Hello world!

Welcome to version 3 or 4 of Yet another Murray Family website. Started way back in 1998 or 2002, this website was designed for sharing stuff with friends and family. Most of the content here is now historic as we and our friends and family have moved to social networks such as Facebook for communicating.

However, we have recently revived it with a new design and some new content. It also might be easier to find some stuff here too – the collection of family recipes for example.

Topics covered are celebrating life events, good books we have read, our travels and recipes we have invented or collected.

Christmas Fruit Mince Pies

Christmas Fruit Mince Pies
Yields 24
Very rich tasty Christmas snacks
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Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
35 min
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
35 min
Fruit mince ingredients
  1. 1 lemon, juice and skin cut into small pieces
  2. about 1 cup mixed dried fruit - raisins, sultanas, figs
  3. 1 apple chopped into small pieces
  4. about 100ml fruit juice
  5. allspice
  6. cinnamon
  7. ginger
  8. 1 T brown sugar
  9. 1 T white sugar
Pastry ingredients
  1. 2.5 cup flour
  2. 2.5 T sugar
  3. 1 T vanilla essence
  4. pinch salt
  5. 1 egg
  6. 2 T vegetable oil
  7. 1 T baking powder
  8. Milk
Fruit Mince
  1. Stir while bringing to boil and then cook on low heat for about 20 minutes.
  2. Refrigerate for 24 hours or more if possible.
Pastry
  1. Sift flour and baking powder, add sugar, vanilla, salt, egg, and oil. Mix and form a dough slowly adding milk while the dough has a firm consistency.
  2. Chill the pastry dough in the refrigerator if possible.
Pies
  1. Roll pastry into a thin sheet. Cut our circles large enough to fit the muffin pan. Fill with fruit mince (about 1 dessert spoon). Cut out star shapes from the pastry for tops.
  2. Bake at 180ºC for 15 minutes.
  3. Dust tops with icing sugar.
Yet another Murray Family website https://openi.biz/

 

Istanbul / Dubai, 2010

During our Spring break in 2010, we visited Istanbul and Dubai. Here are some of the highlights of our trip.

Istanbul

Topkapı Palace – photographs were not allowed inside, but we were impressed by the architecture and exhibits including a huge diamond that had been found on a rubbish dump.

Grand Bazaar – similar to the covered bazaar near the maze of shops in Izmir’s Kemeraltı, but on a bigger scale.

Hagai Sophia –  the former Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal cathedral, later an Ottoman imperial mosque and now a museum.

A stained glass window in Hagai Sophia

Great Palace Mosaics Museum – a large collection of Byzantie era mosaics.

Byzantine mosaic of leopards and a griffin with their prey
Byzantine mosaic of leopards and a griffin with their prey

Pera Museum – we saw a Picasso exhibit, Turkish ceramics, and old measuring instruments.

A folding ruler

Robot Zoo – one of the malls had an interactive science exhibit with robotic creatures.

Robot giraffe showing its respiratory system
Can you find Erin?
Tortise racing at the Robot Zoo

Dubai

Dubai is usually a place where we change planes on our long-distance trips. After flying with Emirates several times we had earned a free flight so we stayed a few days in an apartment hotel in Dubai. Peter was ill for most of the trip, but we enjoyed relaxing in the apartment which was bigger than our home, swimming in the rooftop pool and exploring the neighborhood.

More photos on Flickr

Germany, 2015

We spent 2 nights in Hamburg on our Denmark/Sweden/Germany holiday. During our full day there we visited Miniatur Wunderland.

Miniatur Wunderland
Miniatur Wunderland

That evening we ate hamburgers in Hamburg. The next day we took the train south through Hanover where we stopped for a few hours. One of Peter’s great-great-grandfathers came from there. We also stopped to change trains in Frankfurt where we ate frankfurters.

Hanover
A historic church in Hanover
A historic church in Hanover

We stayed for the remaining four nights of our holiday in Stuttgart. There we enjoyed visiting the gardens and the natural history museum and exploring the city.

Stuttgart Natural History Museum
Flamingo in the Stuttgart gardens
Tower in Stuttgart gardens
Looking down the tower in Stuttgart gardens
Panoramic view from the top of the tower in the Stuttgart gardens

We took a day trip to the Altensteig in the Black Forest and spent the afternoon with Peter’s business partner and his family.

Bürgerhaus, built in 1459
Bürgerhaus

Jordan, 2011

I went to Amman for a two-day business trip. The work finished early and so I got to enjoy a tour of the Jordan river where Jesus was baptized and the mountain where Moses viewed the promised land. 

There have been several Chapels of the Jordan River
The place where Jesus was baptized
There were some people on the Israeli side being baptized in the River Jordan
Mt Nebo
View from Mt Nebo
A sculpture of Moses’ serpent on the pole (Numbers 21:4-9)

Visiting New Zealand July 2016

We visited New Zealand from 1 to 26 July 2016.

Three adult fares and one almost adult fare halfway around the world and back again cost more than our rent for the year.

We landed in Auckland earlier than expected and went into the central city to do some admin stuff which took much longer than expected. We stayed a couple of nights in an apartment and did some more admin, exploring the city and meeting with friends.

Sky Tower
Yachts on Auckland Harbour

We then bused to Hamilton for a few days with Edria’s family.

Mini golfing in Hamilton
Waikato River

We took the train to Palmerston North for a weekend reunion with Peter’s family, picked up one of Peter’s parent’s campervans and then spent a few more days exploring the Manawatu.

View from the Northerner train

We spent a weekend in Hawkes Bay with Peter’s sister and her family, then traveled onto Taupo, Rotorua, and Tauranga. 

Napier coast
Tauranga

A short visit again to Auckland and Hamilton, then we flew home again.

Hobbiton
Auckland
Penguins at Kelly Tarlton’s

Prague, March 2019

Museums, galleries, museums.

Prague has hundreds of museums and galleries to visit. We spent four nights in a rooftop apartment that was easy walking distance to a lot of the old city. During the days, we enjoyed exploring the city’s sights and cuisine on our Spring Break holiday.  

Some of the highlights of our trip include:
Museums: Nostalgic Museum, Strahov Monastery Library, Lego, Alchemy and Ghosts, KGB, Apple, and a World of Franz Kafka experience
Art: Andy Warhol/Alfons Mucha/Salvator Dalí, Kampa, Gallerie Nova Sin
Street food: Berries, beer, hot dog, hot wine, trdelnik = cinnamon pastry with whipped cream, halušky = ham/potatoes/cabbage

Penguins lining up near the Kampa Gallery
Babies crawling up the Žižkov Television Tower
Prague Astronomical Clock
Havelské tržiště | Havelska Street Market, dating back to 1232.
Street performers in the Old Town Square
A canal boat on the Vltava River
A squirrel in Petřín Gardens
Many buildings had amazing facades
Bubbles in Old Town Square
A mix on old and modern architecture near the Vltava River
Cathedral of St. Lawrence.
Stations of the Cross in the Petřín Gardens

Pamukkale, New Years, 2019

We first visited Pamukkale in 2000 when we did a tour of the Seven Churches and stayed just one night. It was really interesting to return here with our children and see the restoration that has taken place since.

Pamukkale / Hierapolis

The travertines of Pamukkale are world famous. The rock formations that have been deposited from the hot springs over the centuries are amazing. We tried to translate the inscriptions at the theatre and spent most of the afternoon wandering around the large site. I don’t remember the ruins of the church and tomb of Philip and the large cathedral being on the tour in 2000.

Hot air balloon over travertines at Pamukkale
Hot air balloon over the travertines

Laodicea

In 2000, our tour just drove up to the site and there was not a lot to see. Now there is a paid entrance (15 ₺), cafe and gift shop. There were a couple of cranes and many workers uncovering ruins and restoring the city. A Byzantine church with mosaic floors was rediscovered here in 2010 and it has been preserved along with a temple, main streets, and houses.

Mosaic floor, Church, Laodicea
Mosaic floor of the church

Karahayıt city forest

Near our thermal hotel – relaxing in the hot pools was great – is a city forest. We enjoyed a climb into the mountains until the track got too muddy to go further.

Photo
Photo

Rhodes 2018

In 2004 we had some Turkish friends who were working in the tourist areas of Kuşadası and Marmaris and we took a trip through Turkey and some Greek Islands to visit them. On that trip we only stayed one night in Rhodes, so we returned there recently to explore it more.

3 Windmills, Rhodes harbor

3 Windmills, Rhodes harbor

We took a taxi, two buses and another taxi to stay a night in Marmaris. The following morning we took a ferry to Rhodes and arrived in the old fortified city. After lunch, we checked into our hotel near Kremasti Beach. We stayed 6 nights and enjoyed eating in the local restaurants, walking along the beach and swimming in the hotel pool. We caught up on reading and resting. We took some day trips to explore the city of Rhodes, view fish in the harbor in a submarine boat and visited the Bee Museum.

Fish

Fish, Rhodes harbor

Toes in the sea

On our return home to Izmir, we took the ferry to Kos, had lunch, did some shopping and explored the historical ruins including a Roman Odeon. 

We then took another ferry to Bodrum. After a meal, I returned by bus to Izmir but the rest of the family stayed the night and visited the Bodrum Maritime Museum and returned the following evening.

Gallipoli, 2008

On ANZAC Day (April 25) in 2008, we had the privilege of taking part in the official commemorations at Gallipoli. It was the 93rd anniversary of the first Australian and New Zealand forces landing on the Gallipoli Peninsula.

A school group we knew from New Zealand were coming to visit us as part of their tour and we planned to join them at Assos for the Gallipoli part of their trip. 

We took an intercity bus from Izmir to Küçükkuyu. We then took a taxi to Assos and then found out that our hotel was not actually in Assos, but back in Küçükkuyu, close to where we got the taxi. We did see an ancient Roman road in Assos that St Paul would have walked on during his trip to Troas, views of ancient Assos, donkeys and lots of beautiful wildflowers.

Gallipoli 2008, Commemorative badge, bag and postcard.

Commemorative badge, bag, and postcard.

After our detour, we checked into the hotel and met the Kiwi team. They had traveled down from Istanbul via Troy. Being the off-season, we had the hotel to ourselves and a small Australian group. At about 10 pm we left the hotel to travel to Gallipoli, via the Çanakkale – Eceabat ferry. We had about 1 km to walk from where the bus could take us to Anzac Cove. There were already hundreds of people in sleeping bags when we got there and more were arriving throughout the night. We had been given information packs and the big screens were showing documentaries and interviews about the historical battle.

We managed to find a couple of empty seats in the stands and we huddled together under a New Zealand flag and tried to sleep as best as we could. It was uncomfortable and cold.

Just before dawn, some of the geographic features were lit up and the band played, setting the scene for the somber occasion. The crowd was quiet and reflective.

The dawn service took about 45 minutes, with New Zealand, Australian and Turkish representatives all taking part.

An Australian camera crew briefly interviewed me after the service, asking what I thought of the event. We met up with the rest of the Kiwi team and began the walk (about 5 km) up to the highest point on the peninsula, Cannuk Bair. We stopped along the way to carry Ryan (5) and Erin (2), see the trenches and cemeteries and have some breakfast.

Gallipoli 2008Gallipoli 2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

Australia, Turkey and New Zealand had their own commemorative services during the day, but we just went to the New Zealand service. Erin and Ryan both fell asleep during the service. The wind was cold. The sun was hot.

Carrying and holding children during the trek and services was hard going. The whole experience gave us a glimpse of what it would have been like for the young soldiers who came from so far away and fought to birth the nations of Australia, New Zealand and also Turkey in 1915.

After the New Zealand memorial service, we waited with the thousands of other “pilgrims” for the hundreds of buses to take everyone away again. We went back to the hotel, ate and had an early night.

Gallipoli 2008

The next morning (Saturday) we traveled to Bergama on our way back to Izmir. We stopped at an onyx factory and saw how they carved and polished the stone. Our children were given the sample stone eggs they made.

Our next stop was the Pergamum ruins – the acropolis above the city. We saw the remains of the temple to the emperor, the steep theatre, the altar of Zeus and the cisterns. We went to a restaurant for lunch after this and then stopped at the Asklepion ruins – the ancient medical center.

In March 2014, I returned to visit Eceabat and the Gallipoli Peninsula to capture photographs for a WW100 project for Woodville Pioneer Museum. You can view the album of photos on Flickr.

Budapest 2018

For Spring Break 2018, we visited Budapest, Hungary for a few days. Highlights of our visit include:

  • Center of Scientific Wonders (CSOPA) museum including the game bar and solving the World Traveller Escape Room
  • Flipper museum (Pinball museum with 130 pinball machines)
  • Walk up to the Citadella
  • Exploring Buda Castle
  • Visiting the Budapest History Museum
  • Looking at art in the Hungarian National Gallery
  • Drinking Glühwein and Hungarian beers
  • Eating traditional Hungarian beef stew
  • Riding the Funicular
  • Looking at the various styles of architecture throughout the city