A Travellerspoint blog

Back to where it all began

sunny 28 °C


Well here we are back in Istanbul, kind of funny being here 3 months later and reflecting on the past 3 months. How has this trip changed us as a family. I think we are closer, more tolerant and more patient. The kids realise the world is a bigger place than their 5km radius and that people have different beliefs, cultures, languages, poverty and disability. We have arrived today at our apartment in busy middle to lower class Istanbul, with the rubbish, cats, and noise that shocked us 3 months ago, now we just smile and get on with it. Matt pulled the curtains and found they are about a foot too narrow - we probably would have jumped up and down three months ago - instead we think Oh well we'll see the sunrise. We are keen to hear peoples impressions of how the kids have changed - to us they seem more confident and probably more resourceful. The only thing we wonder is how they will cope walking down the street as normal everyday kids - they are treated like movie stars here with constant hugs and kisses.

Home sweet home our apartment is first floor third window from the right
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What are we looking forward to apart from the obvious catching up with family and friends. I'm looking forward to a Latte, a cold glass of chardonnay, and the space and quiet of home. Matt is keen for a glass of milk, a game of golf and a catch up with is soccer mates. Holly her Polly Pockets and My Little pony, a room of her own and sausages at school on Friday. Toby is going to give his cars a hug and his Ben 10 sword and his mate Jack. He'll also finally have made it to his Birthday which has been in his sights since the day we left. And dear sweet Bellie I dare say is looking forward to her own cot and safe railings on veranda's. You should see her cot tonight it is a standard portacot - but it has shrunk and is around half the size. She can't even stretch out in it so I am calling this one the "matchbox". I remember my Nana telling me how they would sleep the babies in an open drawer of a scotch chest - well I reckon Bellie would just about handle that now. Check out her bed blog I have added a pic.

We'll miss Turkish Bread
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This morning we have tackled the bazaar again. That place seems to suck the life out of our children within 20 mins. It's the noise, the crowd, and the lights think it just overloads their senses. This is our last shopping blast before returning home. We have travelled pretty light up until now due to the logistic difficulties of carrying it as well as our kids around. The kids are happy they got their promised toy each costing us a total of $17. So this is it - the final few days of a very successful trip.

This is how light we have travelled - up until now!
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Man we have seen some sights (It's alright Poppa Bellie didn't run up to this one saying "Poppa Poppa")
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Wednesday 29th September - leaving day
Matt has done a few sums for us. We have travelled 4100km within Turkey by air and road. We have visited 8 towns and called 15 different places "home". We have drunk 500 litres of bottled water, and only two bottles of wine! Had nearly 5000 visits to our blog and in 86 days we have had only 6 hours of rain over 3 days. Finally - we have had only resorted to fast food (Burger King and MacDonalds) 3 times.

Today - our last day we visited the beautiful Aya Sofia (which I missed last time as Bellie was sleeping) and returned to the kids favourite magical Underground Water Cistern. Two out of three kids are coughing and snotting - they just want to challenge their Mum and Dad on that flight. We leave at 4pm spend 4 hrs flying to Dubai, wait for 2 hours then 7 hour flight to Singapore for 2 hours before another 7 hour flight to Brisbane where we arrive at 1am and spend the next day and night before flying home Saturday.

Well farewell Turkey - it has been amazing - better than we could have ever imagined.

And thank you to all who have read our blog your interest and comments of support have been overwhelming and a really lovely link to home. Keep an eye on the blog still - I'll do one when we've been home for a week and tell you what we think.

This morning at the Underground Water Cistern
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Posted by Watson5 02:59 Comments (1)

Antalya beautiful Antalya

sunny 38 °C

Well here we are in our last week of our trip. Matt is already plotting his escape from going home. Missing flights losing passports have been mentioned! We are loving Antalya - we spent 5 nights at the "Blue Sea Gardens" Pansiyon which was the place with the lovely garden and pool. But the 5 of us sharing just two small rooms is not ideal so on the advice of an old couple at the Pansiyon Matt went and checked out apartments across the road. Well they are awesome we have a what seems huge villa two bedrooms two lounges and a pool shared between the 6 villas, however we seem to be the only ones around. The funny thing is we are actually paying half of what we were for our tiny abode across the road and we have loads of space which makes for a pleasant change.

Our new apartment front
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And back - yes that is the road we are standing on and Bellies room is the overhang bit
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We've been pretty quiet here just enjoying wandering the streets of Kaleici - the old town. There has been a huge amount of renovation since Matt and I were here 9 years ago with the streets being r- cobbled and many of the Ottoman houses restored back to there former glory. The kids love running down the narrow alleys and we never seem to go the same way twice. A few are still in need of restoration so the imaginations run wild as whether they might be "haunted" or not. We've had a couple of trips to the bizarre to buy mostly clothes for the kids with "Hello Kitty" and "Spiderman" being the hot favourites. This is were the haggling for price occurs and it's a funny old game which I don't really enjoy but we get there in the end and the kids are very happy with their wares. Check out Tob in his Spiderman jacket - it is very sun smart with a hood that zips down the front and sunglass eye patches to look out - and yes he insists on wearing it in the searing 37 degree heat. Prices have risen in the last few years here with many things comparable to home but you still get the odd bargain. I got some Demazin decongestant for Toby today as he was so bunged up with a cold ?allergy and I need to clear it before our plane trip. Anyway the 200ml bottle cost $2.30 which is ridiculously cheap. We also laugh how in the big cities all the same shops are in the same street or area, for example all of the stationery shops in one street or all the bike shops - not sure how the whole competition thing works.

Hello Kitty chats to Spiderman
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We had a two hour trip out on a "Gullet" (that's a type of boat for anyone not familiar). Matt negotiated us a price so we could head out on our own rather than having to wait for the boat to fill up or do a 6 hour trip. Off we headed with our Captain down the coast seeing some awesome beaches, hotels on the side of the cliffs and a stunning waterfall. Two hours was plenty for Miss B who due to the boat railings (which were were wooden and like stair banisters but with a 1 1/2 foot gap between each one) had to be held by one of us for the whole time.

Our trip on the Gullet - Duden Falls in the background
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We also took a trip to the local Aquapark which turned out to be pretty grotty and very limited as to what the kids could do so we were home by 2pm. In the evening we often have a picnic tea of bread rolls, cold chicken, hummus carrot sticks and fruit. I makes a nice change from sitting in restaurants all of the time and we get to see a bit of local life like sit and listen to some teenagers singing and playing the guitar or play alongside some Turkish kids. I did however find myself a little confused to hear Matt swearing at a Turkish kid around 5 years old the other day. Matt said he had come up and hit Toby and due to an apathy from the kids Mum Matt had decided to tell him off. As the kid couldn't understand what he was saying he chucked in a couple of swear words for good measure.

Tob heads down the slide
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Bellie shows the big kids how it's done
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Some things still amuse us even after 3 months. Like when you watch TV the blank out all cigarettes and pipes replacing them with a kind of hand drawn cartoon flower. I guess images of smoking on TV are banned which is funny really as we are sure about 90% of adults here smoke. Another is that the diet is so healthy and you rarely see an overweight Turk however all of the breakfast cereals seem to have so much sugar added - even special K is sugar coated. I saw an advert last night for these cocoa pop balls that are coated in chocolate - for breakfast!

Now I'm going to hand over to Matt to write about his trip to a football game:
Antalyaspor where playing Kayserispor in Antalya so I got myself a ticket. In the process I got invited to go with the owner of the shop(Mustafa) that sold the tickets and the shirts I had brought. I hadn't met him only talked over the phone as his lady in the store didn't speak English she would text him when I went in. His English wasn't great but he managed to convey where and when I would be picked up. I met him at his shop at 6pm and got a lift with his son, cousin and uncle. We got to the stadium at 8pm as it was 40km out of town and I left them to go to my seat. Outside the stadium was a fence which was patrolled by armed police on horseback. You get to the outer gate and armed police in riot gear are in two lines which you have to go through, at the end of the line they check if you have a ticket. I got to my gate, got my ticket checked and walked through a revolving door. On the other side I was patted down - out came my phone, camera and wallet. The officer was asking me something which I was unsure of so I said I wasn't Turkish, at which time he took my wallet. Feeling a bit nervous why he wanted my wallet I watched him open the coin part and take them all out. I had about 12 coins 8 Lira in total which he took and said "Sorry". He placed the coins on a desk behind him which had other coins on it as well as metal objects and knives. The sign above the desk had a warning of what was banned, flares, knives and guns! Brilliant I thought, like who wants to bring a gun to a footy match. A Turkish man approached me and told me why they had taken my coins. It was because the supporters throw them at the players so they ban them. On the way to my seat I saw a policeman trying to lock an exit door because people were trying to come in - when he couldn't he got out his handcuffs and locked the handles together. I made a mental note as to which door not to run to in case of a fire.

The sign of "NO's" at the entrance
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Inside the crowd was small but noisy. The home supporters had drums and some great chants. One in particular they would start then other sections of the crowd would sing there part so it would volley around the stadium. The away supporters who numbered only a hundred or so where "caged" in a section down one end. The had fences 10 foot high around all four sides with a netting roof, it was crazy! The game started with a minute silence which the Kayseri supporters broke half way through with there chants. When that finished the Antalyasopr supporters went mental - fists where being waved and men were running at the "Cage" obviously wanting a fight. It was all on and the game hadn't even started. During the match there was a great atmosphere. The singing was excellent and the game was good to watch. It all turned though with ten minutes to go. The singing had changed to more aggressive chants abusing each others teams, and there was more provoking each other. Down in the "Cage" the Kayseri supporters ran to the front of their section and with fists waving started at the Antalya supporters closest to them. In return they rushed at them. Both sets of fans unable to get each other but that didn't seem to bother them. The riot police entered the Kayseri section and got them back to there seats. Then the all locked arms and jumped up and down singing. When the song finished they started breaking the seats and throwing them towards the Antalya section. With the net it was futile but did send a message. Loads of fans around me jumped up and raced toward them shouting and screaming. I sat quietly in a trance watching what I had only seen before on TV. I felt a bit nervous but it was so cool to watch!

The game finished 2-1 to Antalya and I met Mustafa in the carpark for my ride home. On the way home I asked what the supporters where singing but he wouldn't tell me. Only to say "Its bad and not football" He dropped me off near home at midnight. It had been a brilliant experience, if slightly different from watching RAFC at Jubilee park.

Check out the away supporters cage
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Back to Rach: Tuesday night we had a real treat for the kids. Firstly we took them to an icecream cafe and let them have the biggest icecream sundaes you have ever seen for dinner. They were astonished that this was going to be tea "where's the rice" said Holly. After tea we walked over to the other side of town to see a lights and water fountain show. It was awesome the water spouts all danced perfectly to a series of classical tunes. It really was stunning and the kids were so excited. Matt and I felt ill all night after all the icecream.

Mmmm icecream for dinner
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The next night was a treat for Matt and I. We booked a babysitter - who was the cleaning lady from the Blue Sea Gardens so that we could head out for dinner. The only other time we have done that was on my birthday so we were really looking forward to it. The babysitter arrived at 7.30pm with her 5 and 10 year old boy. They were dressed in their best clothes ready for an evening playing with our kids we presume. However our kids were in bed though Bellie was playing up and Holly and Toby had just gone to bed. So we waited till they all settled and left instructions for her to call if there were any problems and we'd come home. Now this lady spoke no English at all. After dinner we snuck past the back street window to see Toby up in the lounge with one of the other kids helping to put his spiderman jacket on. That's okay we thought and carried on down the street to have a drink before returning. Matt ordered his favourite a black russian usually made from Kahlua, vodka and coke. Ours was made with Cognac, instant coffee, coke zero, diet pepsi and eventually some vodka (after someone ran to the shop to get some) Not the flashest black russians we had ever had.

Anyway we wandered back across to our villa at about 10.45pm opening the door to find the babysitter her 2 and our 3 kids sittiing on the couch "happy as" Holly's description of the chain of events was very amusing. She the babysitter kept on coming upstairs to check them. Toby and then Bella got up and she came downstairs and told the babysitter that they would be tired and needed to be put back to bed. But the babysitter shook her head and waving her finger said "No no no no - no sleep" Holly says she eventually gave up after telling her that Mum and Dad would be "very missaapointed" So the babysitters kids got to play with ours, we had a fun night out and 3 grumpy kids the next day.

A late night playdate aka - the babysitter
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Today is our last day in Antalya. This morning we headed to "Sand Land" a display of quite cool sand sculptures - it was okay but not really worth the trip. We had to catch a bus and a taxi and as per usual managed to attract some excitement on the way home. Our taxi driver was keen to drive us all the way which would cost us an extra $60 over taking the bus. We declined his offer instead getting him to drop us at the bus station or "Otogar" He drove like a maniac on the 10 min trip and begrudgingly pulled over at the bus station. Just as we were getting the kids out of the taxi a bus backed into it. There was a horrendous crash and the taxi jolted back. Matt and I were both on opposite sides of the taxi and were hit by the doors as the taxi lurched back. Thankfully the taxi driver was able to toot and get the buses attention to stop the bus. We were left feeling a little shaken and thinking what if the kids had been walking around behind or in front of the the taxi.

This afternoon it is just hanging by the pool for our last Turkey swim before heading to Istanbul tomorrow morning. We're on the home run now.

Tonight's sunset
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That's the "back end" of the blog tonight - Matt calls them Chocolate, Caramel and Vanilla :)
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Posted by Watson5 11:26 Comments (4)

The many beds I have slept in - by Bellie

0 °C

Mum said I could have a blog about my beds - their are some pretty funny ones and I've been a good girl and haven't made a fuss at all. After all I am so tired at the end of the day I am happy to see my bed and as long as cuddly and bunny are there it's fine by me. And no I wouldn't climb out at I do want to have some teeth left when I get home. Keep an eye on this one and I'll get Mum to add some photos as we keep travelling we always think this one is the funniest and then they come up with some other hilarious model.

Love to you all

Bellie XXXX

The first one - Antique Mum said
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I'm sure this one was meant for a doll - Mum thought I'd climb out but I didn't
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Small and bloody hot - and yes I was yelling!
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Now this is more like it - and they went out and brought it just for me. Even if the mattress was too big for it
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Here it is the worst so far - "The Russian Hospital Bed for Midgets" as Dad named it
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In Ciftlikkoy - very mainstream - boring!
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Next time we went back to Izmir they got me a new one - Dad went and shook their hand and congratulated them
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Oh not one of those old small ones again - in Canakkale - at least it was a bit cooler this time!
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Last but not least - The matchbox in Istanbul - I couldn't straighten out or turn over - man I can't wait to get back to my own bed!
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Posted by Watson5 10:39 Comments (4)

Oh no another flight from hell!

Getting from Canakkale to Antalya

sunny 35 °C


Well our trip from Cannakale to Antalya was a mission. We weren’t expecting great things as we had to fly first to Istanbul and then on to Antalya arriving around 9pm. Thankfully you don’t tend to think of worst case scenario or you probably wouldn’t do a lot of things.
We had negotiated a late check out from the hotel in Canakkale at 2pm. We had a 6pm flight so it still meant 4 hours to kill but we planned to hang out at the pool. Being so far from town and without wanting to cart our bags around town our options were limited. It all started to turn pear shaped when we woke to find it pouring with rain. Okay not insurmountable but the pool for the afternoon was out. The rain did clear to leave an overcast day so Matt decided to take the kids out for a stroll so that I could get on with the packing – it is otherwise a nightmare with a 1 thing in 2 things out kind of thing happening. So off he went only to find that on cloudy days the stray dogs seem to be out in force. His short walk ended with them getting bailed up by a particularly viscous looking dog that barred the only way back to the hotel. Some kind men walking and one who stopped on a motorbike ended up helping to carry the kids past the dog whilst yelling at it and waving sticks. Fair to say Matt came back looking a little more grey than he had been.

Anyway Bellie had an early sleep and 2pm rolled around. We had 2 hours to fill in till the taxi picked us up and another 2 hours to fill in at the airport. The two at the hotel weren’t too bad, we played outside, Matt took pine cone throwing at trees lessons and our friendly taxi driver Belki arrived at 4pm to take us to the airport. He was a nice chap and we had used him the two days previous to go to Troy and Gallipoli. He didn’t speak a word of English but seemed to have taken a shine to the kids. We stopped on the way to the airport to get some kebabs to eat before our plane trip. Cannakale airport is smaller than Nelson if that is possible and had nowhere to buy food. Anyway on arriving at this big shopping mall to get food Matt and Toby ran in and Bellie, Holly and I were to stay in the car. The moment we parked out got Belki he opened the back door of the cab and scooped Bellie up in his arms and off they went for a stroll. He popped her in a supermarket trolley and proceeded to wheel her round the carpark for the next 15mins showing her off to some of the other taxi operators. She thought she was the "Queen of Sheeba" and gave us a wee wave each time she passed the car.

We arrived at the airport just before 5pm, thanked Belki and said our farewells. “No” he beckoned “I will wait and wave goodbye” we gestured to our watches saying “long wait” but he happily smiled and went back to his car to wait. Inside the airport we were advised there was a 1 ½ to 2 hour delay on our flight due to bad weather - “Bugger” another 2 hours to fill in. The airport was so small that the most people gathered outside in a courtyard. It turned out there were quite a few kids so we lined the four sides of the courtyard and all tried to keep our kids amused. Matt remembered that I had packed a packet of balloons for exactly these moments so out they came – we gave one to all of the kids and before long they were all happily playing with their balloons and sharing food from various parents. Belki kept strong to his word (or sign language as it was ) and waited to wave goodbye he had spent the best part of 3 hours at the airport (he went away for a bit and then came back) just to say goodbye to a family he had known for only 3 days and couldn’t even speak too – we were very touched. Finally at 7.45pm we boarded our flight to Istanbul – next problem we were going to miss our connecting flight. Matt managed to secure us seats on the next flight which was 8.30pm – we were also going to miss this but the word was that all flights were delayed so it was worth a try and the next one after that was 10pm. There were quite a few kids on the flight and a real kind of "community spirit" with toys being passed from row to row if any of them were grizzling and little puppet shows going on over the backs of seats to keep them amused. It was largely an uneventful flight with the aid of some lollipops and then a dash to our next gate in Istanbul.

Farwells to Belki
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Well we made our connection but that was delayed till 9.50pm, the kids were getting tired by this stage but remained in good spirits. We finally boarded at 10.15pm only to wait another 40mins before taking off. Istanbul is one of those enormous airports where you are bused too and from your plane. The air-hostess handed out pillows and that was all our kids needed – they were asleep before we took off until we woke them 1 ¼ hours later after we had landed – and they took some waking! So we were finally there 12.15pm – a mere 10 hours since we had checked out of our hotel. Just when we thought it was all over we discovered our bags hadn’t made the same flight with us. So here we were 1 nappy only, no sleeping bag for Bellie or favourite bedtime toys for the others. Got to our hotel where we had a family room which was boiling hot, only one airconditioning unit for two rooms and you couldn’t close the door with the cot in the room. To tired to be too bothered we went to bed about 1.30am hoping things would improve tomorrow. We all woke around 8am put on the same clothes as yesterday and headed down to breakfast. Thankfully Toby had been alright overnight with no nappy. Still no luggage despite a promise of it being dropped off overnight. So breakfast and a stroll round the neighbourhood to return to find our luggage had arrived and be moved to a bigger room. Ahh the world is looking bright again.

Sleeping Angels
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Little girl lost wanders through the park in the same clothes as yesterday - just happy she has her bottle
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The Pansiyon has a beautiful setting with a lovely citrus garden and pool overlooking the sea with turtles, yes turtles wandering round.
Kaleici or Old Antalya is still as stunning as we remembered cobbled streets, old restored buildings, stunning beaches with the backdrop of the mountains and a cute little fishing harbor. We lunched in our favourite restaurant 9 years and 3 kids later – what a fantastic feeling. And we are so very proud of our little people – they handle the rough stuff like seasoned travelers just trucking along until things come right – we feel very lucky to have them.

Dinner in the Pansiyon garden
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A drink at the bar
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Why we love this place
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Posted by Watson5 11:49 Comments (2)

Cesme to Canakkale

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Well our week in Cesme was a quiet one. We had a lovely 3 bedroom villa with a large lounge and a pool. Nice having Bella in her own room if only for a week and to be a bit tougher on her rather than give her a bottle every time she squeaks as you tend to when she is in your room (think she’ll need a visit to “baby boot camp” on our return) The kids caught up on sleep and we spent a lot of time just relaxing by the pool, enjoying having a villa to ourselves rather than a hotel room and having to travel for a swim. The kids have all gained a lot of confidence in the water with Toby and Holly competently swimming the length of the 9 metre pool without foaties and Bellie now with full control of her floaties able to manoeuvre around and even float on her back with her feet out of the pool. She jumps in from the side climbs up the ladder and jumps in again.

Watson5 waiting for the Dolmus
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Our pool at the villa
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We also had 4 tiny kittens and their Mum living in our garden – part of Turkey’s very large contingent of wild cats. I read an article the other day talking about the wild cat problem – cats are highly thought of for religious / cultural reasons and most Turkish people don’t want them in their houses so they just feed the strays. We made our stand not to feed them but after half a day of the Mother crying at the door and the kittens looking desperate we gave in and after feeding them a bowl of bread and milk bought some cat biscuits. Now we expected a grateful response after the Mum wolfed them down in about 2 seconds but all we got each time we refilled the bowl for the proceeding days was hissed at – the cheek of it! Wild dogs are up there with wild cats and our local park was out of bounds till around 11am as about 6 or 8 stray dogs would be asleep under the slides – big dogs too like Labrador size.

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We got a few little jobs done like buying new shoes for those whose feet had grown since the start of the holiday (must be all the sunshine)
and haircuts for Matt, Toby and Miss B. Bellie just had a fringe trim but enjoyed the fuss of having it first razor cut, then scissors and even blow dried whilst all the hairdressers and old ladies in the shop fussed around and entertained her and Holly and Toby who were sitting watching. All that for a mere $4.70. Toby and Matt went off for their hairdressing adventure together and after being refused at the hairdressers and redirected to the Barber. Matt went first getting a number 2 all over. Tob was just going for a trim up but after being in awe of his Dad’s haircut came out over an hour later with a matching number 2. Matt said the same fuss, care and attention was bestowed on them with the razor first then the scissors second. Tob looks great – much older and a mini Matt – a bit cooler for him now too.

Tob's "new do"
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Matt and "mini me"
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Not much sightseeing was done in the week we had a look around the castle which was fun and consisted of climbing a lot of stairs to find some turtles wandering round in the garden. Funny they looked like garden ornaments until they started moving. We also had another trip back to our favourite beach where the kids found an eight year old Turkish boy from Istanbul to play with. The poor kid was an only child and was suddenly mobbed by three kiwi kids who were excited by the fact this kid had a few diggers and such like. They all seemed to have fun and the language difficulties just don’t seem to make a difference – I mean a digger sounds like a digger in any language. Holly had a particularly funny animated discussion with the Dad of the boy who asked her if she wanted to play chess. She eagerly accepted the invitation until we quietly pointed out to her she didn’t know how to play. With that she launched into a very slow and deliberate conversation complete with over exaggerated arm gestures and pointing saying “ YOU SPEAK TURKISH I SPEAK ENGLISH – I DO NOT UNDERSTAND YOU – I DO NOT UNDERSTAND YOU!” We were in hysterics as was the man she was talking to and half the people at the beach. One young Australian women later came and talked to us amazed at Holly’s confidence and that she was only 5. She was a teacher and had picked her at around 7 years old. Another repeat visit was to our favourite fish restaurant in Ciftlikkoy. We left after demolishing 1.25kg of fish between the 5 of us.

View of the harbour from Cesme Castle
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Is there any more
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From Cesme it was back to Izmir for two nights in order to catch the bus to Canakkale where we are currently residing. Izmir was fun, big busy and noisy the kids priority was to return to the square and feed the pigeons which we did and after purchasing seed from the elderly gentleman sitting there found the pigeons very well fed and not at all interested at all. We did however see some kids swimming in the fountain and a policewoman go over and ask them to get out. With that one of them picked up a glass bottle and threw it at her feet. He continued to torment her as she walked briskly to catch him. It all ended with him alluding capture and running off – we later saw him trawling through - rubbish bins collecting cans and plastic bottles - I guess to sell.

The 1 1/2 hour wait for the bus - all pretty used to it now
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Our bus left Izmir at 9am which meant an early start for us to get to the depot at 8.15 in order to catch a shuttle to the main bus station. The buses are luxurious with plenty of leg room and a tv in the back of every seat making the 5 ½ hour journey much more tolerable for Holly and Toby who are happy to watch the Cartoon Network in Turkish for hours on end – poor television deprived kiddies. The trip wasn’t too bad apart from the 45min wait at a bus station for a passenger on a connecting service which was a pain as we had been sold it as a non stop service. The kids travelled pretty well apart from the odd grizzle and the awkwardness of a frown at every squeak from the bus attendant (like a an air hostess). We have noticed we never see any Turkish kids on public transport. Anyway we made it and as with all our travel compared to our trip over it was a “piece of cake”

Bellie finds a friend on the bus to sit with
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Holly takes care of Toby
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Our hotel in Canakkale is nice, old but clean and wonderfully quiet and is on a pine covered hillside overlooking the Dardanelles – quite picturesque with all the huge ships travelling out from Istanbul. There are squirrels and rabbits running around here – a nice change from cats and dogs. For the first time though we don’t have a washing machine at our disposal. So I took my bag of washing to reception yesterday to make use of the laundry service. Luckily I asked for a price before hand as it is charged on an individual item rate and the quote with a 40% discount was 100 lira ($90 NZ) for one load of washing! – I don’t think so. Needless to say essential items got handwashed in the bath to tide us over until the next stop. And here’s where my mother says” I used to do all my washing like that and I had 3 kids” no really she is not that old. The cleaners are all young men and they do a bit of a "boys job" really. Even Matt noticed the shabbily made beds roughly pulled up and the valance all tucked up under the mattress. They only cleaning they seemed to do was throw away the soap each day.

Picnic in front of our room looking out over the Dardanelles toward Gallipoli Penninsula
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Bellie up to her usual tricks - stealing food from Toby's plate
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Matt ordered "Meat pies" off the menu - this is what came out kind of a spring roll thing - no meat in sight
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We have two adjoining rooms so the kids are all in together meaning Matt and I have somewhere other than the verandah to sit in the evening when they are all in bed. The night time routine is something close to a military operation with Bellie going to bed first and the minute she is asleep Toby followed by Holly. All this to avoid the party that occurs if they are all in there awake together – yes and you guessed it the ring leader is Bellie who commands the festivities from her cot. The complex has a lovely pool albeit a few degrees cooler than we are used to ( man we are turning soft). The only disadvantage of this place is that it is 14km and a 60 lira taxi ($55 NZ) from the town so we have been a bit stuck here other than our trip to Troy to see the wooden horse and today to Gallipoli. The kids were really to young to appreciate what Gallipoli is all about however we still felt it important to take them and to be able to talk about it in later years.

The wooden horse of Troy
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Gallipoli -Anzac Cove
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Ataturk's very moving verse to the Mum's of fallen soldiers
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The kids have attracted their usual fans here and been smothered with hugs and kisses. One young woman in her mid 20’s took a particular shine to them buying the girls bracelets and Toby a necklace with a crucifix on it. Toby thought it was a sword. He was wearing it in the pool today and Jesus fell off the cross. I noticed and said “Oops Christ has fallen off the cross” only later to hear Holly say to Toby “Do you know who Christ is? He is the man who was on here” and pointing to the cross – “Now you only have a T”

Tonight before tea we went for a wander to check out our surrounds – a nice little seaside community mostly made up of Summer Houses. Holly and Toby were having lot of fun running around until Toby ran straight into a rusty old barbwire fence. So now along with the two skinned knees from yesterday he has some good scrapes on his arm, nose and temple and well as a huge hole in his shirt – Well done Tob you look like a real boy. Toby had a great idea of what to do with the fist sized hole - "It can be a drink bottle holder now Mum"

So tomorrow we move on the Antalya Matt and mine favourite spot and Holly's middle name - we are anxious to see if it lives up to our memories.

Our Darlings
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Posted by Watson5 10:03 Comments (3)

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