Welcome to Science Jim on Tour!

Hi folks, welcome to the Science Jim and family travel blog. We're touring Turkey! Why Turkey?!?!? It has housed civilizations for over 6000 years!!! Have you heard of Troy...it's in Turkey! Constantinople...it's in Turkey! The eternal flame of Olympus...it's in Turkey! That's just for starters!

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Friday, September 23, 2011

Turkey Thoughts: Bunch of Nuggets

Here's a bunch of things that don't merit an entire post so I thought I'd just jot them down in one shot.

Smoking- Just about everyone smokes. I remember it used to be that way here too, so it was interesting to see the contrast. It really struck me how few folks still smoke here. Smoking is so rare here compared to Turkey.

Full Service Gas Stations - Really! They still exist! Most of the gas stations we saw were full service. Check oil, do the windows, the whole nine yards!

Can't Look Lost- Several times we stood on street corners looking confused, checking maps, reading books etc. Not for long though. Within a couple of minutes someone would wander over to us and ask us if we needed help. Sometimes the help was helpful, sometimes not so much, and sometimes it came with an invitation to see a carpet shop!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Turkey Thoughts: Games

Turks love games!! You was very common to see men sitting at tables in cafe's or coffee shops playing games. Two of the favorites were backgammon and okey. You are probably familiar with backgammon. Okey is basically the card game rummy but played with tiles instead of cards. If you've ever played RummyKub it's pretty much the same thing. They play all games fast. The dice, cards and tiles fly around the table!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Turkey Thoughts: Napkins

Turkey apparently hates napkins. Not quite sure what the deal is here but a real napkin was almost impossible to find. Even in the fanciest restaurants the only napkins were those tiny little things you find on tables in fast food places. Apparently, Turks are just very careful eaters!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Turkey Thoughts: Men

Something that was a little hard to get used to in Turkey was that men are very touchy feely with one another. It was very common to see men of almost any age walking either with one fellow having his arm over another one's shoulders or around another man's waist or arm in arm. In the U.S. it's not too unusual to see woman doing something like this but very rarely men. These, by the way, are not homosexual men. It's just the way men relate to one another. Honestly, it's kinda neat once you get used to it.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Turkey Thoughts: Cats

Cats are everywhere! Everywhere you look you see cats. If you hate cats...don't go to Turkey! These aren't pet cats either. These are wild independent kitties! Curiously, they are fairly well behaved. Like I said, they are everywhere, which means picnic areas and outdoor cafes (which are also everywhere). We had several cats watch us while we ate but there was no begging or aggressive behavior. That's not to say they were all pristine show kitties. Some of these little furballs were a little bedraggled. Most were in good shape though. Dogs were fairly common as well but mainly in public parks.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Turkey Thought: Driving

AHHHHH!!!! That pretty much sums it up. Driving in Turkey is bonkers! Curiously, we never saw or heard an accident while we were there. Drivers were very attuned to other drivers and pedestrians. We never drove ourselves. There's no way we'd survive. But we did take bunches of busses, taxis and vans and it was often a harrowing experience! Rule of thumb, the smaller the vehicle, the more insane the ride! In Istanbul, the roads were often only wide enough for one car. That, however, did not mean that they were one-way roads. Nope, somehow cars going both ways would navigate up and down the road. I think there may have been some rules of physics broken on that one! The use of horns is different then here. Usually, here a honk is a cars way of swearing at another car. But in Turkey, quick short honks usually mean "Don't forget that I'm here" or "Excuse me, I'm coming through". One last thing, traffic lanes are more of a guideline than a rule.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Turkey Thoughts: Salesmen

This just about drove me crazy the first few days we were in Turkey. Salesmen are everywhere. All over the streets selling food, toys, souvenirs, water, tea, ice cream and more. One guy was even selling fortune telling provided by his (apparently psychic) rooster or rabbit! Another older woman graciously offered the kids food for the pigeons, only to later charge us a lira for it! Also, everyone apparently has a cousin that owns a carpet store and he just can't wait to show us the amazing deals...today only! GAAA!!! Here's some tips. Hier means "no" in Turkish...however...it has no meaning to salesmen. Well, wait, I take that back. It means apparently, "please tell me more" or perhaps "I would like you to ask me where I'm from". Asking you where you are from gets the conversation started and tells them, since they set prices by what country you're from, how much they can charge you for stuff. Sonra means "later". That works, except that these folks have amazing memories and they WILL remember you if you happen to pass the store again! Istamiyorum means "I don't want" That works pretty well and they are usually impressed enough with your command of Turkish to realize your not a complete dupe.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Turkey Thoughts: The Bill

Hi folks,

Well, we've been home for a while now and I've finally gotten over jetlag and gotten myself back up to speed. I'm going to write a few entries on things we noticed in Turkey that we haven't really had a chance to talk about in the blog. These aren't necessarily big famous things, just things I noticed that Turkey does different then we do. Enjoy!

Today's is about the bill. In Turkey, they never give you the bill at the end of the meal. At first, I thought the waitstaff was just being lazy or rude but it turns out it's really kinda cool. You have to ask for your bill because it would be considered rude if the waiter brought the bill out to you! Putting the bill on the table basically says "Well, you've eaten our food. Now get out!" There's never any hurry to leave a restaurant in Turkey and they are happy to have you stay all day if you wish. By the way, the way to say check please is "Hesap (check) Lutfen (please)!"

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

We're Home!

Hi folks,

Well, we got home two days ago and we're still getting over jet lag.  Whew, our bodies are operating 7 hours ahead of the local time.  So noon is 7:00 PM and 6:00 PM is 1 AM!  Needless to say, it's taking a while to readjust.  However, our trip home was excellent.  Turkish Air rocks!  They hand out little bags with blindfolds, socks and other goodies.  Even the food wasn't bad and they gave us two meals!  Each seat has a TV with movies, tv shows, games and more.  The flight felt like it took little time at all.  We hit some nasty turbulence for a while but not too long.

I'll be posting a few more things as the days go on here so keep your eyes open!  In the meantime, thanks so much for following!  I hope you enjoyed it!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Exlporing Ephasus

We explored one of the most well preserved roman cities. Don't miss the roman houses, the roman library, and the roman public bathroom!!!!


Exploring Pamukkale

One of the strangest places on Earth. Pamukkale means cotton fortress. It looks like a giant mountain made of white fluffy cotton. The ruins of Hieropolis, an ancient roman city, is also there.
You can check out the video here.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Exploring Olympos

Join me as I explore Olympos!


Chora Church 8

Jesus pulling Adam and Eve from death. Satan is bound at the bottom of the picture.

Chora Church 8

Mary's Death

Chora Church 7

Jesus's Lineage...sorry this is blurry.

Chora Church 6

Mary and Jesus

Chora Church 6

St. Paul

Chora Church 5

St. Peter...see the keys to heaven??!!

Chora Church 5

Mary being "given" to Joseph instead of the several other suitors that are waiting. Mary is the small character in blue, the priest is to her left and the suitors are the group to the right.

Chora Church 4

Mary following Joeseph.

Chora Church 3

This mosaic illustrates the lineage of Mary. The mosaics gave a great bit of background information on Mary, her background and story.

Chora Church 2

Chora Church 1

Rediculous Mosaics

This was an incredible church. It's called Chora Church and was built in the 16th century and is filled with beautiful mosaics. I'm going to post some of my shots but I really recommend checking out this site. Much better pics then mine. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chora_Church

The images in these mosaics are the first time many of the images have been created. They are the archetype for almost all of the images of Peter, Jesus, John, Mary etc. that have been painted in years to follow.

Another silly sign

A Very Special Day 3

We visited a puppet museum! There were many marionettes and shadow puppets on display. Shadow puppets were a big entertainment format in the earlier times and there was a series of stories about specific characters that were very popular.

Very Special Day 2

We visited the tomb of a major Sultan (sorry, I can't remember the name). You'll notice that there are around 9 tombs here. They are family members, wives and children of the sultan.

Very Special Day 1

We had quite a treat today. Earlier, I posted pictures of our Turkish friends that live in N.C. Well, today we took a trip on a ferry from Istanbul to Bursa to visit Ayşner's parents and her little brother. Her father took us on a wonderful whirlwind tour of Bursa. Bursa, like Istanbul was a very major city in early times and has a huge amount of history. Her father seems to know everyone and we stopped at several shops just to chat to folks. We got a great behind the scenes view of an excellent city.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Secret Symbols

Ephasus was mainly populated with folks who worshipped the Greek/Roman gods. Specifically, Artemus. During those days, Christianity was growing and this is a secret symbol to let folks know that Christians were around. There were many of these throughout the city. Later, Constantine legalized Christianity and Ephesus became a very important city in early Christianity.

The Harbor Road in Ephasus

This is a shot of us walking down the Harbor Road in Ephasus. I'm standing on the steps of the theater and this road goes down to what used to be the sea. The sea retreated over the years and this is one of the things that led to the abandonment of Ephasus. Our guide estimated that over 60,000 folks lived in this town and some folks put the total at 100+ thousand.

Selçuk and the storks

We stayed in Selçuk (selchuk) for a couple of days to visit Ephesus. Selçuk was great. Not too touristy but still filled with great restaurants and neat shops. Many of the restaurants were near these aquaduct ruins. The Turkish folks create structures on top of the ruins to make it easier for these storks to build nests. These are pictures of young storks that were actually trying out their wings while we ate. The storks also enjoy building nests on top of the mosques as well.

Ancient Roman Bathroom!!

We visited Ephesus in Turkey, we found a bathroom that is around 1800 years old at least!!! Ephesus was amazing. A giant theater, library, houses, statues and more. I've got a bunch more vids that I'll post when I get back.

In the meantime, here's the bathroom!


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Pamukkale 3

Pamukkale 2

Pamukkale-The Cotton Fortress

Well, yet another, "no other place in the world but Turkey experience". This place is called Pamukkale and it's just incredible. This isn't snow that you're looking at. It's basically calcium! Pamukkale has a natural spring that is filled with many materials but mainly calcium. As the water flows over the land, the calcium stays behind and forms amazing white formations. I have a movie of this as well that I'll try to post it when I get a good internet connection.

Our Blue Cruise

The last several posts were taken while we were on a 4 day 3 night Blue Cruise, also called a gulet cruise. It was just wonderful. Everyday was filled with incredible scenery, food and folks. One afternoon was quite wavy and a wee bit scary but quite exciting. Only one person got sick, so it couldn't have been too bad! MB got sick the next day but the rest of us were fine. What made the trip sooooo special was the people. We had a mom and daughter from Singapore, husband and wife from Argentina, 2 young women from Australia and a young woman from Kansas. All of them were just great fun. The crew was also very nice and capable.
Here's a link with some more pics from the cruise http://www.bluecruisesturkey.com/Photo_Gallery/Olympos_Fethiye.html

Butterfly Valley

This is one of the best stops we made on our boat trip. We walked up the valley to climb straight up a series of rocks to get to an amazing little waterfall. Sitting in the waterfall was very cold but the view was just incredible.

Neat Little Castle 5 (A small theater)

This castle even had a small theater that could have held 400 or so folks.

Neat Little Castle 4 (Necropolis again)

Neat Little Castle 3 (Necropolis)

If you look carefully, you'll see that this whole hillside is dotted with one tomb after another.
This is the graveyard of the high mucky mucks who lived in the castle.

Neat Little Castle 2 (The wall)

What a view huh???!!!

A Neat Little Castle

The next few shots are from a small castle/community on top of a little island that is only reachable by boat.

Driving in Turkey

Driving in Turkey is quite the adventure!!!! (Actually, this is just me being windblown on the boat.). Driving is nuts here, though. Lane markers are more of a guideline than a rule...even in no passing zones. Yikes!!!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Beginning our Blue Tour

This shot is as we begin our Blue Tour, a 3 night 4 day tour along the southwest coast of Turkey. As is the way in Turkey, ruins everywhere. Here are a couple of shots of, what was once a great sea side city. This is the same city we sea kayaked over earlier in the trip.

Santa Claus is from Turkey!!!

Really! It turns out that the original St. Nicholas was from Turkey. We visited a church dedicated to him and here are the kids peering up at a statue of him. Here's a link if you would like more information. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Nicholas

Strange Sign

We loved this sign. This was posted at the entrance to the beach on Olympos. Most of these make sense after looking at them for a bit....but we have no idea what the nuclear building is representing!

Amazing Olympos

Olympos is an amazing place. Not only is the Chimera (the flaming mountain in the last post) here, but the remains of an ancient (2000 ish) year old city is here as well. In this photo, you can look up river and see many ruins peeking out. I took a 7 minute vid of all the really neat stuff here but I haven't been anywhere that has good enough wifi to post it. I'll try to get it posted as soon as I can.

Burning Mountain in Olympos

Up high in Olympos there is an area called the Chimera were gases seep out of the mountain and catch on fire. The legend states that a monster called the chimera was trapped underground here many years ago and the flames are still coming from the monster.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Exploration of Ancient Ruins

Unfortunately I don't have much time to post and we're about to board a ship for four days so I'm not sure if I'll be able to post over the next few days or not.

This pic was taken in Olympos. This area was an city some 2500 years ago and there are tons of cool ruins and tombs to discover. I took some nice video and I'll post it up when I get a chance.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sponge Bob in Turkish

Thought you guys might enjoy watching Sponge Bob in Turkish!


Second Photo from Kaş Beach

Trek Along Kaş

There is a long trail in Turkey called the Lycian Way. It's similar to the Appalachian Trail in the U.S. (not nearly as long though). We hiked about 3 hours of it along the coast of Kaş. Along the way, we past two ancient tombs that had been broken into. I would have taken a picture, but I was too busy holding onto the rope that kept me from falling off the 8 inch ledge that kept me from the 200 ft drop. Trust me though...it was pretty cool!!! Along the way we came across 3 beaches. We swam in each one. This pic and the next one are from the prettiest. One hike, two ancient tombs, amazing views over the Mediterranean, and a dip in 3 crystal clear beaches...not a bad day!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Another sunset over Kaş

Sunset over Kaş

This is Meis

Sorry, wrong picture. This is Greece's Meis. The last pic was the coast of Turkey.

A View from Kaş

Well, we are in a charming little town called Kaş (pronounced cawsh). It's right on the edge of the Mediterranean and that island you see in this picture is Meis which is part of Greece. It's a bit hot here but just gorgeous. This is where we took the sea kayaking tour in the last post. The next pics will be sunet from the roof top restaurant.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Horseback ride in Capadocia

Last one....just incredible huh?!

Us On Top of the World (Horseback ride in Capadocia)

Horseback ride in Capadocia

This dog followed us the entire way!

Horseback ride in Capadocia

Horseback ride in Capadocia

Horseback ride in Capadocia

Horseback ride in Capadocia

An Unbelievable Horseback Riding Trip

This day is going to be hard to beat. We rode horses for 9 hours (with a couple of breaks) over the most wonderful landscapes on Earth. Some sore muscles, but it was worth every moment. Check out these pictures.

Our Hotel in Ügup

This is the hotel room we stayed in. It's carved out of rock!

A Horrifying Trash Can

For some reason these are the trash cans on the streets of Ügup.

Great shot of the kids in Turkey