Christmas wobbles!

Trip Start Aug 31, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Beceren Hotel Bursa
Read my review - 5/5 stars
Beceren Hotel
What I did
Mountains and snow!

Flag of Turkey  , Bursa,
Monday, January 7, 2013

In Turkey, Christmas itself is a non - event (Santa comes on the 31st December - and interestingly he doesn't come down the chimney but climbs up a ladder to your balcony) However, we booked a week off work and after a Christmas Eve church service headed for the snow covered mountains to celebrate by learning how to ski!
If the thought of either Sarah or I on skis makes you chuckle, that's fine, it made us chuckle too!  We had a great time.  On Christmas Day we took a ferry from near our house to Europe, another ferry back to Asia, a bus, a metro, another bus and a minibus and finally ended up 2500m higher than we had previously been, surrounded by snow and checked into a wonderful hotel.  The food was amazing here and lots of it - which was great as it provided extra cushioning when we fell over whilst we were trying to ski!  It was hard to drag ourselves away from the hot chocolate on tap and really comfy sofas and arm chairs in front of large windows which looked out on the snow-covered mountain range we were part the way up.  
But we did, we went got ourselves kitted out at the ski hire shop and then splashed out on a skiing lesson to get ourselves started and had an hour with a chap who seemed to know his stuff.  He taught us how to put the skis on, how to start, stop and turn.  He charged a lot for this information, though, so we only bought an hour with him.  
The next day and a half were spent going up the nursery (or 'bunny' (see, we even learned the lingo)) slope and skiing down again.  Graham was able to control his skis quite well, despite a few tumbles, and by the end of our time there was able to turn fairly well and start and stop.  Basic things, but harder than they sound.  Sarah excelled and was off, taking the T-lift up to the top of the mountain and skiing down again.  She had less control on her skis than Graham but was much more adventurous.  We both had a lot of fun though!
Before heading back to Istanbul we spent a night in Bursa, the city at the bottom of the mountain.  This is where the original Sultans who established the Otoman Empire are buried and we went to see their tombs. We enjoyed wandering around the markets, visiting the mosques and tombs and seeing Turkish life in this interesting city.
New Year's Eve was a quiet affair compared to last year's exploits (when we had gone and stood under Big Ben and watched the London fireworks).  We had a couple of friends over, some great food and played a card game.
Now we are back at work again.  We are both enjoying our jobs and they are keeping us busy!  We are still running the English4Life club at the church and that is going really well.  It seems to be growing and we should be well into double figures of visitors on Wednesday when we have our next meeting!
We are still trying hard to learn Turkish and are slowly improving.  We have cracked the basic grammar rules for the present tense, and are now working on the past tense.  It is an interesting language as everything revolves around the suffixes you put on the root forms of the words you use.  Git - go, giderim - I go; giittim - I went, gitmeyin - You didn't go, gidiyorsunuz - You are going, gitmeyiyorum - I am not going.  When you think the verb comes right at the very end of what could be a long sentence, too, you have to wait until a person has completely stopped speaking to work out what tense, which person and which time they are talking about - the very last ending to the very last word they say tells you everything!  Good practice for listening skills!
  We wish you all a healthy and happy 2013 and would love to see you if you feel like visiting (But please do let us know soon if you want to come in the first half of the year as Chez McFadden is already booking up for May/June!) 
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