Friday, October 19, 2012

The village of Eğin is where my soul sings...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Canyon Without Light....Another SRE for 2012

One of our many vista points as we travel into the Dark Canyon via the Taş Yolu

Heading out in just 14 hours to the Dark Canyon of the Euphrates....another Silk Road Expedition into areas unexplored ( least by us).

Further in and higher up...

Monday, March 12, 2012

Hot potatoes & Shepherds

Searching for an elusive goat trail that connects to a long forgotten stretch of the Anatolian Silk Road we asked a family of shepherds for help.
Hours later we finished a simple meal of wood oven fired potatoes, flat bread, goat cheese and tomatoes they had insisted we eat. They sat beaming while we ate their dinner. Eastern hospitality expectations and obligations are uncomfortable for Westerners like us...but there is nothing to be done but humbly accept.
After dinner and glasses of çay we were told the goat trail we coveted led from their animal pens up to the ancient Silk Road.
Neither of them can read or write. They are the descendants of generation of nomadic shepherds. To my delight I learned that their 24 year old son is continuing the tradition.
A relational footing was dug, we hope to reinforce it this summer when we return to accept their offer to wander the SR as they graze their flocks and herds.
More when I can write from something other than a keypad...

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Coffee, Maps and Addictions

The Map Room on a Winter's Day

Today I get to do one of the things I love best on a dark and rainy winter's afternoon....pore over maps and old journals from adventure's past. Tweaking our route for next week's SRE is balm to my restless soul. Rereading my battered Moleskines to fetch to memory the names of mountain peaks, cliffside villages,  abandoned churches, and most importantly, the people we have collected in our spirits along the way is a potent elixir to all my ills.
I love maps. For years I have collected, bought, borrowed and hoarded them. I thought I was the Mapista of nomads....until last December when I walked into a curious little bookshop in a quaint Welsh village and into the path of Mike Parker, presenter of the BBC Radio 4's On The Map. As sleet sheeted against the windows of that old Welsh bookshop we had a few minutes to compare notes on the maps and trails, mountains, cultures and peoples that we had discovered along our journeys.

That day I stood in the shadow of the giant of cartophilians and realized that my feeble knowledge of maps was inadequate to the tasks ahead.
So, back to the moment...the rain has now turned to snow against my windows. The wind is skirling in frigid tendrils around my neck from the old window frames behind me and my thick Turkish blanket joins me on my chair. Its time to bone up and hit the books...or maps.
Looks like today couldn't get any better....

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Anatolian Journey-Soul Food

I love where I live. I love Turks. I love Turkey...and you know my thoughts on Turkish cuisine border on obsession. But, it is in the villages where my heart beats deepest. I feel free there. I feel the ancient ways calling to me from the canyons and pulling me to the ridges. It is there that the excitement swells from my soul. I feel there, the most alive and I am passionate about exploring every corner of the Anatolian Silk Roads.
In a few days we will hit the trails and make a swing through the Taurus Range villages and then east-northeast to Erzincan. We will follow the Euphrates south towards Malatya. Catching up with old friends, village chiefs and imams along the way. 
My Istanbul window is bordered with dark clouds and filled with sheeting snow blowing sideways...nothing beats the ramp up to a village expedition.

Now...a little eye candy

Praying in Mahmut Bey Camii in Kasaba Koy

Mahmut Bey Camii's Amazing Interior

Sabancı Camii

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Holding My Breath....

We have been closely watching the censoring issues here in Asia Minor for the past few years. After having our platform (blogger) blocked a dozen or so times...we shut down early last year really thankful we could blame the lack of postings on something other than a simple mind that was tapped out.
Now....with no interruptions reported, we are hopefully ramping back up to the inconsistent and frustratingly inept postings you have loved in years past.
Baby steps....give me time to wean off the milk of creative idleness please.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Shutting Down

Due to some sporadic censorship issues in Asia our access to update this blog are frequently interrupted. So....unfortunately, we will be putting this blog to sleep for awhile. Thanks for hanging with us for 7 years!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

SRE Fall 2010 I

We are back on the road and today we are posting from the headwaters of the western Euphrates. I am low on words and high on visuals today. Eye candy below...

Mountain road on the Euphrates

Yeni Camii, Malataya

Euphrates, Erzincan Province

Friday, August 27, 2010

Change in the Air

So...we are thinking of morphing this poor website into a site of occasional postings (hmmm....sounds kinda like what it is).... examining the historical sites, places, churches and mosques of the Silk Road.
Since I am venting most of my daily thoughts and my meager sartorial wit in other locales, I would enjoy it more and feel a little less pressure in trying to keep up with the dailies here...which you have to admit, I have failed at completely the past year or so.
We have an upcoming SRE in the weeks ahead where we will be reconnecting with some nomadic tribes and villages we haven's visited for a couple of years. We can post from the road now...but will probably keep it brief since I hate typing with my knuckles.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

The Pits of Inspiration

Minbar of the Yağ Camii in Adana

A few weeks ago while traveling through a remote stretch of southeastern Turkey a line skipped through my head which I jotted down in my neglected Moleskine...”if you can’t write while in Istanbul”....and the end of the phrase was left hanging. Seven words with nothing to build on.
Everyday since then the phrase has run through my thoughts and everyday I have waited for the completion of the thought and (I hoped) the inspiration it would give.
Day 12...nada. I have been sucking on date pits for the past few hours and waiting for the experiences and emotions pent up inside me to work their way down to my fingers and out onto the page. But, other than consuming a bag of dates (at 120 calories a pop) I have nothing to show for it.
This last run to the east was something of a homecoming to me. I don’t really have a healthy sense of fear. That’s not a macho thing...maybe its just a reflection of a not-so-bright intellect. But I really can’t recall to many instances in my adult life where I was afraid. But I am holding onto hope that I could be.
If there was an element of my life that I think could cause me to be would probably be the inability to roam, to be bound to one place or a routine that my livelihood or situation was mandated upon. So...getting back on the road, back to the ancient paths that make up parts of the Silk Road was somewhat of a new lease on life to me. 
We intentionally made this trip short to ease us back into the difficulties of Asian travel and to test our road savvy and limberness. Now...being home for a couple of weeks I am aching to be back out in the mountains and villages of Asia Minor.
During this last sojourn, we had the chance to visit several old mosques that were built on the ruins of Christian churches. The photo above was taken in the Yağ Camii (Oil Mosque). The mosque is built on the foundation of the old 5th century  St. Jean Church. Originally the mosque was named the Eski Camii (Old Mosque) but later took on the name “Oil” due to the pressing of olives that took place in its courtyard and next to the walls. Today it functions as a mosque and medrese.
Back to my problem and the end of the sentence that has been haunting my thoughts. I guess if I can't write while in Istanbul, it means I’m out of dates....time to run.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Road Snaps

Home now from our first SRE of the are a few pics of the road trip.    


Friday, July 16, 2010

Faces of the Future

Boys in a Koranic School in Çukurova Province

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Visiting Mosques and Hanging with the Locals-SRE 2010

Stanley at the Top of Sabanci Camii's Tallest Minaret

I failed to detail the run-up to this season's first SRE....but here we are 4 days into it and its time to bring this terrible webpage up to speed.
Leaving Istanbul we overnighted in Konya...ancient Iconium. The home and final resting place of the Persian Poet Rumi, also known as Mevlana, the father of the Whirling Dervishes.
Yesterday we planted ourselves in Tarsus and made the rounds of some Tarsusians we had befriended in trips past. 
The last few days we have quartered out of Adana and visited with  the locals at the Sabanci Camii (Mosque), the largest Mosque between Istanbul and Saudi Arabia. The gatekeeper took compassion on us and allowed Stanley and I to climb the highest minaret....300' feet high, (or so we were told,  I didn't have the presence of mind to measure). 
Today we spent the day between two Mosque's in old Adana the Yağ Camii (Oil Mosque, named due to the olive oil that used to be pressed in its courtyard) and the Ulu Camii (Grand Mosque) which was having its version of VBS with the young boys in Koran School during the summer months.

More as we find the time to update.....
St. John's Church....Converted to the Yağ Mosque

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Hitting the Shade in Byzantium

The last week our weather has been near a 100' every day with the humidity in the upper 60's. At night our temps haven't broken below 84'.
We are still without DSL and typing with my thumbs stems the flow.
We are heading to ground anywhere we can find shade. That's the latest via my cell from the Far Side of the World.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Its cherry season in Istanbul. Today we scored at a little over a dollar a pound.
Giddy Up.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Familiar Life

I was lucky enough to find net access via my cell a day or two ago. Our WiFi is still a week or two away from getting activated...mostly due to my stubborness at wanting to navigate the red tape on my own.
Mustafa was out early today washing down the sidewalk and the splashing of water along with horns, diesel engines and grinding of gears woke me up with a smile...I love this place.
We have been getting unpacked in the midst of lots of visiting. We were informed by Gulten, my Turkish mother, that our calendar is full until December.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Osmanli Kultur...the Culture of the Ottomans

Stanley waiting for Erhan Bey to make his favorite dish

We are up to our necks in love and Osmanli food. In just the few hours we have been on the ground....we have touched base, had tea or eaten a meal with 37 neighbors and friends.
Today,our 25th anniversary....we had just 5 minutes to ourselves before there were invitations for cay and khave by friends who had been keeping track of the days since we left 452 days ago.
We will stay close to this community for the next few months,,.,

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Mental Abuse

Stanley is watching the USA hosting Turkey soccer match while simultaneously Skyping our upstairs neighbor in Istanbul....who is also watching the match.
Elle walks in and asks what the score is...Stanley says "we're ahead". Elle sees the US is trailing by 1 and replies "no, were losing".
What have we done to our kids?
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Giddy Up

Down to less than 24 hours until LAX.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Thursday, May 27, 2010

72 hours before leaping has us pretty well together and ready to roll. We still have a few busy days...but once again the woman has organized us to leave a clean house and have our act together for a relaxed departure.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Trading Places

In just 72 hours I will be trading my OC pondering spot for my Istanbul balcony.
We have our last family-farewells today....then the blood strings are cut. We will have a couple of parting moments with neighbors and friends the next few days....but my eyes are already set and yearning for parts east and the Silk Road.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Monday, May 24, 2010

Last Monday in OC

Packing, errands and appointments are interrupting my OC porch time.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Friday, April 09, 2010

On Our Way Home

Sultahahmet Mosque 

Looks like we will be back in Istanbul the end of May! After a long 14 months stateside....we are anxious to be heading back home. Stanley's goal is to be there by his birthday on the 31st. 
Things are ramping up and we will be more faithful in keeping the news posted here. Still have a list of things to do and get before returning. But at least the countdown clock is ticking!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Stanley's First Haircut in Turkey

Four years ago next month we landed in Istanbul....and now that we are finally on the homestretch to head back we thought it was time to revisit our first week in Turkey. Stanley measured in at 5'8 this morning....that is 7 inches in the year we have spent in the states. 
A few days ago we were experiencing a "teen-moment" with Stanley when he said "I miss home....I don't fit in anywhere other than Istanbul".
If I knew it would have been this painful watching your kids grow older...

Living, Traveling, and Wandering on the Far Side of the World

Living, Traveling, and Wandering on the Far Side of the World