Weekend in Nemrut

Nemrut mountain national park, in southeastern Turkey, is a bit remote but utterly charming. It’s best known for the mountaintop giant heads, built by a megalomaniac king, King Antiochos I,  a few thousand years ago and many people just go for the relics.  We discovered the lower regions are filled with wonderful hiking trails and rushing streams and even more antiquities. It was very relaxing and everyone agreed it was our favorite trip within Turkey.

On our second consecutive long weekend (it was Labor Day this time), we went with a group of friends to  Adiyaman. There we were met by Bayram, the owner of Karadut Otel Pansyon, who drove us an hour out to his place in the national park. We spent a day touring the sights, starting with sunrise on the giant heads, after a long nap we hiked around the valley and relaxed. After lunch Bayram’s son took us out on a tour of the region including the Roman bridge, the “new” Kahata Castle,   and the Arsameia Ruins.  The next day we took a leisurely walk around the valley floor. As you can see, the pace of life might be slow, but the beauty of the countryside is spectacular.

In the valley it was a perfect spring day, 70 degrees and sunny. Flowers were in bloom, and springs trickled their way into little waterfalls burbling along our hiking path.  Just 20 minutes away, up at the top of Nemrut it was cold, exceptionally windy, and there was still deep snow on the ground. We had imagined a dry, brown, landscape and were awestruck by just how green and rich the region was.

I would love to return to the Pensyon and spend time in Karadut again. It is a perfect retreat. While the food was simple, it was good. The vegetables, eggs, and meat served in the Pensyon were produced by our host and his family members. A traditional farm to table establishment. They made us feel at home and were beyond hospitable. On our way to the airport, Bayram took us to his favorite shop for the regional dish, cig kofte. We were passing a wedding, and he stopped for 10 minutes to introduce us to his friends. We had a cup of tea, danced with the bridal party, and cheered for their wedding. It was a one of a kind trip.

Venice for the weekend

One rule of international living is you don’t waste a 4-day weekend, so last Children’s Day we rounded up some friends and flew to that great jewel of the Northern Adriatic, Venice, Italy. AirBnB hooked us up with another charming apartment, the weather stayed sunny and warm, and the tide was kind to us. Rather than write a bunch, we though we’d let the pictures speak for themselves: (click on them to enlarge)

Venician Window Garden

Venetian Window Gardening

Venician Garden

Venetian Balcony Garden

Howdy

A quick howdy from a lovely plaza

The Grand Canal

View from the Rialto Bridge of the Grand Canal

Tiramisu

That Italian staple, tiramisu

 

Mike looking at boats

Mike pondering life and stuff

Even the laundry is pretty here

Even the laundry is pretty here.

Sweets and Susan

Susan and Akasha eye the sweets

Mary

Mary – detail from a mosaic in St. Mark’s Basilica

Friends on the terrace

Friends on the terrace

Singing boat ride

A gondola-ride serenader

Lions of Venice

Lions of Venice on a bridge keystone

Sarah

Sarah reviewing her photos

Jeff and Mavis

Jeff and Mavis and their chauffeur

Patio garden

Patio garden

Hyacinths

Hyacinths were blooming all over the city

pigments

an entire spectrum of pigments for sale

Candied Clementine

Candied Clementine in dark chocolate.

Produce delivery

Everything comes on a boat in Venice – including the produce

Wedding photos

Wedding photo

Gondola, at rest

Gondola, at rest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was more beautiful than we could have expected – a great weekend of wonderful food and great friends. Thanks Mavis, Jeff, Susan and Sarah!

Up next: The giant heads of Nemrut. (duh-duh DAAAAH!)