Harran, Turkey

Near the city of Şanlıurfa, Turkey, is the fascinating ancient town of Harran. You cannot visit without being awed by the cone-shaped roofs made of mud. They have a wonderful beehive quality and, I'm told, no wood is involved...

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...

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...

Ishak Pasha Palace, Turkey

In eastern Turkey, near mighty Mount Ararat, along the ancient Silk Road sits the 17th century palace of Ishak Pasha. If you want to feel like you are in stories of Scheherazade, this place is for you. Truly storybook in its grandeur...

Bardaklı Village, Mount Ağrı

During my 2014 Come See Turkey adventure, we luckily stopped for a quick visit to the village of Bardaklı at the base of Mount Ararat, or as they call it, Ağrı. The villagers are mostly farmers and cattle herders, but we did meet one interesting man whose job was selling leeches. That was a first for me. The views were glorious (quite similar to my Oregon) and the people achingly sweet, though clearly they did not have great riches... 

The Ruins of Ani, Kars

Any list of the must-see spots of northeastern Turkey in my mind has to include the ruins of the city of Ani, which you will find in the Kars region, right along the border with Armenia. There are two parts actually, the former city overlooking a river valley, and a countless cave dwellings below along the river...

Trabzon, Turkey

After three days in Istanbul for my 2014 Come See Turkey adventure we traveled to Trabzon, a coastal city in northeastern Turkey, founded by the ancient Greeks along the Black Sea in the ninth century BCE. It's a lovely city, but also a gateway to many great spots in the area, like the Sümela Monastery for instance...

Swan Island Dahlia Festival, 2017

In Canby, Oregon, a small farm called Swan Island has declared itself the dahlia flower capital of America. Once you visit, and walk through the explosions of color, it's hard to disagree. The only creatures happier there than flower-loving photographers are the bees. They ecstatically buzz like electrons around every flower... 

Hot Air Balloons at Northwest Art & Air Festival in Albany, Oregon

In August 2017, we visited the Northwest Art & Air Festival in Albany, Oregon. The event started at Timber Linn Park with 35 hot air balloons slowly taking to the sky at 6:45am. The colors and the sounds were amazing fun. The sky was a hazy brown due to forest fires in the Cascade Mountains nearby (here's hoping no one gets hurt or loses their home!), but it made for a lovely sunrise at least. 

Come See Turkey, Day 4: Sümela Monastery

On the fourth day of my Come See Turkey 2014 adventure, we ventured to Trabzon to see the Sümela Monastery. Built in 386 CE by Roman monks, the monastery is a series of buildings, like a small village, carved right into the side of a huge cliff. A good word for it would be breathtaking. Though many sections were rebuilt a number of times over the centuries, the overall site remains intact. Thankfully many ancient frescoes still cover some areas top to bottom with wild images and colors. A fascinating look back directly into the early Christian era...

Come See Turkey, Day 3: Grand Bazaar of Istanbul

The Grand Bazaar (Büyük Çarşı or Kapalıçarşı in Turkish) in Istanbul is full of life and sound and wonderful aromas. The sense of history weighs on you everywhere, and more recently it's been the location for a number of fun films, like James Bond Skyfall. The guides from Come See Turkey took us up onto the roof in a few places for some spectacular views of the city...

Come See Turkey, Day 3: Balat Neighborhood

On the morning of my third day on my Come See Turkey trip, we left the hotel in Karaköy, crossed the Galata Bridge, and explored the Balat neighborhood in Istanbul. I'd say this area is best described as colorful, beautiful decay. Every nook and corner provides another great photo opportunity. I could have stayed there all day, but of course many other adventures awaited...