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


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.


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, 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

United Kingdom, 2009

We spent three weeks in England and Scotland in July 2009. In a tiny car we drove in a loop from London through Bath, Stratford on Avon, Warwick, Liverpool up to Glasgow, then across to Edinburgh and down through Durham, Sheffield, and Cambridge to London again.

Highlights include: visiting Roman ruins in Bath, Chew Magna where Edria’s grandfather came from, a day at Warwick Castle, the Falkirk Wheel, Durham Cathedral, a day at Gulliver’s Kingdom, Matlock Bath, visiting friends in London and Glasgow and Edria’s sister in Sheffield.

In London, we saw the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace in the rain, visited Greenwich Observatory, London Science Museum as well as other famous museums and parks.   

Enter the post box for more photos on Flickr

Samos, 2017

We stayed again at Zeus Hotel, a quiet family owned apartment hotel 500m from the Ireon village. We spent a few days relaxing in the pool, eating in the village restaurants and resting. Nearby is the Tower of Sarakinis, built in 1577. Tower of Sarakinis 

Cheater’s Hot Cross Buns

You cannot buy hot cross buns from our local bakery in Turkey (even in the Easter season), but you can buy the dough that they use for baking normal bread. You can also buy amazing dried fruit here. Mixed together with a little sugar and spice, these ingredients make very tasty hot cross buns.

Cheater's Hot Cross Buns
Super easy way to make hot cross buns
Check out this recipe