21 February 2023
21 February 2023
21 February 2023
This winter has been the warmest winter in decades, this according to locals. We, however, had our “winter fix” in the UK.
09 December 2022
November has been a busy month. Finally, finally, finally after two years tied to the dock, we have been out on the water. Our new generator works beautifully, engines both working. We stayed out about three hours, was nice to be moving on the water, even if it was under engine.
Miscellaneous Thoughts and Events:
LAUNDRY--the marina has two home size washing machines, no dryers. We used to pay 5 Euros for 1 load of wash, now we pay 10 Euros per load and 12 Euros if you do not bring your own soap and fabric softener. Several of the live-aboards have washing machines on their boats, many of us do not. Research was done into finding a local to pick up, wash, dry and return, as has happened in many countries, or each of us taking our own in to town and doing the laundry ourselves. We didn't find a business or person who would do a pick up and by the time you took the bus into town, dropped laundry off, bus back to marina and then in and out again to retrieve clean laundry---it wasn't worth it. A few boats have purchased washing machines the last couple of months.
TALKING WITH JULIA- A Russian boat is across from us with a young couple on board, Ivan and Julia. Both work remotely from the boat. Julia and I meet twice a week for an hour or so and walk, talk and enjoy chai (tea in Turkish) and cappuccinos. While Julia's goal is to improve her English (which is quite good), she doesn't realize that I am learning so much from her. It is definitely a two way street.
ORDERING GROCERIES ON LINE-While we have our "standing" taxi ride every Tuesday morning at 10:00 for the Bazaar (produce) and Migros (grocery chain in Turkey) there are times in between Tuesdays that I need something. Migros has had a delivery service all through Covid but we had never taken advantage of it---why didn't we? Who knows? Anyway, I now find that it makes sense to order the "in between items" in addition to heavy or cumbersome things like toilet paper, paper towels, large bottles of white vinegar (so, so, so many uses for vinegar on the boat) and milk and juice.
BITS AND PIECES---
1. Made reservations for our December trip to the UK. We are flying Jet2 airlines. The price is very good due to their policy of charging for meals, snacks, even hot water and for checked in luggage. We had decided to only take carry ons and there lwas even an option to pay $65.00 USD to guarantee that your carry on would be with you in the cabin rather than being put in the hold (we really didn't care if it was in the hold as long as we weren't going to have to pay $65.00 for each bag). Very excited about this trip.
2. Am "baby sitting" sourdough starter for a fellow cruiser. It really is like having a baby! My instructions were to refrigerate and feed it daily.
09 December 2022
More about our Mesopotamia trip. One of the most interesting sites on our trip was 23 centuries of history on 3D display at the Necmi Asfuroglu Archaeology Museum- also known as the Museum Hotel. When construction started on this hotel in 2010, they discovered what ended up being the world's largest intact mosaic floor. Thirteen different civilizations (over fifteen centuries) are believed to have contributed to the mosaic, beginning in 300BC when the Greeks were ruling this area. Naturally, construction of the hotel was halted for six months while excavations took place. Then it was decided to shift gears and incorporate the antiquities into the modern hotel. The owners invested ten years in excavations and hotel construction---an absolutely amazing project.
The second site, Göbeklitepe, a UNESCO site was my reason for going on this trip. I had watched a Turkish series on Netflix called The Gift and was intrigued with the history of the area (the series was very good). This historic site is the oldest discovered temple in the world and was built between 9,000 and 10,500 BC. It is more than 6,000 years older than Stonehenge in England and the pyramids of Egypt. As of
2022, less than 5% of the site has been excavated. Göbeklitepe is the work of people who were shifting from hunter-gatherer lifestyle to a settled life and farmer-producer system. Göbeklitepe proves that hunter-gatherers before thousands of years were not living a modest and simple life, but on the contrary we're living through an effulgence phase. In Göbeklitepe, many people came together and formed the most advanced firsts of human history with their knowledge of architecture, engineering and crafts.
At one point we were only 5km from the border with Syria---there was still no sign of military presence, but then suddenly---we drove right alongside the border and did see a barbed wire and a wall less than a hundred meters from the highway. The wall is apparently 564 km long, 2m x 3m concrete. The space between the wall and the fence is mined, and a variety of electronic surveillance weapon systems are employed.
In Midyat, with Eric looking on, I had some henna applied to my hand.
This year we celebrated Halloween at a Turkish Disco which was quite an experience. We always say that cruiser midnight is 2030 but that night didn't even begin until 2300.
09 December 2022
We ended our last blog with the saga of the gauge for our water-maker being held captive by Turkish Custom
Ms. Good news, we finally have the gauge!
We have seen a bit more of Türkiye (the government spelling). Eric and I spent an interesting 8 day tour of eastern Turkey, reportedly the origin of civilization itself. Traditions from thousands of years, characteristic cities, delicious cuisine and gracious people. Many of the people here are Turkish citizens of Kurdish descent.
Unlike most of eastern Turkey, the southeast is not mountainous, but rather an arid plateau at about 600 meters altitude. The region is more or less bordered by the great historical rivers, the Tigris in the east and the Euphrates in the west. The land can be fertile if it is irrigated which is why the Turkish government has invested decades of work and trillions of Turkish liras in the Southeastern Anatolia project. Known by its Turkish initials GAP, this giant public works venture has brought dozens of dams and hundreds of kilometers of aqueducts to the region, vastly increasing its capacity to grow crops and produce electricity. This once poor region is beginning to show the results of long-term investment. However, as often happens, progress has a down side. We took a boat trip on the Euphrates River, the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. This trip took us to the half-flooded village of Halfeti which flooded when a dam was installed some years ago. We were able to see remains of the old town beneath the clear water.
At Antakya, we visited the Hatay Archeological Museum - known for its extensive collection of Roman and Byzantine mosaics. There are many important artifacts from the Paleolithic, Neolithic, Chalcolithic, Bronze Age, Hittite, Hellenistic, Roman, Eastern Roman Seljuk and Ottoman periods in the museum. We looked at a display about cranial deformation. Recovered skulls appear elongated as a result of being bound during infancy and early childhood when the cranium is still soft. In this photo, Eric stands behind one of the recovered skulls to provide a baseline for comparison.
In the UNESCO-listed area of Mount Nemrut, we visited an ancient burial monument known as a Royal mausoleum and, after driving to a parking spot "near the top" a challenging uphill march of about 50 minutes (with thinning air) to the large burial mound that King Antiochus of Kommagagene had built for himself (altitude 2150m) in the year 100BC. Watching the sun set over Mount Nemrut was. Amazing. Photo shows Eric stopping to catch his breath on the hike to the top of Nemrut.
In Urfa, ( the city of the prophets) we visited the cave of the birthplace of the Prophet Abraham (2000BC).
The region was a crossroads of civilizations in biblical times, and even earlier. The patriarch Abraham lived for a time in Harran, south of Anliurfa. Mardin and Midyat have Syrian monasteries where services are still sung in Aramaic, the language of Jesus.
Stopping for lunch in Mardin. We removed our shoes and dangled our feet in the very cold river.
More about our trip to follow.