I’ve decided to break up the Turkish Food rundown into at least three feasts for your eyes. I may also do one on snacks and deserts, but we’ll have to get snacking. Anyway, it’s time for breakfast… It’s normal at most hotels, pensions, and hostels to have breakfast included in the room price. Occasionally, we’ve had to pay extra, and have found breakfast can range from about 5TL (Turkish Lira) to 10TL, depending on the spread. Quality is fairly consistent, and breakfast is marked by fresh fruit and veggies, accompanied by a basket of thickly sliced white bread and assorted spreads (honey, jam, butter, cheese). Eggs are normal, but meat is relatively rare, and can be anything from baloney to boar tongue… Next up, lunch! Check back soon…  
An excellent representation of the complexity of excavating the site of Troy.
On the way to the site the clouds didn’t hold much hope for us as they blocked the sky and quickly made puddles in the street. The dolmus continued to bump and turn on the winding streets. Some other tourists spoke loudy in the front. We couldn’t understand them. We only knew it was taxing to be forced to listen. The  clouds parted just as the dolmus stopped at the long walkway leading up the site of Troy. Wonderful, we thought. 30.00 Turkish Lira ($20.00  CAN) later we found ourselves standing at the base of another wooden horse. Unfortunately Brad Pitt never touched this one, but you can go inside! So of course being  me, I did. Chris on the other hand decided to climb the walls of Troy. For us, the road to Troy started at the Archaeological Museum in Istanbul. The museum contains artefacts from archaeological digs from…Continue Reading
Chris and I are in Olympos. Yesterday, it took us 5.5 hours to get here by bus. The hotels here are called tree houses because of their style of buildings. The entire area has a very relaxed, almost Caribbean feel. Little roofed wooden platforms line the river. In the high season they are all covered in rugs and cushions, but since it’s the slow season only two are equiped at our pension. I am sitting on one right now. A light breeze slowly moves my hair. The sun beams strongly on my white Canadian skin. The rhythmic, continuous flow of the river is peaceful. There are a few hammocks in the main courtyard. It didn’t take Chris too long to find them. For 50 Turkish Lira (around $38.00) Chris and I get our own little “tree house” which is a wooden shack on stilts with a mattress, sheets, 2 pillows and 3…Continue Reading
While Laura has been blogging her socks off, I haven’t gotten around to putting much up in a while. So here goes: a photo update on where we are and what we’ve been up to. Broadly speaking, we are making our way down the Aegean coast of Turkey. We ducked inland at places like Bergama and Pamukkale, but will be staying closer to the coast in the next few days (weeks?) as we head around the southeastern corner of the country and continue along the Mediterranean coast, before going inland again to visit Cappadocia and Eastern Turkey. Bergama (site of ancient Pergamon) Pamukkale and Hierapolis Pamukkale was like a bit of vacation from our vacation, as it were. Hot springs, walks in the Turkish agricultural heartland, being chased by an enormous barking sheepdog–with his taut muscles, big teeth, and eyes like  a rabid werewolf. Yeah, it was bliss. Afrodisias We…Continue Reading
This is the interior of a building called the Baghdad Kiosk, located in the residential area of the sultan. It is one of many excellent examples of the famous blue Iznik tiles found throughout Ottoman architecture in Turkey.
Topkapi Palace located in Istanbul, was the headquarters for the Ottamen Empire for more then 400 years. Today it is a museum. When we went it cost 20 Turkish Lira per person, and if we wanted to go into the Harem it would cost an additional 15 Turkish Lira per person. The ticket for entering the Harem has to be bought once you are inside the Topkapi Palace. The palace is constructed around a series of courtyards, all of which are very beautiful and peaceful. The first courtyard is free of charge. In Ottoman days this courtyard was open to all, but in order to walk through the gate into the second courtyard you had to be some sort of dignitary (see the photo above of the second gate). Within this courtyard for dignitaries and officials is the courtroom where the men took care of the Empires official matters. Apparently…Continue Reading
Hi Mom! Yes, we are indeed still alive and safe. This morning we will be catching a Turkish minibus, or dolmus (pronounced dol-mush), to a place called Bergama, near the ancient site of Pergamon. There are some impressive archaeological remains there we’re looking forward to. We left Istanbul a few days ago and have already moved quite a ways away along the Aegean coast. We visited Troy and the Gallipoli peninsula, and will be hitting quite a few archeological sites in the next week or two. We are very much in the Turkish resort region now, but it is definitely the off-season. This has made our travel and accommodation plans a bit more challenging as buses are less frequent and several hotels and pensyones (sort of like private hotels, often in people’s homes) are closed, but we’re surviving just fine. Laura has updated the “when” page linked above, and I…Continue Reading
Our friend Colin has been pestering us to show “the truth” of the places we visit, rather than the stuff you can find in “any art history text book.” He wants to see the gutters, poverty, deprivations of every kind. Mostly that’s just his own twisted personality, but it presents some problems. Turkey is simply not that depraved. Yes, there are issues. There is unemployment. There is poverty by Western standards. But in a country that is 99% Muslim, there is a definite lack of depravity. This isn’t Vancouver’s East Side. There are no overt drug or alcohol addicts. Even young Turks prefer to drink tea or juice when they go out to hit the down. Crime is minimal, and tends to be of a mild “fleece the foreigners” variety. On the whole, Istanbul has presented the type of warm hospitality Turkey has long been known for, blighted occasionally by the…Continue Reading
UPDATE: (a couple more photos added) Aya Sofia was built about 1500 years ago by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian, and served as the most important church in Christendom for about 900 years before being converted into a mosque by the Ottomans in 1453. Even after all this time it is still impressive. Suffice it to say, we are in Istanbul. I have a feeling Laura will have more to say about the Aya Sofia, so I’ll just put up some pics for now.