Archive for the ‘Western Turkey Tour’ Category:


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…

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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Head to Toe – An Incidental Collection

Garments from Turkey and Central Asia

y preparations for an upcoming presentation to the New Calgary Rug and Textile Club are now  underway.  On Saturday, January 14th from 2 to 4 pm at the new Taylor Digital Library at the University of Calgary I will show and speak about a group of garments which I have collected over the years in Istanbul.  These pieces were acquired one by one as I pursued my primary business of purchasing antique carpets and textiles for various clients.  If you are local and want to come along there is a nominal fee of $5 to attend or better still purchase a membership to the club and enjoy future presentations and lectures($25 for single membership or $50 for a couple).  I am in the midst of the process of sorting out what to include, what to exclude, which format to use, and a seemingly myriad of small decisions as I do the ‘mental sort’ of all the details that exist in my head and need to be corralled to create a degree of order. Rather than

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A TURKISH GIFT

  hinking back of gifts given and received and some of the best memories I have are of the unexpected gifts. A meaningful gift arrived in the hands of a Turkish child. Jack and I were on a road trip driving north from the Mediterranean through the Taurus Mountains. We were traveling on a religious holiday (Kurban Bayram) and were uncertain as to whether or not we would find restaurants open midday along the way.  This uncertainty about our lunch destination was reason enough to plan a picnic and the weather was mild and lovely, so inviting for a meal outdoors.  What better way to break up the hours of driving to our final destination in Cappadocia than to plan a picnic en route?   On our way out of Antalya we stopped at the local market.    Fresh cheeses, olives shiny and varied, peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers along with seasonal fruit were all piled from the stalls into our basket.  As an after thought we picked a perfect watermelon which we thought we would enjoy

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