Books Worth a Look

  • Little Bee by Chris Cleave - This book is a must read. Better than anything else I've read, it takes you vividly into the life of a person in the 3rd world who has no choice but to escape. It is brilliantly written & works well as an audio book. Often I've sent info about the wonderful refugees I've met in Europe. We know only so much of their plight as it is painful for them to recall much less live through again by recounting it. But over time it is clear what they've lived through. This book is excellent as you discover the horrors of their world. Somewhat how to me, it is like being in Europe near a Concentration Camp. One has an obligation to visit it. 'Never to Forget.' In this case, to have our eyes opened.
  • Garbage King by Eliz Laird - The book is set on the streets on Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia and here lives Mamo and his sister Tiggist. When Mamo's "uncle" offers a job, he soon sets out on a bus to work. Little does he know that he is actually being sold into slavery...

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Turkey - the food

The food was great. Lamb and chicken are a regular. Vegetables, various salads, cabbage, cheese, yogurt, rice dishes, desserts galore (about 5-10 choices.) Various meats, juices and cereal, bread plus 2-3 types of eggs for breakfast. And I lost a pound! Avoided most carbs and took tiny tastes of desserts!! In Baltimore? The Cazbar on Charles has good Turkish food.

Antalya, Perge and our hotels

Antalya on the Mediterranean is a lovely city. The archaeological museum is outstanding. Resort hotels line the beach. Perge itself is another interesting site of Roman ruins. Touring it furthers your understanding of the Agora in ancient times. Our Hotel Experience was excellent. The hotel in Istanbul was a 30 minute ride from the main sites. Along the Aegean and Mediterranean we stayed in luxury resort hotels - well beyond my regular experience! We lucked out as our tour costs were underwritten by Turkish Airlines (which is excellent), the government and one or both of the last day visits: fine jewelry and leather making. The advertized tour price was $2298. Ours was $ 1100. Coupons were is various newspapers. The tour company is American European Travel

Turkish Bath and massage

What is a Turkish Bath? We found out! You disrobe except for a generous wrap. You walk into the steam room and lie down on a marble shelf. Warm water is poured all over you. Then the attendant scrubs you all over - now I know how a frying pan feels when it is cleaned! Following your scrub, a foaming substance is poured all over you. It looks like a very large pillow case full of foam. You get three servings! As the attendant squeezes out the foam, you are literally covered neck to toe. Then you are rinsed and lead to the massage room. As part of the massage you are covered in a pleasant oil. The whole experience takes about 45 minutes and is quite a treat. The price? Less than a one hour massage here at home!


Hierapolis is another site of Roman ruins plus the added pleasure of warm springs. Formations include calcareous cascades, calcium stalactites, and shallow travertine basins formed by lukewarm thermal springs. It looks very much like ice/snow formations. The walk through the ruins is pleasant as there are nice vistas throughout. Travel literature says: '...enjoy a nice warm swim at the thermal pool.' RIGHT! It is but they do not mention the particulars. You begin your walk in calf high warm water(about 93F). Then you come upon boulders that you must climb, slide, slither over! One was such a challenge that after suceeding(3rd try) I said: "This is like climbing an Ionian column! Standing and looking I in fact saw a fallen Ionian column next to my boulder! One continues to negotiate, boulders, marble slabs and columns. Watch your step. It is an experience worth having and one that you will not forget!


Ephesus is an incredible experience. You do a long stroll through well-excavated and colonnaded marble streets, adorned with monumental fountains, numerous temples, the elaborate Library of Celsus. Pictures (I'll post on my Facebook page.) simply cannot re-create the experience. It is not to be missed. Awe and wonder are words that spring readily to mind. There are excellent board walkways where needed and the actual colonnaded streets are breathtaking. This as well as the Alhambra in Granada, Spain and Dubrovnik, Croatia are truly spiritual experiences.

TURKEY: Istanbul

Traveling to Istanbul has always seemed like a dream to fulfill. What I did not realize was just how amazing Turkey is. The big draws in Istanbul are the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, the Grand Market and Spice Market. The Grand Market is closed on Sunday and our excellent Turkish guide (American-European Travel) told us that it's full of junk and not worth the time. The Spice Market is manageable and nice finds can be found. YOU MUST negotiate. Start with 50% of what they ask. Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque are incredible sites outside. Hagia Sophia is the largest church in the medieval world. The Blue Mosque is known for its fine Byzantine mosaics and Islamic calligraphy. Due to lots of renovations in both places(and many wires holing chandelier type lights in the Blue Mosque) much is blocked or hard to see. Topakai Palace - a series of three courtyards is lovely to walk through. There are a few inner rooms holding artifacts - including Mohammed's footprint. For a Westerner it takes some getting used to to seeing so many Mosques and few churches. Turley is 99% Muslim. One cannot miss the call to prayer as minarets have loudspeakers on them.


Thoughts on the amazing people I get to meet.

Rich, my 19 year old friend, soon to be Franciscan and recent community member at Haley House in Boston. An article he wrote.