Thursday, December 24, 2009

My 1st Christmas

As you may know, majority of the population do not celebrate Christmas here. Well, we like to celebrate the coming of the new year with big dinners or parties with family and friends but this is not the topic of this post.
I think I wrote before that once I was an exchange student and I had the chance to spent a wonderful year with the Walker family of Keyser - West Virginia. Being 17 and spending a year abroad. Oh, it was such a big growing experience, and since those days I always feel that they are my second family.
So I spent my very first Christmas with the Walkers. Decorating a tree, lots of gifts and being with the whole Walkers was such a big treat for me. So here is a photo of the young Aysegul on her first Christmas morning.( sitting second from the right)
Dad - Bill Walker who was holding the Snoopy on top of my head had passed away years ago, and Mom Emma Walker was not in this photo because she was taking it. Isnt it a great photo from December 24,1981 ???
Well, apart from Dad the Walker clan is still around and here is latest photo of them..

I miss you guys a lot and Merry Christmas to you all and all my friends from Keyser. ( Especially you Gary!!)

Also another big MERRY CHRISTMAS to all my Christmas celebrating blog friends...

Sunday, December 20, 2009


I see and envy all the snowy pictures on the blogs of this side of the world. As of today we still do not have any snow, not a bit. As I also want to post some snow photos, here is an old post for you. I wrote this piece for another blog after my 2 weeks long travel on the Southeastern part of Turkey.Year was 2007.

''In the second half of April I went to southeastern Turkey that is also part of ancient Mesopotamia. When we left the house very early on April 20 to catch the Van airplane, there was a warm and bright air in Istanbul. After two hours, when we landed at Van, I was shivering. The weather was really cold.

Van museum that is displaying the important Urartian artifacts was closed due to renovation and no body knew when it would be opened again. So we went to the Van castle that was built by the Urartian King of Sardur the 1. It was almost noon and the weather was just freezing. I put on my hat and gloves that I did not have the chance to use in Istanbul during winter and tried to remember the Van of 20 years ago, when I visited right after my graduation from the university. There was no park arrangement around the castle at that time and I think there were more children around. The children I photographed at that time might have their own child right now.
After visiting Kaya Çelebi mosque and Hüsrev Pasha Külliyesi, which look like two identical buildings from the castle, we returned to the city. Restoration works were done at both mosques. After lunch we hit the internationally named bazaars of the city and finally it was started to snow. Ironically Iran, Russia, Japan and Europe bazaars were crowded with Chinese and Indian goods, you could find some interesting stuff if you could dig the stalls long enough.

In the afternoon we went to the food markets in order to taste Van. Although they are only mentioning cheese in the name of the Grand Cheese Makers Market, shops selling viscera occupied almost half the market. After viewing the heads, legs, brains and tongues that were displayed on the stalls in neat ways, we purchased the famous cheese of Van prepared with different herbs. After buying warm flat bread from the Küçük Yıldız Pide Fırını, we ate them at the coffee house of İzzet with hot tea. They were just delicious. When we heard that the honey of the honey producer Behçet is worth tasting, we also found his store and bought a jar of honey.

When we took a minibus to go to our hotel located near the Lake Van, the ladies I chatted at the bus told that this weather was also a surprise for them as they also had a very mild winter. After the snow and the hard wind during night, I was almost sure that we would not be able to make our trip to the island of Akdamar on the lake. But the morning of April 21 welcomed us with a bright and sunny day on a blue lake, although everywhere was covered with snow. The snow we did not have the chance to see whole winter in Istanbul was just in front of us with all its beauty.

As there was no other group visiting the island and the 10th century Armenian church of Cathedral Church of the Holy Cross that was restored and reopened at the beginning of April, we had all the chance to enjoy the island, castle and the beautiful weather. The church was built between the years 915-921 by architect monk Manuel during the reign of the Vaspurakan King Gagik the 1. When I look at the photographs of the church that I took 20 years ago the difference between today and the time with its partly ruined roof covered with weed was quite striking. But this time I spent more time taking the pictures of snow covered almond tree flowers.

While we were traveling near the lake towards Ahlat where we were going to spend the night, the triplets of sun, snow and lake were with us showing their most beautiful faces all the way. When we reached Ahlat where the largest Seljuk cemetery from 11-12th century located, snow only remained on the tops of the far away mountains.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A night at home

Hubby is out of town and the puppy is in a deep sleep after her dinner. It was chicken purina and water for her and a glass of wine and avocado for me. It was a quiet and peaceful night. I am listening music ( incredible Fazil Say on the piona) and playing with the camera..
I love my house. I feel safe ,secure and happy here..I think its extremly important to create a surrounding like that.
Well, actually I was planning to introduce a Turkish painter on this post but somehow I couldnt find a photo of him. On my birthday my mother took me to his studio and asked me choose one of his paintings. Mr. Feridun Ugur is quite well known here and his second country Holland with his water colors.He is painting big and vibrant flowers. However I decided to go with a rather daring one. A nude.
I dont know what you think about it but we really enjoy having her in our living room. On the other side of the room we have another painting from him. A donkey painted in oil. Do you think that we have a rather strange taste???
Well, the leaf on the nude and the leaves and berries around the candle are the todays find of our excursion at the park with Hera. She will probably eat the berries tonight while I am sleeping but for now they are still OK. I am in the habit of putting autumn leaves every where in the house in this season. I think they are too good to throw into the garbage once they fell out of the tree. I wish you a peaceful night,too. Or day, if you are on the other side of the world..:))

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Fish Could Skip

When you are traveling on the raod from Datça to Marmaris that is full of steep curves, after a while you will reach to a very special point, a narrow istmus, where Mediterranean and Aegean seas are so close to each other as if they are trying to touch. This narrow istmus where the Datça peninsula starts is called Balıkaşıran (where the fish could skip) At this point, you will see Mediterranean stands on your right and Aegean on your left. I don’t know if the Mediterranean fishes jump to Aegean, and Aegean fishes jump to Mediterranean in the dark hours when we humans don’t see them, but they surely give a nice name to this spot.

According to Herodotus,during the Persian invasion in 540 BC, the Knidians wanted to dig a canal at this spot in order to separate their land from the main land, and transform their teritory to an island for defensive measures. But an oracle was consulted who reportedly said "If the gods had so willed, they would have made your land an island. Do not pierce the isthmus." Where upon they surrendered to the Persians.
This place is about 30 km away from my house and I am trying to take a decent photo of it for as long as I have been in Datca. Unfortunately I have never able catch a clear day. This is the most recent one, on our way to İstanbul last week.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Mediterranean Winter

Mediterranean winter is all about

Sunny Days....

Stormy Days...Something in between....Loaded trees...making beach excursions....silent days.....making new friends....having the whole beach as your private restaurant.....and welcoming the night after a wonderful and fulfilled day.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Winter market

One of my all time favorite quote is from Henry David Thoreau. He said ''Live in each season as it possess; breath the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit and resign yourself to the influences of each.'' I always enjoy the local markets, it's a place where I can get in touch with the spirit of the season and the place. So here today I am posting some photos from Datca's local farmers market.

This market is open year round on Saturdays. We returned from Datca on Sunday and I was at the market on Saturday for the weekly shopping. When I see all these goodies I couldnt resist to buy huge amounts, even hubby protested. As he himself bought kilos of cheese and olives, we made a truce at the end. So we returned to İstanbul as a moving market.

The olives on the last photo are our recent favorite. They are stuffed with orange peels. Great with your drinks..Isnt it a beautiful season???

Friday, December 4, 2009


Yesterday it was my birthday. I woke up early and was having my tea on the balcony, watching the pink and purple clouds surrounding the Symi island. It was a magical and peaceful moment, I felt so lucky and blessed. Couple minutes later my phone gave a signal of an e-mail. I was expecting 'happy birthday' calls and mails but definitely not this early.

It was from my dear friend Sara from Iran. I know that some of you knew Sara from her blog She used to give us wonderful images from her city. Unfortunately she had to stop. I hope she will start again someday..

Sara sent me this lovely poem which was exactly matching my feelings of the time. Coincidance? Most probably not..Before sharing it with you let me tell you that I am so blessed that I know all of you.

Instead of counting candles,
Or tallying the years,
Contemplate your blessings now,
As your birthday nears.

Consider special people
Who love you and who care,
And others who've enriched your life
Just by being there.

Think about the memories
Passing years can never mar,
Experiences great or small
That have made you who you are.

Another year is a happy gift,
So cut your cake, and say,
''Instead of counting birthdays,
I count blessings every day!''

If you are wondering so far I have counted 45 birthdays...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Guess where am I ..

Last four days we have celebrated the festival of the sacrifices, the second big religious festival in Islam. Tradition says that you have to sacrifice an animal and distribute it's meat to poor. However as I do not like the idea of sacrificing an animal, I always donate the equavalent amount of a sheep to a charity..

So in the first day of the festival, I gave a big lunch to husband's family.On the second day we visited some elder relatives and when the third day came we have more or less finished with the festival. It was a rainy and gray day in İstanbul. After having a late breakfast and lazily decided to spend the day indoors, hubby suddenly came with a wonderful idea. He said' Let's pack something and go to Datca '( where our beach house is) and that's what we did. We packed ours and Hera's stuff and left the house in an hour. After an 11 hours drive we are here and that's where I was just 2 hours ago..

Today is December 1st and officially the first day of winter but appereantly Mediterranean has other ideas. Sea is just wonderful.. Cool enough for a relaxing swim.

As for Hera, she is having the best time of her young life. She is leash free and roaming the surrounding with great joy and interest and so far always finding her way to come home, but her first encounter with the sea wasnt her best point. As a dog who hates to take a bath, she doesnt like the sea either. When she is home she prefers to spend her time on the balcony under the sun.

We will be here until the end of this week and I will definitely post more from here. I missed being here so much and hubby and I talking more and more about moving here permanently..and couple quick shots from the harbour..


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