Istanbul – July 9 -11, 2014

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Up at 5am and off in a hired car to Bodrum to catch our flight to Istanbul. We have used Atilla at Cine Tour-Marina Travel Service Tel: 0090 532 762 6800 here in the marina to arrange all manner of rides to the airport, renewing resident visas, and helpful services while in Turkey. Attilla’s offices are located at the dock in D-Marine. He is an excellent resource and dependable. We fly Atlas Air to Istanbul and land in Sabiha Gökçen Airport. Note: Important to remember that Istanbul has two airports: Ataturk on the European side and Sabiha Gökçen on the Asian side. Check your tickets and avoid a lot of stress. Our daughter and son-in-law gave us the great gift of staying at the Four Seasons for two days as a Christmas gift. Wonderful. It is right on the Bosporus and we watch tour boats and tankers rhythmically parade up and down this waterway as we have lunch outside after our arrival. The Bosporus, with its strong current, is a superhighway for tankers. It has a history of n dramatic collisions with fire and devastation onshore. The flow of traffic is highly regulated now. Tom and I head off to the Grand Bazaar to search out a rug dealer whose shop we think we will be able to relocate.

best online casino slots bonus The Grand Bazaar has almost 3,000 shops, some only as big as a walk-in closet. It is oldest and biggest shopping center ‘in the world’. There is a system to locating shops in the bazaar. There are multiple gates into the bazaar, all numbered. Make note of the gate number and then check the The Turkish, Armenian, Jewish, Ashkenazi shop owners are aggressive but not impolite marketers. Avoid eye contact and don’t respond to the hellos or guten morgans or merhabas, if you want to be left alone. They will not pursue you. We wander past 2,999 shops without finding our guy. We end up looking at some very nice carpets at Gallery Shirvan, 50-52-54 Halicilar Street (Gate 14), Grand Bazaar, 34126 Beyazt – Istanbul / Turkey. Tel: 0212 520 62 24 or 0212 522 4986 email:

online casino besten bonus Erol Kazanci, the rug shop’s owner, helps us locate ‘our rug guy’, actually sending one of his employees to show Tom the way. Before heading off, Tom asks Erol if he likes to play backgammon. That is like asking a Canadian if they have heard of a sport called ‘hockey’. Game on! One bottle of water and 5 games later, Erol asks if we might like to see some of his carpets. We like the shop, the quality of rugs and the prices (my Arab husband is a born negotiator) are appropriate. A purchase requires some thought and a good night’s sleep. No more energy for another shop. We grab a taxi and head back to the hotel in the blistering summer heat and traffic jams that make you think that Istanbul is a giant parking lot. Exhausted. We eat dinner in the room. What a wonderful luxury!

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Istanbul: The Collected Traveler by Barrie Kerper contains tons of great history and advice on what to see in the city. For a couple of years now, I have had the mosaics at the Chora Church on my list of “must-sees”. “Chora” refers to ‘outside the walls of the city’. Tom and I take a taxi to the Kariye Muzesi (Chora Museum) The cab winds its way downhill through streets pocked with wooden houses and arrive at a dead end capped by a small square. Built by Justinianus (527-565), the Kariye Muzesi chapel contains amazing mosaics possessing a clarity and color that are unique. With the fall of Constantinople, most churches were converted into mosques. The Turks boarded up the Christian art, inadvertently protecting it from the deteriorating rays of the sun. Tom, an art lover, is thrilled to be here. So am I. We take a hundred pictures. The Church, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, is undergoing a renovation, making the garden and one unique mosaic unavailable. There is an entrance fee of 15TL ($7). Be sure to get the auto guide. You will miss a lot without it.

Chora Museum Mosaic
Chora Museum Mosaic

Mosaics and Frescos
Mosaics and Frescos
Exterior of the Chora Museum
Exterior of the Chora Museum
Chora Museum Mosaics
Chora Museum Mosaics

ocean resort casino online mobile app Lunchtime and we have a reservation at Asitane, a famous Ottoman restaurant conveniently located next door to the museum. Kariye Camil Sokak No. 6, 34240 Erdirnekapi, Istanbul. Tel: +90 212 635 7997 Patricia Hamanci, an Istanbul resident and our boat neighbor in Didim. gave the restaurant rave reviews. They have recreated recipes from the time of the Ottoman Rule (1453-1918). As guild members, Ottoman cooks were ‘fiercely secretive about their culinary tricks’ and recipes. Using larder invoices and a variety of historical tools, Asitane’s chefs believe that they have discovered this lost cuisine. Tom and I sit in their very pleasant garden under an arbor.
The interior of the restaurant, a more luxurious wood paneled setting, is being readied for a ‘closed’ event in the evening. We pick from the full menu. Tom orders their signature dish – a melon with mincemeat filling.

Asitane Restaurant, Ottoman Restaurant in Istanbul  (Rita in the Garden)
Asitane Restaurant, Ottoman Restaurant in Istanbul (Rita in the Garden)
Asitane Restaurant, Ottoman Restaurant in Istanbul  (Tom  in the Garden)
Asitane Restaurant, Ottoman Restaurant in Istanbul (Tom in the Garden)
I have the lamb with figs, almonds, and apricots. Both dishes are fabulous. The spices enhance without competing. We watch other unusual and visually compelling dishes served to the surrounding tables. The table next two us, talkative before being served, is in a silent reverie over their dishes. We learn that they are both Swedish. One is an opera singer and the other restores oil paintings. I share that I studied German with opera singers at the Goethe Institute near Munich many years ago. Tom shares his background in art. Wonderful conversation to match our wonderful food!

horseshoe casino best slots Lunch is over. Next stop is a return visit to the Grand Bazaar and more carpet negotiating. We get close but not close enough. It is hard to walk away but a good exercise in restraint. It is a cab back to the hotel.

zeus casino slot game free Note: Taxis in Istanbul are found at taxi stands, similar to those in Paris. You usually do not ‘hail’ a cab as in New York City. Still, occasionally, a single cab might agree to take you where you want to go. Out of 10 different taxi trips, we were only ripped off once. That is a better percentage than when I lived in NYC. Traveling means that you will often be lost and sometimes cheated. Even these negative elements have the potential to enhance the adventure.

slot machine free columbus What a ride! It is the end of the workday and Rammudam. The traffic is crazy but for a bit more money our driver is willing to act like a salmon going upstream. This experienced cabbie takes us through back streets that are not on the ‘cook’s tour’. We see neighborhoods of gypsies and others living on the street and whole buildings that are nothing but rubble. We watch a middle-aged man, an ‘entrepreneur’, balancing a tray of at least 200 small sandwiches atop his head as he hawks them singly throughout the streets

Sidestreet of Istanbul - making a living
Sidestreet of Istanbul – making a living
and an elderly man push a large cart up the street selling some type of spice or dried vegetable, stopping to wheeze every hundred feet or so. What a sight! What a reminder of how hard life can be for so many.

Didim, Turkey July 6 – 8, 2014

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Seventeen to twenty-two knot winds and Pakilar is on a reach to our homeport of Didim, Turkey. Beautiful last day of sailing for me for the next couple of months. I head home on Wednesday via Istanbul and London. Tom and I will share the sights and sounds of the city for two days… there are some frescoes and a gallery in particular that I would like to see… and then Tom heads back to the boat. I go on to London to visit two of our daughters. I rein in my thoughts about the trip ahead and try to focus on where I am. Turkey’s coast is ringed with wonderful marinas and D-Marin is definitely one of them. Tom and Marcelo tell me that, “D-Marine is one of the best marinas in the Mediterranean.” Restaurants surround the complex and the Marina’s hotel sports a lovely pool. The town of Didim is a bit depressing with its recently built but empty apartment buildings (land and labor must be cheap here to make it worthwhile to build without pre-selling) and the “we carry everything” shops that litter the streets. People here seem to be very hardworking and helpful. This softens this dry and dusty place. There is a fabulous highlight here in Didim, the Temple of Apollo. The guidebooks say that this historic site is ‘two columns short of a wonder of the world’. I like this description. It is kind of how I feel about myself some days. I have visited the Temple at least three times. It is an amazingly compressed collection of ruins that include columns with some of the greatest detail that I have seen. I have seen a lot of ruins, so this is no random complement.

kostenlose casino slots If you are waiting for work to be completed at the marina, I would recommend renting a car and using Didim as your base of operations for visit to the historic sites of Priene, Miletus, Euromus, and Ephesus. Ephesus is a two or three hour drive that you will always be glad that you made! It rivals Rome and it is only 15% excavated. Take a drive to Gumusluk, just 17 miles away, for dinner one night. It is a charming fishing village with small shops lining the road to the harbor that is ringed with many good restaurants. It is a magical memory. The Bodrum peninsula about an hour and a half away. It is pretty trendy now but the castle is fun to see and there are tons of shops and restaurants. The roadways in Turkey around the coast are relatively new and in good shape…lot of investment in infrastructure here. Plan a day trip to Herakleia and Lake Bafa for a great rustic scene. The Aegean used to reach this far inland but it is now landlocked creating this breathtaking lake.

beste online casino oesterreich Marcelo makes his world famous caipirinhas tonight. One is just the right amount to still be able to walk up to one of the restaurants near the marina, “Key-F” Restaurant, for a good meal with a great view of the sea.

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Winding down and packing up. Highlight of today is riding on the back of a motor scooter that Tom rented to run errands in town. With “WWI” vintage style motorcycle helmets on our heads, Tom and I ride into downtown Didim to pick up a few things at the pharmacy. I see smiles on the faces of a few drivers who pass us. I suspect this ample-sized older couple on a bike with archaic headgear is a pretty entertaining site. I love the ride and focus on the fact that we are still moving forward even in our older years.

which casino has the loosest slots in vegas 2019 Lazy day today. Dinner at a restaurant in the D-Marine complex called “Upstairs”. Low energy and the day is hot but a good breeze for evening sleeping.

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Laundry back and packed and feeling like I need to charge the batteries before the trek to Istanbul. Invited our boat neighbors Dr. Mehmet Cem Harmanci and Patricia Harmanci for drinks and then we all plan to get a bite to eat in Didim. Pat and Mehmet spend about 6 months of the year either in their apartment in Istanbul or on their boat a 42ft sloop. The remainder of the year, they live in D.C. Mehmet is a retired nephrologist. Fascinating people who have a son, who is a stand-up comedian in San Francisco, and a daughter who was entering Phillips Exeter as our daughter was graduating. For dinner tonight, we call a local eatery in Didim, next to the Grand Mosque. The restaurant happily provides transportation to and from the marina for diners, negating the need to rent a car or taking a bus to town. They serve home-style mezes and simple main dishes that always satisfy. I order a lamb stew with a side of green beans and the thick and delicious Turkish yoghurt. Warm pita and several dips arrive without asking. The ‘house’ gifts sliced sections red, ripe, delicious watermelon sections. The waiters are plentiful and attentive and actively look for ways to demonstrate their usefulness. The boss/es are watching…a group of three men who sit at a table by the double door, checking receipts and monitoring the help. Unemployment is reportedly high in Turkey (25 to 35% depending on whose statistics you monitor). Still, it must be particularly difficult for the waiters to keep the pace tonight.

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Our view at dinner.  Inspirational message from the Grand Mosque in Didim.
Our view at dinner. Inspirational message from the Grand Mosque in Didim.

It is Rammudam, the Moslem high holy days that requires daily fasting from sunrise to sunset for an entire month. What discipline! How do they find the stamina? Shops are always open and the whole family is working. If one shop doesn’t have what you want, the owner or a son or cousin is quickly dispatched to a friend’s shop to find you just the right size, color, feel. Turkish shop owners are masters of ‘the sale”. Dale Carnegie should take a lesson from them! Tonight the Mosque with its towering minarets sports an addition. It is a scrolling billboard with religious messages streaming across silver wires suspended in the air. I am glad that Mehmet was with us. At first, I worried that restaurant or nightclub ads were being projected into the night. “No, it is religious inspirational message,” Mehmet says. Pleasant conversation, comforting food, a short ride home and soon we are saying our “Good night” s to Mehmet and Patricia.

Patmos, Greece July 2 – 5, 2014

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It is a downwind sail to Patmos, our home away from home, and an exquisitely beautiful and fairly small island with one magnificent bay after the other. What a gift to be here again. We avoid the downtown area of Skala and anchor in Grikos Harbor, near the Patmos Aktis Hotel. There is a large rock promontory in the middle of the harbor. Guidebooks tell us that hermits have lived inside in the cave that is visible mid rock face. There is good holding ground for anchoring in the anticipated Force 8 (Beaufort Scale) winds and the process goes smoothly.

A Marcelo photo from a promentory showing the harbor.
A Marcelo photo from a promentory showing the harbor.

This island is famous as the site where St. John the Divine wrote the Apocalypse. An exile to the island, St. John lived in a small cave. After half a dozen visits here and thanks to Tom’s social inclinations, we are anything but cave dwellers or hermits, knowing quite a few kind and interesting people here.

slots plus casino coupon codes First stop is the reservation desk at the Patmos Aktis Hotel (Patmos Aktis Suites and Spa, Grikos, Patmos Tel: 2247 032800) for dinner in its Apocalysis Restaurant. Dmitri is the chef here and he creates amazingly delicious and interesting dishes that you would be delighted to find in any major city in the world. He became a father this past year and the pictures of his son, Christos, are so wonderful to see. Kostas, the headwaiter, is an excellent sommelier and an extremely intelligent guy with whom we have had many conversations about the state of the Greek economy. Dinner in the restaurant is always a highlight of our travels here. Next, we head to the car rental at “Theologos Houses, Grikos, Patmos Island, Tel: +30 6974 337836 Email: . (At the driveway entrance to the Patmos Aktis hotel, look left. You will see scooters in front of a small building.) The cars are dependable and the price is competitive with anything on the island. Tom and I have gotten to know Theo and his wife Alicia and their three boys over the years.

grand slam casino online Today we take the car and drive to the Khora (religious center) to see our friends Katarina Mourati and her husband Karsten. Their shop is a short walk from the Monastery of the Apocalypse, a monastery worth seeing. Be sure to continue on to the central square after a monastery visit. For years, our tour would stop at the monastery and this entire hilltop village is lovely to see with its many shops and restaurants. Katarina is an artist who creates very special paintings and some craft pieces out of various papers. Katarina Mourati, Chora, Patmos, Gr. Gallery TeL: +30 22470 34270 Email: Tom has become a collector and we both love her work. We invite Katarina and Karsten to join Marcelo and us for dinner at Apocalysis. We wind our way back to the boat, zigzagging down the hills checking for cars behind us so we can slow to see one glorious panorama after another. A small land bridge / isthmus connects one section of the island with the other. The visual effect is magical.

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Tom, Marcelo and I begin with a morning trip to the AB Super Market in Scala. (As you face the city center, the market is to the left. The street to the right of the police station is a ‘generally’ straight road to the market. Don’t hesitate to ask any passerby on the street for directions.) AB has a parking lot right in front but, for some inexplicable reason, we insist on parking on the waterfront in a town parking area. We must like exercising biceps and triceps with our plastic bag weights. The aisles are crowded upon our morning arrival. Employees are restocking the shelves and a hundred empty boxes make the shoppers weave into and out of aisles with multiple scuza and pardonnes. My German heritage has given me great skills in organization and I am convinced that within three minutes I could clear paths for shoppers and improve efficiencies at the check out. I REALLY COULD. It takes great restraint to resist gathering empty boxes and moving them out of the way with carts and group each shopper’s items at check out. We drop Marcelo at the dinghy with the bounty of our expedition. He is the master organizer on the boat…a skill I appreciate. Items disappear into the confines of our water home, our floating RV, and appear magically upon request.

Next stop is a visit to Katarina and Karsten to determine a next purchase of Katarina’s wonderful art. Karsten and I …and Marcelo…share a love of literature and film. Our dinner at Apocolypsis revealed these common interests. It is like ‘finding one’s tribe’. You want to say, “Yes, I share your joy. Thank you for validating the significance of this love.” It is connection with others that leaps over the bounds of language and location. Of course, we find two of Katarina’s paintings that will make a fabulous triptych and will have a special place of honor in our home.

Tom heads for a massage and Marcelo takes a dinghy trip to a promontory at the harbor entrance to snap some wonderful photos of Pakilar in Grikos Bay. (I have visions of Tom and I and Marcelo pushing walkers down a gangplank and, at least, sitting on the boat in our old age reminiscing about the years at sea. Still, if Marcelo chooses to do something else in his older years, photography is one of his gifts. He often is the author of our finest photos.) Dinner tonight at the Taverna next door to the Patmos Aktis Hotel. (To the right of the Hotel as you face land from Grikos Harbor.) Dmitri is also the chef at this hotel-owned restaurant that has a lower price point and excellent food. Kostas graciously brings a bottle of wine as a gift for our meal. The movie tonight is “Betty Blue”, a director’s cut of a French film that is four hours long. Shockingly, I do mean shockingly, even Tom continues to watch the film. The acting is excellent. In some ways, the story line is like watching ‘road kill’. Both principals are insane. You say “Don’t watch, don’t watch. I know where this is going.” But, ultimately, you MUST watch.

The winds roar tonight! Glad to be in a safe harbor!

July 4, 2014
Second day of the meltemi. Winds gust up to 40 miles an hour…in the harbor. We hear that weather is bad at home too. Hurricane Arthur is moving up the New England coast. Our anchor has moved slightly. Conventional wisdom on a boat is that the ‘first’ time you think of taking added precautions is the moment you ‘implement’ those precautions. Marcelo loads a second anchor in the dinghy and Tom and he work to set it. We spend the day watching the weather and checking the boat’s movement. Grikos is the better harbor when northerly winds blow. The isthmus that connects the two parts of the island creates a valley that provides an open corridor and little shelter for a boat in Skala.

The plan is to meet Katarina and Karsten to watch the World Cup Game between France and Germany at a taverna with a TV near their shop/home. Marcelo decides to stay onboard to keep an eye on the boat and the wind. Driving up to the monastery, we can feel the intensity of the increasing gale. Karsten shows us their lovely apartment above the shop, a charming two-bedroom apartment with a great stone floor and dark wood frame shutter-style windows that open onto the view of the sea. “Jimmy’s” Taverna is across from the shop. The owner is a close friend of the Katarina and Karsten. Jimmy’s twenty-something son was the godfather for Karsten and Katarina’s daughter Laura’s recent baptism in the Greek Orthodox Church. The photos of this event, thrice being submerged underwater as part of the ritual, are quite wonderful. We meet Laura tonight. She is even prettier than her photos. At dinner, we meet Jimmy. He has lived in Iowa and vacationed in Maine. Germany 1 – France 0! The Brazil vs. Columbia game is next. We head back to the boat to relieve Marcelo, encouraging him to catch the game on the pizzeria on the shore. He declines. The wind is gusting up to 54 knots. He wants to stay close.

July 5, 2014
The winds are slowly abating. The plan is to leave Patmos tomorrow for our home port of Didim, Turkey. The morning begins at the post office to mail our Greek purchases home rather than tote them on my many legged journey home, incurring excess baggage fees on the way home. We visit some of our favorite shops in Skala. As we pass the town square, we see Karsten sitting with a group of German/English speaking friends and we join them for coffee. Interesting lives one and all!

Tom and I drive to Lampa to eat lunch at our oft-visited Leonidas Restaurant tel: 22470 33232, a hillside taverna that overlooks the sea. Coming here is a ritual. We have brought family and friends over the years. It is simple home cooking but always excellent. Our waitress recognizes us from last year and even tells us where sat. The food is as good as we remember. We top off the rental, grab some groceries, return the car and return to the boat. Marcelo makes a delicious vegetable stew and Tom and I have bought a good brown bread and lemon and almond cake for dessert. The movie tonight is “Being There”, a 1979 film with Peter Sellers and Shirley Maclaine. I can’t believe that I haven’t seen it before, being a Sellers and Maclaine fan.

Quarry Bay, Fournoi, Greece – July 1, 2014

July 1, 2014
Light wind today. We are headed the 40 miles from Chios to Fournoi. Upon our arrival, we nose into the outer reaches of the Fournoi Town. It is a bit too shallow and we are looking for a quiet night. Quarry Bay is high on our list of alternatives. We spent a very pleasant night anchored there last year and it will provide the shelter we need from the predicted increased wind. Our destination requires us to make a short but dramatic passage between the islands of Fourni and Thymena. Caves pocket the shore and the rock faces remind me of a lizard’s skin, rough and accordion-like folds that might spring to life like the monsters in an old Sinbad movie. As we enter this fairly large bay, the beach is straight ahead. DSCN1548

Marcelo tied two fenders together to create "a boat" to go to shore to take a phot of Pakilar in the harbor.
Marcelo tied two fenders together to create “a boat” to go to shore to take a phot of Pakilar in the harbor.

Ancient broken columns from an ongoing archaeological excavation are scattered on the shore. There is a sign…in Greek. Tom, a frat boy from university days, remembers enough Greek to translate the message, “Archaeological Excavation. Please do not dig.” I suggest that it is a warning, “Man-eating fish. Swim at your own risk.” We could have used a warning …but not about sea monsters.

Anchoring is difficult. The bottom is rocky with small patches of sand, except near the beach, and areas of weed. Marcelo is in the water for quite a while trying to set and reset the anchor for a good hold. We run very long lines from the stern to rocks near the shore to keep us from swinging. Finally, the hook is set. Tom and I grab snorkel gear and jump into the sea. It is a bit colder than usual but refreshing. We swim to the beach and then circle to its left to explore the mouth of a small cave. Underwater it is clear, magical and silent. Tom has a slight cramp in his leg so we swim back slowly to the boat and shower astern. Tonight I cook a frittata and make a tomato and cucumber salad. The salad is great with my heavy-handed treatment of garlic and the frittata is comforting. Our viewing pleasure is “A Man and A Woman”, the original French movie with subtitles. I realize that I have never actually seen the movie before.

It is 2 am and Tom and I awake to the sound of Pakilar’s engine starting. We jump up and Tom heads to the helm while Marcelo throws off the lines to shore. It is pitch black. Clouds cover our sliver of a moon. “Which way is the shore and where is the middle of the bay?” Tom is getting his bearings on the GPS and Marcelo grabs our high-powered light. Our anchor dragged with the change in wind direction and velocity. The boat alarm sounded as we neared the shallows and Marcelo bolted to the deck. Soon we are scanning the shore with a beam of light. I am on deck and try to follow directions to the letter. My nightgown and untethered hair blow in the wind as we shout into the dark. If I were a younger woman, this scene might make a good cover photo for a romance novel. The reality is closer to the look of a banshee or Medusa. We re-anchor and it seems to hold. Marcelo keeps a restless watch on deck for the rest of the night. The morning finally comes and we recapture our thrown-off lines to the shore, still securely tied to our underwater rocks. Pakilar and her crew are unscathed.