We had a long walk along the emerald-colored Phoenix Lake in Ross, CA. We were excited to see autumn is sneaking in.
After climbing a huge rock, we found a tiny trail that led to one of the main trails. Along the way, ferns were shining in the gorgeous mottled light.
Bright red poison oaks.
This is the last evening we have in the beautiful and exotic Turkey! I didn’t want this dream to come to end but things that begin have to come to an end. We drove by the sea to come to this restaurant that specialized in fish.
Sardines are fresh, marinated just right, not too sour not too greasy.
Of course, all Turkish dinners have to be accompanied by Raki, their national liquor, aka lions milk. In Turkish language, “i” is pronounced as “oo”. So this delicious anise-flovored drink is called “rakoo”. It is a cousin of Ouzo and Pernod, and it starts as clear liquor but when mixed with water or ice, it becomes milky and cloudy, thus lion’s milk.
The entree was grilled to perfection.
This memorable dinner was accompanied by live music and dance.
After the dinner, the guide and bus driver decided to take us to the Galata Bridge one more time instead of going straight to the hotel. Such a lovingly wonderful gesture! Of course, by this time, I could hardly hold my camera steady, nor focus, and you see the results Still you can see the mosques and bridges are lit up and the nightscape in Istanbul is simply breath-taking! Ok this beautiful dream is almost over; tomorrow we are taking off to the Bay Area.
Driving from Ankara through a beautiful lake area, and then an industrial city, we came back to Istanbul. Through the New Town, to the Old Town we arrived.
Before the farewell dinner, we decided to walk to the Suleyman’s Mosque on one of the hills that adorn the city. Randomly we chose to walk through a garment district, visually following the Mosque.
Every now and then, we asked the direction. They couldn’t have been more helpful!
After 20 minutes’ walk, we came upon two gentlemen who were walking towards the mosque for their daily prayer at the Suleyman’s. They offered to walk with us.
We made it! We were outside of the mosque. Of course, the devout Muslims wash themselves before entering the mosque.
Delicate columns support the arches.
We were chased out when the prayer time started. This is a practising mosque!
In the courtyard.
Cafes and souvenir shops line the street in front of the mosque.
Turkish people are really happy people. Look at young people smiling! It’s priceless.
Back to our hotel.
It’s getting so hard to make posts as I come close to the end of the trip. Turkey is such a beautiful country, has beautiful people, great food, not to mention it is great land with many layers of civilization, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Islam, and the Central Asian nomadic heritage.
After the vitit to the Ataturk Mausoleum, we headed over to the Anatolian Civilization Museum. It is close to the old town on hills. Unfortunately it was being renovated and most sections were closed.
Beautiful ceramic pots were placed randomly in the garden in front of the museum.
Gorgeous geometric patterns that make up the ceiling of the museum.
Old town that was built on a hill side.
This is a meat and cheese shop in downtown. People are SO friendly.
At the intersection of two main thoroughway in Ankara downtown, a group of young peopel approached us and wanted to have a photo taken. Such nice people! After dinner, I was at a sweet shop, intending to buy a piece of baklava for my dessert. I pointed to the piece I wanted, and the shop keeper took it out of the case. I said how much, and he refused to accept money. Where else does this happen? Not in San Francisco, Paris, Rome, Hong Kong or Tokyo. Only in Ankara, Turkey. Thank you for the baklava!
Ankara is the capital of the Republic of Turkey and it is a totally modern city. This mall could have been in Los Angeles.
But the difference is people. They are really special!
The first place of visit in Ankara was the mausoleum of Kemar Ataturk. Ataturk was founder of the Turkish Republic, who is revered and hated at the same time. The momument was designed in the style of German architecture, and has stark straight lines and a monumentally scaled assembly area in the center.
This is a real soldier guarding the mausoleum. He stands without moving an inch, and won’t get distracted when tourists get too close to take his photos.
The line to the museum moved fairly fast. Shame on people who were complaining!
Turkish people must be one of the most patriotic peoples in the world. Turkish flags are everywhere; I wish I counted them. Here is a flag made with red stones amongst beautiful flowers.
We are heading towards the Anatolian Civilizations Museum now.
The morning started early with a 4:30 wakeup call and 5:00 pickup. We exchanged the sleepiest “Gϋnaydin” and got into the mini-bus. Once our mini-bus started to go through the surreal Cappadocian landscape, I was not regretting having to get up so early. There’s something that alerts your soul deep inside in this moonscape. It is no wonder that early Christians carved churches in these rocks.
When we got to the “launching pad”, they were just starting to prep our balloon. The baskets were laid on the side and they started to send hot air into a deflated balloon.
I found another blogger’s story about Cappadocian balloon ride.
Once the balloon got ready, we climbed into the baskets.
Here we go up!!! The ride is so smooth!
Flying above “fairy chimneys”.
So many colorful ballons! I counted over 60.
The morning sun is hitting the valley.
Our balloon came so close to a “house” that we could almost knock on the door and drop for a cup of Turkish tea.
We landed right onto a trailer bed for a champagne breakfast. Amazing maneuvering skill of the pilot!
After landing on a trailer, the baskets were decorated with flowers.
Teşekkür ederim and happy landing!
I’ve been waiting for the encounter with weird rocks and Martian landscape, for so long. I was goosebumped all the way.
We started with Goreme National Park, where we saw early Christian churches cut inside the rocks. Fresco secco paintings of saints were still on the ceilings, but I reall liked the earliest paintings of Christian symbols like crosses simply painted in red.
This is a shot of Pigeon Valley.
And Camel Rock…