Archive for the ‘Travels’ Category:


Island to Island – Textile Tour in Eastern Indonesia

  ow does a journey begin? I know how my early travels in Turkey evolved but in this case this journey began not with a single step but instead with a book. How in fact does a book on  Qaraqalpaq textiles of western Uzbekistan lead to a journey in Indonesia? I met David and Sue  Richardson initially through their extensively researched publication on Central Asian textiles – Qaraqalpaqs of the Aral Delta. As we connected on social media I was intrigued by their technical passion for textiles and an upcoming textile tour of the Lesser Sunda Islands in Eastern Indonesia  that they had planned.  Needless to say, Jack and I marked our calendars anticipating our first travels in this varied culture. Sue and David partnered with a company from Bali named Seatrek and were the resident textile experts on board the Ombak Putih. The ship was a 42 meter sailing ship with twelve staterooms and a top notch crew of fourteen men. The service and culture on board was delightful relaxed and helpful. There was

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Gobekli Tepe – Worship in the Neolithic Era

am rarely happier than when traveling in Eastern Turkey. The culture, art, people and history of the region have wooed me, won me over, heart, mind and soul. This past fall trip was even more exciting for me when we as a group visited the ancient site of Gobekli Tepe. I had read, seen images and had imagined what this relatively newly discovered archeological site might hold. Nothing had prepared me for the magnitude and beauty of what is the oldest temple or religious site known to mankind. Seven thousand years before the ancient pyramids of Egypt; six thousand years before Stone Henge of England; in 9500 BC Gobekli Tepe was erected. Eleven thousand five hundred years ago, before mankind had settled, before the age of pottery and agriculture, this massive centre of religion was raised on the Mesopotamian Plain. The German archeologist, Klaus Schmidt, who has partnered with the Turkish

NE Turkey – Sites Seen and Unseen

astern Turkey beckons once again and we land in Trabzon ready to start our trek south following the borders.  Georgia, Armenia, Iran, Iraq and Syria all share Turkey’s eastern border and stretch out before us for the next fourteen days. The Black Sea laps at the city’s shore along the ribbon of new highway spanning the north coast of Turkey.   Although Trabzon is familiar to me from previous visits sadly on this visit there is one site that we will not be visiting.  The church of Aya Sophia of Trabzon has been recently converted from a museum to a mosque.  This 13th c structure is a wonderful

An Unique Retreat on Turkey’s South Coast – Peter Scholten’s Lycia House

  ho loves Turkey more than me? What feeds my soul more than the beauty of carpets, kilims and textiles? What are some of my most restoring activities? A long swim, a hike through the quiet of archeological ruins, a day at the beach or just relaxing in beautiful, peaceful surroundings with a good book are all ways that I love to unwind from the daily routine of city life. Jack and I have found the perfect place to settle for a week of rest and relaxation. We are guests this week at Peter Scholten’s newly opened Lycia House on Turkey’s south coast. Located high above the Mediterranean in the small village…

Turkey – Getting a Visa has Become a Whole Lot Easier – The Online Solution

ack in the city that feels like my second home. Istanbul welcomed me the night before last and for the first time  coming to buy carpets and textiles I was able to purchase a entry Visa online. Countless times I have stood in a line-up (before the BIG lineup to clear Passport Control) waiting to

Hot Air Balloons – Aloft in Cappadocia, Turkey

hile traveling in Western Turkey this fall with a great group of friends from Vancouver I wrote a couple of posts that I did not put online.  Not posting only reflects how engaged I was with the group and the fun that we had along the way.  Here is an account of hot air ballooning in Cappadocia.  It was definitely a highlight of our travels together.  The morning was extraordinarily clear, a perfect day….. Turkey is a land of  infinitely  varied geography with the region of Cappadocia being among the most unique and with incredible surreal topography.  That being said, what better way to view the fairy chimneys, valleys  and caves but from the air?  A literal bird’s eye view.

Mountaintop Morning at Termessos on Turkey’s South Coast

urkey’s south coast is a great antidote to the busy streets and bazaars of Istanbul. It did not take much to encourage the hikers in the group to abandon their beds in the restored Ottoman houses of our hotel in the Old City in Antalya and to head to the mountains inland to the ancient archeological site of Termessos. One hour outside of the city and we are into Gulluk Dagi National Park. The road winds up the steep mountainside with hairpin turns until we reach a parking lot and the beginning of the hiking trails. Our day is perfection, not a cloud in the sky and the early morning coolness makes the uphill climb a comfort. Here we are at Termessos, the home of the Somian culture of ancient times. The first recorded reference to this city is in the Illiad in the 7th BC. Alexander the Great laid siege to this city in the 3rd c BC but w as unable to conquer these people and moved on with his troops after losing

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Sunday Morning Rambles in Beyoglu, Istanbul

unday evening is our start to our travels together in Western Turkey and guests from Vancouver are arriving en route via France, Switzerland, Italy and America. Of the twelve people who have joined us for this tour in Western Turkey two couples who arrived a day early express their wish to attend a Catholic mass on Sunday morning. We meet an hour early in Taksim Square and walk the side streets off of the main walking street of Istiklal through Beyoglu, the 19th c European quarter of Pera in Istanbul before arriving at the neo Gothic church of St Anthony of Padua. After mass we walk down the hill along a street loaded with musical instrument shops past the Galata tower, a 14th c construct of the Genoese in Constantinople. Along the way we pick up a glass of freshly squeezed…

Day Trip from Mardin to Dara – SE Turkey

he week before it was time to come home from Turkey my daughter Leah and I took a short trip to Mardin in the Southeast of Turkey.  Our time was a combination of putting our feet up and relaxing and also exploring some nearby sites and cities that I had never visited previously. One such morning we set aside some time for a trip to Dara.  Dara is a village built on the site of ruins dating back to the 6th c BC.  The name harkens back to King Darius the Persian king

Tiles in the Harem of the Topkapi Palace, Istanbul.

y sister came for her first visit to Turkey this spring.  An early morning ferry ride across the Bosphorus, a tram ride up the hill to Sultanahmet and we were near the front of the line for tickets to the Topkapi Palace.  To view the Harem of the palace it requires purchasing a separate ticket within the Palace grounds.   At the main ticket office it indicated that the Palace opened at 9 a.m. and the Harem opened at 9:30 a.m.  On passing into the inner courtyard we went directly to purchase our tickets for the Harem and to our surprise they waved us through into the Harem.  What a unique experience!  I had never been in those rooms without swarms of others and we had the place to ourselves with perhaps half a dozen others who were lucky enough to stumble upon an early entrance. The Topkapi Palace hosts collections that are vast and diverse – textiles, weapons, the treasury,  and religious artifacts plus the kitchen complex with an extensive collection of porcelain, but for

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