Turkey - Termessos & Antalya

2.27.2008

From Istanbul, we took a quick flight south to Antalya, where we spent the bulk of our time.



Annie came down with a stomach flu, and Ben never quite adjusted to his new surroundings, but Sophie and I managed to have a couple of mother-daughter memory-making outings...much thanks to John (who isn't terribly into Roman ruins or rock collecting anyway).





Termessos

Though we spent most of our time in the coastal town of Antalya, situated on the Mediterranean Sea, we were able take an afternoon and visit some ancient ruins located in the Taurus Mountains to the northwest.


I won't go into the history of the ruined site of Termessos. For those of you into history and its details, click on the link above. Words cannot describe the feeling walking this ancient stones evoked, but watching one's six-year old climbing stones put in place by Romans centuries ago, or climbing a pass once challenged by Alexander the Great and his army is a bit perspective giving....

A much needed bench after a long climb...muscles unused for sometime gave me reminders of the trip for a few days after!



Sophie climbing previously mentioned ruins. Again, "what a lucky six-year old you are!"




Sophie surprised us all, but showing herself to be quite an agile climber. She was almost too fearless in places, much to her afraid-of-heights-mother's dismay!




Peek-a-boo among the ruins.



No ferry to take off without us this time (see last post).
Antalya and the shore are peaking out between the mountains in the background.

Antalya


Antalya is a popular seaside resort in our part of the world. The stretch of beach beyond our hotel has the unique scenic bonus of being surrounded by mountains (seen above). The temperature was in the mid-60s (upper teens Celsius), which seemed quite tropical after our windy winter.


Walks on the beach seemed almost too delightful for words...combine that with the good company of a certain six-year old, and well, it was pure bliss...Sunshine, Sand, and Sophie.




Sophie shares her mom's love of beautiful rocks.




Treasures in the Sand.





So where was Ben while all this was going on? For those of you familiar with the life of an eighteen-month old, you know routine is everything. Vacations aren't necessarily full of routine, and so it took almost the whole time we were away for Ben to adjust to life at a resort....Though he did like the fact that the buffet always had french fries in copious amounts.


Moral of this Vacation Story:
Vacations are best for newlyweds and retirees...but don't let that stop you. If you do, you will no doubt miss out on treasures meant especially for you.

Istanbul

2.22.2008

Istanbul was Constantinople

Now it's Istanbul, not Constantinople

Been a long time gone, Constantinople

Why did Constantinople get the works?

That's nobody's business but the Turks

"Istanbul (Not Constantinople)"
They Might Be Giants


Little did I know that when my older brother, Chris, introduced me to this band, and this song, oh about 20 years ago, that I would one day be wandering through the streets of old Istanbul with the same tune bouncing around in my brain. Instead of randomly bursting out into song (and finding myself in a Turkish Insane Asylum), I smiled to myself and let the music play on subliminally.



The song, though fun and catchy, gives little insight to this beautiful city...aside from its Byzantinian roots. So instead, allow me the pleasure of giving you a few glimpses into the fabulous day we spent wandering around this lovely city.




Those of you with young kids know that kid-friendly vacations do not usually involve sight-seeing among ancient streets and old mosques...you also probably know that, with short attention spans, etc., the quicker you get to the main event of the day, usually the better.



We went against all practical wisdom and decided to do the city tour of Istanbul, kids and all (the other option being one of us adults would have missed it). Sophie is at a great age defined by the phrase "knowledge is power". I prepped her before we left telling her that:

a.) it would be a lot of walking,

b.) it would take a long time to get there (1 hour by bus, 20 minutes by ferry, another 5-10 walking, and 5 on a tram, just to GET to where we were touring), and

c.) once we were there, we would be looking at old buildings and stuff. I also added:

d.) that we were going to an old and beautiful part of the world that most people only get to see in pictures or on TV...the "what-a-lucky-six-year-old-you-are" speech (revisited later in the vacation, but read on).

Amazingly enough, she seemed to by into this. And thankfully, like the Senate majority leader, she has the ability to sway her underlings (i.e. Annie), who in turn also think this is a grand adventure.











Here are some bits and pieces of our day of touring...enjoy vicariously, or if you've been there, relive the experience!




The ferry ride across the Bosphorus was beautiful, and one of the highlights of the day for the girls. My ferry ride highlight? The fact that, after a weary day sight-seeing, shopping, and walking my legs off, I could order a nice cup of hot tea for about 30 cents, and enjoy the return trip!




Benjamin enjoyed his ferry ride (and most of his sight-seeing adventure) by napping in his favorite spot...John's arms. Needless to say, John's arms were about to fall off by the time Ben awoke!


"Can I have a do over?" Being the main photographer in our family, I (Beth) am not often in pictures with the kids. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to snap a picture of me and the girls...so after about three attempts to get all of us smiling at the same time, we attempted to disembark off the ferry...only to find that it had taken off again! We were expecting that we had enough time, as they usually take on new passengers, as well! Fully expecting to have to make another round trip (40 minutes) and probably miss our connection with one of our hosts in the city (we were cell-phoneless), we were at a loss as to what to do....





Ferry Hopping....Thanks to the kindness of strangers, we were let off further up the docking area, and had to hop across three docked ferries (pictured, side by side) to get ashore. It also meant longer walk (poor John's arms!) and a lot of questioning looks as we walked through the shipyard where tourists are rarely seen! I'll think twice next time I attempt to get my picture taken with the kids! But, after all, All's well that ends well!



Across the Golden Horn...





Girls with Aya Sofya in background.






Aya Sofya

Sightseeing without shopping? Impossible! The Grand Bazaar was full of eye candy...fabulous colors, textures, faces, and smells...and I only spent a small fraction of what I wanted to!

Just the experience was a gift. John and one of our hosts took the kids back to play at home (our host family has a playground at their apartment building...what are the wonders of Istanbul's famous Grand Bazar compared to swings, slides, and beautiful green grass?!)

Rest for the weary. Sophie (our touch-me-not) was so tired she didn't even notice Annie's (our Snuggler) encroachment into her personal space. Needless to say they slept great that night!

Just reliving the day, now two weeks past, I am exhausted.

I'll save Antalya and Termessos for another day...soon!

On with Tradition

2.05.2008




I can remember when Sophie was a baby and we were living in my sister's basement apartment....I'd hear a soft tap at the door separating their home from ours, and then a sweet little face would peek in and ask if she could come visit "Sophie Grayce". That sweet little face, then 5, now almost 11, belonged to my niece, Mary Michal. I can still remember her, perched on the edge of a seat way-to-big for her little frame, opening her mouth (as we all do when feeding babies, as if the act itself is contagious) and feeding Soph a mixture of rice, sweet potato and apple. I also remember the delight of Sophie to have someone new taking on this (to her) mundane task...she never enjoyed eating like her younger siblings. It gave me a glimpse of the joy it would be to have more than one child (to this day, Sophie call Mary Mike her big-sister-cousin...they share the same birth date, as well). Then came Sophie feeding Annie...different apartment, different continent, hey, different side of the world...but the familiarity of the scene was as heart-warming as ever. Now, the tradition continues as Annie, no longer receiver of messy spoonfuls, but giver, takes on the mantle of nurturing the next one in line. This time same apartment, same kitchen, same high chair...only the players have changed. Continuity...

Not so much of a baby anymore...

2.02.2008

I know you folks haven't heard from me (Benjamin) in awhile....its because I have been busy WALKING (see below). When I slow down enough, I write and fill you in on more details.

video

Benjamin's first steps...06 JAN 08