Sun to Snow
09 December 2012
Jane, damp and cool
Not quite snow yet, but nearly there. We arrived late Tuesdy back in Vancouver and it has been non stop since we landed. Lots of catch up time with the kids who are both doing really well. Edwin is still working at Finest At Sea managing their Granville location, and enjoys taking every opportunity he can to get up to the slopes to snowboard and film. Amy is in the midst of taking exams at UBC and still works part time at Show Case. We are off to Sun Peaks ski resort, where we have rented a place for the season, on Thursday. As Amy has to work boxing day we are coming back for Xmas for about five days and hope to catch up with more people then. Let us know if you are around. We will return to the interior after boxing day with the kids.
It feels like a long time ago since we were in Marmaris, but it has only been a couple of weeks. Time sure can fly by. Our last six weeks there were very busy getting Ta-b ready for the winter and also for our big trip next year. We have decided it is time to move back to the Caribbean and will leave Turkey next May. It will be with very heavy hearts as we have come to love the country and feel very much at home there.
Our plan is to sail up to Venice as fast as possible, grabbing the favourable winds via the Greek Islands and the Corinth Canel so we will hopefully be there before the end of June. It will be busy whenever we are there, but we have been told that July-September are when the tourists are to be avoided. We have a few other boats that we are going to cruise with and the idea is that we will then move down through Croatia and Montenegro in July before we have to start heading west.
So Ta-b is getting the "full monty" in preparation for crossing the pond again. Russell has been up and down the mast about 8 times inspecting the rigging, cleaning, oiling, taking off instruments and double/triple checking everything. Our to do" list is being added to and thankfully some of the items are being crossed off slowly. We now have new cockpit cushions, tender seat and helm seat - all looking quite smart. A carpenter has also helped us redo our cockpit table and galley floor which has always been an eye sore.
Time in Marmaris is not all work as there is always a fun group of liveaboards to reconnect and make new friends with. The weather stayed warm and sunny up until we departed when we worked out that we had had eight months with only a few days of rain - pretty amazing we thought. It stayed kind to us on our landtrip up to Istanbul although as we headed north so it became cooler and cooler.
The buses in Turkey are fantastic and we had a very good trip to Selcuk where we spent two nights in a delightful family run hotel in the center of town. Ephesus, just out of town, certainly lived up to it's reputation and was bigger than we had expected. It used to be a port, but is now silted up and six miles from the sea, however during the 1st centry BC it had a population of more than 250,000 making it one of the largest cities in the Mediteranean world. It is known for its theatre, which was capable of holding 25,000 spectators (38 meters high) and also the library of Celsus. The library was built to store 12,000 scrolls and served as a monumental tomb for Celsus and is an incredible sight to see. The excavated terraced houses were also very impressive and are covered with protective roofing to protect the fantastic mosaics and frescos that they have uncovered. We thought we were ruined out, but Ephesus is a must if one ever visits Turkey. As is buying a rug that we did for the first time in Selcuk - what a terrific experience, especially as we ended up with two (one for my brother's 60th birthday present) for less than what one would have cost elsewhere. Yes we bargained VERY hard.
After a few days it was off to Gallipoli, again by the wonderful bus system. An emotional day was spent visiting the sights on the peninsula where thousands had perished, many so unnecessarily, while learning all about the history of Anzac Day. The campaign during the First World War to capture Constantinople (such a lovely name, one I prefer to Istanbul), which was won by the Turkish, lead to the foundation of the Republic of Turkey eight years later under Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, himself a very successful commander at Gallipoli. Ataturk is revered in Turkey, every business/home has a picture of him and there are statues of him everywhere with huge ones in each town square. I love the plaque he made for all the soldiers who died (see photo gallery).
We stayed in Bakirkoy overlooking Marmara Denizi in Istanbul with Desmond and John "Awaatea", as Desmond has rented an awesome apartment there for four months. Wandering around the marina and exquisite malls close by was quite the eye opener, one even had a huge fountain which every half hour did a display like the Bellagio in Las Vegas. We suddenly realized we were back in midst of commercialism, a weird feeling after so long.
We arrived in England to sunshine, but boy was it cold. Jamie's 60th was a fantastic evening and we were able to catch up with many friends that we had not seen in a while. We partied all weekend as many people had come from afar for a few days and we were also able to see all of my family, so a memorable event. I also managed a few visits to my mum; she was on good form, such a blessing as she is not at all well.
So now we are into the build up for Christmas, and on that note, before I sign off I would like to wish everyone a very merry Xmas and a wonderful New Year - stay happy and healthy, hugs to you all, love Jane.