In reflecting on our travels in Turkey, we're all writing our Top Ten Lists. (Click here to read the lists by Tricia, Zoe and Isaac). Here -- drum roll please! -- is my own top ten list (but in no particular order):
- Visiting the Blue Mosque and the Aya Sophia in Istanbul.
Two incredible buildings of historic, religious and artistic splendour, but there are many more!
- The tour of the Gallapoli battlegrounds from World War I, one of many places where empires have clashed over this crossroads of civilizations.
- Drinking tea on the back of Brian's boat and swimming in a salt-water hot spring in Çesme.
- Traipsing around ancient ruin sites at Ephesus, Smyrna, Knidos, Xanthos, Letoon, Patara and Aphrodisias, and seeing a few excellent archaeological museums in Antalya, Cannakale, Fethiye and Istanbul. I hate to say it, but we've seen so many ruins that we're all getting a bit blasé about it: "Oh, look! More ancient piles of marble.....". Lucky indeed.
- The rally car drive down the Datça Peninsula and the resulting unexpected, ocean adventure with our Aussie friends, the Stringers. It was a great, great day for a motorcar race, and a fine day for a catamaran ride in stormy weather. #athreehourtour
- Visiting the evacuated Greek town of Kayaköy, the inspiration for the novel, Birds Without Wings. It struck me there how virtually every place was inhabited by someone else before, -- the same goes for Canada -- and that we all tend to hide the shameful parts of our history.
- Sea kayaking at Butterfly Bay, just south of Olüdeniz.
- Tandem paragliding from a height of 1960 m to the beach at Olüdeniz. Another one off my bucket list.
- Hot air ballooning in Cappadocia, up to a height of about 6,000 feet and looking down n the crazy fairy chimney landscapes. I was very pleased that Trish, the kids and her dad braved the heights.
- Eating amazing food at local Turkish restaurants throughout our travels (with only one exception!) and during our stay with the Indomitable Gauls in Antalya. This is definitely one of the world's premier cuisines, and even though 98% of the restaurants serve only Turkish foods, there is always something new to try.
- Wandering the streets of Istanbul, sometimes getting lost, sometimes not caring, so far always finding our home-for-the-night despite the gnarled streets and steep hills.
Okay, that was eleven, and some of those items are admittedly combos.....But we did a lot more than I can list here, so you'll have to go back and read all about it on the blog.
On y va! / Twende tu! Tanzania!
In early December, we head off to Tanzania for a similar length of time. Tricia and I lived there between 1998 and 2002, but we've only ever visited briefly for work since, so this will be a bit of homecoming for us. We are also planning to do some volunteering with our former employer there, so it will be a bit of a change of pace from all of our touristing here in Turkey. But we do hope to take the kids to see some of the amazing sights in Tanzania.
I'm hoping that my Swahili will come back and not entirely displace the French that I learned here in Turkey, as we'll need this again later on in our trip. Mais, nous allons voir / tutaona / we'll see.