SHARON AND BOB'S TURKEY 2004 SUMMER TRIP

 

Text from the original reports is in black. Text added as correctional, editorial or explanatory notes are in red. Sharon's comments, added originally, are in {green curly brackets.}


TRIP HIGHLIGHTS AND FAVORITES

 

Most Beautiful Coastal Village or Town - Amasra

 

Favorite Scenes and Events:

Changing of the guard at Ataturk's tomb and museum in Ankara

 


Employee on roller skates at huge Carrefour Super Center in Ankara

 

Marmar Sea view from daughter Tara and husband Cihan's apartment in Golcuk

 

Watching and listening to daughter Tara speak Turkish with the vendors at the local market

 

Turkish outdoor museum on Cihan's naval base

 

Hilltop, rooftop sunset dining, overlooking Golcuk and the Marmar Sea

 

Meeting Tara's class, where she teaches English, in Izmit

 

Having lunch with the ship's commander and his staff on the frigate "Kemalreis", followed by a tour of the ship

 

Touring the Turkish submarine "Preveze" (I got a cap)

 

Meeting and having tea with the commander of the entire Turkish naval fleet (Another cap!). He said, "Yes, but the U.S. Navy has seven fleets!" He is probably in line to become chief of all the navy in the next year or so.

 

Old, old houses in the village of Safranbolu

 

Spectacular Black Sea coast village of Amasra

 

Talking with wooden ship builders

Watching a crew building a giant stone wall beside the highway

 

Tobacco drying racks, being prepared by a couple of women

 

The four-star Hotel Belde west of Ordu, our favorite hotel of the trip

 

Watching women sort and set out hazelnuts to dry

 

The high mountain Sumela Monastery south of Trabzon

 

Seeing beautiful birds on the way up the mountain road - a Dipper, and a Hoopoe, shown here

 

Eating doner - beef or chicken sliced off a huge inverted cone of meat, cooked as it rotates

 

The Tea Institute and Botanical Gardens in Rize, as far east as we went on the coast

 

The tea growing on the steep sides of mountains

 

The way the tea leaves are harvested (large scissors with collection bag attached)

 

The scenery on the paved drive from the coast up to the mountain village of Sivrikaya, about 7500 feet

 

The rock and dirt road from Sivrikaya to a higher, summer mountain village, about 8400 feet

 

Meeting and visiting with bird guide Mustafa Sari and his family at that high mountain summer village

 

The fruitless search for the Caucasian Black Grouse, higher still. Mustafa is trying to talk the birds into coming down so we can see them.

 

Sharing breakfast with the mountain people in their ramshackle mountain summer home. This is Tara talking with Mustafa.

 

Seeing the Long-legged Buzzard (Sharon's photo seen above) and the Egyptian Vulture (shown below, from the internet)

 

 

Tara's mother-in-law Aysel's fantastically delicious assortment of soups. L to R, Aysel, Cihan's sister Canan, Sharon and Cihan.

 

Visiting with Cihan's sister Canan, doctor husband Metin and 2-year-old daughter Burcu

 

Coming back home to the good ol' USA!

 

 

Best Hotel

Hotel Belde, west of Ordu, on the Black Sea Coast. We had dinner on the deck between the pool and the Black Sea, both visible in the above photo.

 

Biggest Surprises

Only paying $40 (American) for our entry visa. We were told later that it should have cost us $90.

Speeding ticket east of Sivas, heading west. $55.

No women on the streets after dark in the eastern Turkish city of Bayburt. NONE. Tara was very nervous. We were eager to leave the next morning.

How well daughter Tara can speak Turkish.

 

Best Birds

Bee-eater, Long-legged Buzzard (Hawk), Common Crane, Dipper, Little Gull, Hobby, Hoopoe, Peregrine Falcon, Ruddy Shelduck, Spoonbill, White Stork, Alpine Swift, Egyptian Vulture, Yellow Wagtail. We managed to see four or five life birds to add to the 1600 we already had.

 

Distance Comparisons with the US:

Turkey, from east to west, is about the same distance as California, north to south.

Miles Driven (Black Sea Coast 8-day Rental Car Vacation) - 1700 miles (2700 km). Similar to a round trip between St. Louis and Washington, DC. Or San Francisco and Seattle. Or Greensboro, NC and Miami.

Fuel Used - 55 gallons (220 liters)

Avg Fuel Cost - $5.25/gallon (2.1 million TL/liter)

Mitsubishi 4-door Sedan Rental Car Mileage - 32 miles/gallon (100 km/7.7 liters)

Fuel Cost - ($300) 438 million TL

Cost per Mile - $300/1700 mi = 18 cents/mile (170,000 TL/kilometer).
{Oh, my God! Do you see what Bob does with his leisure time?}

Most Dangerous - Negotiating up and down the narrow, rocky road carved into the side of the mountain going from Sivrikaya to their summer village 7 kilometers higher into the Kachkar Mountains. TWICE. In the dark and misty rain. But well worth both trips, even though we didn't see our target bird.


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