Sunday, April 12, 2009


Rokey dokey....after an 8 hour scenic bus ride from Bodrum...we arrived in Antalya. Antalya is the largest tourist city in Turkey and where my grandmother and other relatives reside. İ have mainly been doing the family thing for a couple of days...and as suspected didnt have easy access to a good computer, but have found a very nice neighbor with a great computer and fast internet. İm working on a turkish please forgive some of letters and perhaps the choppy sentences.

İm attaching a few pics throughout Antalya but these are not the best as İ have taken better pics in the past and seen more of the interesting sites. This trip as İ said is more about family and friends and neighbors (and theis computers...ha)...

İf youd like to see more pics of Turkey you can view my previous photos which are much better than these:
(from my tour of Turkey with my cousin Wendy and friend Laura - 2007)
(when İ lived with my grandmother for 2 months - 2005)
(the Blue Voyage with Meredith and 6 fun Turkish ladies - 2004)
(returning to Turkey after 14 years...hadnt been since my childhood - 2003)
this one has probably the best photos of the Antalya area!

When we grandmother's neighbor, Ayse, brought us this home made borek. She is going to give me a cooking lesson on how to make!

My mom and İ have ventured out several times to view the Med a few times and enjoy the weather. This is the view of the Antalya coastline from a central park looking towards the marina. Not the best picture İ have.

This is the beach in Antalya, Konyaaltı. We walked almost the entire coastline one was gorgeous and we stopped for fresh fruit drinks as we rested along the way. This is usually crowded in the summer.

Below is a bazaar where we bought several fresh vegetables and of the vegetables we got (eggplant) İ will post a recipe and pictures.

Below are some chicks and a baby duck that a guy was selling on the street. İ had to take this picture for Jennifer, the chicken lady....ha ha!

This is my baby cousin (although distant), Osman Efe. He has goregous bluegreen eyes. Many Turks have the most unusual eye color....almost like the Mediteranean itself. İts mesmerizing.

This is his sister Ceylen....she is too cute! We were playing around and they put a scarf on her head for fun.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Exploring the Southern Bodrum Penninsula

Today, we headed out from Bitez and drove along the southern part of the Bodrum Penninsula to Yalikavak, thus completing the loop that we started on the first day. So much to explore. It was overcast and drizzly, but I didn't mind. The rain always makes me feel peaceful. We stopped at many beaches and bays along the way, but I only took a few pictures today. I did learn that the Turks refer to this coastline as the 'lacey' it has s

Below is looking from Gumusluk Bay to Rabbit Island.

Near the area, we had heard that there was a deserted village hidden in the hills so we went in search of it. Sandima (or Eski Karakaya) is a deserted, Greek village, one of many that were vacated during the exchange of populations in 1922. This unique village clings to the rocky hillside and has some of the best views. It was built inland to protect the inhabitants from the frequent pirate raids on the coast. The village was abandoned until a few years ago and many of the stone houses have been beautifully restored. This is a peaceful place, traffic is prohibited, and the houses are connected by a series of small paths, interspersed with wild flowers, cacti and olive trees. It was like discovering a secret garden, as Oya put it, with every path we took.

Notice the flowers on the stairs.

Below is one of the larger restored homes.

I love the color of the gate below.

The one below if for sale. Anyone interested in going in with me?!

Entry way to our new house...

Needs new flooring...

And a new roof...

Looking up from the 'basement' (ie. your room)...

Wandering through the village was such a nice little adventure. It truly was a secret garden hidden in the hills. We then headed to Yalikavak where Oya treated us to our goodbye dinner. We ate at a fantastic restaurant which I highly recommend. Cimentepe. Amazing mezes (appetizers), fresh whole fish, grilled octopus (which was absolutely incredible...I've never had octopus like this before), deserts, and turkish coffee. The architecture of the building was interesting...ornate wood ceiling, amazing views, cozy fireplace...just very quaint and comfortable. Since this is not the tourist season, we were one of the few in the restaurant. This was a fantastic ending to our time here in the Bodrum Penninsula.

Back in Bitez, we stopped to say good bye to Oya's mom, who was also so gracious and giving, especially with the food!

I do plan to return to the Bodrum area someday to experience the late summer when there is more activity....relax, swim, and enjoy the sun and the ocean. Anybody care to join...let me know! I also need a biking buddy...I'd love to bike from town to town and really explore everything and see all of the ruins. Nature has really carved this entire coastline like lace...there are so many bays....nooks and crannys to explore and enjoy.
Tomorrow (Tuesday), we will take a bus from Bodrum to Antalya to stay with my grandmother. It should take us about 8 hours with stops and lunch. It will be nice to sit back, relax, think, and enjoy the scenery once again.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Unexpected Trek

On Sunday, Oya and I were to go on a 6 hour trek with a mountaineering group, but when we woke up in the morning, it was pouring rain and cold. It was raining from Izmir to Antalya (entire southwest Turkey), so we decided not to go. Instead, we had another day of relaxation and started it off with a 2 hour breakfast...enjoying the food and conversation. Breakfast should be this enjoyable every day! After breakfast, we went to the Turkish equivalent of Home Depot (Koctas) to get ideas for remodeling my grandmother's bathroom in Antalya and then went to the Costco/Sam's of Bodrum (Metro). We visited Oya's mother again...spent time with her and the kitties (I love Yoda...she has the best personality). We again ate tons of food and then came back to Oya's in the early evening. The rain subsided and there was a peacefulness in the air, so I decided to take a hike up to the peak of the mountain that Oya lives on. I walked up steep roads through the neighborhood and lucked out because the upper gated neighborhood happened to be open. I probably would have jumped them anyway! The views up here were gorgeous...looking through a camera lens does not do it justice. But below is some of what I saw.

Typical Bodrum house...white with blue trim.

I want this balcony!

The highest house on the mountain.

At the top of the mountain was an erie, old radio tower. The flowered pathway was inviting me up for an adventure!

The view on the way up to the radio tower.

Everything is flowering this time of year...even this interesting weed.

Made it to the top...this is so exciting!

This is what I found on the backside of the old building.

And you know what happens next...

View from the roof of the radio tower looking southeast...Bitez Bay and Gumbet Bay.

Looking southwest on the other side of the ridge towards Ince Point.

View along the ridge...I wanted to keep exploring, but it was getting late.

Good times at the ol' radio tower...

My Turkish tripod.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Relaxing at Bitez Beach

On Saturday, we decided to have a relaxing day prior to our big hike on Sunday. We went from Oya's house in the Bitez hills down to Bitez Beach where her mother lives. We had another great breakfast and ate a lot of what they call 'zeytin yagli' dishes for lunch. These are cold dishes made with olive (zeytin) oil (yag - silent g). Among these were leeks with rice and carrots sprinkled with lemon (my favorite), stuffed eggplant with rice, currants, and exotic spices, flat green beans with tomato, onions, and garlic, and dolma (stuffed grape leave with rice and exotic spices). All were so good...and as usual, I ate way too much. Between being entertained by Oya's mother (who is very interesting, funny, and artistic...she paints, writes poems, sings, etc) and the neighborhood cats (not many Turks are as fond of animals as they are in the US...many strays everywhere and Oya's family are big animal lovers)....we took a leisurely stroll along the entire Bitez Bay...from the beach house to the marina and back. This area is one of the most popular beaches on the Bodrum Penninsula in the summer. There are many really neat boutique hotels and restaurants along the walkway in front of the shore. Oya says in the summer, the entire area is full of people. Now, there are none...which is kinda nice. But the water was COLD! Swim suit goes back into suitcase.

In the late afternoon, we went to Myndos Gate. This western city gate was built by Mausolus in 364 B.C. and was the scene for one of the greatest bloodiest battles during the siege of Alexander the Great. The site is currently under restoration, but unlike in the states, you can still walk around and take a looksy....and even walk up into the tower on the right!

Below is the back side of the tower...and a washed out picture looking into the sun...Oya after we climbed up.

There are several ancient graves near the gate, of which this double grave has an intricate mosiac in front of it.

In the evening, we came back to Oya's mom's house....ate MORE food...drank tea...and headed back to the house to prepare our packs for the hike.

My Big Fat Greek Day

On Friday, we took a ferry from Bodrum to the Greek Island of Kos. The ride took just over an hour and offered gorgeous views of Bodrum and the St. Peter Castle as we left the marina.

The map below shows Turkey in relation to Greece and it's islands. The Greek islands are shown in orange...some are practically adjacent to Turkey. There are very few Turkish islands in comparison to Greece.

As we entered the Greek harbor of Kos town, we were greeted by another example of defensive architecture, the Castle of Neratzia. This castle controlled the sea passage between Kos and ancient Halicarnassus (Bodrum) together with the St. Peter Castle in Bodrum (pictured above).

The castle entrance is on the 'second' level via an arched stone bridge across a mote (which is now a street). The view below is the interior of the castle just beyond the dungenous hallway entrance.

From the harbor, we took a city bus to the ruins of Asklepeion, the most significant archaeological site on the island. Asklepeion was a healing temple and Hippocrates was said to have received his medical training here. There are 3 terraces, of which the top level offers a beautiful view overlooking the sea.

Temple in the Corinthian Order

Simicirular Exedra (recess) and Staircase to the Third Terrace

Retaining wall below
An idea of what Asklepeion looked like 2nd century B.C.

After Asklipeion, we enjoyed a big fat Greek meal (the chicken gyro was 10 times better than in the states)....and I mean, one plate was HUGE! I should have taken a picture of it. We then did our own walking tour of the historical downtown region and came across The Tree of Hippocrates. Under it's shade, according to legend, Hippocrates taught his students the art of medicine. The tree has become hollowed out over the years, and some branches are supported by metal scaffolding.

We walked past an ancient agora and made our way to the Roman Odeon below.

And walked through the western archaeological site on our way back to the harbor.

Mosiac beneath the arch with the columns of the gymnasium in the background.

This was my first time in Greece. The sites were enjoyable and the food was great, but I didn't find the Greek people on this island nearly as hospitable as the Turks. And I noticed that the bus drivers all drove with one hand....the whole time. One talked on the cell phone most of the drive and the other diver ate icecream on a stick. Not a big deal and almost kinda comical (since I did return in one piece). I'd love to come back to Kos and stay a bike, check out the rest of the's ruins, beaches, and thermal springs. We just didn't have enough time in one day to do everything of course.