Wanderings through Trakya and Anatolia

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KIYIKÖY, the black sea in Kirklareli

St. Nicholas Monastery, a Byzantinian rock monastery built in the 4th century

EDIRNE

Pazaar

ANTALYA, for our year-end retreat

Sea Life Hotel

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Travels with Nora !

ISTANBUL

Nora tries icli kofte from the famous icli kofte cart on Istiklal

Aya Sofia

Basilica Cistern

BUYUKADA, an island in Istanbul

CAPPADOCCIA

Selime Monastery

OLYMPOS

The tree house we stayed in

The view from our tree house

Chimera – those are permanent fires caused by methane emissions! MAŞALLAH!

Shepard’s house walk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phaselis

İstanbul, İstanbul

On the ferry from Kadikoy to Besiktas

Alex waiting on line at Starbucks in Taksim

The following photos were taken in Balat, traditionally known as the old Jewish neighborhood in Istanbul, but was also home to rather large Armenian, Greek, and Christian communities as well. The neighborhood has undergone a transformation in recent decades, and not many, if any, Jews, Greeks, Armenians, and Christians still live there. The neighborhood is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

Lucian gets his hair did by Sarah as Michael consults

Bulgaria Love Forever

If you’ve got it, flaunt it

Michael shows us the gesture he will make next year when he sits down with people to do business and they don’t offer tea first.

Rila Monastery, Bulgaria

Two weekends ago, a friend and I ventured to Bulgaria. We had a bit of a hard time getting there, but it was worth the stressful, exciting, tiring and, at times, comical, journey. Check out my friend’s blog to read how we were able to successfully navigate Turkish and Bulgarian transportation: http://deathbydolmus.wordpress.com/.

In Bulgaria, we spent a day and a night in Sofia. While Sofia isn’t the most exciting city I’ve been to, we stayed at a really great hostel that provided us with good company. From Sofia we headed to Bulgaria’s biggest monastery, Rila Monastery, which is tucked into the Rila Mountains. When we arrived, we were able to snag a room in the Monastery for a night. Surprisingly, the rooms were really well-heated. However, there were no Bibles in our nightstands, or anywhere in our room! We were not able to eat with the Monks or do any work on the Monastery like I had wanted, but we, nonetheless, had a great and informative experience while staying at this really beautiful and special place.

The only structure that remained after a fire raged through the Monastery in 1833.

This dog followed us everywhere in the Monastery

And a hello to you, too, Mr. Monk

The residential complex has 300 chambers and 4 chapels for only 9 monks. Those monks can really spread out like starfishes!

Alex, my travel buddy, who worked as an English teacher in Tekirdag, very close to where I lived in Kirklareli

Jerusalem

The street I lived on in Nachlaot.

 

The Old City

Post wedding, post birds’ stomachs expanding and exploding

Mt. Hermon. Unfortunately, it has not snowed enough in the past 5 years to ski.

And now, the story of a little snowman:

A little snowman is created by some tourists. He is too cute to resist, so they take their picture with him. Lots of pictures. I find the snowman and tourists irresistible, so I take lots of pictures, too.

But then they realize the little snowman would probably be happier and better

off in the wild, so they set him down on the pavement.

However, the snowman just stands there as the sun heats the pavement

A sad story…until! the tourists realize their almost fatal mistake…

…and move him to reign over the stuff from which he was created. A happy ending…for now.

Majdal Shams, a Druze village in the Golan Heights. The Druze from this village, along with the Israeli settlement of Neve Ativ, operate the Hermon ski area.