Sunday, October 28, 2012

Istanbul, Bucharest and Fethiye

Our trip to Turkey and Romania was full of amazing sights and good food. Istanbul has a more harmonious coexistence between Western and Eastern cultures than what we experienced in Morocco.  Ryan discovered Turkish Delight, a chewy candy with pistachios.  We had a wonderful time in Romania with the Dusca family. And we recommend southern Turkey for its beautiful coast.

Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul - the tiled ceiling of the Blue Mosque, built in the early 1600's.

Istanbul - the Roman underground cisterns where water was brought to the city when it was Constantinople.  There are 336 marble columns arranged in 12 rows, with two Medusa heads.

Istanbul - Crossing the Galata Bridge from the oldest part of the city to Beyogiu, where our hotel was located.  Notice the fishermen lining the top of the bridge and the fish restaurants underneath.

Istanbul - Garett and Ryan on the rooftop terrace of our hotel.  We stayed in a converted Franciscan nunnery with high ceilings.  It was across from the Italian Consulate, so it was also very safe.

Istanbul - Garett waiting for the tram to Sultanahmet.

Istanbul - a section of wall with iznik tiles at the Topkapi Palace.  I took lots of pictures of tiles and doors as usual.  And I bought an old tile to bring home.  It's thick and very heavy - airport security in Romania made me check it in my luggage.

Istanbul - Shelly outside the Blue Mosque (women had to have their hair covered and all visitors remove their shoes to enter).  We had to come back 3 times in one day before we got the timing right (avoiding the prayer times).

Istanbul - Shelly & Ryan inside the Hagia Sophia, which was originally a cathedral, then converted to a mosque by the Ottoman Empire and now a museum. It has references to both the Christian and Muslim religions.  There are no stairs - you have to walk up a winding ramp to get to the top level.  In this picture, Ryan and I are standing near the railing on the top level.

Istanbul - Turkish figure outside of a shop in the antique district. This is the area where I bought the old tile and also an old mosaic.  We also went to the Grand Bazaar where there are 5,500 vendors in a maze of passages.  We only bought two things: a scarf (I needed one to tour the mosques) and a green leather notebook for Ryan with an evil eye on the cover.

Bucharest, Romania

Bucharest - Garett in the Old City. We visited Bucharest because Diana and Irina (who are Ryan's nannies and also sisters) are from here.  We stayed with Diana and her family at their summer home outside of Bucharest in Branesti.  Bucharest gets too hot in the summer because of all of the concrete, so many people leave the city in the summertime.  Ryan's favorite part was seeing a statue of Vlad Tepes, also known as the real Dracula.

Romania - Ryan outside the castle at Sinaia about two hours north of Bucharest in the mountains.  It was a beautiful fall day and the leaves were turning colors.

Romania - Ryan walking along the fountain at Sinaia Castle.

Bucharest - Diana and Ryan in Bucharest.  We stopped at a traditional Romania fair and sampled "must" (pronounced "moost"), which is grape juice before it is fermented.  We also saw 2 liter plastic bottles of merlot and riesling for sale.  And lots of walnuts and raspberries.  Also homemade jarred zucusca (roasted red pepper spread and Diana's favorite) and Tuica (plum brandy).

 Romania - the lovely Dusca family and Ryan.  This picture includes Diana's 11-year-old cousin and Diana's grandmother.  They all live on the same large property, but in different homes.  There are gardens with every kind of fruit and vegetable you can imagine.  Also lots of flowers, which were still blooming.  Ryan especially liked the quince, a cross between an apple and a pear.

Hillside Beach Club - Fethiye, Turkey

Fethiye - This is the view from our room.  We had an open air living room and even the bathroom was somewhat open air (hard to explain).  Clearly the hotel was intended for hot weather.  I'll spare you the pictures of the cool, soggy days - it rained most of the time we were there.  But it was a lovely view no matter what.  You can see some islands further in the distance.  We weren't too far from the island of Rhodes, Greece.

Fethiye - We were spared from the rain one morning so we took a boat trip into Fethiye for the Tuesday market.  The fruits and vegetables were enormous (baseball sized radishes, anyone?).  Ryan's favorite part was drinking fresh pomegranate juice and watching me negotiate with an irate salesman.

 Fethiye - Okay, so the sun did make an appearance on our last full day in Turkey.  Ryan and I went swimming.  There was a beautiful infinity pool, but the sea was warmer than the pool.  You can see the beach is rocky and not sandy.  There were also a lot of small fish swimming around the cove.  Ryan definitely wants to return to Hillside next summer.

Want to join us?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Harvest Time

South Bend is under a freeze warning tonight so it was time to harvest as much as possible out of the garden beds this afternoon.  We dug potatoes and picked tomatoes, butternut squash, carrots, onions, kale, and green beans.  We picked all the green tomatoes and will have to ripen them in the house.  I will be covering the peas, kale, and lettuce and praying they stay warm enough.  Here are some photos of the garden.  The first photo is the harvest for today.  The green tomatoes are in a bushel basket and the squash and potatoes are in a half-bushel.  

 These photos are from earlier this summer.  The tomatoes and the volunteer butternut squash plant apparently missed the memo about staying in the raised beds.

 These tomatoes are yellow cherry tomatoes.  They really went nuts and we just kept on picking! The volunteer squash took over the right side of the bed.  There were supposed to be peppers growing there but that just didn't work out.

Paul Feeds the Family

Paul went on a fishing trip with his Boy Scout troop last weekend.  They camped overnight and then fished all day on Lake Erie.  The troop brought home 30-40 pounds of fish which were shared among anyone who wanted fish.  Paul's claim to fame is that he caught 12 1/2 fish.  Yes, it is possible to catch half a fish when you get your line tangled with another line and the fish comes up with a hook on either side of his mouth!  Here are some photos of Paul with our meal.