Monthly Archives: January 2013

Gerga

Sunday, we got up when it was still dark for a trip with Zirve Dağçılık to Gerga.  We made it to the meeting place in time for a glass of tea before Bridgethe bus left.  Then it was a two hour drive to the last half an hour up a narrow winding road south of Çine.  We got out of the bus to admire a Roman Bridge.  Then we walked to Gerga, about a two hour walk along unmarked trails, not all easy walking, some was quite challenging (steep and slippery rocky bits) but not so challenging that it detracted from enjoyment of the landscape.

Gerga-standing-stonesGerga itself is impressive.  There has been some work there, but it’s not in the slightest bit restored.  It’s spread between a series of fields separated byGerga-and-the-lake stone walls.  Two massive monolith-type structures, several smaller structures, a few inscriptions (most of which say Gerga or Gergas in Gerga-lionGreek script) and a couple of stone lions, so worn away that you can hardly tell they are lions.  Ashley spotted they were lions before the guide pointed them out to us.

We got a talk about the history of the place and some of the attached mythology.  Gerga1In Turkish, of course, though Hilary did understand most of it.  The guide spoke good English and told us the same stuff in English a bit later.  There is not a lot known about Gerga, it appears to have been fairly small, referred to as a village at one point.

Lake-and-rainBelow Gerga there is a dam, it’s made a big reservoir.  We understand there is more old stuff beneath the water.  The views were good, the dark clouds and rain over the reservoir were particularly rainbowimpressive., We were actually quite lucky with the weather, rainbows and intermittent showers when we were walking, torrential rain at times when we were on the bus.

On the way home we stopped to sample the famous Çine köfte which were delicious.

Three Days in Izmir

ChromeThe Harley has a lot of chrome, the previous owners liked chrome and skulls.  The Harley spent five years (five winters) in Istanbul.  Istanbul winters are not good for chrome.  When we got it, the chrome was quite scarred and corroded in places.  Purely cosmetic but we are now addressing this…

A friend told us of workshops on the Sanayi in Izmir who can re-chrome things.  So, early this week,  Ashley took the heat shields off his exhaust and , on Wednesday, we took them to Izmir.  We had fun getting into the Metro carrying cylindrical metal objects in a plastic bag but the security man was reassured when he was shown the corroded pipes.

Off to Stadyum (three stops on the Metro) where we met up with our friend who drove us to the workshop in question…

Well they do stainless steel (very good stainless steel) but they have a man who does chrome for them.  He was phoned, he came over, he went off with the heat shields.  We went out for lunch with our friends then looked at one of their bikes then, as they had a complex set of riding bikes to one place and driving people to another place to do, so we took ourselves off to Ikea.  Where we bought some bits and pieces we’d been promising ourselves for ages.  Then home on the bus.

On Thursday we went back to Izmir to pick up the re-chromed parts.  Only they weren’t ready.   We waited half an hour, then we found out there had been a problem with the machine.  We were told they would be ready at six, probably, but definitely on Friday.  This is Turkey so, probably at six is best taken with a pinch of salt.  It was frustrating but everyone was very sweet.  We went and bought some sewing machine oil and a large piece of swordfish then came home on the train.  The swordfish was delicious and excellent value.

On Friday we went back to Izmir.  We picked up the parts.  They are veryfabrics, very shiny!  We drank tea.  We went to Kemeraltı where we managed to find the fabric shops Hilary went to with the Craft Club.  Hilary bought stuff.  We had coffee and kebab.  We came home on the train

So, three days back and forth to Izmir.  It began to feel a bit like commuting, but at least there was not that work thing at the other end of the commute.  Thursday was quite frustrating (apart from the swordfish) but the rest of it was great!

The chrome conew-pipesmes with a two year guarantee, and the workmanship is excellent.  It will probably last a lot longer away from the ice, snow and grit of Istanbul.  Today Ashley put it back on the bike.  Looks really good.

Selçuk Camel Wrestling Festival

Sunday 20th January.  Loud, brash and a lot of fun.  We took lots of photos.

2012 – A Review Part 4 – October to December

October

Back in Selçuk we had the rear wheel looked at again.  As suspected it was badly worn and needed to be replaced.  The advice was to be very careful with it, don’t go too fast, and avoid all potholes, and get a new wheel as soon as possible.

October was also the month we heard about a new law which permits foreigners   to obtain a Museum Card – they give free access to pretty much every museum and archaeological site in the country.  Since buying the cards which are valid for a year we have made a great deal of use of them and strolling through Ephesus has become a regular occurrence.

We had a coLake2uple of really good days out with friends. The most spectacular was to Lake Bafa and Kapıkırı.

The broken wheel was an unplanned expense just as we started to have some alterations made to the kitchen.  New cupboards, and a cooker hood / extractor.  This involved taking out the old extractor fan and having a carpenter make new cupboards to match the old ones.  There were some delays to the work, we needed to get a second carpenter and as a result the cupboards only got fitted the day before we left for the UK.  This meant we would need to have the rest done when we got back.

Then it was off to the UK to see family and to Dublin to see friends, and to pick up a new wheel for the bike.

November

We had the kitchen finished as soon as we got back.  This involved having the extractor hood moved to the right height for the new units and the pipe properly fitted througDavlumbaz-lowered-with-fingh the wall, and getting a neighbour to help fill in the resulting hole in the wall.  It was starting to get cold, the last thing we wanted was a hole in the kitchen wall for the wind to come straight through.  Of course when the work was all done there was decorating to do.  It has very much been worth the hassle and expense, the kitchen is greatly improved.

Equally in need of attention was getting the new wheel fitted.  The wheel went on the bus to Izmir along with Hilary and Ashley carefully rode the bike.  We had a couple of hours to kill whilst the wheel was being fitted so wandered around Izmir and had lunch.

Over the month we gradually moved into the front house and then closed down the back house for winter.  We started using the high quality wood (we bought a tonne of it earler) in the soba.  We now know we must not use the extractor when the soba is lit, and so far have had no problems at all with the soba.

The local nonsense about the end of the world started.  There was talk about only Şirince and a village in France being saved from some sort of apocalypse brought about by the end of the Mayan Long Count.  It is a count, a measure of time, when it ends a new one starts, but we guessed it would be good for the local economy.

December

The apocalypse thing got increasingly out of hand.  People started to get concerned about safety.  Rumours of thousands of people converging on Şirince started.  Come the day there was a massive media circus, loads of police and emergencySirince2 services present, and access to the village was being restricted on safety grounds.  We took a stroll up there by way of the forest roads, just to see what was going on.  The village was packed but not much more than is normal for a Sunday in summer.  In the end it was all a bit on a non-event and as expected nothing else happened.

We bought two new radiators to help us stay warm.  High tech things, made in Sweden, they seem excellent.  They were also incredibly easy to fit.

We learnt that the KGS card we have for the toll roads is being phased out.  The other system, OGS does not work for bikes because it works on front number plate recognition.  A new system called HGS was being introduced, this works on a bar code recognition when approaching the toll booths.  The sticker with the bar code is meant to be mounted on a forward facing surface, a windscreen.  We now have the sticker with the bar card mounted on a card and plan to hold it forward when approaching tolls.  We have not as yet tried this out, December was cold and we had no pressing reason to hit the motorway to Izmir.

We did a lot of social things, in particular towards the end of the month.  Meeting friends in Izmir and Selçuk, evening gatherings, the usual stuff for this time of year.

False Spring

The last three days have had a springlike feel to them so we have taken advantage and been out and about.  Today the forecast is for rain and this looks set to persist for the next few days.  We’ve done as much washing as we could…  At least the temperatures remain pleasant.
Ozdere1Sunday we took the bike out.  A friend told us of a Harley Owner’s Group ride out from Izmir.  We didn’t go to Izmir but met up with the crowd at their destination Ozdere2in Özdere.  The coast road from here to Özdere is pretty and very popular with bikers. We met up at Sevgi Park where there is a restaurant with a wonderful view. There was a set meal which we thought was a little expensive, though it was very good.
plovers-3On Monday we took the bike out again.  This time to the local beach at Pamucak.  We walked along the beach to the river and saw several varieties of plover (and wagtails and herons and cormorants).  A glass of tea at the beach cafe rounded off the afternoon.
On Tuesday we were more adventurous.  We got the dolmuş up to Camlık and discovered the route up to Meryemana.pamucak-from-Meryemana  We got bored with the metalled road on the way down so struck off on a forest road which led us down to the Kuşadası highway.  We then found a back road that took us to just before the airstrip where we flagged down an empty dolmuş which bought us back to Selçuk.
We’ve been lovely and warm on all of these outings and are really not looking forward to the onset of ‘winter again’.

2012 – A Review Part 3 – July to September

July

Come July the weather was getting really hot.  July and August are not months Boats-at-Ahmetbeylifor strenuous activity.  When we had nothing else to do we took to heading to the beach at around 4pm and cooling down in the sea for a couple of hours.  We continued to do this through August, making use of beaches at Pamucak, Ahmetbeyli, and Claros.

We were aware that the islands were likely to be cooler, and Hilary had never been to Santorini, so a trip to Greece happened.  We got the bus to Marmaris and hopped on a ferry to Rhodes.  A week later we came back on the ferry from Kos to Bodrum.  The trip was a lot of fun, an overnight stay in Rhodes, then on to Crete.  After a couple of days in Chania, from whence we walked SamaGorge-1ria Gorge which was amazing, we moved on to Heraklion visited the museum which is being redeveloped, and then on to Santorini.  We went to Akrotiri, the museum with the murals, hired a quad ATV, stuffed ourselves on Santorini Fava, and generally did the tourist thing.  We even managed to find a reasonably priced restaurant with ‘the’ view.

Ramazan started in July and went on into August.  We were not fasting, but many people around us were. It must have been pretty tough for those fasting, the days were hot and very long.  The beach at Ahmetbeyli was a lot quieter, it is pretty hard to swim and avoid getting seawater in your mouth.  We generally avoided eating on the roof terrace until after sunset, not really a problem, if was a lot cooler and more pleasant for eating after sunset.

August

By early August we decided that we wanted a portable air conditioning unit for the back house.  It was day after day of temperatures around 37C, and remaining really hot at night.  It took us a little while to get the unit we wanted, there were delivery problems, but eventually it arrived.  We mostly used it at night, to help us sleep.

For us the beach remained the place to be in the late afternoon, a chance to get a break from the heat.

We took another trip south to the Mediterranean coast.  To Uçağız which is spectacular.  We walked to Kaleköy, not far, but in the blistering heat i180812Bt was tough enough.  We chartered a boat to take us to Kekova and to various other places (mostly swimming places).  We shared the boat with two really pleasant French tourists who like us wanted no music.  We swam, snorkelled in some amazingly clear water, walked to Aperlae – it was a fantastic day out.

Later in August on of Ashley’s crowns fell out.  We went back to the local dentist who had fixed it the last time.  The problem was that the tooth beneath it had broken so the solution was not going to be so simple.  We were given various options and various costs for the options.  In the end we opted for having a whole load of work done, very much the same as what was planned on the NHS before we left the UK, crowns and bridges. This work went on for a few weeks, it was traumatic, but worth it.

September

Remaining on health issues, in September we became eligible to buy into the state health insurance scheme.  For us this represented very good value, because the one policy covers both of us.  It did mean that once again we had to go through the bureaucracy of state, was a couple of days of running back and forth to Tire and offices in Selçuk.

We got a phone call from the police inviting us to attend the police station in relation to Ashley’s application for a Turkish driving licence which he made last June.  We went, filled out some more forms, Ashley had a blood test for grouping, paid some charges at the tax office, and the back to the police station for fingerprints.  A day later we were called again and told the licence was ready for collection. Ashley now has 2 driving licences, his UK one and his new Turkish one.  Unlike the UK one it is for life.

Frank, a friend of ours had by chance booked a last minute week in Gumbet.  He abandoned Gumbet for a few days and came to stay with us.  We showed him around Ephesus and did a few other tourist bits.

We contracted a local builder to convert our basement into a garage.   The work was done over a weekend because during the week he was busy doing restoration work on the castle.  The window was moved, a new door fitted, and a ramp made for the bike.  It is a much more sensible use of this space and made us clear a load of stuff we had stored (dumped) in there.

Our last road trip of the year took place over late September and into October.  To Eğirdir.  We used Eğirdir as a base to visit Sagalassos, and had plansagalassos6ned at least one other trip out.  Sagalassos was amazing.  The other planned day trip ended up with us sat in the local sanayı having the rear wheel respoked.  Not what we had planned.  We will be going back to Eğirdir next year, there is more we want to see in the area and it is so beautifully located, the sunset over the lake was particularly good.

Routine Soba Maintenance

It is getting really cold at night and the soba has started to get smoky – these two things seem to happen at the same time.  Maybe it is a combination of the flu being icy cold and having a build up of soot which slows the flow of hot gases and smoke.  Left it would get more smoky, and then dangerous since carbon monoxide would start to become present in the smoke.  It goes without saying that we have carbon monoxide and smoke alarms, in our view anyone who has any device with an open flame in their home should have these.  Even so, it is far better to keep the soba working safely.

So before it got any worse it was time to pull everything apart for cleaning and to remove the soot from the flu.  Cleaning the soba and flu is not a pleSootasant task, but it is essential.  We have a round wire brush on an extendable pole which is just about the ideal tool, but it is a messy job, soot gets everywhere.  Of course it was bound to need doing the day when we have people coming over in the evening…..