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Nemrut Dagi, Turkey ~ Inspiration for Star-Crossed with Scarlett

Nemrut Dagi, Turkey

Back in the early 1990s, Mr. Munro and I did an overland trip from England to Kathmandu. The trip proper started once we reached Turkey. It was my first visit to Turkey, the country where the west and east meet, and I loved the food, the beaches, the history, and the people we met.

We traveled around the Western coast, hitting the gorgeous beaches and then drove up the east coast of Turkey.

I’d never heard of Nemrut Dagi before, and to be honest, I wasn’t that impressed with our game plan once we arrived. We had to get up early to see the sunrise. I’d been promised a brilliant show before, and each time I’ve regretted the early start to get to the top of a mountain/hill to be in the perfect position to enjoy this magical time. The sunrise has never lived up to my expectations.

Mountains near Nemrut Dagi, Turkey

So, a little about Nemrut Dagi before I get back to the sunrise. You’ll find it in the Eastern Taurus mountains, and it’s a man-made funerary mound. The late Hellenistic King Antiochos I of Commagene (69-34 B.C.) made the mound, which consists of stone chips. The king had the structure constructed for his own use. Huge limestone statues face outward from terraces, and guardian animal statues stand at each end. Some of the giant heads have toppled while others stand in their original positions.

As I mentioned, I had no expectations of our visit, but I loved the weathered heads that stand taller than a person. I enjoyed wandering around the site. We were lucky because there were only a few of us—our group of eight in fact.

Heads at Nemrut Dagi, Turkey

Nemrut Dagi

Photos of some of the enormous heads at Nemrut Dagi. Note – it was still pre-dawn when the bottom photo was taken.

I remember feeling the cold, but for once the sunrise was pretty, the sky a wash of pink and pale blue. This time, the person who informed me a pre-sunrise slog up a mountain was a good thing was entirely right. Nemrut Dagi has remained as a bright memory, and when I started writing Star-Crossed with Scarlett, it was the perfect inspiration to add to the action and adventure of my plot.

Funerary Mound and statues

This is a shot of the burial mound and some of the statues (parts of them).

Sunrise at Nemrut Dagi

Sunrise at Nemrut Dagi

Two pics taken during sunrise. Of all the sunrises I’ve seen, this was my favorite!

Star-Crossed with Scarlett My memories of Nemrut Dagi inspired part of the plot for Star-Crossed with Scarlett, a paranormal, action-adventure romance. I don’t want to say too much. Spoilers, you know!

Recipe: Turkish Bread #travel #food

I adore Turkish bread and have done since I first tasted it, still warm from the oven during a trip to Turkey. Locals buy fresh bread every day, and the last time we were in Istanbul, it was fascinating watching the bread delivery. A man walked down the road shouting about his wares. A housewife lowered a basket with money from a second storey home, the man took his money, placed the bread inside the basket and the lady reeled up her fresh bread. Shopping made easy!

Selection of Bread Istanbul Turkey

We did a food tour in one of the Istanbul districts, and this is a photo of the shop window where we had a stop. Our first stop, I think, which is where we had breakfast.

In my quest to try new recipes this year, I came across this recipe in Annabel Langbein’s book Simple Pleasures for Turkish Bread. It can be made with a mixer, a breadmaker or by hand.

Turkish Bread

Bread before baking

Bread before baking

Bread Cooked

Cooked Bread

Ingredients:

1 2/3 cups lukewarm water

2 teaspoons dried yeast granules

1/2 teaspoon sugar

5 tablespoons greek yoghurt (room temperature)

4 1/2 cups flour – slightly more if making by hand.

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon flaky salt

Method:

1. Place the warm water in a large bowl, sprinkle over the yeast and stir in the sugar. Stand for around five minutes until the yeast is frothy.

2. Add the oil and yoghurt to the yeast mixture and combine.

3. Add the flour and salt and mix together until you have a soft and wet batter.

4. If you’re mixing by hand, which I was, add an extra half a cup of flour.

5. Lightly flour a board and knead the mixture between 20 – 30 times.

6. Return to bowl and cover. Leave to rise in a warm place until double in size – around two hours.

7. Preheat the oven to 190C. Once the dough has doubled, punch it down and divide into two. Use well-oiled hands and shape into two ovals about 2 cm thick.

8. Place on a lined tray and press out. Drizzle olive oil over the top and use your fingers to dimple the top. Sprinkle with cumin and salt.

9. Bake until puffed and golden for around 20 minutes.

Shelley’s Notes:

1. When I make the bread again, I’ll cook it for a few more minutes.

2. Hubby and I had sandwiches and also used the bread to dress up our hamburgers. It would also be perfect with soup, and Annabel Langbein suggested that it would make good crostinis.

Do you have a favorite bread?

Ancient Libraries: Library of Celsus

As a booklover, I adore libraries, and I spend many happy hours working and researching in my local library.

Libraries have been around since ancient times, and today I thought I’d highlight the Library of Celsus at Ephesus in Turkey. This is one of the best preserved ancient libraries, and it was built to commemorate Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus.

Over the centuries the library was damaged by earthquakes and locals plundered the materials to build their homes and other buildings. While some of the facade has been rebuilt, the Library is still very impressive. The first glimpse a visitor receives is down a long avenue.

Ephesus, Turkey 

This is the avenue leading down to the Library of Celsus. This is a very popular tourist attraction and it’s very busy with people year around.

Library of Celsus

Library of Celsus

Close up views of the Library of Celsus. (Click on photos to see a larger view) The facade is decorated with reliefs – the same fashions in use in Rome at the time. The building was both a library and a mausoleum for Celsus who is buried in a stone sarcophagus below the library.

A bit different from my local library but definitely fascinating.

ANZAC Day

Tomorrow it’s ANZAC day (25 April) where New Zealand and Australia remember those who fell at Gallipoli during World War 1.

A few years ago, Mr. Munro and I visited ANZAC Cove and Chunuk Bair in Turkey. We walked from ANZAC Cove up to Chunuk Bair. It was sweltering hot and we were exhausted by the time we reached the top. We didn’t have packs. We didn’t have people shooting at us. I don’t know how the soldiers managed during the heat of battle.

Every year they hold a special service at ANZAC Cove where Australians, New Zealanders and the Turkish people remember.

Here are a few photos. (They’re scanned so the quality isn’t as good as it could be)

Trenches_ANZAC Cove

This is taken from Chunuk Bair and is of the view out toward ANZAC Cove. You can see the trenches in the foreground.

Chunuk Bair

This is the New Zealand memorial.

ANZAC Cove 

This is ANZAC Cove (click to enlarge photo)

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

From Laurence Binyon’s poem For the Fallen, written in September 1914

Please take a moment to remember the fallen from past battles. Without their sacrifices our lives would be very different.

Shopping at the Grand Bazaar

These boots caught my eye during a wander through the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey. I think they’d be perfect for winter. Pretty and comfortable.

Istanbul Bazaar

What do you think? Would they work with your wardrobe?