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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

THEODOSIUS CISTERN - 2

FATIH, ISTANBUL, TURKEY



Istanbul regains an important and 1,600-year-old construction which is being opened to service with a solemn, rare and modest presentation today. 

We are starting to live the Istanbul, which we cannot apprehend when we read, today. Therefore, Istanbul begins to show itself. 

It is decorated with important works which carry the traces of old civilizations and beauties again.

– Realm of History

Monday, July 30, 2018

THEODOSIUS CISTERN

FATIH, ISTANBUL, TURKEY

The Theodosius Cistern, one of the most prominent ancient cisterns of Constantinople, has recently opened its doors to the public after an eight-year-long restoration project. 

Lying underneath the modern-day city of Istanbul, with its modern entrance located at Piyer Loti Street in Turkey’s Fatih district, the ancient structure has been restored by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IBB).

– Realm of History

Sunday, July 29, 2018

BLOOMBERG EXPERT: SUBSIDIZING STADIUMS A BAD IDEA 100% OF THE TIME

MIAMI CITY LEADERS: PAVING OVER PRECIOUS PARK LAND AND STRIKING SWEETHEART DEALS FOR A MALL/HOTEL/CONFERENCE CENTER MASQUERADING AS THE HOME FOR MLS...

SOUNDS LIKE A GREAT WAY TO REPRESENT THE TAXPAYERS
Thank you Willy Gort and Manolo Reyes for doing everything in your power to stop the ludicrous land giveaway in the name of soccer.

Thanks for not falling prey to hero worship and intense lobbying from the richest of the rich.

To the rest of you, please read this article and help campaign against the shameful paving over of precious, rare park space in the city that has the least amount of recreation space of in major city in America.

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-07-16/four-reasons-taxpayers-should-never-subsidize-stadiums



Saturday, July 28, 2018

YOU KNOW YOU ARE LEARNING TURKISH WHEN….


THE GOOGLE TRANSLATE-DRIVEN TURKISH IS SO BAD, YOU SWITCH TO THE TN VERSION FROM EN VERSION AFTER READING:

"The process that you have the fullest while living in Bath, all of our guests can benefit from avoiding this quiet and peaceful atmosphere and the high volume of noise inside and we ask you to take pleasure."

Friday, July 27, 2018

THE SIMIT


So Much More than a “Turkish Bagel”



While working on an English version of a book originally written in Turkish, I came across the clause that explained a simit is a “Turkish bagel”

And yes, if forced to, I would translate “simit” as “Turkish bagel.” 

But it is so much more.

I love my New York style bagels, with a schmear, thank you.

But nothing compares to the texture, the vaguely sweet exterior of a simit.

Plus, simits are so sociable.

In Istanbul, you walk into any square, off a ferry, down a road – and there’s a simit cart.

You can smell them.

You hear people talking.

Even if you don’t understand what they are saying, you are part of the dialogue on politics, the weather, the Besiktas match, etc.

As tourists, we all have stopped at the carts in Manhattan, set up on a busy corner to sell bagels, hard rolls, donuts and breakfast sandwiches to rushed New Yorkers on their way to work. 

It is not the same.

You can get a simit all day.

I have stayed at hotels in Turkey with endless, fresh simits – and some wonderful homemade jams – at the free breakfast buffet set up on a beautiful terrace overlooking the Sea of Marmara. 

By the third day, I found myself walking the streets to buy a simit.

The air from the nearby Golden Horn and Bosphorus, the gulls diving in hope you have a crumb of dough to toss them, the sounds of Istanbul traffic – cars, people, trams – it all makes the simit taste like the most wonderful food from heaven.






Thursday, July 26, 2018

CAMELS...

...IN CAPPADOCIA
Much as I’d like to think these beautiful beasts are descended from mighty camels that traveled the Silk Road through ancient Anatolia, I fear these humped critters may well be in Cappadocia simply for tourists.

I’m pretty well-traveled. Like to think of myself as savvy and multilingual.

But when I left the very familiar confines of Istanbul for Urgup, Goreme and Avanos, I think I may have discovered camels imported purely to encourage tourists to stop for tented souvenir shops.

In other words, they are not even there so much for rides -- like mules for the Grand Canyon -- but to catch the eye of rubes like me.

I understand about a dozen camels are in Cappadocia, and somehow survive its brutal winters.

The ones I saw were extremely healthy.

My wife loves camels, so I was sure to take some pictures.


Süleyman, a 26-year-old bactrian camel, is the only two humper in the region.


Wednesday, July 25, 2018

UCHISAR CASTLE -- 4

CAPPADOCIA, TURKEY



The main reason visitors go to Uçhisar is to climb to the top of the hisar, the tall rock outcrop via tunnels and enjoy the spectacular panoramic view, the best view of Cappadocia except for that which you get from a hot air balloon.

https://turkeytravelplanner.com/go/CentralAnatolia/Cappadocia/uchisar/index.html

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Saturday, July 21, 2018

UCHISAR CASTLE

CAPPADOCIA, TURKEY


The natural rock citadel of Uçhisar is the tallest point in Cappadocia, visible for a great distance from the region's other towns such as Urgup and Avanos.


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

ANCIENT NICEA

NOW IZNIK, TURKEY


Ancient Nicaea, now called İznik, is a farming town surrounded by massive medieval walls set on the shore of a broad lake 63 km (39 miles) southeast of Yalova.

Two Christian ecumenical councils were held here, the 1st in 325, and the 7th in 787.

The Hagia Sophia Church right at the city center was the scene of the 7th council.

In 1331, Orhan Gazi had it converted to a mosque.

In the reign of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent, the sultan's great architect, Mimar Sinan, made some additions and modifications to improve its function as a house of worship.

Badly ruined sometime thereafter (perhaps by earthquakes), it was restored to its former shape beginning in 2007, and re-opened as a mosque in November 2011, which means you can now enter and get a good idea of the building's earlier Byzantine form.

İznik's Green Mosque (Yeşil Cami) is a fine Seljuk Turkish-influenced work. Across the street is an ottoman imaret (soup kitchen) that now houses the city's good museum.

--by Tom Brosnahan, Turkey Travel Planner -- the best travel website on the internet


Monday, July 9, 2018

AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT 28TH ANNIVERSARY

CELEBRATED BY MIAMI-DADE COUNTY
INTERNAL SERVICES DEPARTMENT 
This July marks the 28th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by President George H. W. Bush.

The ADA is the most broad-sweeping federal civil rights law to protect people with disabilities from discrimination in many aspects of life, including access to local government services and programs.

In honor of this anniversary, the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners passed a resolution declaring this July and every July hereafter as Disability Diversity Month.

To celebrate, the Miami-Dade County Internal Services Department is hosting an event on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 at 12pm in the lobby of the Stephen P. Clark Center.

There will be special guest speakers, a disability history and culture display, artwork by children with disabilities and live music by the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind jazz ensemble.

"I'm proud to be part of this special event to honor the ADA, since disabled persons are the largest minority group in this country," said Internal Services Director Tara Smith.

This free event is open to everyone. 

Sign language interpreters will be provided.

Should anyone need an ADA accommodation to participate, please call the Miami-Dade County Internal Services, ADA Office at 305-375-2013 or by email: hjwrig@miamidade.gov

Media Contact: 
Heidi Johnson-Wright
786-564-5160



Sunday, July 8, 2018

170,000 READERS

THANKS FOR READING MY DAILY BLOG ON TRAVEL,
DISABILITY ADVOCACY, URBAN DESIGN AND HUMAN RIGHTS
Quite a bit has happened since our last readership milestone.

On June 1, we made our final mortgage payment on our historic house in Little Havana.

One June 10, I returned from the better part of a month in Turkey -- from my beloved Istanbul to the Bulgarian border to deep central Anatolia.

On June 11, I celebrated my 30th wedding anniversary with Heidi.

About the same time this blog will observe 200,000 unique visitors, our house near famous Calle Ocho will turn 100.

We hope you enjoy the photos -- I have posted well more than 1,000 of my original images from around the globe.

We know you enjoy the words -- my cumulative writings would fill more than four full-length books.


The images here are from the Turkish government, which is promoting accessibility for people with disabilities.


Saturday, July 7, 2018

CAPTIVATING CAPPADOCIA -- 11

THANKS TO EFENDI TRAVEL


I just checked Efendi and not only do they have dozens of reasonably-priced tours for Istanbul and the entirety of Turkey.

They also have a tour for people who require dialysis. 

As a longtime advocate for people with disabilities, that impresses me very much.




Friday, July 6, 2018

CAPTIVATING CAPPADOCIA -- 10

THANKS TO EFENDI TRAVEL
The Day 2 tour took me all over the place, so I left having ticked every checklist item save for the (additional cost plus 3 a.m. wake up call) sunrise balloon trip.

I bought so many books on Cappadocia, that I even emailed Yusuf about Turkish Airlines policy on weight of bag.


I always go light and carry on, but when faced with a 200 USD cost of shipping home rare books from Istanbul and souvenirs for Cappadocia, I was figuring may check the bags was my option.

Yusuf, a highly trained tourism expert, assured me that while the carry on limit was 8KG, I had at least 20 KG of checked bag for free allowance for the journey back to Miami later in the week.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

CAPTIVATING CAPPADOCIA -- 9

THANKS TO EFENDI TRAVEL


With Efendi’s work to free my from my first day Cappadocia itinerary, I got to spend 4 hours in the Open Air Museum (the tour stop is only an hour) walking up hill at my own pace to favor my knee, and lingering till closing to get better light for photography.

I even got to wander the touristy, but worth a stop for food and shopping town of Goreme, about 1 KM from the museum.

With Efendi, I got the best of both worlds -- all the security, price point and seamless service of a package deal -- but the individuality to strike out on my own.

The entire taxis, park admission food on my own, etc. cost way less than 100 Turkish Lira, about 20 USD, well worth it to see the park on my own.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

CAPTIVATING CAPPADOCIA -- 8

THANKS TO EFENDI TRAVEL


Day 1 was a long hike and my knee was acting up. 

The weather for the next day called for storms.

I pictured my only visit to Cappadocia being marred by a sore knee and rain sweeping away photos I wanted to take in Goreme. 


I offered to leave the tour halfway into Day 1 and pay a taxi to Goreme.

The tour guide was polite, but balked at it.

I dialed Yusuf (he gave me his cell and told me to call 24/7) and quickly, the tour driver was depositing me in Goreme.


The understanding was that I would not have travel protection until I was back in the care off the Day 2 driver the next morning, that I would pay taxi home to hotel and that I was skipping the free lunch.

 I agreed.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

CAPTIVATING CAPPADOCIA -- 7

THANKS TO EFENDI TRAVEL


Each day, I was picked up around 9:30 a.m. and taken around to all the key sites and museums. I must say, the buffet lunch was fairly mediocre, but no lacking for items. 

There must have been 100 things to choose from, which is good for the picky eaters.
Efendi and Yusuf even helped trouble shooting a problem of my own creation.


The number one thing I wanted to see was the Goreme Open Air Museum. 

We were supposed to see it on the first day, but the on-site tour operator switched my itinerary.

Monday, July 2, 2018

CAPTIVATING CAPPADOCIA -- 6

THANKS TO EFENDI TRAVEL


Breakfast -- 95% of Turkish small hotels, be they rural or urban, have a buffet spread in the morning -- had all the traditional Turkish white cheeses, breads, olives, pickles and dips -- along with enough warm food, jams and other items to appeal to the more western palate. 

The room at Yunak was spectacular, though it involved climbing very many outdoor, smooth marble stair cases. It had a very modern and luxurious bath.


There was a heater, but I never needed it.


Plenty of comfy sheets and blankets made me at ease with the constant 67 degree interior.

The room was large as a suite, stocked with free bottled water and amazing to sleep in, what with its carved niches from being an ancient cave home.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

CAPTIVATING CAPPADOCIA -- 5

THANKS TO EFENDI TRAVEL


The service at Yunak Evleri was superb, the finishes amazing, the common areas upscale, etc.

I feared the restaurant would be mediocre and expensive, since it was a bit of a hike into the ancient village of Urgup for a dining alternative.  

But it was the opposite a multilevel lounge deck -- with spectacular views of the canyon around us and the hotel's cliff facade -- welcomed with a fireplace, hip music (volume not too loud) and an array of items.  

Eating late and on the road, I opted for a simple margarita pizza and a gourmet, ultra-thin crust creation arrived with a price tag far less than you'd pay in the states.