On the road

Have not posted for a while, as I am on an extended road trip (four weeks, no less) that is taking me and my husband from the Netherlands through Germany, Austria, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania and Greece to Turkey, where I am at present. All due to a train trip two months ago, when we went to Schiphol to say goodbye to our youngest, who was leaving that day fot Ankara on an Erasmus scholarship.

We never made it to the airport – due to endless delays – and on a Sunday morning, too! We said our tearful goodbyes via whatsapp from Amsterdam Central Station. So close, and yet so far….

During lunch that day we transmorphed our frustration into the plan for this trip: we’d buy a secondhand car, hit the road and celebrate Christmas in Ankara. And this we did.

It’s been fantastic so far – weather much better than we had reason to expect, car ok, a few small mishaps on the road that are almost not worth mentioning. We met a lot of friendly people and saw a lot of beautiful and interesting things. Mixed in with boring bits, of course, and frustration about the ubiquitous plastic waste everywhere. Whole river beds festooned with plastic bits and bobs – I nearly cried.

Anyways, below a few pics

Dec 1th – Snow almost stopped us near Munich – we plowed our way through the snow and stayed at Fischerhof in Fahrenshausen
Dec 2nd – Did not know that Italians eat dried cod – which is ‘stokvis’ in Dutch – my parents used to put it on the menu once a year
Dec 3rd -Fishermen at the harbor in Grignano
Dec 4th – Greeting of the Sun in Zadar
Dec 6th – Ahh:Dubrovnik
Dec 6th – Coast of Montenegro
Dec 7th – Beach at Durres, Albania

Dec 7th / Giant plane tree in Lefkopigi. A little further on is Mount Olympos, where we spent the night.
Dec 8th – Part of the walls of the old city of Thessaloniki, where we stayed in a granny appartment and dit a very nice up-and-down walk
Dec 8th – Astounding birdlife in the streets of Thessaloniki Female Sparrowhawk, my birdwatcher-neighbour says.
Dec 9th – End of the road at Paliouri
Dec 9th – Beach at Chalkidiki
Dec 10th – Walking along the river Nestos – very steep in parts – we met with this very unusual christmas tree

Dec 11th – Our B&B at Troy
Dec 12th – Coffee Turkish style at our AirBnB address in Ayvalik
Dec 13th – White terraces at Pammukale
Dec 13th – History is everywhere – this is Hierapolis, inhabited since the Iron Age, in its Roman incarnation
Dec 14th – Lycian tombs at Demre
Dec 14th – Church of St Nicholas of Myra in Demre

Dec 15th – Beach at Alanya
Dec 16th – Terrifying but beautiful trip through the mountains from Alanya to Konya
Dec 16th – Hilltop village near Camici
Dec 16th – Dancing Derwishes – Mevlana Festival in Konya
Dec 17th – Cave rooms at Selime
Dec 17th – Sea container turned guest house in Talas
Dec 17th – Minus five at night – fortunately we had a woodstove
Dec 18th – Imagination Valley in Kapadocia, near Goreme
Dec 18th – Dogs – friendly ones – everywhere
Dec 19th – Our shoes – Turkish style – outside a cave house in Ortahisar
Dec 19th – Village of Ortahisar
Dec 19th – Red Valley at sundown
Dec 20th – Hasan Mountain – we went up – almost 200 meters to the first snow
Dec 20th – And we made it to Ankara! Here are daughter and husband in a uni cafetaria
Dec 21th – Ankara – a totally different dynamic
Dec 21th – Still very much in the public eye – Mustafa Kamâl Atatürk 
Dec 21th – A serene female cult figure in the Museum of Anatolian Cultutes – I found it very moving
Dec 22nd – Ceremony at the Ataturk Mausoleum – very grand
Dec 23rd – A house in the old section of Ankara, near the castle
Dec 23rd – Making Christmas happen in our appartment in Ankara
Cappadocia, christmas lunch at a Korean restaurant in Goreme. Had to sit out of the sun at the covered terrace, bacause it was too warm.
dec 25th – View over the valkey to Uchisar castle. Hope to see it filled with hot air balloons tomorrow.
Dec 26th – Unfortunately no balloons went up today, so the kids missed out on that. We did a brilliant walk though, guided by Michael, an expert on rock churches. These tiny balloons were waiting for us at a rest stop.
Dec 26th – The last -and biggest – rock church we saw. Michael explaining about its architecture and fresco’s.
Dec 26th – At the end of the walk we saw one balloon, half-inflated. We kept an eye out, but it never went up. So the balloons turned out to be a definite no-show
Dec 27th – Have to take my gardens where I can find them – wrong season, wrong country. Saw this pattern at the coffee museum at Safranbolu, saffron town on the spice route …
…. where I had a saffron-flavored coffee in the cozy museum restaurant.
Dec 28th – Sent out new years greetings today – ‘welcome 2024’ in Turkish and Dutch
Dec 28th – Did I mention the great food to be had everywhere in Turkey? This is the overwhelming selection of mezze dishes in an Ankara restaurant we visited yesterday – Afitap Meyhane Tunus, in case you’d want to go
Dec 29th – Wonderful tile patterns everywhere – new and okd
Dec 29th – This is Ankara as well – endless rows of highrises
Dec 29th – Endearing little lizzard on Late Phrygean pottery in the museum in Gordion. We visited Midas’ Mount and the Gordion city excavations.
Dec 29th – Water color rendering of the oldest colored stone mosaic in the world – also at Gordion – ninth century BC

Dec 30th – Driving through the dawn to Ankara airport, in for a long long day of travel by plane. Strange idea that we can do this leg of the trip in 5 hours today.
Dec 31th – home again – I made a map of the trip – over 6000 km’s – it was fabulous!
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