Thursday, February 7, 2008

Camels, camels, and more camels! (The camel market in Hofuf)

We visited the camel market in Hofuf (about 1 hour away). There were camels EVERYWHERE! And pricey ones too. The one camel we looked at was claimed to be worth about 60,000 US dollars, another was reputed to be worth 200,000 dollars!

Deb (kindergarten teacher) received a camel kiss, and I got my first sit on a camel (yes..very exciting for me!)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Carpet Making in Cappadocia

This is one of the (many) carpet places we saw while in Turkey. It shows a little bit about how the silk is retrieved from the silkworm cocoons (it was pretty amazing to see!), and how the ladies both wove, and tied the carpets. The speed that they work at is pretty incredible.


Nope - it's not snow, (but it was still pretty cold!) Pamukkale is a calcium deposit, and location of thermal springs (which Bruce enjoyed - it was too cold for the rest of us!) It was a thermal spa since before the Roman era. While Bruce swam, Shelley, Rick and I walked up to the amphitheater (within the ancient city of Hieropolis) which was incredibly high (at the back row), and offered quite a view. Drinking apple tea seemed to be a Turkish custom, and one which we took part in pretty much daily! It was a tasty, cheap way to get warmed up!


One of the most spectacular places we visited was Ephesus. The roads and many buildings were remarkably well restored. The library of Celsus is the one with the impressive front entrance way (and where Bruce is standing). Also, the Greco-Roman theater where the apostle Paul preached. Rick's having a sit on the public toilets (not a lot of privacy back in the day ....)! Shelley and I also made a trip up to what is believed to be Mary's house. Bruce and Rick stayed in town to see the museum there. Although there maybe some argument as to whether or not it truly was Mary's house, it was a beautiful location for a quiet getaway from all the business of a tour.


Cappadocia was such an interesting place. The "fairy chimneys", and cave dwellings made you think of something from a science-fiction/fantasy story. The cave dwellings were home to many monastic groups, and were a hiding place for early Christians during times of persecution. Even our hotel rooms were built within the caves - it was pretty modern living for us though! Underground cities were also built - 8 levels deep! People could live beneath the ground in these "cities" for up to 2 months, but you wouldn't have wanted to be very big - some of the hallways, (crawl-ways) were pretty tight!


Istanbul was great. The "tourist" center was easy to see on foot, and there was lots to see and do. The Blue Mosque (seen behind Shelley and Rick) was quite something - the ceilings inside high and beautifully painted. The Aya Sofia - a Christian cathedral that had been turned into a mosque, is now a museum, right across from the Blue mosque. Inside, you can see painted ceilings, where the layers of paint have been uncovered to reveal the "original" art work from the time that it was a cathedral. Rick had a chance to try out his pottery skills at a shop we wandered into. We also wandered down into the Roman underground cistern - it would be a great place for some spooky movie scenes!