Monday, December 31, 2012

Back in Behramkale after 21 years

Friday, December 28, 2012

Nomadic women from Ayvacık

These colourful women were seen at the weekly market of Ayvacık which takes place on Fridays, a day after the weekly market in the similar sounding town of Ayvalık. These women were dressed differently from those we saw in Ayvalık and tended to have slightly darker skins. Their colours reminded me a bit of the hill tribes in notheren Vietnam. Anyway, as said before, Turkey always tends to surprise in one way or another and normally in a very pleasant way.

We took a car out for the day, driving north up past the dreary towns of Burhaniye and Edremit (where there was a nasty smog in the air) and across west to Kucukkuyu, over the hills and inot the pleasant market town of Ayvacık, where, luckily enough we came across the weekly market! Then it was down through sheep and goat country to Behramkale, the former ancient Greek Assos, which was also a place we had visited and stayed at on our journey 21 years ago, about which Fred has slightly better memories than he had of Ayvalık.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Return to Ayvalık - Fred can't remember it after 21 years

Oh well... he has plenty of other happy memories from the last 28 years. He could remember Cannakale much better than I could. Funny how memories play tricks on one.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Turkeys in Turkey for Christmas

Always good to see turkeys in Turkey (although here they are called Hindis, as if they were Indians), and never better to see them than on Christmas Day. Just a pity that they do not seem to be on the menu...

Tire is in the province of Izmir and can be reached by a direct train from Basmane station in Izmir, the journey passing through lovely countryside and taking about 100 minutes.

There is a weekly market in Tire which is held on every Tuesday and it is reputed to be one of the biggest such markets in Turkey. It reminded us a lot of a similar market held in the Black Sea town of Inebolu which we visited in 2009.

Tire is also renowned for its handicraft, particularly felt making and also saddlemaking. It is a very pretty town on a hill, rising from the plain below. It has an array fo old buildings such as hans, caravansarays, mosques, hammans and bedestens. Not all of thenm are in such a good state fo repair, which makes a visit there all the more charming. Highly recommended.

Fresh olives from Tire

Fresh olives from Tire by CharlesFred
Fresh olives from Tire, a photo by CharlesFred on Flickr.

On the train up from Izmir to Tire (about 100 minutes), we passed through lovely countryside and saw a lot of families out there in the sun harvesting the olives, so it was nice to see some at the market.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Fred at the Agora in Izmir

We have decided to return to Turkey again for Christmas this year and decided to try the west coast, centring on Izmir, Turkey's third largest city. We had visited the city once before, back in 1991, on our first visit when we changed buses on our journey from Ayvalik to Kusadasi, a visit which lasted maybe half an hour!

We had not done an awful lot of research on Izmir before arriving but we were aware of its history as a Greek city called Smyrna and also the disgraceful behaviour of the Greeks when trying to invade Turkish territory after the First World War when they committed nasty atrocities to the Muslim population. This episode of history left Izmir going up iun flames, a stort retold in the very excellent book Birds Without Wings by Louis de Bernieres.

Anyway, we arrived in Izmir on Sunday evening, having had the chance to watch another Louis, this time Olympic gymnast Louis Smith, win the 2012 edition of Strictly Come Dancing, partnered by my favourite professional, Flavia Cacace.

Monday morning was bright and sunny and almost warm and a great day to start our Izmir adventure, as we found the bazar area of Kemeralti and then the rions of the old Roman Agora, which provided the backdrop for this photo of Fred.

Multi-colour above the Agora in Izmir

We painted the flat on the Vrijheidslaan in Amsterdam these sorts of colours once. A bit annoyed to see that the first thing the new people did when they took over the flat was to paint over all our hard work in white...

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Blue cap

Blue cap by CharlesFred
Blue cap, a photo by CharlesFred on Flickr.

The cap matching the wall behind. This was at breakfast after the market had finished at about 9.45. A nice handsome young gentlemen.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Secret pool in desert oasis

I have been to this secret oasis in the mountains a couple of times in the past year or two, where sweet cold fresh water runs along these channels/falaj to water the fruit trees and crops. However, this time, they have widened the channel to create this magnificant pool among the date palms with views down the valley. Totally magical.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Beautiful eyes from the Nizwa livestock market

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Young man at the pigeon market in Istanbul today

Friday, December 07, 2012

More faces from the Nizwa livestock market

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

One donkey power

One donkey power by CharlesFred
One donkey power, a photo by CharlesFred on Flickr.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Scenes from a sunny spring day in Syria

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