• Eastern Turkey - Second Week of September 2004

    Nemrut Dagi, Volcanic Crater:
    Time was running short for our Iranian visa. We decided to take a bus from Sanliurfa to Tatvan. We arrived in the early morning hours, after 7 hours on a very old bus. We breakfasted on peaches and baklava by the lake, then encountered some of the lake’s more dangerous and annoying wildlife: young boys no older than 8 begging for money and cigarettes, trying to steal things from our bikes, hanging on them, and throwing rocks at us. Rock-throwing seems to be a more .. Read More »

  • Back to Turkey - Desert Towns - first week of September 2004

    Harran, Desert Town:
    We made a small detour on the way to Urfa to see the village of Harran, one of the world’s oldest continually inhabited villages, where Abraham was supposed to have stayed for several years around 1900 BC. The town is unique in Turkey because of its conical shaped houses (which can be found, however, in northern Syrian – we saw these – and in the region of Pouilles in Italy).

    Most of the current conical-shaped houses were built during the last two centuries, but the mode.. Read More »

  • Cappadocia to Syria - end of July 2004

    Leaving Cappadocia:
    As we headed out of Urgup and Cappadocia, the scenery changed – no more tufa cones, no more fairy chimneys, and no more fretted ravines. The mountains remained, though. We biked the new road to Kayseri, and as we reached the city, we noticed that the avenues were wide and well paved, that the big apartment buildings were new. The city is modern and active, but a strong conservatism endures. We met a 20-something man who complained that the city has no bars, no clubs, no plac.. Read More »

  • Cappadocia: At Mehmet's in Uchisar & the Fairy Chimney Valley - July 2004

    At Mehmet’s and Binas’ in Uchisar:
    After leaving the underground city at Derinkuyu, we biked to Nevsehir, the regional capital. The landscape was pretty, and five km. before Nevsehir, we passed a town called Gore, where houses were carved into the rock on the mountainside. It looked as if most of the houses were still inhabited. Then east of Nevsehir to the “golden triangle” of Cappadocia between Nevsehir, Avanos, and Urgup. The landscape changed immediately. Suddenly there were fairy chimneys .. Read More »

  • Cappadocia: Ihlara Valley, Underground Cities, & Caravanserais - July 2004

    Cappadocia occupies an area about 1/7 of that of central Anatolia. It is situated roughly between Aksaray in the west, Kayseri in the east, Avanos to the north and Nigde to the south. The spectacular landscape is composed of canyons, gorges, volcanic mountains, fairy chimneys, caravanserais, churches carved into the mountains, and entire cities built into the rock. We spent 11 unforgettable days in Cappadocia, hiking the valleys, climbing up mountainsides, exploring the churches and.. Read More »

  • Cappadocia: Creation of its Natural Wonders and History of the Region

    Cappadocia: Creation of its Natural Wonders and History of the Region:

    The geological formations of Cappadocia came about as a result of two contradicting natural forces that started millions of years ago. The first was the volcanic eruptions of Mt. Erciyes and Mt. Hasan, which covered the plateau surrounding Nevsehir with tufa, a soft stone comprised of lava, ash, and mud. The second was the territorial erosion that started after the build-up was over. The erosion was caused by the wind, the.. Read More »

  • Central Anatolia (Ankara and Tuz Golu) - mid-July 2004

    As we continued eastward, the golds, oranges, and reds of the fields of western Anatolia turned into dry, sandy plains with one or two tiny scrub bushes rolling about in the strong winds over the desolate plateau. Mountains, volcanic peaks, and ravines punctuate the undulating plains, while golden wheat fields dominate the dusty steppe, denuded of trees. We passed a few lonely sunflowers. A solid majesty reigns over the whole.

    On the evening of our third anniversary, we reached Ankara by the .. Read More »

  • The Legends of King Midas and the Gordion Knot

    King Midas and the Gordion Knot:

    We made a detour near the city of Polati to see the site of Gordian, the former capital of the Phrygian kingdom. What is left of this great capital is located in a small village in the middle of the Anatolian plain. The western road leading towards that village has several small gypsy communities scattered here and there, characterized by piles of garbage and flaps of tents blowing in the wind. The eastern road is desolate, aside from one lonely house sitting .. Read More »

  • Western Anatolia - first half of July 2004

    Along the Marmara Sea:
    We managed to tear ourselves away from Istanbul after over 5 weeks. Five weeks to tour the city, take in its sights, apply for and wait for the Iranian visa, receive the last of our vaccines, and especially wait for our packages at the post office. Mom’s package with my allergy medication hadn’t arrived after five weeks, and we’d finally decided to go. We packed up and checked one last time – and lo and behold! – there they were!

    We took a ferry boat to Yalova from Ist.. Read More »

  • Exploring Istanbul

    The Grand Bazaar:
    Wandering the streets of the Grand Bazaar is one of the highlights of any trip to Istanbul. This covered market in the center of historic Istanbul has 4000 boutiques, mosques, fountains, restaurants, banks, and workshops bunched together along several kilometers of streets. Each profession has its own street or section of the market: the carpet-sellers, the jewellers, the potters. You can find copperware, leather jackets and handbags, chess and backgammon sets, ceramics, water.. Read More »