Friday, May 30, 2014


We said goodbye to our home hosts after a delicious breakfast. (My first without cucumbers and olives.)  Hatice makes rugs, (her sweater), knitted slippers; she crochets around scarves and other items which we could choose to buy. She is only 37, her daughter 16 years old, her husband is 46.  We also got the recipe for the walnut-tomato chili dish everyone liked, that is, we got the basic ingredients. It goes like this: You brown Turkish tomato paste in a pan with olive oil. (Turkish tomato paste is a home made ingredient made from dried tomatos to which onions, and red sweet peppers and seasonings are added). Then you add ground walnuts, chilis, garlic, cumin, parsley and oregano. Serve on flat, crisp bread.  It would be fun to experiment.

On the road, the weather is still spattering rain. We slow for wild goats crossing the highway.

We have lunch before stopping in the city of Konya to visit the Mevlana Museum which is a huge square commemorating  a mystical Sufi, Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi, a 13th  century poet who preached tolerance, forgiveness and enlightenment. All pretty good stuff. But his sect is known as the Whirling Dervishes because they perform an ecstatic ritual dance. Followers have been outlawed and kicked out of Turkey long ago, but his Monastery is here, his tomb.  The Dervishes moved to Pakistan, Syria and Iran. Dedicated believers still perform here, underground. One group performs openly at a caravanserai, which we will see later, and the government has chosen to ignore it.

These happy women allowed me to take their picture. They are on holiday.

In fact, Usla warned us that more Turkish tourists will be found here than outsiders. He explained that this is like Mecca for followers and some small village visitors will visit only once in their lifetime and they get very excited. Above, a Turkish tour group is all women.

Inside the walled the courtyard is a "garden" of marble tombstones. The square is divided by the Turquoise Mosque, where we put plastic slippers over our shoes before we could enter. On the right, are rooms with artifacts behind glass where we had to practically fight our way in to the windows to see the exhibits.

The stones are beautiful. These are the graves of the Abbots who taught in the Monastery. To be a Dervish, followers had to fast for 40 days. They could have one olive the first day, two olives the 2nd day, 3 olives the third day, and so on. They received 40 olives the last day. With all the water they could drink, of course. Then they rose to an ecstatic state and if they passed this test, they could train to the ritual dance.

The Turquoise Mosque was filled with great beauty, many treasures, huge and small Korans, illustrated manuscripts, gorgeous gold implements, tools and costumes. No pictures allowed. We saw lines of women praying. Above is the dome of Rumi's tomb room.  Some of the rooms had no pictures allowed but the guards watched while people with phones took many photos and some with flash cameras, also ignored. But, not in the Turquoise Mosque.

Rumi's beautiful marble headstone.

Lesser illustrated manuscripts in side-rooms, taken through glass cases in poor light.


For those who've never seen a performance, this mock up is very realistic in dress,the hats, the instruments.

As we prepared to leave the compound, two Turkish students approached Owen and asked if they could interview him on camera for their school project. He consented and answered their questions. They spoke very good English.

Back in the bus, headed for a Caravanserai. We are on the Silk Road, in the footsteps of Marco Polo and I find that exciting.

Thursday, May 29, 2014


DSC06129 (Copy)

Leaving the busy city of Atalya, we bused overland through mountainous rocky country headed into the Taurus Mountains for an overnight with a family in the Village of Ormana Ibradi, Antalya, Turkey. On the way, we stopped for lunch at Kardeni-Pide, a roadside restaurant. Usla likes us to experience different foods and here we see salads with much red cabbage.
DSC06133 (Copy)

Our first offering of a type of flat bread along with the traditional loaf bread is brought to the table with the soup.
DSC06139 (Copy)

Service here is very quick as the cooks prepare everything ahead of time in a refrigerated case within view.
DSC06137 (Copy)

Owen, of course, ordered chicken shish, but I tried the hand-made pizza, a half of one is enough for lunch, but I ate most of this very substantial pizza. Best of others I’ve tasted.
DSC06134 (Copy)

They served a type of walnut-tomato chili here as well that was delicious, in the small dish of condiment.
DSC06138 (Copy)

The restaurant owner provides a prayer room where employees can go upstairs and pray on their “break” that coincides with the call to prayer.
DSC06142 (Copy)

After many more miles down the road, Usla wanted to stop at a roadside fruit stand. He claims Turkish bananas are superior. He bought a bag for aboard the bus and they are very good tasting. And loquats to taste, new to some members from the Eastern U.S.
DSC06141 (Copy)

Typical fare at a stand here is raw peanuts and carob pods.
DSC06143 (Copy)

Citrus fruits and home canned jars of olives of various types and jams and syrups.
DSC06144 (Copy)

Everywhere is citrus fruits, melons and strawberries in season and loquats. Joan B. got a sour one but they are traditionally sweet and easy to grow.
DSC06153 (Copy)

We met and had apple tea with the Assistant Mayor since the Mayor was visiting in Antalya and we actually met him there briefly at dinner in Old Town. He said he would have his assistant give us the keys to the city.  We learned from the assistant that the population of Ormana Ibradi is 3,000 people and they have a housing shortage. People who have left, like their village because it is cool in summer and many people come here to retire. Their relatives come and visit during the hot summer months and they are trying to encourage more tourism and hotel space, which is almost non existent. I wanted to tell him that tourism will ruin this wonderful little village, (my opinion), but others agreed with that.
DSC06155 (Copy)

This beautiful chandelier with the star and crescent of the flag, hangs in the hall outside of the mayor’s office.

DSC06156 (Copy)

They have public water and gutters and farmers have wells.

DSC06159 (Copy)

Village buildings appear to be more modern than the stucco structures we saw in the first village we visited.DSC06166 (Copy)

Usla wanted to show us a chestnut tree over one thousand years old.
DSC06167 (Copy)

It is big enough to compare with our Calaveras Big Trees, sequoia gigantea. DSC06175 (Copy)

Early residents learned to build  with the small rocks and stones typical of the area. No grand granite blocks nor adobe available.
. DSC06161 (Copy)

Two of them in town are being preserved and restored. We were given a tour of a wood frame building that a village committee has faithfully furnished and restored to be used as a hotel for tourists.
DSC06169 (Copy)

Enjoying a meadow, was quite a big herd of goats that run wild in the mountains and return to be milked. The farmer demonstrated milking these long haired nubians, but he was so quick, I couldn’t get my camera focused in time.
.DSC06173 (Copy)

His wife posed for a picture.
DSC06177 (Copy)

Weather is chilly, windy and raining lightly. We take cover in a cafe for tea when in comes our Hostess, Hatice Sekman. (Pronounced hat-jay.) The gentleman was in the cafe when we arrived.
DSC06179 (Copy)

People came in to meet us with many questions and a lot of curiosity about Americans. The fellow in the bright blue jacket is very concerned about brain damage from cell phones and he wanted to know if we worry too? Our two doctors claim the evidence is preliminary and no one knows yet. They wanted to know ages and about our daily life. And they liked telling us about theirs. The fellow on the left is 71 and his father lived to be 94.
DSC06178 (Copy)

Usla gave us the key to the city. The joke being they had a hard time finding it because it hasn’t been used in many years. No one locks their doors here.
DSC06180 (Copy)

The rain was getting heavier and we dashed over to the Mosque to visit with the Imam.DSC06184 (Copy)

The niche is the equivalent of an altar, aligned with Mecca, people face it when they pray.
DSC06185 (Copy)

The Imam lighted the chandeliers, sang for us and answered our questions.
DSC06189 (Copy)

Like teachers and doctors, he is assigned to be Imam for a village. He was not born in this village. His sermons are delivered from Istanbul to every Imam in the country and each Imam preaches  the same message. No one is allowed to go off message so that they don’t have rogue factions like they do in other countries. It seems smart in view of things, though my first thought was control of freedom of speech.  One person asked if he would like to leave this village and he readily admitted, with several locals present, that, yes, he would like to be in charge of a bigger mosque where he could do more good. He sang for us, in the distinct wailing chant of the Imams. The muscles in his throat visibly contracting in ways different from normal speech. It was a wonderful experience and gives me chills when I think about it. (I was not ready with my camera and was unable to record it.)
DSC06188 (Copy)

The government pays the Imams and pays to build the mosques, but this one was built and paid for by a rich donor.
DSC06187 (Copy)

It is beautiful and quite sizable for a town of 3,000.  About 20 people come to pray on Fridays.
DSC06203 (Copy)

It was pouring down heavily by the time we loaded into a bus to our hosts home.
DSC06204 (Copy)

Usla is a very talented and fast translator and we talked for an hour and got acquainted and warmed up by the fire before dinner and bed
 DSC06202 (Copy)

Hatice fitted us all on a sort of sun porch off her very modern kitchen. We ate lentil soup, an entre with rice and lamb, salad and she makes her own walnut-chili concoction and told us the basic recipe. She also served a sort of sweetened bread that I can only compare to tender corn bread except it was made from wheat flour.
DSC06210 (Copy)

Gina with Hatice and her husband Ferhat (pronouced fed-het) During our talk we learned that her parents died when she was very young and she was raised by her cousins family. Ferhat is her first cousin, but it isn’t common to marry first cousins.  They have one daughter, age 21 who is in college now. She encourages her daughter not to wear the scarf. It isn’t required of them, but it is tradition, especially in rural areas.
DSC06209 (Copy)

Norman and Joan with the Sekmens. Hatice was very curious about us and wanted to know where we were from, what we do, our children and ages. And Turkish men don’t do dishes, “They just eat,” she said. But we noticed he picked up dishes and refrigerated leftovers. She was a whirlwind and the kitchen cleaned up in 15 minutes. We slept like logs safe and snug from wind and rain.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014



In Antalya is a wonderful museum. Everything came from the ancient city of Perge, where St. Paul preached his first sermon.  Now a ruin, which was an optional tour for us, we decided we’d seen enough ruins especially when we knew the treasures of the city are beautifully located in the Antalya Archeological Museum.  Above is a link to the pictures I took. Many of them look best full screen anyway. A brief background and I’ll explain a few of the high points of the museum.

DSC05997 (Copy)
First, Perge is nearby on the Black Sea. History is overlapping and it is never just one time period.

DSC05999 (Copy)
The ancient primitive people lived in buildings like this, where they had to protect themselves and any domestic animals from lions and wild dogs and other predators. This is a hot area of the world and it was their practice to lay their dead out for the vultures and predators to remove the meat from the bones. They buried the bones by their doorstep, sometimes in clay jars. Archeologists believe after destructive earthquakes, one of the reasons people rebuilt on top of their ruins is because their ancestors were at their feet.

DSC06000 (Copy)
This mock-up is of a Roman theater in nearby Aspendos considered the finest in the world. It was built in the second century AD and seated 15,000 people. Realize this part of Turkey is where Homer’s  Illiad and Odyessy was written, the myths of forest and sea came from here.

DSC06118 (Copy)
A tribe of women archers, who were called Amazonians and were said to cut off one breast in order to shoot better came from this region. Though the cutting off of one breast is probably only a myth. This female statue is thought to have carried a bow.

DSC06012 (Copy)
Certain marble statues in this museum are familiar. We’ve seen pictures of them. Its like we know them. They are famous personalities from Greek and Roman history. In many cases I photographed the black tag so that I could close up on it and read the name and history. It is too blurry to read so I cannot tell you who he is.

DSC06021 (Copy)
Zeus I remember. This is a massive statue.

DSC06022 (Copy)
The face of a powerful God, bigger than life.

Three Graces, Hera, Athena, Aphrodite, daughters of Zeus
The famous Three Graces. Athena, Aphrodite and Hera. Daughters of Zeus who were jealous of Medusa and turned her hair to snakes and gave her the evil eye.

DSC06040 (Copy)
Hercules. If you’ll notice, the top of the statue is a different color than the bottom. His upper torso belonged to a woman in Boston and she donated it to the Boston Museum of Art. When the antiquities laws were enforced, Boston gave it up to Turkey, but the woman angrily claimed she had given it to Boston, and not Antalya. She demanded to be paid for it if it was moved out of the country. She was paid over a million dollars for the head of Hercules. He is now rejoined with the rest of his body in what is reportedly a happy ending.

DSC06035 (Copy)
Usla told us about these marble sarcophagus. They are called flesh eaters. The heat melts the flesh almost instantly and in more primitive times, the bones were then removed and buried and the sarcophagus reused. At the height of Roman supremacy, the rich had their sarcophagus carved to represent themselves, their activity, or successes in battle and so on and they remained with their precious objects in life, in their tomb.

DSC06038 (Copy)
One of the best preserved coffin lids; we could liken it to having our pictures taken.

DSC06036 (Copy)
The carvings on the front are also well preserved. Damage from the grave robbers is on the back of this tomb. They’ve alll been smashed into.

DSC06031 (Copy)
The tomb of a child with the parents weeping.
DSC06028 (Copy)
No matter what age, we can all relate to the sadness of a child’s death.

DSC06032 (Copy)
A tomb lid with a beautiful woman, who died young and was obviously loved and revered very much.

DSC06027 (Copy)
Marble pieces from tombs or walls also tell a story of a lion fight, domestic animals and the taking of an
enemy or slave.DSC06063 (Copy)
Many of the statues were interesting for their clothing, or what instrument they played, or a pet, or tool they held. The corset this man wears has depictions of faces. Were they likenesses of foes he bested?  Or family members he loved?

 DSC06052 (Copy)
I never did figure out why this woman is holding her head in her lap. I expect nothing good happened to her.

DSC06079 (Copy)
This was my favorite figure. Name unknown. But look at his casual pose. A contrarian. He didn’t want to be formal and stuffy. His character shows through the stone. And, why is he stepping on a turtle?

DSC06094 (Copy)
I found Apollo in the head shop. I always thought Apollo was a man.

DSC06095 (Copy)
Beautiful faces and hair.

DSC06096 (Copy)
Personality shines through the stone. They are human. Like others, he couldn’t be matched to any of the arms and legs in the body shop.