed with our packs into his cab.

Climbing was awesome, there were loads of Turks but everyone got along and was helping each other out and giving advice and eating a lot (always - it's Turkey). The weather was sunny for the first time in a while, and as they say in travel logs, spirits were running high.

After climbing for a while, Alex and I decided we should probably get some homework done at some point this weekend ( I spend all of Saturday playing ultimate frisbee and eating ice cream in Taksim with some friends from Bulgaria) so we began our journey back. We caught a ride in the van of some Jandarma guys (jandarma: militia). Alex actually went up and asked them for a ride, I have more trouble walking up to men holding automatic weapons...

They dropped us off at a random bus station telling us the bus would be faster to Istanbul. We finally got on a mini-bus, completely confused about what was actually going on. We ended up on the side of the freeway in Asian Istanbul, took another bus to the end of the Metro, took the Metro one stop, got off... and walked home. Well, grabbed something to eat, then walked the half hour home. Climbing here I guess is more in the traveling adventure than anything else.

Carl's Visit and the Tulip Festival

Carl getting excited about MORE tulips!

Beşiktaş fruit and veggie market. These two boys saw us and asked us to take their picture, they were really sweet! I need to go print it out and take it back to them so they can have a copy of it...

Carl with my other favorite tulips - the purple ones with white edges, near Aya Sofya

Me and my new favorite type of tulip, the fun pokey one

The Blue Mosque and the park in front of it all tuliped out for the festival

Carl, another counselor at CBI, came through Istanbul for a few days visiting before he heads farther East so we hung out and enjoyed Istanbul during the height of its annual week-long Tulip Festival. The city planted more than 8.5 million tulips around (mostly in the tourist areas however...) and they look gorgeous - and they all magically bloomed at the same perfect time at the beginning of the festival. I don't know how they do it. I thought I didn't like tulips, but after wandering around a lot with Carl I really like them now!

Tulips are actually from Central Asia, unlike what a lot of Dutch people want you to think, and were purportedly introduced to Europe by Sultan Suleyman (read: Ottoman TURK!). So... basically the modern tulip is from Turkey. Therefore, tulips are awesome and the city needs a week long festival for them.

Having Carl here was fun too. We went to church on Easter together and I showed him around - mostly all my favorite places to eat in the city.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Fiona's Visit

Fiona in front of the Aya Sofya

The cute, funny Turkish man who picked us up as we were walking along a back dirt road and gave us a ride to the gözleme restaurant we were headed for.

In the (SUNNY!) theatre

On a column in Ephesus, contemplating my third journey there

Fiona waiting in the parking lot in front of our bus

Fiona, a friend from Camp Bow-Isle came to visit Istanbul for 10 days. We did lots of sightseeing together, but even more eating! We also took a bus Friday night to Ephesus, and took the night bus back to Istanbul Saturday night. It was so fun to visit with her! And she brought me easter eggs and peanut butter. Thanks Fio!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Turkish breakfast!

The Bosphorus

The Grand Bazaar

The Bogaziçi Bridge

On the streets near where I live

Some fun art that has to do with Istanbul