Sunday, July 31, 2011

Beautful people

 They smiled and posed and they are so beautiful. I showed them the picture, they were pleased. This is a very beautiful picture of some really lovely Turkish people.
 Two officious looking men who wanted me to take their picture which I obliged.

We were walking in the castle area and found the two groups of women having a picnic and drinking tea. The first group posed for me, the second hid their faces behind their scarves. In town I was able to snap pictures of some of the men. These pictures brings a lot of joy. Besides the ancient sights, the local people contributes a lot to the pleasure of travel. It's almost like China, traveling in China is pleasurable because the local Chinese are always very friendly.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

They want a picture with us

Everywhere we went in Kars, strangers come up to us to have a picture taken with them. Is this what happens if you're a celebrity? We were celebrities in Kars. Here they only want Zac in their picture. He got the most attention wearing the hat he bought in Trabzon. That 10 TL hat made him very popular in Kars. We had a lot of fun. I love Eastern Turkey. Lovely sights and lovely people.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Greece vs Turkey

 Greece, March 2011
 Greece, March 2011
 Greece, March 2011
 Turkey, June 2011
 Turkey, June 2011
Turkey, June 2011

Click on the pictures for a bigger image. Who has the more spectacular display of wild flowers, Greece or Turkey. I thought the wild flowers in the Peloponnese was spectacular till I went to Eastern Turkey. Turkey wins, hands down. The reason being there are more wide open spaces so the wild flowers grow unimpeded and form a bigger and hence a more spectacular display. The red wild anemones are only found in the Peloponnese and they are so pretty. April is the best time for wild flowers in the Peloponnese while June is the best in Kars, Turkey.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


My journal reads..... right now we're in a mini bus bound for Kars. We're still here at the otogar waiting for the bus to be filled up before we leave. We're on Turkish time, so just sit back and relax... finally we leave the otogar and not too far away, another mini bus has broken down and we're picking up their people. The bus is full, there are people sitting on little stools in the aisle. They're passing out bottles of water. It is interesting. The road to Kars is lined with pretty wild flowers. I keep praying that there will lots of wild flowers when we get to Kars. Kars is 'snow' in Turkish and no one visits except to go to Ani. It's at the Turkish-Armenian border which until a few years ago requires a special permit from the police to visit. The sign says 'no smoking' but the driver is smoking. I guess they need to in order to stay awake. ... I see patches of yellow, purple, blue, red and white among the rolling green fields and orange as well. For some reason their variety of poppies is this bright orange color and is really spectacular. We've just stopped for more people to get on board and there are people selling food. I had to go to the bathroom and I couldn't find the 'Bayan' (women) so I ran into the 'bey' (men). That's a taboo. The wild flowers are so delightful. I see a whole patch of blue lupine like flowers, they're everywhere. I see a lone donkey, please don't eat the Flowers. It is going to eat them and broadcast the seeds in its poop. It's like an English garden. We try to imitate nature by cultivating a wild flower meadow but nature does such wondrous things on its own. If one is into wild flowers, one has to come to Kars in June. There's nowhere like it in the world. '
It's late afternoon when we got into Kars. It's a border town and very provincial. They've never seen Asians before and everywhere we went they want our picture. They get disappointed when we tell them we're from the US. They liked it when we say we're from China. We didn't even go to the otogar but was dropped in the middle of town. A taxi brought us to our hotel and agreed to take us to Ani the next day.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Stone carvings

 Notice the intricate lace work on this stone carving. It's amazing.

 Some kind of Georgian script.
I am always amazed at what can be done with stone or marble. It's incredible when Leonardo da Vinci or Michelangelo carved on marble and one can see the folds of a garment or the sinews of a lifeless Jesus being held by Mary on her lap (the Pieta). Here one can see the intricate lacework on the garment of a saint carved on stone. Wow! Can we do this anymore? The boys started to point out things to me so I can snap pictures of it. It's fun when they started to be interested and started to be involved. I sent them DVDs' of all the pictures I took during this trip. I took a lot of pictures of them so that they can remember this trip. Take lots of pictures, that's what I do for every trip.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Village life

Being the city slickers that we are, it is always fun to be in a village and to view village life from a front seat. This was the village near OsVank, its a hive of activity, the fields needed to be tended, grass needed to be cut for fodder for the animals. In and around the valley were little village hamlets that were so bucolic and pleasant. In June, it wasn't that hot yet and there's always a slight breeze, one can hear the rustling of the leaves on the trees. MMMmmmmm time for an afternoon nap but the villagers has work to do while the sun is shining. I love to visit little villages, any where in the world, whether it be in Turkey, China, Italy, Hungary or anywhere at all. I grew up in a village but we never planted anything. So visiting a village where they plant their food and raise animals is always a novelty for me.

Monday, July 25, 2011

OsVank 2

 While some of the roof has fallen, the dome still stands because it is supported by four huge pillars.

 There are gaping holes in the ceiling where the roof has fallen.

 One of the four huge pillars supporting the huge dome. This cathedral is massive and back in its glory days, there was a thriving community here. There's scripture transcribing, lots of priests and there must be a huge Georgian community here. This area is known by its old Georgian name, 'Tao-Klarjeti.' It is still impressive, sitting proudly amid Turkish villages and with a mosque next to it. It sticks out like a sore thumb.
 Along one side of the front is an arcade area that leads nowhere, its called ' a blind arcade.' Here there are pillars with angels carved on its capitals, different angels on different pillars. There was a fire and everything is blackened by the fire but the carvings are still evident.

Turkey is an amazing place. After two trips to Turkey, I've seen the remains of the Byzantine empire, the remains of part of the Georgian kingdom and the remains of part of the Armenian kingdom. A lot of places in the west coast of Turkey is associated with St Paul, one of Christianity's important saint. There are other places where churches and monasteries can be found and they are the objects of my desire.