Elk Rock Garden of the Bishop's Close

Tucked the middle of one of the wealthiest sections of Portland, Oregon, with some spectacular views of the Willamette River, sits a lovely Episcopal retreat known as the Elk Rock Garden of the Bishop's Close...

Elk Rock Garden of the Bishop's Close

One Last Day in Istanbul...

I strolled up famous İstiklal Avenue, one of the great walking/shopping/window-shopping streets in Europe, enjoyed a quick ride on the historic little tram, took one last look at Galata Tower, then crossed the Golden Horn for final photos of the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia as the sun set...

One Last Day in Istanbul...

Along the River Euphrates, Turkey

As we traveled in southern Turkey we stopped for a few minutes along the beautiful, tranquil River Euphrates. A Chinese tour group was stopping there at the same time as us. And a stray dog ran up to both of us looking for a handout...

Along the River Euphrates, Turkey

Şanlıurfa, Turkey

How I loved this city, particularly Balikli Göl, the Pool of Abraham. History sits everywhere in town like dust in the air and on the streets. The buildings, the music, the sounds, the aromas, I felt like I had stepped into my childhood copy of One Thousand and One Nights...

Şanlıurfa, Turkey

Zeugma Mosaic Museum, Gaziantep, Turkey

The Zeugma Mosaic Museum in Gaziantep, Turkey, is full of mosaics and other artifacts moved from the ancient Roman town of Zeugma, which had been flooded by modern damming of the Euphrates... 

Zeugma Mosaic Museum, Gaziantep, Turkey

On the Road to Nemrut, Turkey

The Bridge of Severus, or Cendere Köprüsü, was built by the Roman army nearly 20 centuries ago. The Tomb of the Black Bird, or Karakuş Tümülüsü, was built even earlier, by the Commagene rulers; yet its eponymous bird still rests atop one of the ancient columns...

On the Road to Nemrut, Turkey

Wandering in Adıyaman, Turkey

Not far from the timeless glory of Mount Nemrut in southern Turkey is the modern city of Adıyaman. We got to wander for a few hours there through their markets and parks, including stumbling upon a card game. Then it was off to Nemrut....

Wandering in Adıyaman, Turkey

Hasankeyf, Turkey (Before It's Flooded)

One of my favorite stops during my Come See Turkey adventures was Hasankeyf. History hangs in the air (the town is about 12,000 years old), and everywhere you turn you find gorgeous ruins. The town sits beside a breathtaking cliff formation along the Tigris River, topped by a Roman watchtower. The Roman name for the town, by the way, was Cephe, meaning stone...

Hasankeyf, Turkey (Before It's Flooded)

Card Players in Adıyaman, Turkey

In the heart of Adıyaman, Turkey, we came across a lovely old courtyard full of men playing cards. I don't know what they were all playing, but they were very serious about it... yet tolerated having their photos taken...

Card Players in Adıyaman, Turkey

Batman, Turkey

Outside of Batman, Turkey, we stayed at Bato Termal Otel. Everyone was exhausted from our previous day's adventures (in places like the Ishak Pasha Palace), but I woke up early before everyone else and wandered the area outside the hotel alone. The air smelled of sulfur (from the natural hot springs), the hills and trees were a lush green... 

Batman, Turkey

St. George Armenian Church, Mardin, Turkey

Just a short drive outside of wondrous Mardin, Turkey, you can find the St. George Armenian Church. The original church was built around 450 CE, though it was rebuilt a number of times. 

St. George Armenian Church, Mardin, Turkey

Mardin, Turkey

At the northern edge of Turkish Mesopotamia sits the ancient hilltop trading town of Mardin. (In the valley below you can find the modern city.) Something about Mardin speaks to you; it was very hard to leave its beautiful twisting streets, its hardworking vendors, its serene views. I only spent a night there, but I would go back in a heartbeat...

Mardin, Turkey

Aghtamar Island, Lake Van, Turkey

In eastern Turkey there is a great variety of areas, with deserts and mountains and forests and lakes. Take for instance Lake Van, gorgeous and ringed by mountain peaks. I visited there on my 2014 Come See Turkey trip. We took a ferry boat out on the lake to Aghtamar Island, where once lived kings of Armenia and Vaspurakan. Now there's not much remaining beyond the lovely Cathedral of the Holy Cross...

Aghtamar Island, Lake Van, Turkey