Hello friends, it has been a long three months since I updated this blog. I apologize for this but I was not sure if you would be interested to hear about my days traveling back to Canada, then to Turkey and finally back to Tortola via Canada. After all they are not really part of the Caribbean odyssey, and could only be side notes.
Nel is coming to join me next Tuesday finally, just before we set sail towards Puerto Rico where we intend to spend Christmas with friends Deniz and Zeynep who are flying in from Ottawa to join us.
With that introduction here are short side notes on the missing three months:
I spent a few weeks in Ottawa in August to tidy up things back home. The house and the car needed attention, the phone, utility and cable companies needed to be dealt with, with difficulty I must add, for suspending services or making auto-payment arrangements for the winter season, and had time for a few business contacts for consulting etc. All boring stuff really, with the exception of getting a chance to spend some time with my son Devrim.
Fun started when I went to Turkey, primarily to be with my daughter and Nel. Nel had been there since the beginning of August. Ayse was still teaching at Sabanci University in Istanbul, and we spend some time with her and at our cottage on Sedef Island, just off the east coast of Istanbul, where Nel had already been staying with my brother in law and his wife. We got a chance to have some old friends and family over for some fun island time.
In the beginning of September Ayse, Nel and I started travelling, zigzagging west to East, south to North around Turkey. We attended a friend’s nieces’ wedding in Eskisehir and stayed in Ankara to see one of Nel’s many cousins.
We continued down to the south coast to Mersin-Kizkalesi, to spend time on beaches and among ancient Roman ruins. We had the most amazing seafood dinner at a restaurant built right on the rocks on shore, overlooking out to an ancient castle which was built on a rocky island less than a mile from the shore.
Then we moved on to south-east Turkey, to Gaziantep-Kilis area, to attend the continuing celebrations of the wedding that took place earlier in Eskisehir; this time at the groom’s home town.
We returned to Istanbul, and after a brief rest we went over to Safranbolu in central northern Anatolia, where a documentary film festival was being held among the most amazingly restored buildings of the old-town. We stayed in one of the old mansions that was restored to be a boutique hotel. One of Nel’s cousins, Suha Arin, who is revered in Turkey as the guru of documentary film making in that country, had made this old town famous and contributed to its preservation through his documentaries some 25-30 years ago. We attended a special ceremony held during the festival to honor him, who had passed away some years ago.
From Safranbolu we continued over to the Black Sea coast to Bartin and Incekum, to visit another cousin of Nel’s.
After returning to Istanbul to close off the cottage on Sedef for winter, Nel and I travelled to western Turkey. We first visited Iznik, the home of the famous Turkish ceramics that once decorated the old palaces and homes across the country and abroad with amazing tiles and porcelain artifacts. The skills of producing dark blue and crimson reds on these ceramics that were prepared with local cobalt minerals in those days had been lost for generations. The art is again continuing currently with local artisans, and the city is promoting the craft by supporting them in every way. (Pics from movie)
Then we traveled to Canakkale, on the Dardanelles, to visit some people we had met in Ottawa, who finally settled back home. We continued down the Aegean coast, to visit my Brother in Izmir-Urla, my cousin in Cesme, and a friend whom you have all met on this blog, Ergin in Mordogan, near Karaburun. To my envy, they are all living right on or very close to the beautiful blue Aegean waters.
By this time it was Mid October, and it was time for my annual South Aegean regatta sail from Fethiye with my high-school buddies. We drove from Izmir to Fethiye, where Nel took a “pension” room in a bed&breakfast place in town in order to do the tourist thing in the region,
while I moved on to a 40ft mono-hull, which would be my home on water in South-Western Turkish coast and on some Greek islands for the next 6 days.
These sailing trips that I take every year in the Aegean are always wonderful, and I will tell you all about them on another day.