Sunday, October 31, 2010

Turkey 3 - Far from Istanbul

Just a quick note to let everyone know we are indeed in Antalya, about 700 km south of Istanbul. For those of you that may have read international headlines about a bomb blast in Istanbul, know that we are far from the area in which it occured. Other than the airport on our way home, we will not be spending any more time in that area.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Turkey 2 - Antalya

We are settled in Antalya in our apartment, 20 minutes from the climbing area. Our two days in Istanbul were exhausting, but well worth the effort. The historic sites were amazing. We have had a tough time adjusting to the new time zone (we are 10 hours ahead of Squamish), but after one week, we seem to be almost normal again. Since my time is precious these days, I'm going to let the photos do the talking as opposed to writing a long-winded account of our explorations. Click on the pictures for a larger view.

Elise in the Frankfurt airport. Note the pink Disney "carry on" luggage.

First dinner in Istanbul. The jet lag has not yet set in.

This is NOT the Blue Mosque. The first day we were there was very cloudy and my pictures were poor.

The Blue Mosque.

The men's prayer area in the Blue Mosque.

It was a tad crowded.

Pam and Elise in front of the Blue Mosque.

With a friendly shop owner. Elise got a lot of free Turkish delight during our first walk around.

Inside Aya Sofya, the second major landmark we visited.

There were some incredible mosaics.

The reason Elise came to Turkey: Turkish delight! This is pistachio, a local's favourite.

Street vendors were everywhere. We had some incredible fresh squeezed pomegranate juice.

Elise on the bridge that spans the Bosphorous Strait, which seperates Europe from Asia. There were hundreds of men fishing. Elise had to inspect EVERY bucket to study their catch. We joked that she was acting like she had terrettes syndrome because she had to touch every bucket. One enthusiastic lady lifted a fish, kissed it on the lips and offered it to Elise who DID THE SAME!!! I couldn't get my camera out fast enough, though.

Turtle at the bazaar.

The famous Spice Bazaar.

We took a ferry out on the strait at night. It was a great way to see the city and we spotted hundreds of jellyfish in the sea, much to Elise's delight. We ate at a restaurant on the other side.

Our apartment building in Antalya near Konyaalti beach.

Elise's artwork is on the fridge.

The coast just west of Antalya. We visited the small beach below.

Elise on her "floaty".

The cliffs of Geyikbayiri.

Strange fauna.

The beach at Olympos, the sight of a 2,000-year-old city ruin.

Elise striking her "I'm ready to snorkel" pose.

She caught a frog in the creek behind the beach. She was VERY pleased.

Don't mess with me.

Looking out of a sarcophagus in the city ruins.

The remains of a temple built to honour Marcus Aurelies.

With a Turkish girl she befriended near the beach.

Evening light on the beach.

We hope you are all well.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Turkey 1

This is just a quick note to let the parents know we've arrived. We are currently in Istanbul and landed at about 5:00pm Tuesday afternoon. The flights, connections and luggage retrieval all went without incident, which always seems to amaze me no matter how much we travel.

We will be in Istanbul until Thursday evening, when we fly south to Antalya, our final destination (and the location of our apartment). Elise is having a harder time with the jet lag than on any of our other trips, so we are struggling a bit to get setttled. Maybe now that she's older she is more aware and in tune with her body. Our first night was kind of brutal, to be honest. Elise decided she absolutely didn't want to try to sleep at around 2:00am. What do you do in a tiny hotel room in the heart of Istanbul to kill 5 hours of nighttime? Watch The Princess and the Frog movie, of course.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Utah - The Final Week

We are home! Our last week in Utah was fun and successful (both Pam and I finished our climbing projects), but the weather was definitely about to take a turn for the worse so we skedaddled. Here are some random shots that came off the point and shoot camera:

We spent a day climbing at the Compound cave. The approach was a 40-minute uphill hike in the hot, midday sun. Elise whined, but made it! Here's Pam and Elise preparing to walk.

The floor of the cave was covered in silty dirt. Elise had lots of fun burying all her polly pockets. She got super dirty.

I told her she might lose them, but she told me she was "landmarking" each figure by leaving the arms sticking out of the dirt. Morbid...

After all that dirt work, a shower was definitely in order. This is Elise rinsing off under our solar shower (a heated bag on the roof of the van). It actually worked quite well, but Elise HATED doing this when it was cold out in the evening.

Here's a couple more shots from the fishing day at the reservoir. Check out the colour on that albino trout!

Each day we climbed at the Pipe Dream cave, Elise and I would go spelunking in the cavern behind the main wall. This involved a short but steep climb up to the mouth of the cave. Here's Elise doing the approach with her headlamp ready!

The small cave opening revealed a massive cavern inside, big enough to easily fit a house. We enjoyed walking around the perimeter and waiting for our eyes to adjust. It was very dark. This is a view looking back out of the cave.

This is Elise inspecting a bird's egg on the floor of the cave. There were many nests and holes, evidence of the inhabitants of the cavern.

We are busy at home catching up with work and chores in preparation for the big trip: Turkey! We leave on October 18th and will be gone until December 16th. Elise seems excited for this trip and keeps talking about going on the "big airplane". Interesting times ahead...