Tag: Turkey

Twirling Dervish artwork

Twirling Dervishes currently on show at Yarta Purtli Art Gallery

IMAGE GATHERERS is a Group Exhibition that is currently on show at the Yarta Purtli Art Gallery, in Port Augusta

Had a lovely time at the opening on Saturday, meet some great people, and got such great feedback on the Twirling Dervishes, so thrilled that people are enjoying them as much as I enjoy painting them.

The Dervishes are inspired through my time watching this meditative dance in Turkey – which in turn was inspired by the poet ‘Rumi’.

Such flowing grace, robes and love of life – that made it watching them a most mesmerising to divine experience.

In the words of Rumi Daylight, full of small dancing particles and the one great turning, our souls are dancing with you, without feet, they dance. Can you see them when I whisper in your ear?”.

Onwards to Amasya end beyond

After Trabzon I had to return to Ordu, which was not too bad as I missed seeing the point where Jaons and his Argonauts had rested after they had captured the Golden Fleece. However I had so hoped to go further East! The troubles in the East of Turkey between the government and the Kurdish rebels is escalating and I was strongly advised NOT to go any further!  Shame! As two months ago lol was still well in that area. However I decided to go to Amasya instead. What a lovely, lovely surprise this little town was! Nestled between large sheer rock face mountains, with a river in between, lays this cute little Ottoman town, with lovely houses, Pontic rock caves and a great museum and lovely old mosques. I could have stayed forever! I found a gorgeous little hostel, with such friendly staff, I felt directly at home! I had a great view over the river and a private balcony! Life is just so good at times! The rock caves, bridge and old houses lit up in the evening in a most garish fashion, that appealed to the little child within! I walked around for hours, meeting people, enjoying myself. Even shouted myself a, very expensive, beer after finding out that Turnbull had taken over from Abbott!

All good things come to an end! I had planned to go to Sivas from here, but after several people told me it was much better to go directly to Corum(pronounce Chorum) I took the advice and indeed within an hour I was in the next town! Nobody spoke English here, and according to my book the hotel was just around the otogar(bus station) there was no mention of a NEW Otogar out of town! Oops! In the end this bus driver pushed me onto a dolmus, and dropped me off nearby a very LARGE hotel! Luckily the manager spoke a smithereen of English, enough to make him understand I didn’t want to stay at his  five star hotel but at the three star somewhere in the neighbourhood of his expensive hotel! Sweet as he was he walked me all the way to the hotel of my choice! Here I am for half the price in, for me, a luxury hotel! I took it easy, and relaxed. Made friends with the lovely manager in the eatery across the road, and had to try all his specialities! My gosh one meal was enough for three people! And all that for five dollars! Amazing!

the next morning I went exploring! A great museum just around the corner. Fabulous statues and stone carvings. I never get enough to seeing a well presented museum!   Wandering the streets afterwards in search of the castle, I heard knocking sounds, and there they were, the copper pot makers! I stood in awe at their skills. Was offered chai, which I declined, I am drinking twenty cups of tea a day, and need to be near a tuvalet (toilet) at all times! Declining a cup is bad manners, but sometimes necessary. I watched some men playing rummy cup in the streets, and was told to sit down and have tea! One of the men spoke German and at least we could have a chat! I passed a lovely hour watching them play and moved on. The castle was closed for renovations, but the lovely little mosque was open. The young man let me have a sticky beak inside even though I didn’t have my scarf with me! Oops! Breaking all the rules! From there on I wandered through the lovely little streets in search of the clock tower. These were all the attractions in this town. Easy to do! Three places to visit! While sitting down relaxing watching the world go by I noticed the Hamam nearby, since 1573, I decided to visit an Hamam again! Nearly stepped into the men s entrance, oops, social faux pas. It was to be one of the best decisions I have ever made! My massage was utterly superb. The lady used to be a doctor, then after her husbands death retrained as a masseuse. She literally fixed my shoulder problem in two sessions! She had thumbs of steal, and was so strong she massaged the marrow inside my bones! My gosh, I was scrubbed, massaged, scrubbed again and washed. Was quite funny as nobody spoke English, the woman just grabbed my knicker elastic to swing me around, which cracked up all the women present! One of the women spoke German and became the translator to the thousands of questions these women wanted answered!  So funny they were! The main question

Trabzon and Yorma

After my lovely stay in Ordu, where I could have stayed on in my comfortable hotel room which such friendly staff, I moved on to Trabzon for my second couch surfing experience! The first one was hard to beat! Travelling along the Black Sea coast line was amazing. It is mountainous on one side and the other one the green blue sea. The weather was perfect. It was a short and pleasant drive. I rang my new host, Temel, and we agreed where I would be picked up. Apparently my confirmation which I wrote in Samsun had not gone through! Oops! May be switched the gadget off too quickly? Temel had just picked up Mina, from South Korea, who was also staying for three nights. Which was just great! She was funny and sweet and we had the best two days together. On the first day we visited the Sumela Monestary. About fifty kilometres out of Trabzon, high up in the mountains is a monastery cut out of the rocks. It is one of the most amazing places I have ever visited. The bus dropped us off as far as it could and would wait for our return at three o’ clock. There was a lovely girl from Hong Kong, an English teacher who had been a year in Turkey, teaching and her student, who was Turkish. Then there was Mahmood from Iraq,an engineering student, who spoke terrible English. The five of us had a lot of fun on the long walk up. Having a native Turkish speaker was also helpful as , when we reached the Monastery, we had to wait over twenty minutes. The museum only allows so many people at one time, which is a great idea as you can at least SEE the place!

The Greek Orthodox Sumela Monastery of the Virgin Mary, is one of the biggest highlights near Trabzon, and indeed, of the Black Sea coast! The Monastery was founded in the 4th century AD and abandoned in 1923 when the Turkish Republic wAs established. The best part was the main church with absolutely awesome frescos, most of them deliberately damaged in the past. One can just imagine what it must have looked liked when it was first created with the frescos inside and out! Sumela,whose name is derived from the nearby MT Melat, clings improbably to a sheer rock wall, high above the ever green forest below. It is an awesome, awe inspiring and mysterious place, especially as the mist was hanging low above the forests, I could hear the call of a mosque hidden out of sight. Shame it was so busy with tourists, not having my own transport I have to rely on public transport, and of course the buses provided only go on the busiest tourists viewing times!
I was mightily impressed and took hundreds of photos. On the slippery way down Miet, from Hong Kong and lovely Murat from Turkey took care of me! So sweet, little old lady needs looking after! But after two near falls, I was glad they stayed nearby! It was actually Murat who had the bad fall, showing off to his teacher, he jumped onto the low wall, which was slippery with wet leaves, and fell off! It was an absolutely magic day! Now I know much of my days are like magic, some some are even more than magic. Definitely a highlight of my Turkey trip so far.

The next day I had decided to go to the Aya Sophya, indeed, same name as the large mosque in Istanbul, this was a little church, which had been converted into a mosque and then became a bit of a museum although it still functions as a mosque! Which is a shame as the fabulous fresco inside the large dome is partly covered up, if they would only work out that if they uncovered it they could charge entrance fees! The guide was lovely and showed us around, he had taken photos of the dome before it was covered
Up and he offered for me to take photos of his photo. Was a good idea but didn’t really work well. Not to worry I used my imagination, which can work over time at places like this. From the Aya Sophya we caught a dolmus, mini bus, back to the otolaryngology, bus station, to see if we could find our way to the Trabzon museum. I don’t think Mina was I to musea, but hey, she didn’t have to come! As it was I saw the museum sign while the bus was driving, got exited and to,d the driver to drop us off at the museum? Confusion arose. Luckily a lot of Turkish people speak German, and although my speaking German is atrocious, I can understand everything. Unlike my Spanish, which I speak perfectly well, but I can’t understand a word when people talk to me! Anyway this Turkish German speaking woman helped me out, giving the bus driver directions and instructions how, what and where to drop us off. As it was they were both wrong, but where he dropped us off, we found a sign telling us where to go. The museum is I. A lovely statuesque house, with enormously high ceilings, which are lovely decorated and had huge chandeliers hanging fro them. Another very fruitful day!

On the move again!

Amasra is a gorgeous seaside town, with an old history. It has a ruin of an old castle on the top of the hill. A small Christian church with frescos, which I couldn’t see as the church was locked for renovations! Lots of markets, and local Turkish tourists! The two harbours are interesting. Their is a small harbour, with less people, and boatbuilders right along the black sandy beach. The large harbour was crowded, over priced and unattractive, but it is where the yachts were, the expensive hotels and the great restaurants. I spend the first day relaxing on the beach. Swimming, although very tempting in the warm waters, was impossible for me. There were so many jelly fish floating about. Since my full facial attack by a Portugese man of war jelly fish, while holidaying in Tonga, I decline, thank you! I rather stay on the beach in my comfortable chair. The centre of Amasra is not very big, and all the narrow streets are filled with markets, selling kitch to tourists. Nothing fabulous was found, and no money was spend by me. However the Turkish tourists were determined not to take any money home with them. Fascinating to watch, shame there was no space anywhere to allow for people watching. The second day I climbed he hill, played in the castle remains, and looked for the Christian church. The narrow alleyways were reminding me of a past long gone, but still traces to be seen every where. The third day I took a boat trip around the harbours, which in high season is a six hour trip. This includes stops and swimming, but due to it being low season the trip was only five dollars and forty five minutes! If this is the low season, I would not like to be here in the high season! The place was absolutely packed.
Three days did me fine, and I moved on to Inebolu, where I was going to have my very first couch surfing experience! Being new to couchsurfing, having tried this in Ireland, very unsuccessfully, I decided to try again, after the young man in Safranbolu suggested it!

Istanbul, Turkey

The dormitory had only three beds, and no bunks! For ten euros a night it was an absolute bargain, especially since I had two nights by myself. The first night was spend with Rachel, a lovely girl from South Korea, and the last night with Candy, from China. Candy, whose real name is unpronounceable, was a Chinese version of myself! Artistic, talkative and one big ball of energy! I finally got it! Why people get tired of me! It is lovely to be with somebody with such enthusiasm, but totally exhausting. candy was on the Silk Road and had just arrived from Iran! She had no problems what so ever and found the people friendly and hospitable. She also told me that if she has nasty experiences, she forgets about them! Could lead to follow! She had travelled through Africa with a tent for six months, and turned her blog into a book! Now she is a published author in China and writes a travel blog, takes photographs and gets paid to travel! This young woman has it made! What about a travel log for the oldies? The grey nomads? Outside their comfort zones? Hm! Worth thinking about! Anyway I came to Safranbolu for one night and I ended up staying for four. Could have stayed longer but I feel rested now so I can move on. I visited every attraction in the little town, spoke to all the people several times, made friends drank tea, and saw everything worth seeing. Didn’t do any of the tours as I find them expensive and often not worth the money spend. Amass is the next place I am going to and this is on the beach of the Black Sea!

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