The Beginning of Our New Itinerary

Trip Start Mar 26, 2011
Trip End May 01, 2011

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Where I stayed
Akgol Renaissance Hotel

Flag of Turkey  , Sanliurfa,
Wednesday, April 13, 2011

We had an easy morning and were on the bus at 9:30 on our way to Sanliurfa, or just Urfa, formerly Edessa.  We were happily surprised by our new hotel overlooking a large stadium.  It is quite modern and has all the amenities, including wifi and Turkish bath, but no one has tried the Turkish bath as far as I know.

We had a free afternoon but Edwin said he was going for a walk to orient himself and we could join him.  He walked very fast.  The traffic here is quite intense and where there isn't a walk light, you have to try to sneak across and not be hit by a car, truck or motorcycle.  There are lots of motorcycles and some have rugs over the seats.  Quite spiffy.  We were walking in the direction of the old town and the river but it was very hard (read impossible) to find the river.  The group split up when some of us decided to try another hotel restaurant that looked good.  There was a lovely veranda with a mother hen and her chicks and a peacock.  We were worried about the peacock's intentions toward the chicks but had a nice lunch anyway.

After lunch, I followed Erwin and Martin as they struck up the hill to the castle.  We came across a cemetery and looked around a bit.  Then while we were trying to get closer to the castle, we ran into some children who wanted their photos taken and I was much too happy to oblige.  They were a cute bunch of girls and boys with a little baby and her pacifier.  After awhile the hoopla got too intense and I beat a hasty retreat.  I have an address to send the photos to the children and hope it is a correct one.  There didn't seem to be a street name but maybe they just have numbers. 

From here Erwin went in search of an old mosque.  We went through the market and saw all sorts of  things:  colorful bolts of glittering fabric, piles of clothes, sacks of nuts, motorcycles driving through narrow alleys filled with people, shops of all kinds, et al.  After making our way through various parts of the market, we headed back and Erwin identified the minaret of the mosque he was looking for.  We walked around the block trying to get to it but met with several dead ends.  Finally Martin saw an archway ... and it led to the much sought-after mosque.  There was a little cemetery here as well.  By this time, it was getting late, or getting to be, as Martin put it, beer-time, so we headed back to the hotel.

The group had a tentative 7:00 meeting time for dinner.  I wasn't very hungry after my big lunch.  Edwin was going around the corner to a small place.  Catherine, Claire and Adrian had already selected a place and were meeting at 7:15 because Claire wasn't really hungry.  Pam and Tom were off on their own.  After we had ordered our dinners - mine a small pizza that I couldn't tell the ingredients of - the rest of our gang entered the restaurant so most of us ended up eating together anyway.

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