Saturday, December 31, 2011

December 2011 - Bursa

December 2011 - Bursa by CharlesFred
December 2011 - Bursa, a photo by CharlesFred on Flickr.

And so we race through to December, the end of yet another year, finishing off with a return week in Turkey and the last day here at home in Amsterdam. We copied our Christmas of 2007 by going to Istanbul and Bursa for the Christmas week and we had almost exactly the same weather - cold sunshine (as opposed to cold rain here in Amsterdam). Here is one of the many coloured houses in old Bursa, reminding us a little of the Clennam house in Charles Dickens' Little Dorrit which we finished off (on DVD) whne we came home yesterday evening.

Friday, December 30, 2011

This will soon be illegal in Holland

As part of the deal done with the pathetic anti-Islamic right-wing party for racists and stupid people, on which he Dutch Government relies for its majority in Parliament, they are going to ban the burqa here in Klein-Klompenland. Apparently there are about 150 women in Holland who wear the face-covering veil on a regular bais. There is an economic crisis, the housing market, pensions, labour market all need reform, so the government wastes its time on this nonsense.
Obviously, this is not a burqa, but it is a cloth which is covering my face and you will soon only be allowed to do this by traditional Dutch activities such as carnival (for the Catholics in the south) and with skating (for the hardy guys up in the north, if this winter takes a grip)..

I will be covering my face in public more often as a result.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Charles in Cumalikizik

Charles in Cumalikizik by CharlesFred
Charles in Cumalikizik, a photo by CharlesFred on Flickr.

The Bursa guidebook strongly suggested that we make a trip to the village of Cumalikizik, where there is an unspoilt collection of old wooden Ottoman houses. A bus trip on line 22 took us through the endless tatty suburbs of Bursa before we made a right turn back up the mountain to arrive at this enchanting place. Lots of the lovely old houses which we love so much and many painted blue, but nothing really to compare with Safranbolu up in the north.

Fred in the snow above Cumalikizik

Fred is having to wear a new pair of trousers, having only brought one pair for the week, strangely enough. This would have been OK had he not slipped over on some ice when walking down one of the steep hills of Bursa the other day. Fortunately, we were not so far from the main street and Fred's coat was long enough to protect his modesty! He picked these up for 20 euros, will be interesting to see how long they last.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Details from the Yesil Turbe (Green Tomb) of Bursa

Four years ago when we came here, the Yesil Turbe was closed for restoration and now it is open. What a splendid job they have done. Only thing is that now the neighbouring Yesil Cami is closed (due to re-open next month apparently). Never mind, we had a great view of it last time around and we can always come back, inshallah.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Beautiful view across the Marmara Sea

We had a lovely day walking around in the sunshine and visiting the 1453 Panorama Museum showcasing the Conquest of Constantinople by Fatih Sultan Mehmet in 1453. It was really well done. Later we walked along the old Theodosian Walls to Yedikule, beside the Marmara Sea.
Just had a little 'rest' in the hotel and will be heading off for a delicious dinner at Leb-i-deryah with beautiful views across the Bosphorus.
One thing, despite the sunshine it is still very very cold here in Istanbul.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Terminillo snow

Terminillo snow by CharlesFred
Terminillo snow, a photo by CharlesFred on Flickr.

It is Sinterklaas today here in Holland, so time to start thinking about Christmas and winter landscapes. This one takes us back to a Christmas spent in the hills outside Rome in the province of Rieti, back in 1995, so sixteen years ago. I liked the way it scanned.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Those misty mornings of November

Going back to last month when we had quite a lot of mist. November was the driest November ever recorded in Holland.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Arrival in Faro

Arrival in Faro by CharlesFred
Arrival in Faro, a photo by CharlesFred on Flickr.

Four hours and 270kms away from Lisbon via an intercity train, we arrive to this beautiful scene opposite Faro railway station.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Prince Henry the Navigator and friends

I was really hoping I would see a memorial like this when I came to Portugal and was a bit disappointed to find only a statue of a fat king in the main square. However, we took a taxi to Belem on the Sunday morning and sure enough, here it was, Henry the Navigator looking out to see at the start of the great age of European discoveries of the rest of the world. Even better than how I had imagined it might be!

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