Category Archives: 2022 – Turkey

All a bit of a whirl in Konya

Another trip out was to Konya which is 260 miles inland from Finike with Colin and Maggie.  We put this trip off a number of times as it has a lot of snow and is cold.  On the journey there, which was going over the mountains, there was still lots of snow about but the roads were clear and on arrival in Konya it was warm and sunny, enough for shorts and t-shirts. 

Konya is the home of the Whirling Dervishes, a Mevlevi Order formed in 1312 by the followers of Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī (or Mevlânâ).  Rumi was born in Afghanistan in 1207 and moved to Konya in 1228 where he lived until his death in 1273.  A museum and Rumi’s resting place is in Konya and his shrine is a place of pilgrimage. 

The order holds a ceremony each week which, yes, you’ve guessed correctly, involves whirling around.  There are approx. 25 men ranging in age from eight to 85 together with musicians.  When whirling (or turning) their arms are open.  The right hand held up to the sky, representing his readiness to receive God’s beneficence.  The left hand is turning towards the earth, representing his willingness to convey God’s spiritual gift to those witnessing the Sema.  They whirled for long periods of time, you’d think they’d get dizzy but apparently they don’t.  There are various reasons why not, one being they turn rather than whirl.  It is quite mesmerising to watch.

Konya is dry, dry you say, you delayed going cos of snow! Not that kind of dry, no I mean completely dry of any alcohol, not a drop, not even in a supermarket.  Finike, Cuffysark’s home port, only has a couple of places that serve drinks, but all the supermarkets sell it.  We found when we visited Istanbul two years ago many restaurants and bars only served soft drinks.  We were pre-warned so we took our own and enjoyed a glass or two in our rooms. 

It wouldn’t be long before we would be leaving Finike to start the sailing season.  So, lots of jobs to do.  There seems to be continuous maintenance on boats.  We upgraded our solar panels this year which are slightly bigger in size than the previous ones but the output has gone from 380 watts to 680 watts, which for us is massive.  This may not mean much to land lubbers but to put it in perspective it means I can use my hairdryer, yippee!!!

This is the view from a hilltop on a walk, I was told a walk but it was a hike. I should have known better, when Sarah and David say walk, their walk and my walk and most others people’s definition of a walk is not the same. I ached for days after this but it was a good view at least.

June 2022

2022 – A bit of exploring – Antalya and the Countryside

We like to try and visit some places during the winter we wouldn’t necessarily get to during the sailing season.  There are lots of hotels outside of Antalya.  We visited one at Lara Beach in November with my cousin Sue and her hubby Rik, and a couple of their friends and had a great time.  Unfortunately, the photos I took were lost on my corrupted hard drive!  This time we went to Antalya’s old quarter, Kaleiçi.  We found a very nice hotel but it must be the smallest room we’ve ever stayed in but hey ho.  We took the bus from Finike and then the tram.  A cheap and easy way to travel.

The old town is narrow, winding streets inside the ancient city walls.  Antalya is the eighth most populated city in Turkey.  The city was occupied by Italy for three years following the first World War but was recaptured during the Turkish War of Independence.  On our first evening it was very cold.  We found a bar for a pre dinner beer which had a log burning fire in the middle of the room which fortunately had a untaken table right next to it.  There was a couple of guys playing some music so we ended up staying longer than we anticipated.  We wandered about, as you do, looking for a restaurant we fancied and the one with some music playing caught our eye.  Later the traditional belly dancer did a few turns and twirls.

We’ve discovered there are various houses dotted around Turkey that are identified as Ataturk’s House. In fact, some are actually places he stayed when he visited.  Ataturk visited Antalya on three occasions and the house was allocated to him for his visits.  It was converted into a museum in his memory in 1986 and some of his personal belongings are exhibited there.

The only entrance gate in the city walls that remains is Hadrian’s which was built in honour of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, he who built Hadrian’s Wall. Hadrian visited Antalya in the year 130.

The Kaleici Museum, which we stumbled upon, wandering around the narrow streets, is a traditional Antalya house built in the 19th century.  The sets are made up of authentic garments, covers, furniture, rugs and kilims collected from the Antalya region. 

Outside of the old quarter are lots of shops, bars and restaurants.  Very different to the old town.  We succumbed to a Burger King here, as you don’t often get the opportunity for Western junk food. 

Let’s go walking – Clare on Tula arranged a couple of walks with a guide for a group of us.  Well, when I say walk there was a fair bit of hiking up and down hills.  The first was along part of the Lycian Way which is over 300 miles long and the direction of the path is marked with a white stripe above a red stripeWe were picked up by mini bus and then dumped, I mean dropped off, about 40 minutes from Finike near to Demre.  The weather had not been that great so far, it had been quite cold, it was the worst winter in 30 years.  It was like an English day, unpredictable and with lots of variations.  We started off with lovely warm sunshine, followed by rain, then snow and finally large hailstones.  The path often looked just like a pile of rocks which it often was.  The path could easily be lost so the guide on a few occasions went ahead to look for the white and red marker. 

Where we were dropped off there were a number of street dogs.  There are a lot of them in Turkey and the majority are very friendly.  One decided to join us on our walk which was nearly 8 miles long.  We stopped for lunch and she never bothered anyone while they were eating.  At the end of the walk our mini bus was waiting to take us back to the marina.  We all felt we couldn’t leave this lady so far away from where we started.  We coaxed her very gently into the mini bus, there was no resistance and so we dropped her back to her friends in the boat yard by the beach where we started. 

When the hail stones rained down on us we took shelter under a tree on some farmers land where there was a shed for the goats who were sensibly all inside.  We did laugh as there was a gap in the tarpaulin and there were a number of heads bobbing up and down to get a better view of us silly sods outside. 

“Look at those silly humans in the rain” said the old goats!

The second walk we did was split into two parts either side of the road.  We walked/climbed up and the views were quite amazing.  Then down again and across the road.  Looking at what was in front of us I thought we can’t possibly be going down there, yes of course we were.  It was thankfully all down hill but it was a long way and quite rugged in places.  At the end we walked across some farmers land and to the ancient city of Sura.  The monumental tomb, is the largest sarcophagus in Lycia.  This was a long day we left the marina at 10am and arrived back about 6.30pm when it was dark and my feet and hips certainly reminded me I’d walked a long way. 

Clare and I decided to have a day out in Kas, which is 90 minutes on the bus.  We had a wander around the shops, a bit of lunch and then back again.  As I mentioned there are a lot of street animals and on turning the corner in the Waikiki store there lying asleep on the floor was this little fella, bothering no one and no one bothered him.

Let sleeping dogs lie!

May 2022

Myra – Off to visit Father Christmas, amongst other things!

We had a group trip out with 18 of us from the Marina organised by Maggie.  Our first stop was the Ancient City of Myra.  There are Lycian Tombs carved into the hillside from the 4th century BC and were for VIP’s.  On the outside walls of the tombs there are carvings, some of which are funeral scenes and others showing the daily life of the deceased. 

The Greco -Roman Amphitheatre is the largest theatre in Lycia  It has 38 rows of seats and its facade was richly decorated with theatrical masks and mythological scenes.

Turkey is a Muslim country and doesn’t celebrate Christmas.  However, we didn’t realise that St Nicholas was born in Myra.  Although at the time of his birth Myra, now known as Demre, was part of Greece not Turkey. 

SPOILER ALERT

The next segment is about Father Christmas, so if you don’t want your illusions burst then don’t read the next bit!! ……

St Nicholas, AKA Father Christmas and in Turkey he is known as Noel Baba, was born in Patara, and died on 6th December 343, contrary to popular belief he isn’t in the North Pole.  He was the Bishop of Myra and is patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, repentant thieves, children, brewers, pawnbrokers and unmarried people.  Legend says amongst many other things he stopped a violent storm to save doomed sailors and donated money to a father who was forced to sell his daughters into prostitution.  His tomb is in St Nicholas Church, Demre, however, some say that a group of sailors came to Demre from Bari in 1087, opened his tomb and took his bones to Bari in Italy for protection.  The bone fragments, which were believed to belong to St. Nicholas that were not taken to Bari, are exhibited in the Antalya Museum.

We visited St Nicholas Church on the anniversary of St Nicholas’ death on 6th December.  This day is a big occasion and a service is held in commemoration. A priest from either the Greek or the Russian Orthodox Church visits and conducts the service.  Pilgrims travel here every year on the anniversary and there was quite a crowd.  They all took holy communion and then kissed the cross the priest was holding which was quite a surprise considering we were in a pandemic!

SAFE TO START READING AGAIN – the story about St Nicholas, AKA Father Christmas, is over.

After a spot of lunch, we headed the Lycian Civilisation Museum which has only been open for a couple of years.  There are various ruins and displays of artefacts that have been found in Lycian cities.  The museum sits on the port of Andriake and was used until the 7th Century AD.  It is now a swamp and access to the sea has been cut off.    

Finike Community

Finike has quite a big marina community and there are the usual Friday night Happy Hours and Sunday BBQ’s.  We also had regular training sessions where Sarah took us through our paces and bridge twice a week, this does sound very middle aged!

We also had some musicians amongst us and the week before Christmas they put on a concert for us where songs were played and some sea shanties were sung.

May 2022

Winter Time in Turkey – Ankara

It was lovely to finally get back to the boat after so long away albeit it was raining when we arrived. Little did we know this was going to be a regular weather pattern over the winter.   We had a couple of weeks then we had a visit from our good friend John. 

We took a ride in the Olympos cable car up the Tahtali mountain, known as Mount Olympos in ancient times, which is 2365m high.  It was a very clear day and we could see for miles.  It was a bit chilly but worth the ride up above the clouds.  Unfortunately, I downloaded my photos to a hard drive which has corrupted and despite taking it to a shop, they weren’t retrievable.  That will teach me to always have two copies of everything. 

Ankara





We like to go to the capital city of countries we visit so along with Colin and Maggie off we went.   Ankara is not normally on people’s list of places to visit in Turkey, people tend to go to Istanbul.  Ankara only became the capital in 1923 after the Turkish war of Independence. Buses go most places here so rather than fly there we decided to take the bus to see some of the Turkish landscape on the way.  It left from our local bus station at Finike and arrived in Ankara about 10 and a half hours later.  It was very comfortable, a 52 seater size coach but it didn’t have 52 seats just two one side and one on the other side of the aisle.  We stopped every couple of hours and it was nice to see some other parts of Turkey. 

Atatürk’s Mausoleum – Anıtkabir

One of the main sites to visit in Ankara is the Ataturk mausoleum.  If you’ve been in Turkey, even for just a short time, you will see that there are lots of references and pictures of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, even in small shops.  Ataturk transformed Turkey which became a republic on 29th October 1923  and is a great day of celebration each year.  Ataturk was the leader of the Turkish Independence War and Turkish Revolution and the founder of Turkish Republic. 

Ataturk’s ultimate aim was to build a modern progressive and secular state.  He made education free and compulsory.  He introduced a latin based Turkish alphabet.  Women were given the vote in 1930

When Ataturk died in 1938 he was initially laid to rest at the Ethnography Museum of Ankara.  The mausoleum was built to reflect his greatness and took nine years to construction, beginning in 1944 and was completed in 1953.  He was transferred to the Mausoleum, known as the Anitkabir on  10th November 1953, on the 15th anniversary of his death. 

Atatürk’s Tomb

The corpse of Atatürk is in a grave dug directly in the soil below the ground floor of the Mausoleum. The tomb is situated directly beneath the symbolic sarcophagus in the hall of honour on the first floor of the mausoleum and is an octagon in the Seldjuk and Ottoman architectural style, topped with a pyramidal roof and its ceiling decorated with mosaics bearing geometrical motifs. The ground and the walls are covered with black, white and red marbles. İn the middle of the tomb, the smaller sarcophagus made of red marble is directed towards the Kaaba (a building situated in the Grand Mosque at Mecca, Saudia Arabia). This marble sarcophagus is surrounded by vases filled with soil from every province and from the Turkish Republic of northern Cyprus.  Viewing of Ataturk’s tomb is by a video screen only.

Changing of the Guard

Whilst here we saw the changing of the guard.  The guards were very imposing and when the guard shouted, along with the soldiers I jumped to attention too!! He scared me .  The guards march with bent knee goose step.  It was quite mesmerising watching them.

Other sites of Ankara

Ankara Castle – The castle sits on the hillside overlooking the city.  Here along the streets we found a tea pot that should keep Ian going, as he does like a cuppa. 

Rahmi M. Koç Museum is situated just outside the Castle.  The museum is a collection of industrial and engineering objects and documents from all countries and all periods from past to present.  It houses all sorts of items ranging from small models to steam engines and classic cars, it is home to more than four thousand objects in 32 rooms that reveal the history of many industries from maritime to road transport, aviation to medicine.

Notice the woman working on the boat while the guy is sleeping!!!!

Museum of Anatolian Civilizations

This is a history of Turkey  from the Hittite era (2600 to 1300 BCE).  We saw some interesting artefacts.  Certificates for Marriage, which states that if the husband divorces his wife he has to pay her five minas silver.  Divorce, states that men and women had equal rights to divorce and remarry.  The Will interestingly states that a wife had first rights on the inheritance, which showed that even all those years ago how important the woman was and quite rightly so!!

Marriage, Divorce and a Will all set in stone, literally. 

We managed to find some cuisine that wasn’t Turkish, which is quite difficult.  We went to a very nice  Italian restaurant one evening and a meat restaurant that served the most wonderful rack of lamb, that the waiter served up at the table. 

After taking the bus to Ankara we decided to fly back which although only an hour’s flight by the time we got to the airport an hour away, allowed time for being at the airport ahead of the flight and having to get back from the airport it still took about six hours.

20th April 2022