ALIHIKES   78,010
60,000-79,999 SparkPoints
ALIHIKES's Recent Blog Entries

Slow Down for Winter!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Last weekend I let a hike to the Badlands area east of town, it was 70 degrees and sunny by mid afternoon. The canyon was beautiful, and we hiked about 6 miles into a deep gorge carved by an ancient river.

How quickly the weather has changed! It started snowing Wednesday night. Thursday I shoveled snow. On Thursday night, freezing rain on top the snow; then more snow on top of the freezing rain. I got stuck in the snow trying to get up the little hill from my house (I was trying to get to the tire store to get my winter tires installed). I reversed back down the hill and made it safely home. Shoveling snow on Friday was hard work! It was much heavier than Thursday’s powder, and my snow banks of shoveled snow were higher than my waist.

After getting stuck in the snow, I called my friend to say I would not be able to attend her birthday dinner party because I could not drive safely. Another very kind friend and her husband volunteered to drive out of their way, and drove me to the party in their big 4 wheel drive truck. It was a special evening, because I was not expecting to attend.

Today (Saturday -- one week after the nice warm hike in the Badlands) I was able to get to the tire store for my winter tires. But I am reminded how much slower everything is in winter!

Driving is much slower when the roads are icy and snowy.

I walked back from the tire store, and walking the short 1.5 miles on ice and packed snow was VERY slow.

So for now I will just relax and enjoy the slower pace of winter living!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

1SURFWALKER 11/18/2014 10:36PM

    Have you ever done winter hiking like with snowshoes and poles? I think that would be fun! You go on such beautiful hikes! I know a spark member who goes up in the mountains through the snow with boots or snowshoes for miles and miles. I don't know how she does it! Brrrrrrrr
I always hated driving in the careful...glad you got your winter tires on!! I think we are going to be in for a BAD winter this season! Even FL is getting it bad...26 degrees and a hard freeze in my central area. NO fun! emoticon
Stay warm and cozy! Thanks for commenting on my blogs. emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
CLAIREINPARIS 11/18/2014 2:14AM

    Oh my goodness... so much snow!!! And only mid-November! This is amazing for me seen from Paris, where it is still fairly mild. :) Stay safe and warm Alison!

Report Inappropriate Comment
MARITIMER3 11/15/2014 10:14PM

    I hadn't thought of it that way, Alison. I think I'm ready to slow down a bit. I bought a bagful of books, both soft and hard cover, for $5 at a church sale. I will enjoy sitting by the fireplace, reading. It can snow as much as it likes... at least it can once I get my second cataract removed next week, because we have an hour's drive to the hospital.

Peter put our winter tires on himself on Thursday, so we're all set.

Drive safely,

Report Inappropriate Comment

  That's some snow! You have very kind friends.

Report Inappropriate Comment
DR1939 11/15/2014 3:40PM

    We've had snow and high winds. Not really a lot of snow. It's snowing now and should only get 4 inches. Very cold however.

Report Inappropriate Comment

Magical Cappadocia

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Cappadocia, a region in central Anatolia in Turkey, was magical! The landscape has towering tufa rock spires and fantastical formations. Many of the tufa formations were hollowed out to become homes. The hollowed spires are still used to keep pigeons and livestock.

The conical spires are called fairy chimneys. This formation is called the 3 graces.

And this formation is called The Camel, for obvious reasons!

I went on a dawn balloon ride through the rock formations of Cappadocia; the views were just amazing. Over 100 large balloons were up in the air, taking turns going down various valleys and weaving among the spires. Our pilot was very skilled; he landed the balloon right on the trailer at the end of our flight.

I almost didn't sign up for the balloon ride, because I am scared of heights. But I really wasn't scared once I did it, and it was the experience of a lifetime!

Later we visited caves where the early Christians hid and lived during the time of Roman persecution.

The Goreme open air museum is a very interesting group of early churches inside the rock spires; many of them have beautiful frescos and rock altars remaining. Unfortunately no one can take photos inside these ancient churches, because too many visitors ignored the "no flash" rule.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CLAIREINPARIS 11/13/2014 8:35AM

    That balloon ride looks like something I would love to do! I am glad you enjoyed it! Thank you so much for sharing your trip to Turkey with us, Alison. Your enthusiasm was obvious and I am so happy you had a great vacation!

Report Inappropriate Comment
OPALMOON 11/11/2014 2:50AM

    Hi Alison,
What amazing places you visited! The ballooning sounds incredible and lots of fun - you did well to overcome your fear of heights to join in - they all look so colourful and the views must have been awe-inspiring. So glad you are enjoying your trip!
Hugs, Nattacia

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
SAILING2GOAL 11/10/2014 11:26AM

    I LOVE Turkey! I'm so jealous about your balloon ride. When we were there, they canceled our balloon ride because of torrential rains, so I never got to go up. But, I'm so happy for you! Thanks for sharing!

Report Inappropriate Comment
ROXYZMOM 11/10/2014 7:27AM

    Wow! What an awesome vacation! Thanks for sharing!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
1SURFWALKER 11/10/2014 2:22AM

    Oh, what a beautiful sight to see all those balloons!! Good for you conquering your fear to go up in one! Braver than I would be...I have a fear of heights too!! Love those rock formations! Sounds like the whole trip was a trip of lifetime! Glad you had a great time!! Thanks for sharing it all with us!! And thanks for stopping by my blog too!! Always good to hear from you Alison!! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
DR1939 11/9/2014 9:56PM

    Loved the balloons. I would like to do that someday.

Report Inappropriate Comment
MARITIMER3 11/9/2014 5:19PM

    Thank you for the wonderful blogs about your trip, Alison, and congratulations on losing weight in October in spite of your trip.

Cappadocia really looks magical, and your pictures show some of the highlights. I don't expect to ever get back to Turkey, and am sorry that we saw only Istanbul and Ephesus (as part of a cruise).

The balloon ride and the visits to a family home and an elementary school all sound wonderful.


Comment edited on: 11/9/2014 5:22:05 PM

Report Inappropriate Comment
ENDUROVET 11/9/2014 3:26PM

    Yeah I'd be skeptical of those balloons too! But good for you, braving it...
I've taken my son hang-gliding a couple of times - not me, thanks! But I won't be able to plead that 200-lb weight limit pretty soon ;-)

Report Inappropriate Comment
COOP9002 11/9/2014 2:52PM

    thanks for sharing all of those great pics. Looks like you've had an incredible time on your trip.

Report Inappropriate Comment

Turkey Journey Pt. 2: Archeological Sites

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Turkey has more extensive and more complete Roman ruins than Italy. I really enjoyed visiting the archeological sites! We visited the site of ancient Troy.

The next sites were Pergemum and the Asclepion, which was an ancient health spa.

The ruins at Ephesus were very beautiful, but also very crowded.

We went to Heiropolis and its large necropolis. It is set by natural hot springs, the minerals from the hot springs have created beautiful white limestone.

Perge and Aspendos (which has a magnificent Roman theater that hosts performances in modern times!) were other ruins that we toured.

I really enjoyed visiting these ancient Roman sites. It was like having a passport back in time!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CLAIREINPARIS 11/13/2014 6:53AM

    Wow!!! I have never been to Turkey and your blogs really made me want to go there someday. I am sure sooner or later I'll have a work meeting in Turkey, I should plan to stay then for a few days! :) Thank you so much for sharing your pictures with us, these Roman ruins are gorgeous.

Report Inappropriate Comment
OPALMOON 11/11/2014 1:04AM

    It sure does look like going back in time! It's an amazing step into history, visiting all these sites. Thanks for posting these wonderful photos, Alison!
Hugs, Nattacia

emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
TRAVELGO 11/10/2014 4:51PM

  How fantastic! Love the pictures!! Thanks for sharing!

Report Inappropriate Comment
1SURFWALKER 11/10/2014 2:18AM

    I love this...since I am a big fan of archaeological ruins and history! They are so fascinating and to actually walk in the same place all those ancient people did!! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
ENDUROVET 11/9/2014 3:22PM

    My 1st visit to Europe, going over to Spain to meet future in-laws, we stayed in Alicante on Mediterranean coast. Drove over to Murcia where I went gaga over Roman ruins!
Yeah, I'll try to scan & post my old-fashioned photos...

Report Inappropriate Comment
DR1939 11/9/2014 12:29AM

    Very interesting

Report Inappropriate Comment

Turkey Journey Pt. 1; October results

Friday, November 07, 2014

October results were not too bad. I lost 2 pounds for the month (from the October 1 to November 3) and lost 5 pounds from my highest weight in October. I improved my strength training and flexibility. I exercised regularly; and met my water and vegetable/fruit goals daily. When I gained weight mid month, I was snacking and eating too many sweets. The trip at the end of the month helped me break those bad habits and resulted in net weight loss, even though I was eating LOTS of great food.

The Turkish diet is very Mediterranean, lots of fruits and vegetables. There was salad and roasted peppers and olives even at the breakfast buffet. LOTS of olive oil. The desserts were very good, small portions of baklava, Turkish delight (jellied fruits and nuts), puddings and halvah. We liked Turkish pancakes for lunch, which were fried pancakes folded and filled with feta cheese or vegetables. I mostly drank bottled water (tap water is not recommended). My favorite treat was fresh squeezed pomegranate juice from street vendors, tart and refreshing. What I missed the most was ice in beverages.

Spices and honey on the buffet

We (6 friends from Oregon) left home at 3 a.m. to catch our flight to Seattle. There we learned that we were stranded by the Lufthansa pilots strike (originally only one leg of our flight was impacted, but the strike expanded and we had a horrible time trying to get rebooked). We eventually flew on Turkish Air (VERY nice airline) and arrived in Istanbul 12 hours delayed from our original arrival time.

We had a great guide, Timur, he shared a lot of insights into the current politics, religion, and social changes. We were not near the Syria or Iraq borders and did not see any evidence of unrest.

Guide at Perge Ruins

Our trip focused on historical and archeological sites; and we traveled 1800 miles by bus. But one of the highlights for me was the opportunity to meet people! We split up into smaller groups in a small village, where local families cooked a home cooked meal.

The mother/daughter in the photo in their home spoke little English and we spoke even less Turkish, but we had fun communicating by gestures (from the milking hand motions, the cheese was from their local animals; and assorted animal noises that we tried confirmed it was goat cheese!)

We also visited a local school, where several of us donated school supplies.

The little boy is 4 and his big sister brought him to meet us. The two little girls are singing a solo Turkish folk song in perfect harmony for us. The whole class insisted that we sing for them also -- we sang Old MacDonald and they responded with a Turkish song with animal sounds!

Turkey is 99% Moslem, but mostly moderate. Women in the big cities dress in modern dress; in the rural communities they wear floral scarves and baggy pants. Their constitution has separation between mosque and state; but the current regime is eroding that power. The history is very diverse, including religious history, and we made a real effort to understand the influence and diversity in a culture very different than ours.

The first two photos are from the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. The last two photos are Byzantine mosaics from the Haghia Sophia, which was a huge Christian church created by Emperor Justinian and Theodesia in 537 AD. It was a church for 500 years, then a mosque. Pope Francis wants it back; the Muslims want it back; the Turkish government is keeping it as a museum.

One of the most moving experiences in Cappadocia, when we attended a Mevlana (whirling dervish) ceremony in a restored caravanserai. The caravanserai are inns along the old silk road from China to Istanbul, the two we visited were built around 1230 AD. The Mevlana music (live performers including oud, flute, drums, and kanan which is similar to a hammered dulcimer) was ethereal, and the ritual was spiritually moving, an attempt to get closer to God by music, prayer, and whirling into a trance. We could not take photos because it was a religious ceremony, but the final photos in this blog are the caravanserai.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

1SURFWALKER 11/18/2014 10:28PM

    I was going to comment and just noticed I had before. emoticon
I love your blogs so much want to look at them again!!! emoticon

Comment edited on: 11/18/2014 10:30:14 PM

Report Inappropriate Comment
CLAIREINPARIS 11/13/2014 6:51AM

    What a great trip! And I am really glad you had time to meet some Turkish people and families!

Report Inappropriate Comment
OPALMOON 11/11/2014 12:56AM

    Hi Alison,
So glad you finally made it to Turkey after the air strike issues. You certainly have had some interesting and varied experiences as an introduction to a very mixed culture. It's nice that you are sharing it all with people from your home state too. Thanks so much for posting so much content - it is fascinating!
Hugs, Nattacia

emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
1SURFWALKER 11/10/2014 2:16AM

    Very interesting! So nice you donated school supplies! Great pics! You always go on such nice trips. But, sorry you had delays due to the strike...that wouldn't be fun!! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
ENDUROVET 11/9/2014 3:18PM

    Great photos & travelogue! One of my buddies & I speculate about a horse trek in Morocco...

Report Inappropriate Comment
DR1939 11/7/2014 6:07PM

    What a wonderful trip. We have a friend from there and she pushed us to visit but my husband's health limits that.

Report Inappropriate Comment
JENNY888 11/7/2014 4:51PM

    Thanks so much for this wonderful virtual tour of Turkey. Learned a lot.

Report Inappropriate Comment

  Wow, what a wonderful trip! Thank you for sharing it with us.

Report Inappropriate Comment

Vacation tomorrow. Rocky start!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

We leave for Turkey tomorrow at 5 a.m. Unfortunately the last leg of our flights, the flight from Frankfurt to Istanbul, has been cancelled due to the Lufthansa pilots strike. The travel agency is working hard to rebook us; I am so glad that Gate 1 Travel called us back from their emergency message line. I have NOT been able to reach Lufthansa, they must be flooded with calls (450 flights cancelled).

So I am hoping that we can have a restful and relaxing trip. I have been on the phone for hours trying to rebook our flights. At this point I am going to trust in the travel agency!! But it has been 4 long hours trying to get this flight rebooked ...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

OPALMOON 11/2/2014 8:18AM

    Hi Alison,
I'm sorry you had this problem at the start of your holiday. I hope everything went smoothly thereafter, and if you are still away, that you are having a great time. Wishing you safe and smooth travels all the way.
Hugs, Nattacia

Report Inappropriate Comment
MARITIMER3 10/24/2014 1:37PM

    I didn't see this blog when you wrote it, and I hoped everything worked out. There were threats of strikes when we were away too (we also flew through Frankfurt), but we got home before they walked out.

Report Inappropriate Comment
CLAIREINPARIS 10/21/2014 2:23AM

    Oh dear I am sorry to read this! I had a very hard time rebooking flights lately during the Air France strike, so I know what you are talking about. I hope you find a solution!

Report Inappropriate Comment
NEELIXNKES 10/20/2014 9:28AM

    I hope that by now it is all sorted out and you are on your way to a safe trip.

Report Inappropriate Comment
ROXYZMOM 10/20/2014 9:05AM

    Enjoy. Please be careful.

Report Inappropriate Comment
FLORNH 10/20/2014 5:46AM

    Good luck!

Report Inappropriate Comment
DR1939 10/20/2014 1:41AM

    I hope it works out. Have fun.

Report Inappropriate Comment
JEANINNEWCASTLE 10/20/2014 12:07AM

  Oh no! I hope that they can figure that out for you.

Report Inappropriate Comment

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Last Page