Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Denmark Day 3-- Aarhus for ICER Conference

After breakfast at the hotel I met Sue and we walked to the conference taking a side trip to plant the travel bug in the cache. Once more interesting talks. This time I had my laptop (instead of the iphone which wouldn’t work at the venue because you needed two windows open). I was able to multi-task and get my email down from 406 to 76. Not bad for a mornings work. Another buffet lunch. At the afternoon break, I walked back to the hotel so I could find out how long it would take to get to the airport bus stop. I found that fairly easily after getting lost going back to the hotel! I hadn’t done the walk in that direction before. I took a quick tour inside the Domkirke and was delighted to hear an organist practicing wonderful music.
I decided to walk back to the conference via the botanical gardens and once again got a little lost.

I used the GPS but its compass didn’t seem to work. However, I did make it back for the pizza fabulous) and wine party. Back at the hotel I packed and then joined several folks at the outside café for conversation before going to bed.

View pics from all three days on Flickr

Monday, August 9, 2010

Denmark Day 2 -- Aarhus for ICER Conference

I met up with several folks from the ICER conference at breakfast. Some decided to take a bus and I went with the walkers. The university was a little over a mile and a half away (much up hill) but we arrived in plenty of time. Registration yielded yet another backpack – very nice one. All the talks were really good as were the discussions. Lunch was a smorgasbord of typical Danish food and the coffee breaks had super pastries.

The excellent keynote by Moti Ben-Ari was later blogged by Mark Guzdial.

Sue Fitzgerald went with me after the meetings finished to try to find the Women in Science geocache on the Aarhus University campus (we had had no luck with a micro near the venue). I quite easily found the cache whose coordinates were a puzzle about mostly Danish women in science. I had forgotten to bring the travel bug, so it meant another trip for the next day.
Barb and Sue Geocaching
I walked Sue back to her hotel (A Best Western called the Ritz) and met her roommate, Beth. Then Sue and I walked to my hotel and we were escorted by Michael Casperson’s daughter Christina and her boyfriend to the restaurant for the banquet. Again it was excellent food with a very entertaining owner.
Latin Quarter
I sat between Colleen Lewis and Leigh Ann Sudol acting as a buffer between Leigh Ann’s definition of a misconception and Colleen’s. Also talked with Orni Meerbaum-Salant, from the Technicon in Israel and her husband. Back to the hotel where I had an email from ACM about the SGB meeting in New York for which I had booked tickets to Chicago. Yuk!

Walked 17069 steps. View pics from all three days on Flickr

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Denmark Day 1 -- Aarhus for ICER Conference

The plane got to Billund on time and I had to wait around about an hour for the bus to Aarhus.. The bus ride from Billund to Aarhus, although in the rain much of the time was interesting. We drove through rolling wheat fields and old farms built with three buildings forming a courtyard. Lots of farmers were working to bring in their hay (Buchele bales, naturally). There were many windmills, but now of the modern, metal variety.

In Arhus I decided to take a taxi to the hotel. It drove all over (avoiding all the pedestrian streets) including a side trip past the harbor, The ride cost 100 kroner which seemed a lot since the two hour bus ride only cost 200 kroner. (There are about 6 kroner in a USD). The Cab-inn hotel was just as pictured – I had a tiny efficient room but it did over look a canal and cafes. I unpacked and turned on my GPS. Much to my surprise it beeped immediately upon finding satellites and looking for the closest cache.
View from Room 33 Cab-Inn
Although it was right outside my window, I had to walk around the block to get to the canal where I spotted two college age kids who seemed to be looking for the cache. I asked them if they were and I soon joined their search. They were new to caching, so I was able to find the cache – one of the very tiny micro magnetic ones.
I then walked further down the canal and spotted Mark Guzdial and Mike Clancy and his wife Karen, so I joined them for a while. before heading off to the restaurant to join the doctoral consortium folks. I found it easily with the directions I had taken from google maps – including a pleasant walk on a pedestrian shopping street. I was the first one there. It was like a French bistro but with very old rough furniture.

Our table for 13 was made of planks, and the place was decorated with old bottles, etc. The food was fabulous and very French). The owner was entertaining -- he made steak tartar for the woman next to me and made crepe suzettes for the next table telling outlandish stories.
Tartar Prep
It was fairly expensive, though, and didn’t take credit cards. The owner said not to worry we could come back the next day or next week to settle! Instead several of us went to the ATM and got cash. All in all a lovely evening and good start.

View pics from all three days.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Turkey Day 16 Istanbul

Suze didn’t appreciate our getting up at 7:30 (we didn’t hear the muezzin from the hotel which was remarkable given all the mosques in Istanbul!) The hotel breakfast was served on the enclosed top floor terrace, but since it was raining hard, the view was lost on us. The breakfast was substantial – the largest Suze had ever seen at a hotel!

We took a cab to the Blue Mosque. Phil argued with the driver about the rate, and the cabbie set the meter. However, he clearly added several kilometers by going too far on the Kennedy Boulevard and doubling back! We made our way to the mosque which closes at noon on Friday. It continued to rain as we waited in line. Taking off our shoes at the entrance without getting our socks wet was a challenge! We didn’t take a tour, but listened in on several around us that were given in English. Suze bought a 10 lira clear umbrella from one of the hawkers.
Blue Mosque

I wanted to find a geocache entitled the Blue Mosque which was supposedly close by, but we ended up in a rather bleak neighborhood and I couldn’t find it. Long trudge back to the Hagia Sophia. On the way we stopped at a shop and bought a bunch of little tapestry purses. The Hagia Sophia Museum cost 20 TL each and had almost nothing in it, though its history of being a Christian church converted to a mosque was extensive. It is undergoing massive restoration and needed it. I ran into Dick and Susan Brown from St. Olaf at the entrance and we chatted.

After the Museum we headed off looking for an ATM and a bite to eat. We stopped at a lovely café where Phil and Suze got mains – Phil had eggplant stuffed with chicken and smothered in yummy cheese and Suze had chicken, both with rice. I shared a bit of theirs and had tea. Suze also got a very rich chocolate baklava which she shared.

Then it was off to Topkapi which we couldn’t afford. I looked for another geocache there (and found it just as Susannah said I wasn’t very good at geocaching.) I took a travel bug and left and English coin. In order to get money, we trudged back to the Hagia Sophia museum where we found the row of ATMS just outside. Back to Topkapi where we headed for the treasury. Suze got bored with the crowded rooms. I loved the sultans’ clothes display, but the room was very hot. Phil and I were rewarded by seeing the Topkapi dagger and even Suze liked the Topkapi diamond. I wanted to see the harem rooms (an extra 15 lira each) so Suze went with me after we all had a soda. It was huge!
Then we set off walking to find the Grand Bazaar. On the way we saw a near collision of a tour bus and a tram that took a lot of maneuvering to untangle. We also walked through a cemetery for important sultans and pashas. The bazaar itself was noisy and full of pushy sales people. We bought a few things, including a nice pair of evil eye protector earrings for me.

On exiting the bazaar we tried to head for the spice bazaar. We wandered for a long time through a crowded shopping area where the locals shopped. Stores full of linens, long coats for religious women, scarves, cheap suits, shirts, underwear and frilly bride dresses --- no tourists. Phil’s sense of direction was good and we ended up in the spice bazaar which we liked much better than the Grand Bazaar. Again we bought a few things and headed for the Galata Bridge.

We walked under it past many restaurants all trying to convince us they had the best deal. We sat at one and all ordered fish meals. Because it threatened rain, and the sun was peaking through, the views on the Bosporus were stunning.
Phil forgot our hats and had to go back. We then made our way after a few false moves to buy jetons for the tram and funicular to go to the hotel. After we got to Taksim, Suze needed to shop so we hit a few stores including getting some snacks. Back to the room for a final pack and check of the internet and bed.

See more pics.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Turkey Day 15 Ephesus -- Istanbul

Phil and I packed. I made a big breakfast with the eggs I had bought and found out they were almost all double yolked. While we were eating Susannah decided to not eat and instead swept the house with a handle-less broom!
Phil and I walked down to the Isa Bey mosque and were intrigued by huge variety of the prayer rugs. We looked at several of the shops and returned back to the villa where I took a last dip in the pool and had a glass of wine. Rob took the little girls to a water park – Fantasyland.

The driver came to take Suze, Phil and me to the airport. We were a little late, but he stopped for gas on the way out of town. He was the same driver we had when we came (and had forgotten in the confusion to tip him) so we gave him 20 TL and thanked him in Turkish when he let us out at the Izmir airport. We had never seen such a big smile!
Surprised to see the Turkcell ad in the airport featuring Google, many of whose apps are blocked

Our plane was over an hour late, but we made up time and were only about a half hour late getting into Istanbul. It was a very long walk to the metro and I got confused getting the tokens, but we made it. The train got more and more crowded as we headed in. We stayed at the same hotel the Buteras and Phil had stayed in on the way, the Eresin Taksim Best Western. Our room wasn’t ready when we got there, so I went across the street to get a 5 liter bottle of water. Internet in the lobby was free (Gwyneth had paid something like 30 TL a day for it) so we used it as well. The wait was well worth it. Nice big corner room on largely pedestrian streets.

We decided to explore and walked down the big shopping street that Phil had been on before.

I got tired and cranky on the way back as we looked for a place to eat. I did stop to get some milk for my morning coffee. Finally we decided to eat in the hotel. It was a good thing we stopped just then because it began to pour. We had several mezes before Phil got spicy kebabs and Suze got chicken. I ate a bit of theirs.

See more pics

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Turkey Day 14 Kuşadası and Chloe's Birthday

Chloe got up early and helped me bake cupcakes for her birthday. (Instruction video Dr. Oetker Princess Lillifee Muffin mix)

All of us but Gwyneth and Camille walked to town to pay the bill for the car and villa. We then went to the Ephesus Museum which was lovely. It consisted solely of artifacts from the local sites well laid out.

Then we went to lunch at Mehmet and Alibaba’s. It took forever, but was very good. Rob took the girls for a pre-lunch ice cream while we waited!

It was after 2 when all but Camille and Gwyneth set off looking for a geocache at the pirate castle in Kuşadası and a day at the beach. It was incredibly hot in Kuşadası and we didn’t find the cache. We had great views though. Getting out of the city was awful – we got crazy lost. We drove through two smaller resort towns before arriving at the Dillek Peninsula National Park that was our destination. Lonely Planet said the last beach was the nicest and least crowded, so we headed for it. The park is known for its scenery and lynx, wild boar and birds. Phil and I did see a wild boar! The beach was crowded but we got there just as most folks were leaving, so we got an umbrella and chaises. The beach was like the on at Nice – stony. The water was a beautiful blue.

When we tired of swimming (Chloe said she was “sea logged”) we headed back, stopping in Guzelcamli for groceries. I made quesadillas (the store had tortillas!) and pasta for supper. Suze made a big salad.

Chloe did birthday challenges a la Mindy. She jumped into the pool with her clothes on and sang happy birthday outside the villa and made noises like a chimpanzee! Gifts and cake and a pool party ended the day.

See more photos of the day

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Turkey Day 13 Ephesus Sites

Phil and I walked to town to find the larger grocery store (Tansas). We learned that the citadel overlooking the town has been closed for 5 years. Our first stop was the Kiwi Carpet Shop where we met Alison’s ex-husband and arranged for a driver to take us up to the Ephesus site later in the day when the tour busses would be gone. We wandered into a few gift shops looking for birthday gifts for Chloe. A particularly aggressive shoe shiner managed to polish one of my sandals before I escaped, looking slightly askew with one shiny sandal and one very dusty one! We did find the store eventually and bought a whole lot of heavy stuff, trudging back to the villa in the heat.

All of us except Chloe and Susannah walked to St. John’s Church. As soon as
Phil started taking pictures, he realized I had left his SD card in my computer so I hurried back to the house to retrieve it. Good thing we were only a few blocks away. In fact we were just across the street from the villa when we took some of the pictures, only we were about 50 feet above it and separated by the enclosing wall!


Suze bought Chloe a coin decorated skirt she wanted for her birthday (but Phil and I had bought the same thing earlier)! Oh, well, she can play with a friend.

When we all walked down to town (except Rob who brought the car), Mustafa showed Chloe carpets and served her “apple tea.” Another young man drove us and our van to the south entrance and left us off. We then toured the site which was so empty that I sang happy birthday to Chloe when she was in the small amphitheater and I was on the stage. There was no one else but us in it at the time! The ruins were definitely amazing – to think Paul had walked the same streets!

Our walk back to the villa was long – a little over two miles and the little girls did a great job of not complaining. The path followed an aqueduct so it was nicely shaded. We stopped at the Temple of Artemis where we were pestered by a little girl who wanted to sell us fake coins.

Back home I made pasta for supper which was a big hit.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Turkey Day 12 Pamukkale and Hierapolis

I made a big breakfast of eggs for everyone which we ate outside on the picnic table.

We didn’t get a very early start but Rob drove us all 3 hours to Pamukkale and Hierapolis.

We got to walk in the travertine pools at Pamukkale, and then we scrambled among the wonderful ruins at Hierapolis (all one park).

Camille and Chloe by the Travertine Pools

Phil Scrambling on Ruins

For an exorbitant fee, Rob, Suze and the girls went swimming in the ancient thermal pools. The rest of us sat in a noisy outdoor area with lots of smokers. Later Gwyneth and I ate Gozlemer in a pretty place where we sat on low carpeted benches.

Camille accidently ordered a meat sandwich so I gave her the half of the Gozleme I didn’t eat in trade for hers. Gwyneth wanted to go to the Afrodisias temple. The route we chose was over mountain passes and we saw many different terrains. Beautiful. When we got there it was too late, so we just headed home, arriving about 10pm. I had wine, bread and cheese and went to bed.

All pics of the day

Turkey Day 11 Ephesus, Beach and Mary's House

I was awakened by the muezzin at 4:15 right across the street – loud. After breakfast Rob drove us up the mountain to “Mary’s House” – the alleged place St. John brought

After a short tour of the house/chapel, there was a spring from which people filled bottles of water and Suze washed her hands and face. Just past the spring was a wall filled with little cloth prayer requests.

. We ate lunch at the Denizli Restaurant where we chose by pointing at foods in the kitchen. Suze and the little girls swam afterwards and I put my feet in the water.
Dinner was pick me up bread and cheese.

Slideshow of the day

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Turkey Day 10 Ankara/Bilkent to Izmir/Ephesus

We got up when the muezzin sang at 4:15 and I finished packing and re-packing. The van to pick us up was early and then went to the hotel to get two others.

Within Turkey you can’t have nail clippers or any size scissors, so I had to repack. The plane boarded early, so I didn’t have a chance to drink the coffee I had bought so I poured it into an empty water bottle. People on the plane had almost no carryon luggage. The baggage came at Izmir almost immediately. We waited about a half hour for Suze and the driver loaded our luggage and then came back with the minivan for her. She had unknowingly checked in with first class so her bag from Istanbul was marked “priority”.

The trip to Ephesus took about 50 minutes. Our villa is literally across the street from St. John’s church where St. John is reportedly buried. The villa is even lovelier than the pictures.

We had fruit and cheese that Alison (the rental agent) left for us and then Phil and Suze went for a little walk. When they got home, Phil got violently ill. Rob, Suze, Chloe and I headed to the weekly open market for food and to the pharmacy for over the counter Cipro for Phil. We had a super time. Rob and Chloe took the food home, and Suze and I bought some more staples like coke and chips before heading back to check on Phil. Soon, Gwyneth, Suze and I headed back to the market for photos.

I made pizza from fresh veggies, bread rounds and cheese. After dinner we walked behind the mosque across the street to watch a wedding reception.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Turkey Day 9 Cappadocia Balloon and Tour

All of us but Phil got up very early to assemble for a hot air balloon trip at 4:45 am. The organizers took us to a place for coffee and tea and bill paying! The trip was just incredible. I have never done anything like it before. The scenery was phenomenal. One of the most remarkable things was that we landed right on top of the trailer used to transport the balloon back to storage. We were served champagne with cherry juice at the end.

Back to the hotel for breakfast and then we went to Goreme to see the churches at the open air museum.

This included St. Barbara’s church. She was an Egyptian whose father had her killed for being a Christian. Then on to a carpet center where most of the group spent far too much for rugs, including me.

The on to lunch at Dede Effendi Restaurant where we ate outside. I had a local wine.

Our final stop was at a pottery place where we had a short lesson and then on to the over-priced pottery store. I bought a small tile for 10TL.

The bus ride back seemed interminable. I was really cranky packing. We went to bed and then heard a lot of fireworks.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Turkey Day 8 Cappadocia Tour

The bus picking us up at the apartment was late – they had to wait for the woman from Spain. We hopped on and then went to the hotel to get the others. Turns out that we had to wait again – this time for a couple from Scandinavia. But we did get on our way, stopping twice for bathroom breaks. I had coffee with John in a lovely garden.

Our first tourist stop was outside Goreme for lunch in a cave house. Drinks were really expensive (3.50TL for a bottle of water). Afterwards, the bus backed up in order for us to get a geocache at Pasabaga.

We visited a town (Uchisar) with a remarkable citadel and a tree with eil eye decorations. Then we went to an underground city, Kaymakali, where the Christians had hidden out. Liz Adams got really sick in the cave. Joyce Little’s watch had stopped and lo and behold there was a man with a watch battery business run from a motorcycle at the entrance to the underground.

Our final stop for the evening was the hotel Burcu in Ortahisar. It had a lovely zero edge pool, but it was too late to swim. Camille stayed with Phil and me. Dinner was a very large buffet.

Gwyneth, Rob and children went to see the Whirling Dervishes, but Phil and I went to bed.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Turkey Day 7 End of Conference

Phil and I walked over to the hotel to hear Jane Prey give her talk on diversity. Afterwards I talked to Banu a bit, and then arranged a meeting with Amber, Tiffany and Susan Rodger. It was quite intense, but fun. I took a cab to the Bilkent Center where I got wine and chips at the Real grocery.

Later I went back to the apartment to explore the Bilkent campus with Phil. We got as far as the main plaza where there is a statue of the founder. Then we headed back by way of the campus market where we bought a 1.5 liter bottle of water for .55TL.

After returning to the apartment for a short while, we walked down toward the shopping center where I took a cab to the conference and Phil headed to go shopping for duct tape.

I went to the wrap up where Reyann and John thanked me and Henry for our service and gave us a small gift of a miniature covered platter similar to the one that the lamb was served in the night before. Henry and I drew for the wine door prize, one of which May Anne Egan won.

Guido gave a great presentation about Darmstadt, the venue for next year’s conference. Annemeike and Catherine had a small party in their room where they modeled the leather jackets they had purchased in Istanbul – they are going to share them, trading off each year!

The Buteras went to dinner at the home of someone they had known at Rice, while I went to the conference banquet.

The food was plentiful and was followed by entertainment. First there were folk dancers who showed off dancing of five regions complete with costume changes. There was also a very good female singer who was also a dentist! There was a lot of Turkish dancing in which almost all of the attendees participated. I got hot and exhausted participating! I tried to leave, but Reyann forced me to stay. Turns out there was a belly dancer who was really entertaining. I took a cab back to the apartment about 11:30.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Turkey Day 6 Day Tour and Banquet

A special shuttle bus picked me up to go to the conference. The opening session was really good, The son of the founder of Bilkent welcomed us and the keynote was by an incredible woman who heads the Turkish version of the NSF.

I skipped the opening and sort of slept in, getting there about coffee break time. Phil and I grabbed out box lunches and went on the ITiCSE tour with the group. We went first to Ataturk’s Mausoleum, Antikbar. Then we went into Old Ankara and toured the oldest mosque in Ankara. We had to take off our shoes. On the way down from the mosque, Phil spotted the yarn shop where we went in and got yarn for Camille. (Although when we got back, it turns out the yarn said “Made in Turkey for Hobby Lobby!”) We had a short shopping break where Phil got a pocket knife which was made in the US! We went to the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations.

Then it was time to head to the conference committee banquet, though we had to wait for the folks from the other tour. The meal was at the citadel right where we had just returned from! The Washington Restaurant had a gorgeous view.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Turkey Day 5 Bilkent ITiCSE Official Opening

A special shuttle bus picked me up to go to the conference. The opening session was really good, The son of the founder of Bilkent welcomed us and the keynote was by an incredible woman who heads the Turkish version of the NSF.

At the coffee break we had Turkish coffee and watched a demo of the Turkish art of marbling.

I talked at length with Mats Daniels about future ITiCSE site selection and then went to lunch (stand-up).

Harriet and Boots had decided to take a cab to grab a geocache and I went along to the ODT Teknokent Museum.

Back at the conference, I went to the gender diversity session and then chaired one on laboratory tools. I was so sleepy I went to Alison and Tony’s room afterwards and took a nap before the reception. Lots of food. Finally returned on shuttle bus that had had 30 people in the morning and only 4 at night!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Turkey Day 4 Bilkent, Ankara, Turkey

Phil walked me to the conference venue in a light rain; then he returned to the apartment for a day of adventures with the Buteras. I checked-in on the working groups and tried to meet up with Gwyneth and the others, but they had already left.

Atanas Radenski asked me if there were anyone going into the city so his wife could accompany her, so I said I was going to find a geocache and would be glad to go. We took the bus to Sıhhiye in Ankara and it left us off in a weird place – the exit ramp of the highway. A nice man, a Brit, from the conference showed us the way to find the park where the geocache was.

Ruomi helped me negotiate to buy a scarf from one of the stalls in the Sıhhiye Market we went to next to. Then we walked through Abdı Ipekçi Park and went the wrong way on Tuna Street ending up walking through an enclosed market building that had a big parking garage on top. We found ourselves in Kurtulus Park which is where I had hoped to find a geocache. We saw lots of bridal parties exiting a building labeled Çankaya. Then we stopped for lunch at a café where we ate the traditional pancakes, Gözlemeler. Ruomi’s mother-in-law in Bulgaria makes similar pancakes in the old style, so they had a conversation through the waiter acting as interpreter.

We walked back to the Tunus stop because we were afraid to find it near where we were left off.

Phil and the Buteras explored the old citadel and had the same pancakes at a café where the server gave them each a small geode as they left.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Turkey Day 3 Bilkent, Ankara Turkey

I woke about 5. Phil and I had boiled eggs and toast from over the propane stove flame. We walked over to the conference venue by going uphill this time. I picked up my registration materials and true to my promise to him, came right back without chatting much. It was a gorgeous walk. But we tried the bus coming back. It was good and we saw a lot of the campus

The Buteras slept late – Gwyneth was the first up. We decided to check out the bus to town. We had to wait nearly 45 minutes – a bit long for Chloe. But the bus was a coach and worth the wait. It left us off at Tunis, but we didn’t know what that was. Turns out it was a street that parallels the main avenue, Ataturk. We got a map from the Midas hotel and found lunch at Simit Sarayı where we all had sandwiches.

We walked up Ataturk Boulevard and through the flower market before heading back to Tunus and the bus. I made grilled cheese sandwiches for our supper. Phil, Rob, Chloe and I went for a walk afterwards.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Turkey Day 2 -- On the rails and Bilkent (Ankara)

We slept to the steady bump, bump of the train headed into the night. Phil and I woke fairly early. The scenery was beautiful – lots of farm land and then rocky hills.

On the Istanbul/Ankara Train

Rob and the girls joined us for breakfast in the dining car. We tried both kinds of tea – Turkish tea (Çay Aroması) and regular tea (Çay). We also got one Turkish breakfast to share – egg, cheese, olives, and bread.

Turkish Breakfast on train

We were greeted at the train station in Ankara by a driver from the ITiCSE conference who took us to our apartment.

Greeted at the Ankara Train station

A kind gentleman carried my bag up the stairs to the third floor and we settled in. Our refrigerators were stocked with milk, bread, cheese, juice, olives and jams!

Getting the computer set up

As is our usual traveling mode, we explored the area. We are a short downhill walk to a large shopping mall complete with Marks and Spencer as well as a huge grocery (Real), rather like a super Wal-Mart. We ran into Alison Young and Tony Clear who were also shopping, We bought a ton of food and us girls took a cab with the groceries back up the hill, while Phil and Rob walked. We had snacks and then rested a bit. Small catastrophe – I succeeded in opening a bottle of red wine without a corkscrew but sprayed myself and the kitchen with red wine, including the white painted wall and the grout behind the sink!

I walked down to the shopping area and took a cab to the conference venue, the Bilkent Hotel for the meeting of the working group leaders. This allowed me to scope out the area there. One of the Bilkent professors, an American named Lori, dropped me off at the shopping center where I picked up a couple of things, including a corkscrew!

I cooked dinner – tortellini with tomato sauce and salad. Camille had a slight fever, but Tylenol, juice and a nap revived her. We ate, and then turned in for the night.

See pictures

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Turkey Trip Day 1 Berkely, California to Istanbul

The plane from Chicago was two hours late landing, so I barely had time to get to my next plane to Istanbul. It took a while to go through security. And then it was way past time to board. I couldn't find a departures board until I went downstairs. Then I say that plane was delayed. I checked my email and then ran into Kate Sanders and Robert McCartney who were headed to Stockholm. We had a good conversation about SIGCSE. When I finally boarded my plane, it was more than an hour late. I sat right behind Monica Gill and Michael Kolling! Michael helped me with my bag at both ends of the trip which was lovely. I ate the lamb casserole and lunch and then slept the whole way.

Immigration was very frustrating. Monica and I needed visas, and didn’t know we had to go get them in a separate line until we had waited 15 minutes in the passport line. Getting the visa was just paying $20 and a person pasted the stamp in my passport. They didn’t even enter any info from my passport so the transaction probably took less than 5 seconds. Once again we had to stand in the long passport line.
First view of Istanbul in airport
Gwyneth, through a series of text message exchanges, convinced me to take the Metro to the tram to the ferry. Everything worked fine. I was able to get money from the ATM, and an attendant helped me get my tokens for the Metro and tram. My only confusion was in getting the correct train when I got off the Metro. But it was fun to ride the tram and see the sites of Istanbul. The train went right past Topkapi and the Blue Mosque. I crossed the bridge on the Golden Horn and got off immediately spying Phil’s robin’s egg blue shirt. I was very happy! Gwyneth had come with him and took my bag to where Rob and the girls were waiting. We just missed the ferry to Haydarpa which was a good thing because we were confused about the tokens for the ferry because they were different from the ones for the metro.

The girls wanted the top level on the ferry to the train station where the view looking back at the Europe side was super. I got my Bosporus cruise!

Getting on the Ferry

We ate dinner at the railroad station. The waiter was super nice and we chose a whole bunch of mezes (appetizers). Phil and Rob each had a grill main dish – Rob hat kofta (meatballs) and Phil had kebobs (lamb) but they both got lightly grilled tomatoes, onions and hot green peppers plus macaroni and French fries! Rob tried raki and Phil tasted his.

Rob tried Raku Mezes and Waiter/ Haydrarpasa Station

We found out sleeping car rooms without a hitch> The girls loved the bunks.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Winter Trips

So many trips and so few posts! Catching up -- Christmas Day we converged on my brother in Steamboat Springs, CO.

From Christmas 2009

We were fortunate to house sit in a beautiful place, and then enjoyed tons of family time -- most dinners included about 24 relatives.

Elk (on way to Strawberry Park),geocaching,Chloe sledding,x-country(Jim, Keller, Marty, Rob),more sledding, Suze,Phil

We got home on the night of December 30 and at 5 am on December 31, I began the drive to the Georgia cabin for New Year's Eve with Gwyneth, Rob and the girls.

We had our standard brownie and champagne celebration with very sleepy people and then opened gifts the next day.

`We had a great day trip to North Carolina to the John Campbell Folk School and the Kelischek Musical Instrument Craft Shop.

A beautiful snow storm in the Southeast kept me in Georgia longer than I would have liked, but it was lovely to look at and fun to play in!

I finished my first week of classes at Southwestern and immediately boarded a plane for Atlanta where I was met by Gwyneth and the girls. We took off for a 7 hour drive to Myrtle Beach and a destination belated birthday party for Camille at MagiQuest. We had a beautiful hotel room on the ocean and a great time.

Plus I got to visit with my friends from Peekskill--Bill and Ellie, who now live in North Carolina near Myrtle Beach.

I am now preparing for a three day trip to Marina del Rey, California. Thankfully Phil holds down the fort and cares for the cats!