Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Capturing Cappadocia: Horseback Riding

Our second big adventure was horseback riding. Papa sat this one out and sent me on with the kids. This was taken just outside the ranch.

And this one. Big Ben's gotta climb on a tractor.

They saddled the horses up. We all looked to Firstborn for advice. She's just about the only one who knows anything about horseback riding! They actually had us sign a disclaimer. That was a first in Turkey.

Sweet Cheeks had decided to do it, until she saw the horses and was hoisted up. Then she was deathly afraid. I am sure some of you readers would have handled it differently, but we determined this was a time to require her to do it. We encouraged and assured her that the guide would be riding right next to her. She was crying, but we held our ground. (Did I ever mention she is my baby?)

And we were off with our Afghan guide.

The trick to riding here is first of all, the terrain is rugged, so you do have to steady yourself, shift, and hold on. Also, the horses are not really trail trained. The minute they get out of the corral, they want the nice fresh grass. Constantly.

Within a few minutes, I had a smile from her. She was glad she did it.
And this is where we rode. Beautiful!

My horse was ornery. That's even an understatement. "Ruzgar" (Wind) was downright rotten. She stopped at every patch she could find. The guide told me to pull her, kick her, cluck at her. But she played me for the fool. And we were pretty much behind and off trail the entire time. When Ruzgar saw the corral in the distance, she planted her feet and would NOT budge. Everyone else was back at the ranch, and I was stuck on a horse that would not budge. I seriously could not stop laughing. What should I do? Get off and walk? I had kicked her as hard I could humanly could. She didn't care. The grass was sweeter. Finally, the ranch hands drove up on a motorscooter. The minute Ruzgar saw them, she took off in a dead run to the corral. I got the ride of my life. I felt like I was filming a western!

Here we are with our horses. And sore rumps.

Ruzgar the Rotten.

And then our ranch friends took Big Ben on a promised ride around the corral. He only wanted to go if big sis would go with him.

And then he loved it, too.
Super fun day. Super fun stories to laugh about later.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Capturing Cappadocia: Breakfast

A highlight of Cappadocia for me is definitely mornings! Getting up a little more slowly, grabbing a cup of coffee, going up to the rooftop to watch hot air balloons, and reading my Bible pretty much sums up my favorite time of the day!

And then there's Turkish breakfast. Mmmm. If I ever leave this place, I'll still make the breakfast. On my plate are cucs, tomatoes, nuts, oranges, bananas. That's hot apple tea. The bread's dip is a mixture of pekmez (like molasses) and tahin (sesame paste). It's good.

Oh, and don't forget cheeses, olives, and helva. (sweet, smashed nuts, sugar, and sesame...basically tastes like cotton candy for breakfast)

And then there's my kid. Excited about the cocoa puffs.

 The gal will always be a Turk.

This year they created the breakfast into a buffet style, which was nice. There is an item or two I pass up. I wouldn't do that if served it, but if I get to choose....I'll pass on the Turkish sausage and pureed smoky garlic spread for breakfast.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Capturing Cappadocia: Dinner

So many times I think that I wish I had taken more pictures when we first moved to Turkey. What used to be fascinating is now common. This is "home" sort of, and one day my kids will want to see our everyday life here. Hence, common pictures follow.

The one thing about Cappadocia that we have NOT liked is that it seems food prices are much higher than in our own city. It's a tourist town, so it makes sense. But this year, we found a good restaurant with good food and decent prices. We went every night! With hospitality and relationship so important in this country, they did not think we were weird at all to show up night after night! (My kids thought we were weird.)

Here Miss Middler is enjoying lentil soup. Red pepper flakes are sprinkled on top.

 Cheese pide, the Turkish version of pizza, without sauce, though.

Here's a claypot dish. Coming out of the fire oven in its own pot, it stays hot for a long time in this. This one had onions, peppers, eggplant in a tomato based stew. The bread behind it came loaf after loaf, as much as we could eat.

In my effort to start snapping pictures of normal life here, I took this one. It's a brick oven, where our bread was made. It's ancient. I really like how this picture, with the long paddle for retrieving bread, and the claypot of food baking inside, turned out. The pot is cracked by the waiter, and the food is served just like that.

Big Ben took this one of the pideci (pide man). He may look irritated, but he was actually proud (and serious about this picture).

Not a selfie! Firstborn took it.

See the man's claypot dish right behind the water bottle? It comes with its own little fire that burns for a few minutes.

We really do feel so safe here. After the kids ate, we let them walk back through the town to our cave room to go to bed. Cappadocia is sleep-inducing! Only Firstborn stayed with us.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Capturing Cappadocia: Picnic

For Spring Break, we went back to our old favorite, Cappadocia. Much of the staff travels out of the country, to Europe and beyond. It's important to us to get to come "home" each summer, so we try to keep our during-the-school-year excursions fairly simple and easier on our budget. Though it is near to us and we've done it many times before, it makes a great getaway for us with kids.

On our first day, Big Ben had a sore throat. It quickly morphed into the kind of sore throat where you can't even swallow. After breakfast, CC drove me to the next town over, where I knew where a pharmacy was, and I bought him an antibiotic. (Don't judge!) We had decided previously on 3 big events while we were there....mountain bike riding, horseback riding, and hiking. Since the two little Turks are not quite ready for their dad's kind of mountain biking, we decided to let that be the first event.

I stayed back with the little ones while they biked. We did get out in the sun a little and had a good time together. They played at the little park, while I enjoyed some Bible reading.

Then we ventured on and explored a little....
 ...and had a picnic! (Someone was feeling well enough to eat by then.)

It was simple and fun. And we got some amazing biking stories and videos when the others got back!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Dyno-mite Field Trip

There's a new hands-on children's museum in our city. I decided to be the guinea pig and try it out with my class. It was a very well-done museum. I do think it was a bit below age-appropriateness for my kids (well, and there's just really smart, too), but I am happy that those who created this museum have done this for the city. It was truly hands-on. They touched everything!

Found this one baby dinosaur coming out of her egg.

To end our tour and lunch in the food court, I let them try out the mall's massage chairs if they wanted to. It was hilarious! They made their own sound effects.

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