Explore Discover Inspire

Six years of adventure with pics to prove it.


Filed under: Turkey — she_travels at 1:40 pm on Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I do not remember what time it was when I arrived in Mardin, I do remember it was raining and it may have been dark.  There was a hotel very close to where the bus stopped so instead of slogging through the rain I decided to pay what ever the price was…I was prepared for a fair scary number being they had a lift, bell boys and a sitting room with fish in the lobby. It ended up being the most expensive place I stayed in Turkey at 50 lira a night. The good news, it was a very comfy room.

I was so excited when I got up the next morning…would you believe SUN… more sun than I had seen in what seemed days!

I walked up yet another hill between buildings to get….

Pics like this….that is Syria out there.

It was truly a glorious day to be on a hill looking at the view!

Homes on one side, view on the other.

The buildings seemed pieced together from what ever was around.

I was walking in and about the old city, this is the new city down the hill toward Turkey.

Just to the right of the new city. The wire is from a military base at the very top of  the hill I am walking up.

Come on! It’s just cool!

This was as far up the hill as I could get.

This is to the left of the pics of  the huge view. I would have gone a bit farther around the bend but I had disturbed 14 dogs (yes, I counted) sunbathing, one was very concerned I was there. I chose to go back the way I had come instead of insisting they let me pass. No matter, I wanted to see town which was down the hill the other way anywho.

At some point  I started snapping pics of doors,  all kinds of doors!

Bit O town, nothing seems to be going on here….maybe it was to early still.

This was father up the street a bit.

Found the market, the white is cheese.

The shop keepers drink tea, all day long…someone has to bring it to them, thus the dude in blue.

Up next, crossing in to Syria. I don’t think those pics are uploaded yet so it may be a few days.

Urfa to Mardin

Filed under: Turkey — she_travels at 11:10 pm on Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mardin was suggested to me by someone on trip adviser after I said I had been lost twice in the maze of a bazaar in Urfa. She suggest I wander the alleys of the old city of Mardin and to take time to enjoy the view.

Quickly, a story about a guy in the bus station in Urfa, the third time I was there. 1st from Adana, then on the way to Harran and now on the way to Mardin from Harran.

The new bus station (otogar) in Urfa is two levels, the mini buses arrive and depart on the lower level and the big buses arrive and depart on the upper level. I had already been in and out of  the place several times. Instead of being rude to the guy,  who met me at the top of the stairs,  to tell me what counter to go to for a ticket to Mardin, I just told him where I was going and followed him. Come to think if it I did alot of that, follow “the guy” to here, follow “the guy” to there. They are a helpful bunch.

As I remember the bus was going to leave very soon indeed but “the guy” suggest I have tea with him, I have a vague memory of him saying some thing about his brother’s office. Now, up until this point there was not a single time I followed “the guy” to a place that was not public. I have no idea why I did it this time, I was not thinking straight or tired or….just who knows. Anywho, the brother’s office ended up being a tiny room between the restroom door and the token guy for the rest room, it was all windowed. I told “the guy”, hmm I think he may have been 2o-something I had to use the ladies. He asked if I wanted tea before I went through the door. I said yes please but I do not want to miss my bus. He seemed to understand.

When I got back there were two cups on the bench next to him, I picked one up as he said “They are just so big.”  I ignored him sniffing  the cup, coffee. I put that cup down and picked up the other one, coffee. So, between two cups of coffee, no tea and him talking about the size of my breasts, this was over,  three strikes. I picked up my bags and headed out the door..I could hear him staying “Oh my god. Oh my god” but I didn’t much care.

I plopped myself down in a seat to find by bus ticket so I had a much better idea of what was going on, when I looked up I realized “the guy” was in the seat next to me pointing at a bus just outside the door. Seems he knew which one was mine. He musta said some thing to the attendant guy outside in a way I did not see cause he looked back at me and said ten minutes. Cool, ten minutes and they all know I am going on that bus, every one is on the same page, I can relax a little.

The guy and I talked of Harran, my journey thus far and my plans to see Mardin then zip on down to Syria.  The two gals sitting next to me started to give me looks, its was kinda strange twice in the same day… holy hell, now  wonder if it was the same two girls from before..prolly not. Anywho, I have no idea if they were worried about me or disgusted I would talk to a male stranger.

When it was time to load my bag “the guy” took it from me..I followed him outside but soon realized it was pouring rain and I was not going to stand in the rain waiting so I let “the guy” and the attendant take care of it, the guy handed me the ticker to get my bag back, shook my hand and suggested I come back to visit him another time. He was a nice enough dude once he understood talking about my breasts was not something I was going to put up with.

I think I have mentioned several times the bus trips are very civilized in that they offer you a beverage once everyone is seated and things are rolling along. On this bus, I was the only one other than the driver offered a beverage and the attendant didn’t say “what would you like?” he said “Would you like chi?” I said yes. I tell you this cause it occurred to me several days later…maybe “the guy” with the two cups of coffee, asked the bus attendant to give me tea once aboard cause he had messed up.  I did enjoy the tea!

One more tale of hospitable Turks on the bus ride from Urfa to Mardin; at some point along the way many people got ff the bus, I was in a seat more than half way to the back. I heard a commotion toward the front of the bus, when I looked up the driver was waving his hands in my direction. Two men where next to him asking some thing about the front seats, I know this cause they were pointing at the seats. The driver looked hard at me and motioned again with his hands. I finally understood, he wanted me to go to the front, he gave me the front seat next to the door. I sat down, clapped my hands like a silly school girl and thanked him.  The two men who had asked were on the opposite side of the bus three rows back. I am not at all sure why the driver decided to move me but I as pleased as punch he had.

K then, on to Mardin.


Filed under: Turkey — she_travels at 10:08 pm on Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Harran is a tiny little town south of Urfa with bee hive houses. The gals from Oregon I met in Anamur suggested I have a look….so I did.

This was one of those times I think the drivers call ahead. “Yeah, I have a tourist on my minibus, ya might wanna met us, see if maybe you can make a buck.”

The mini bus was met by a very nice young guy who lived in Harran and seemed to know a fair amount about the history of the place, he did not ask for any money. He simply said “I would like to show you.” took my larger backpack and walked off. My bet is you have been reading this long enough to know I just followed the guy.

If your interested Wikipedia has a few thoughts on the place…in the mean time…pics!

My young guide told me the fence is to keep the live stock out. By the by ~ young being 20 something not 12.

They do live in, around and among the history.

From what I understand this is the last of  the beehive houses still being used as living space. It was my guide’s grandfather’s home, now they show it to tourist and sometimes those tourist spend the night. Most of the buildings like this are just for live stock.

The round-ish thing in the background is what is left of a castle.

The ceiling…tis truly wacky!

Castle wall from above.

History right there in front of your eyes!

Water tower for  the whole village, my young friend was very excited about it and the water project for the fields…at one time this place was dry dry desert…now look at the Green!

It amazes me these places are still standing.

I had only planned a few hours in Harran cause I wanted to get to Mardin. While the young guy and I were waiting for the minibus,   to get me back to Urfa to get on a bigger bus to Mardin,  I noticed two girls giving me dirty looks.  Now up until this point I never noticed much of any lady types about…I am still not sure if  they were upset cause I was talking with a male person, if I was enjoying talking with a male person, cause they are not allowed to talk to guys or if  they were concerned about my safety.

By the by ~ The kid never did ask for any money so I gave him some anywho.  Shezz! taxi drivers could learn a thing or two from this kid.

Right then, on to Mardin.


Filed under: Turkey — she_travels at 6:53 pm on Tuesday, April 27, 2010

K then, Mom asked me in an email where all the ladies were. There were times when it was tough to know but the place I was staying in Urfa had a set of stairs with a wall. That first morning I sat on the wall watching people and snapping pics for a short time.

Th person in gold is a lady, the person in violet is male. I asked someone the following day if there was some significance to the violet, he said “New Fashion.” I had to work hard not to laugh.

I truly loved the food in this part of the world cause it was all fresh, right off this guy’s cart.

Not only did this lady not have her head covered, she got off the motor bike.

There ya have it the diversity of this part of  the world, a lady showing only her eyes walking in front of two ladies without their heads covered.

This would be one of the reasons people visit Urfa….Park! About center pic you can see a flag…remember it. The park is banked by seven mosques, the songs at prayer time are just this of side give me a headache.

The famous fish pond.

I decided to exit the park space to the right and go up the hill, I was looking for a way to the flag. The park in this pic is to the right.

I kept going up looking for a way to the flag but was having a hard time finding a way through the buildings (homes) to the left.

I finally decided to just walk up and to the left…I mean how lost could a person get with the cliff of the park on one side and the road I was on..on the other. I had not peaked the hill when I found a cemetery.

Woohooo! the flag I had been chasing.

I had existed the park sorta by the tents to the far right just above the fence. See directly to the left…there is a walkway…that was what I was looking for and did not find.

From above the mosque in the 1st pic of  the park.

The fence in the foreground is the edge of the wall from below. It’s a hell of a view. I sat for a spell, was offered tea and a cushion from a guard? in a shack.

That is only half of the park….ok it’s not like Central in NY but dang it’s only the second one I have seen in this part of the world.

I was half heartedly looking for a way down..or around, I started to wonder if this was once upon a time a moat. Cool shot though   huh?

Sure looks like a moat.

Alright, seems there is a set of stairs  I missed while playing in the moat.

I found the way I wanted to come in.

The hill I walked up looking for the flag. The buses are from Iran, tourists, all the ladies are in black.

Yep, right in the middle of town, gotta get your goods to where they can be sold.

-+I wandered down to a market,  bought an orange and was thinking I was headed back to where I started but as I often do I got side tracked by a bazaar. Ya gotta love the bazaars, masses of people buying and selling everything you can imagine…so I start wandering through. It’s a rat maze of a place, even when you think you have a pretty good idea of where you are…you are so wrong. When parts are covered and ya can’t see the sun….your really going to be lost. My plan at these points, and it usually works, is to keep walking until I see something I recognize.

So, I am still walking when I come upon lots of children playing then realize they are being let out of school. Upon seeing the silly American they start saying “Hello”, but that is as far as the conversation goes. I was still thinking I had an idea of where I was when I turned to a little girl and said “Centrum?” Pointing down the street…she shrugged her shoulders but behind me I hear someone shout. When I turned there was a boy pointing to a guy across the street who was looking at me. With more purpose than most people can muster he walked right up to me,  took my hand walked back across the street. What was I going to do? dig in my heels? I went with him.

If I had thought the centrum was north,  he was taking me east…guess that is not so bad.

He stopped on the other side of  the road with a small road/path going up a hill. He looked me right in the eyes to get my attention then waving his arm, without words he told me to go up this hill, lean left and go up the other hill. Cool then, up it is. I shook his hand, said thank you and waved to the children giggling in the street.

I didn’t get four steps when an older guy was at my should waving for m e to follow him…..imagine my surprise when I realized where  I was…in the cemetery at the top of the hill where the flag is. The old man went to the stairs I had missed the first time.

This was at the bottom of the stairs in the park, the mosque is just to my right.

From my 2nd time through the bazaar.

Lots of Gold!

Men every where sitting, chatting and drinking tea.

Hmm something wacky with this pic…. I will look into it.

Looks like that is the last of Urfa. Next Harran!

Adana ~ Urfa

Filed under: Turkey — she_travels at 5:49 pm on Tuesday, April 27, 2010

You would be so impressed how much I manage to entertain the people around me.

Once on firm ground in Adana I was ambushed by a guy selling sweets, he was adorable and kind but I had to go to the bath room. When I came back around the corner he asked me where I was going..I am not sure I knew at that point but I must have answered cause he told me to pop about one more corner just before he said he was leaving for the day. I tell you this cause two weeks later (yesterday) I was in the Adana Otogar again. I was trying very hard to remember when and why the place looked so familiar while walking to the bathroom. I thought I had come up with the answer and remembered I had chatted with (“Hi, do you remember me? I remember you..”) Yep, this was the place with the sweets guy. Once out of the bathroom he told me he works in Side during the summer and asked about home prices in the states. I was very firm about not needing to buy a home in Turkey when he said the prices there were far less.

When I got around the corner I found a place to sit.   I had forgotten the name of the place I thought I was going (the gals from Oregon suggested a place) and needed the bit of paper to give the otogar guys.

When I had the bus ticket guys  understanding I wanted the front seat next to the door I started looking for my money purse. Could not find it, I went through all my pockets nothing, in the end and a panic I dumped all my stuff out of my little backpack…mind you,  the four otogar guys were having a grand time watching me freak out. I think they understood the problem cause I kept muttering “no money, no money”.

Ya would have thought I cured cancer the way they reacted when I found my cash. The stern looking fellow in the back of the space even cracked a smile. The guy next to him said he was the driver of the bus. We all laughed a bit more before the stern guy gave me a “get your ass moving” look. One of the guys on my side of the counter pointed me in the correct direction, it looked like one of the guys on the inside of the counter said “Take her to the bus.” I do not know how the guy on my side got out of it perhaps with a “She is an adult and can read.” Who knows but I managed to find the correct bus in plenty of time. I knew I would get to Urfa after dark but things in Anamur went so well I was not worried.

This was the first time I had seen three guys on the bus…two drivers? One attendant…hard to say.

One hears lines about men and women who are not family or married not sitting together…this makes it a bit tougher on the otogar guys, if there is a single female they have to find a way to either give her two seats or another single female.

I was a bit taken aback when the stern fellow from in the bus station plopped down in the seat next to me. Now, this is not the first time a male asked where I was from and wanted to chat with me but this was a bus guy…did he not need to follow the rules. Guess not…

When the bus started moving he smiled at me and said hi. He didn’t know much English and my Turkish is very small. I replied with a smile. At some point he took my camera so I helped him get to the stored pics..he snapped a couple shots, one of the driver.

I figured if he was interested in the pics on the camera I sure had plenty to entertain him on the computer, I pulled it out of my bag and fired it up.

I didn’t get very many pics of the areas we were traveling cause I was showing him the computer pics. I do not remember when or how it went from, easy going friendly fun to him taking my hand a placing it on his crotch. Ya gotta wonder what is going though a guys head, when does he decided his best course of action is to move a complete strangers hand to his private area in public during working hours..what the hell was he thinking.

I suppose I could a thrown a fit and made a scene but what was that going to do so instead I just removed my hand away from where he wanted it. We played this game off and on until the next stop..I was not getting off here but did need a visit to the rest room.

When I came back the attendant asked me to move from seat four in the front to a back seat. I showed him the ticket which said seat four and flat refused to move. I had a feeling something was up before he asked but when his reaction was to smile and wave me off,  I knew… The stern guy had told him to ask me to move. Now this is the wacky bit…did he think I didn’t want my hand on his privates cause we were so close to the driver, did this guy actually think if he got me in the back seat I was going to morph in to a compliant female willing to do what ever he wished?  Please do tell me..what the heck?

I started thinking I had done well to foil his plan then realized he had more artillery, he could easily ask one of the otogar guys from this bus station to come up with some excuse to move me….not long after it occurred to me the guy showed up. I pulled out my ticket again and said no, it says right here seat four. They decided not to argue with me anymore.

When the bus started moving again the stern guy sat next to me..he tried to get me to move to the back, I repeated many times I was given seat four. At one point he looked behind to the next row and said something to them…I have no idea what it was..I mean how is he going to explain he wants some physical attention and I am refusing to move to the back of the bus to give it to him.

In the end he gave up…it was sad cause I thought we were having a grand time clicking through my pics.

Men! Ya can’t live with them and it’s illegally to shoot them.

Anywho  a few pics….

Those hills back there are Rock!

I got to thinking the bus guys drive like they own the road and in the end being there are so very people out driving…they are  right.

That is pretty much it from the road…next Urfa!

Day 29 ~ Goreme to Urfa

Filed under: Turkey — she_travels at 3:42 pm on Saturday, April 24, 2010

Oops my mistake, this is the last of  the Cappadocia pics, I took it the morning I left. They say one of the best ways to see the land scape is by hot air balloon, the price was a tad out of my range.

It was trying to clear up but not having much luck at this point.

You can just see the tunnel ahead, there were  total of 7 as I remember it.

Plenty of rock about.

Hidden snow caps as well.

And the the weather changed. The driver pulled off the road a bit, I noticed the other bus before he did. The two attendants of each bus met in the middle to exchange a parcel. I am thinking someone for got to “mail” the parcel at the right place so this other bus picked it up on the way back to where it belonged. Ya gotta wonder what  these guys did before cell phones.

Man!  did it get GREEN!

Reminds me a bit of Ridgeway, Colorado.

Yet another castle, I am telling you this place is chock a block full of  them!

I had to switch buses in Adana…more soon, I gotta go feed the horses.

Day 28… times three?

Filed under: Turkey — she_travels at 7:54 am on Saturday, April 24, 2010

OK , these pics were uploaded from a computer other than mine, I am feeling like they are a bit different. No matter..pics are pics.

You can kind tell here where the erosion has been, cause it s flat on the top.

Flat-ish, valleys with the wacky rock and hills above. Truly an odd bit of land.

Who is the only one on the road, again. Though this time I am on my feet.

I was headed to where the rocks are red but by the time I got to where I could see the road it was some distance off. I thought about going back to town to rent a scooter, sadly it was starting to rain before I was at the scooter place. Not to worry, I wanna visit again either in the fall or the spring.

These are the last of the Cappadicoa pics…next up a bus ride from Goreme to Urfa.

New Plan

Filed under: Interlude — she_travels at 2:15 pm on Thursday, April 22, 2010

I am living with Mack Attack the cat and his sister Lulu….the two of them are a hoot.

Sadly, Mack’s house does not have wireless, my computer does not work here.

The good news is Cedric’s mom is in NY, I am going down to his house to feed the horses.

The plan…resize pics, upload them from Cedric’s house and use the computer at Mack’s house to update the blog. The whole not updated thing is really starting to bug me.

There ya have it, new plan…lets see if I can pull it off.

Day 28- Still and Again ~ Oops!

Filed under: Interlude — she_travels at 10:48 am on Sunday, April 11, 2010

Here is to hoping my time and connection are consistent enough to get a fair portion of  this done. I have been in Colorado for just over three weeks… I managed to survive Spring Break and withdrawal symptoms from sugar (nasty headache for 10 days). I am finally feeling pretty good with plenty of energy to sort, re-size and post pics to go with the wacky stories.

Ok. having trouble uploading pics…did I mention I have over 7 gig of images from this trip? Whew, that takes up some space.I am shifting stuff about and storing some on my seagate. Once I have it all sorted I will be back. Not to worry, my taxes are done the blog is the only thing nagging me at this point.

More Excuses

Filed under: Interlude — she_travels at 12:36 pm on Wednesday, April 7, 2010

So, sorry for the delay…. recovery from the flights, spring break then I got sick. My mother would tell you I get sick every time I come back from a far off land. Easter with friends, TAXES…YUK!

I am shifting homes tomorrow.. I should have some time at the new place if I can get the internet to work. The week end is a bit jammed up but I have three days next week which should prove to be helpful with blog updating.It’s the  1st  thing I my “to do” list…honest!