Sunday, 28 December 2014

The day after the party

Yesterday was the day of the marvelous Turkish feast. Alas, I have no photos to share with you, as I had - while doing my hostess duties - completely forgot to get the designated photographer to do his duty! 

Anyway, the food was ate, wine was drunk, Christmas crackers popped and crowns crowned in glorious rainbow colours. What did I cook? An array of mezze - ezmehummus, cacik, fasulye piyazi, roasted patlican salatasi - served with pita wedges; as well as kuru koftes and ispanakli peynirli borek for mains. For dessert there was Christmas cake and biscuits. 

There are no photos of food or recipes today, just some photos of the day-after-the-party and the Christmas decorations at home.

Mugs, dishes, wine glasses drying


My cop sis kebab skewers from Kemeralti


In vino veritas


My special Lincoln House silverware made its debut


J.O.Y.


A swan full of blooms


Red velvet pearl-studded Christmas tree


The Nativity scene


Presents for me... presents for you...


The Menorah

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

The day before Christmas Eve

It's the eve of Christmas Eve. The last of the baking is done and put away. Brightly twinkling lights ushered in the Carollers this evening and my gold-y table-top tree from Ikea is finally out. 

Tomorrow I'll take out the Holy Family from their wrappings and put them out. To remind myself of why this season really is. Faith, Hope, Peace and Love. The last the greatest of all. 


For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government 
Shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful, 
Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6






Sunday, 21 December 2014

Bodrum

Is there anything to say about Bodrum? A lot I daresay, but the time's not ripe and I'd like to get my Christmas posts up soon so I can start feeling all properly Christmassy. 

I'll leave you with a couple of rather boring photos and hopefully you'll wish to hear more about Bodrum soon. (wink, wink) 


The view while driving by


Houses on a hill





Akyaka... and the best day ever

Akyaka... so much to say and I don't know how to say it all. It was indescribable to say the least. There's nothing much by way of grand history here, but it's special nonetheless. 

As it was the tail-end of summer when we were there, it was full of local tourists. Looking out over the beach we saw numerous deck chairs; conical woven umbrellas; and people of all shapes and sizes enjoying sun, sea and surf.

This place is much more than just sun, sea and surf. It is where a stream meets the sea. The Azmak, I believe it's called. It's deep enough for daily boat tours and clear enough for you to feast your eyes upon the rich underwater fauna as well as fish. 

Then there are the ducks who call the stream their home. An entire gaggle of them swimming hither tither in crystal clear waters. 

After the stunning boat ride we had, we sat down to cups of Cay (what else?) plus some nice, cold icy treats while watching the world go by.  


Boats lined-up for the daily boat tours


On our boat with other tourists


Magical underwater fauna


Dear Mr. Duckworthy


...and his gaggle of friends


Para-gliders and sun-goddesses


All decked out


I'd love a little yacht like that


Pretty orange flower


Our dangerously delicious, slightly boozy treats

Marmaris

After Cleopatra's Island, we went on to Marmaris. There we stayed at the Joya del Mar a lovely little boutique hotel by the sea. 

I had a lovely little odd-corner room filled white-painted wood furniture decorated with hand-painted flowers. All very dainty and girly.

The kidney-shaped swimming pool looked inviting but was oh-so-cold, so I jumped out and then back in when forced to. I managed to swim very little as my feet couldn't touch the floor and the water was shivering-ly cold. Brrr... I suppose I'm spoiled here at home with all the sun-kissed warm pools around. 

We ended the day with a gorgeous grilled fish dinner and started a new day with someone ordering a rather large Turkish breakfast which I will never forget. At the time, I didn't think of taking a photo of it, but now... I'd love a photo of the fantabulous spread!

Sun and sea


Little fishes swimming in the clear water of the sea


A pretty view



The very merry circumcision ceremony on the jetty...

Here's one to remember! When we got off the ferry returning from Cleopatra's Island, we bumped into a family celebrating their sons' circumcision! Complete with much fanfare of clanging cymbals, drums a-drumming, etc. it was quite a sight to behold.



Cleopatra's Island

Sometimes one is spoiled for choice. How in the world does one choose between the old glories of Istanbul and the Aegean blue? If I were a typical tourist my choice would have been Istanbul, but I'm not, and so the Aegean blue won hands down.

We went down to Cleopatra's Island (also known as Sedir Island), Marmaris and then on to Bodrum. We stopped off along the way to Marmaris for a breather. This is what we saw.  


View from the top of the hill


Prickly shrubs


Look at that blue, blue sky


This little fellow was running about, with all the children (myself included) pointing out excitedly saying 'Oh look! Oh look'


Portakal suyu, anyone? 

After the brief rest, we continued on. Eventually we turned-off at a rather unassuming junction and onto a rather country-fied looking lane that lead us to a jetty. We waited there for a bit after buying tickets and enjoyed the blazing heat while waiting for the ferry to arrive.

The story behind Cleopatra's Island is a romantic one. Legend has it that when Cleopatra was to visit the island, her lover Mark Antony had ships bring this sand in from the Red Sea so Her Royal Highness would not have to step on foreign soil. 

The barge she sat in, like a burnished throne,
Burned on the water; the poop was beaten gold,
Purple the sails, and so perfumed, that
The winds were love-sick with them, the oars were silver,
Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke, and made
The water which they beat to follow faster,
As amorous of their strokes. For her own person,
It beggared all description; she did lie
In her pavilion,--cloth-of-gold of tissue,--
O'er-picturing that Venus where we see
The fancy outwork nature; on each side her
Stood pretty-dimpled boys, like smiling Cupids,
With divers-coloured fans, whose wind did seem
To glow the delicate cheeks which they did cool,
And what they undid did. 

William Shakespeare's Antony & Cleopatra


It is said that each grain of this sand is a perfect sphere and is derived from seashells. As this sand is apparently not found anywhere outside Egypt, it is protected in Turkey.

So if you're ever in the vicinity, don't try to steal the sand. Doing so may incur the wrath of the armed-guard sitting in his watch-tower!

The jetty to Cleopatra's Island


The view while waiting for the ferry


The beach at Cleopatra's Island


See that fine creamy sand? That's protected. What you don't see in this photo is the guard sitting up in his watch-tower ready to go after anyone who takes even a grain off the beach


A gorgeous blue day


There's no getting tired of the blue

If you walk away from the beach, you'll come across some ruins. They are the remnants of a settlement long abandoned. 

Love birds in the shrubbery


Mr. & Mrs. Sunshine


Tumbling stones


Where did this lead once you think?


Blue, blue sea


Ah... such gorgeousness


A feathery inhabitant of the island


Chicky, chicky, chook, chook

Monday, 15 December 2014

Cittantica, Kusadasi & Sirince

We were on the way to Kusadasi when we stopped over at Cittantica - a newly-built sprawling site of... something. We didn't know what it was, but a string of coaches were stopping, so we had to stop too. What it actually turned out to be was a rather touristy shopping centre done up in the style of a Middle Eastern marketplace with lots of things to buy!

I must say we had a good time exploring the marketplace. It had all things that appeal to tourists in Turkey for sale. Mountains of beautifully boxed Turkish Delight and spices; hand-painted pottery bowls in all colours of the rainbow; hand-made soap; key chains; gorgeous blown-glass tableware; delicate table cloths; and so much more.

Not only that, we had arrived just in time for a show!

The elaborate show in Cittantica of dancing ladies and dueling men at a royal court

After the delights of Cittantica. We were off to Kusadasi, where we stopped for a local lunch of delicious Pide. We walked off lunch with a stroll by the sea. 


Cruise stopover in Kusadasi


I'd love to live on this hill overlooking the sea


Let's take a break with a view


A beacon in the night

After Kusadasi, we took a winding drive up into the hills to a little village called Sirince. It is famous for its fruit wine. Other attractions include an old school house-turned-museum; cobble-stoned streets and little shops selling hand-made items of all sorts. 

We stopped at a couple of wine shops and had a sip or two (or three) of this wine and that, finally settling on Apple, Strawberry and Melon.

And then, I met a 'boyfriend'. He runs a little shop selling hand-made glass pendants. He helped me make a deep burnt orange one and sold me another. It was quite fun making my own pendant! Alas, I had to say goodbye to him. 

The village and the area surrounding it is very picturesque. We enjoyed the view while having a cup of tea and a sit down.


Sacred pomegranates


Wine in all colours and flavours


Our friendly wine shop proprietor


Drink, and drink some more


Which do you like best? 


Have a smoke?


Hand-stitched dolls for sale. This one reminded me of a gollywog


More fruity wine to choose from


On the streets of Sirince


My 'boyfriend' of a few minutes


The artistic type. He taught me how to make my own glass pendant


Houses on a hill