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Colorful Harbor

Colorful Harbor, originally uploaded by tkellyphoto.

As you tour ruins along the southwestern Turkish coast, you get a clear sense of how thousands of years ago this part of the world was one. But Greece, today, is a world away – or, in this case, not more than a couple miles off the Turkish coast near our home base of Kas. So today we hopped a 20-minute ferry – the Meis Express – to spend the day in Greece.

Meis, also known as Kastellorizo, is a tiny village on one of Greece’s smallest islands. It’s somewhat standalone, with not much else nearby except Rhodes some distance to the northwest. But it’s a direct harbor-to-harbor shot from Kas, where we can see the lights at night and white houses glowing by day.

Over the years, the tiny island has had many rulers from Rhodes, Egypt, the Venetian Doge and the Ottoman Turks. In the 20th Century, it went through the hands of the French, Italians and British – and was reportedly bombed in World War II.

As tiny as it is, it comes alive each day as the ferry boats arrive from Kas and other Turkish ports, plus the huge Aegean ferries of Greece. Watching them turn the 300-foot long Proteus around in the tiny harbor after its five-hour cruise from Rhodes was a real treat!

It was a lazy day of walking the harbor, relaxing on the sun deck of the Megisti Hotel, swimming and snorkeling, enjoying a wonderful Greek lunch and a slice of locally made baklava before catching the ferry home.

Yet another stamp in the passport!

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DAY TWO: Ruins

Burial Tombs of Myra, originally uploaded by tkellyphoto.

The area around Kas is steeped in history, with ruins dotting the landscape. Our first adventure today took us to the burial toms of Myra located just outside Demre a half hour away.

The burial tombs of Myra stand out in a cliff near the present day city of Demre on the Lycian Coast of Turkey along the Mediterranean Sea. Myra was one of the notable cities in the Lycian League, with references dating back to 100 BC, although estimates are it may predate that era. The dozens of elaborate tombs overlook a massive ampitheater that still stands today.

More on today’s adventure later.

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DAY ONE: Lycian Coast Adventure

Gulets off the Beach Near Phaselis, originally uploaded by tkellyphoto.

Over time, we’ve been fortunate to visit the northern shores of the Mediterranean from Gibraltar to, now, Turkey. It’s an amazing body of water steeped in both beauty and history. We also learned long ago that it isn’t just about the jewel cities like Venice and Dubrovnik. The real life of the Mediterranean are the tiny villages of which you’ve never heard. So with little knowledge of what awaits, we set out from a week of meetings in Antalya, Turkey for what is known as the Lycian Coast.

My new Turkish friends on have provided some of the key stopping points, our first being Phaselis, an old Roman city on a point with two sheltered bays. We parked and walked up a small rise to see a beautiful beach with nearly a dozen gulets anchored for a few hours while their guests toured the ruins or swam in the bay.

It’s amazing to walk along a boulevard surrounded by the remains of a great city thousands of years old. On the other side of the peninsula a Turk had anchored in the harbor, selling freshly squeezed orange juice.

Our next stop was Cirali Beach, a haven we would definitely had missed had it not been from “canmom” from TripAdvisor. It is an amazing stretch of pepply beach stretching for miles and miles. The village itself is spread out and the gateway to Chiamera and Olympos.

Then is was on to heaven in the marina village of Kas. We were looking for a stopping point that would afford us sea views and a short walk to restaurants, much like we’ve experience at places like Vernazza in the Cinque Terre. Kas did not disappoint – so amazing that we opted to just spend the rest of our trip basing out of the village overlooking sheltered bays and islands, including the Greek Island of Meis.

But the adventure is just beginning.

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Pillars of the Cistern

Pillars of the Cistern, originally uploaded by tkellyphoto.

When you think of Istanbul, you think of mosques and minarets and structures above the ground. Fortunately, we learned about sights underground including the Basilica Cistern in Sultanahmet not far from the Blue Mosque.

This underground water reservoir was built in the 6th Century A.D. and renovated a number of times of the years. It served as a water storage and filtration system. It covers nearly 10,000 square meters and could hold 80,000 square meters of water with 336 pillars supporting the structure.

One of the most interesting aspects of the cistern is the use of several severed Medusa heads. Medusa comes from Greek mythology meaning protectress – a Gorgon or female monster. Legend has it that in ancient Greece, Perseus beheaded Medusa. The two heads are upside down and sideways and literally used as spacers at the bottom of two pillars.

Created with flickr slideshow.

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Minaret Silhouette

Minaret Silhouette, originally uploaded by tkellyphoto.

Our first trip to Turkey and what a great first day in Istanbul. Being a predominantly Muslim country, it’s a whole new experience for us. We spent the day walking the streets of Istanbul’s Old Town, visiting historic sites and looking for photographic vantage points.

We really didn’t have a key sunset spot, but Carole had noted the several mosques and minarets dotting the Istanbul skyline when we walked across the Golden Horn in the afternoon. So, we went back at sunset, found a nice cafe along restaurant row under the bridge, and waited. We were treated to a spectacular show.

Now, if only I had had a tripod I would have a little more efficiency with the shots.

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Black Sheep Jumping for Joy

Black Sheep Jumping for Joy, originally uploaded by tkellyphoto.

There’s a wonderful little farm along I-80 near the Silver Creek view area. It’s a great spot for sunrise or sunset. Tonight as I was driving by there were dozens of baby lambs frolicing around. I figured it was worth a stop.

The biggest challenge now is that they erected an eight foot chain link fence along the freeway, so there’s no shooting over it. If you’re careful, you can get a decent angle through the links.

All of the lambs were leaping and jumping – like track stars running the hurdles. This black sheep was having the most fun of all.

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Tulips and Snow … In May?

Tulips and Snow, originally uploaded by tkellyphoto.

It’s just not right. But that’s life in the mountains. A late May snowstorm blanketed the freshly blooming tulips in our garden with a bed of snow. Yes, it will be gone in a while but it’s the time of year you hope for a little sunshine. But that’s also why we love living in mountains and desert!

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Balloons Over Park City

Balloons Over Park City, originally uploaded by tkellyphoto.

Saturdays in May are perfect for hot air ballooning in Park City. Overnight temperatures are still cool, but not cold. So for a 7:00 a.m. launch from the Silver Creek Industrial Park, it’s perfect for a couple hours soaring over the Snyderville Basin.

Watching the crews work the lines as the pilot fires up the propane flame is quite a sight to see. Put 15 colorful balloons in a couple of parking lots and you have a mini-balloon festival.

As I headed to Heber City and Midway before dawn, there was no sign of life at the launch pad. I figured I would head down to scope out sunrise on Mt. Timpanogos. It was a mixed bag shoot down there with post-dawn clouds blocking the sun. On the way back, though, I spotted the first balloon rising over Home Depot. Then another. And when I turned into the park, it was filled with expanding balloons and anxious passengers.

It’s a photographer’s dream as every color of the rainbow fills the lens. Slowly, balloon after balloon lifts off and fills the deep blue morning sky.