Monday, May 5, 2008

Cameras, Cameras, Cameras...


The mysteries continue. Today's mystery is why all of the photos on my camcorder disappeared between the Sumela Monestery and our hotel tonight. The disk is blank. Now there is a very small chance that I formatted the disk instead of finalizing it (one function down from it on the feature menu) by mistake. That would account for it, but seems highly unlike me. I have been so careful each time I prepare it for the transfer from the camera to my laptop.

And when I think of all the great shots I took today. Fortunately, some of the day's photos were taken by the smaller camera we brought along. Unfortunately, that's the camera that I left home the flash memory holder which transfers the photos to my laptop. But I hope to pick up another one when we get to a big city with a technical photo shop.

Oh, what luck I'm having. Andto add insult, tho I brought two batteries to the camcorder, one has run out already. We may be headed to a vacation without photos unless I can find a way to resolve these problems.

But enough of these frustrations, so how did the day go otherwise?


We're traveling with a very interesting group of seasoned travelers. Eight are from Australia, seven from the U.S. Most are retired, and only one besides Pat has been to Turkey before. One joined the group after spending two weeks in Western Turkey on another tour. Several are only traveling with us for the Eastern portion, and will leave the tour in 12 days.

We're on a comfortable 18-passenger bus with driver and guide. Akin, a sociologist and historian, has filled the long day's drive with intense and impassioned background on the history of the Byzantine, Seljek, and Ottoman empires. More importantly, his knowledge of the local communities we pass through is remarkable for someone so young. His pride in the successes and struggles of Turkey's fight for independence is inspiring.

For the next few days, we'll continue our journey through mountain passes and high plateaus in cold, rainy weather. Reminding me a bit like Norway's high sloping farmlands and raging river valleys, Eastern Turkey's beauty keeps revealing itself around each turn.

The climb up the stair-carved cliffs at the Sumela Monestery stepped back to a time when powerful monks lived and worked in an amazing location preserving the past and guiding the future. The drawings and carvings adorning the high walls were stunning. I hope some of the photos survive my camera difficulties.

Tonight, we're staying in the Ezrurum Renaissance (Marriott) Hotel, a four-star ski-resort, 3,700 meters above the plateau floor. A very meaty meal, good conversation on U.S. politics, and a reasonably cathartic blog later - it's time for bed.

For a look at the day's photos, go to: TurkeyMondayMay5

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