Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Turkey, California and Colorado

I've recently returned for a wonderful trip to Turkey - a vacation with Overseas Adventure Travel.  I was with a group of six friends in a tour of 14 total people.  We had a terrific guide, Ersin.  We stayed in Istanbul (once called Constantiople).  The sights of this ancient city were mind-boggling.  From the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia to the grand Dolmabache Palace, from the Spice Market to the fish markets, we enjoyed every minute in such an interesting and welcoming environment.   

A week later we flew to the amazing region known as Cappadocia.  One sunrise morning we floated over the fairy chimney landscape in a hot air balloon.  The region has had people living in homes dug into caves and spires for thousands of years.  It was amazing to see and visit these places, including an underground city. 
    By small bus we traveled inland over the Taurus (Toros) mountains visiting a school, a small village and mayor's office, farm homes for lunch, religious sites, etc.  One night we stayed at farm houses to learn the rural routine.  At last, after passing snow in the mountains we arrived at the Mediterranean Coast, called the Aegean Sea here.  Greco/Roman ruins were in abundance, and it was astonishing to be reminded of the long and rich history and cultural heritage of Turkey.  From Marmaris we boarded our traditional Turkish sailboat, called a Gulet, and sailed north anchoring at beautiful little coves for four nights, and visiting interesting historic sites on day trips.  At Fethiye we moved into a beautiful hotel for our last two days.  Ephesis is the biggest Roman ruins attraction in Turkey.  It was awe inspiring.  A site visited often by cruise ship passengers.
    The flight from Izmir to Munich was short compared to the following direct flight from Munich to Los Angeles, but I survived.  The following ten days I enjoyed traveling around Southern California visiting family and friends.  I stayed a couple days in Los Angeles Chinatown so I could be near the Hall of Records and Central Library downtown to do genealogy research.  A night at a private showing of "Snowhite and the Huntsmen" with a friend in Hollywood was an unexpected treat.  From there I visited a friend in Canoga Park.  Our mothers had been great friends from the PTA when were were in elementary school in Los Angeles.  Arlene and Tom are avid geocachers, so we had a lot to talk about, but I'm a real lightweight compared to them.
Hague/Wallace cousins
Another two days were spent with my cousins Karen and David, getting together with the rest of the Hague descendants, cousins Patti, Carol, Yvonne and Carolyn around Anaheim.  One day Patti, Karen and I visited an historic home in Santa Ana, the Howe-Waffle House (not a restaurant!), savoring the beautiful restoration and enjoying a mock 1890 wedding.  We narrowly missed being mowed down after we left the house and crossed a street at a crosswalk.  An SUV came barreling through the red light, across the place we'd must walked, and plowed into a car making a right hand turn.  The crash was shocking with car pieces flying as if in slow motion when we turned to look. Luckily the people were not injured and the police were there in an instant.  We counted ourselves lucky.
     On to Lake Elsinore, California to visit my nearly 98 year old 1st cousin (once removed), Joyce Movius.  It is always a joy to see her and talk to her.  I finished up a sort-of biography of her while we talked.  Then, she took the autosomal DNA test I'd been carrying with me from home, through Turkey, and still carrying to her house.  I'd taken one myself, just before I left for Turkey.
       On to Palm Desert to visit my school friend, Carolyn and do a lot of talking and enjoying getting together again.  Then back to town and to the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree in Burbank.  I've already written about that great time immersed in a favorite activity, genealogy. 
Museum of the American West - field trip
      Finally I few from Burbank to Phoenix to Denver.  The run between flights in Phoenix about killed me.  The flight had left Burbank late and they (U.S. Airways) made not effort to alert the connecting flight of the passengers who were running to catch it.  It was in a different terminal and I arrived six minutes before the departure time.  As soon as I took my seat the door was closed and they pushed away from the gate 7 minutes early.  I wonder if the captain wanted to boost his on time record, or if he had any idea that all the passengers were aboard or not.  Well, I made it to Denver and was met by my daughter and grandchildren.  I spent a week in the hot country of Denver with my family helping them unpack after their move from Arizona and continue with the house renovation.
Alisa, Braden, Emily and dog Sampson in Aurora, Colorado
Another "lucky be be alive" moments, while I was sitting at the dining room table, a breeze came up and the big glass window (see above right in photo above) came crashing in and nearly shattered on my head instead of a few inches from me.... see photo below.
Shattered window on left, Donna on right!

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