Monday, July 20, 2015


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First, thanks for all the texts, gchats, facetimes, and snapchats (Mary) over your concern about our safety after the violence in Suruc.  I am constantly reminded of how many people love us and support us, even if it is thousands of miles away.  That being said, the violence was hundreds and hundreds of miles away. 753 to be exact.  So, that's like from Virginia Beach to Montgomery, Alabama. Definitely far away from us.  Although, our apartment is located directly above a no drive street, which is where protesting is legal, so we have been hearing a lot of protesting tonight, but nothing violent or too exciting. Washington, DC would put these guys to shame. 

Second, thanks to everyone who reads this blog.  I started it so that I could keep my parents in the loop with what we were doing and hopefully preserve a few memories along the way.  I am always hesitant to post updates on Facebook out of fear of being "that girl" that nobody wants to see pop up on their newsfeed.  I talked to my parents last night who just spent a week at the beach with my extended family.  Picture three beach houses, 40 Russos and lots of food (and probably alcohol).  My mom just kept saying how people were reading the blog (Hi guys!) and I was so happy! I wish I could have been at the beach with everyone, but I'm glad you all are reading along!

Anyways, we went to Bodrum this weekend because we had Friday off.  This past Thursday evening to Friday was Bayrum, which is the celebration that marks the end of Ramadan.   Since 98% of Turkey is Muslim, Bayram is a federal holiday and everything closes.  Add in our lack of furniture and you're looking at a pretty boring weekend.  So, we flocked south to the beach.

They say hindsight is 20/20 and in hindsight, we would have checked the weather to see that it was going to be literally 100 degrees, which wouldn't make for the best beach weekend.  In hindsight....

Instead, we failed to check the weather and headed south.  We arrived late Thursday night and checked into the hotel.  When we woke up on Friday, we went upstairs for the free breakfast (we wouldn't be true Americans if we didn't love free food!) and were sorely disappointed. Somehow, olives and cheese just doesn't do it for breakfast. Oh well.  We put on our bathing suits and headed to the beach.  Bodrum is a beach town and has tons of restaurants and bars along the water.  They also have free beach chairs along the water to sit in, which Mike and I jumped at the opportunity to do. I lasted about 2.5 seconds in that beach chair before I started melting and had to stick my (not so little according to the trainer at the gym) body in the water.  I was pleasantly surprised at how cold it was and repeated this pattern of 10 minutes in the water, 2.5 seconds out for the next half hour before giving in to the sun and napping.  After an hour, Mike and I had reached our limit and gave in to the heat.  We headed back to the air conditioned hotel.

That night, we walked along the water and found a restaurant with a great view.  Not long into our meal, we were greeted by this guy.  Turkey has a ton of feral cats and dogs running around and while none of them are going to run up and greet you, they are usually pretty clean and well fed.

Dinner wasn't great, but the view was beautiful.  We walked further along the water and found that the beach chairs we melted in earlier had been replaced with lawn sofas and chairs.  We chose a sofa and were quickly greeted by the waiter who brought us drinks. The waiter asked where we were from and as soon as he heard America, he was hooked.  He began talking to us and asking us all sorts of questions.  My favorite was "Do you like Obama? Obama is good."

Being the old married couple that we are, we were ready for bed way earlier than the average person in Bodrum.  We asked our waiter what time the performers come on at this big stage in Bodrum and when he responded with 12:00, my eyes grew the size of saucers. I like to stick to my geriatric bed time of 10:30 on weekdays and 11:30 on weekends, so a performance starting at midnight was just not going to work.  After a few drinks, we headed back to the hotel to make our bed time while the rest of the city geared up for a wild night. To each their own...

Saturday, we knew it was going to be hot, so instead of heading to the beach, we made our way to the Castle of St. Peter, which is this huge castle in Bodrum.  It's open to the public for 25 TL ($10) and is definitely worth it.  You can see all sorts of artifacts and there are some great views of the water.  Plus, there are cool things like a dungeon and towers.  I wore flip flops (trying to cover the least amount of my body in order to survive the 100 degree weather) and in hindsight (they say it's 20/20) I would have worn tennis shoes because you do a lot of walking and climbing.

The chapel on the castle

After the castle, we walked around a bit guessed it...heading back to the hotel.  One hundred degrees is really hot.  We spent a couple of hours in the hotel napping (me) and reading (Mike).  Around dinner time, we went on the hunt for the top restaurants in Bodrum.  We found this restaurant called Avlu thanks to and it was well worth it.  Because we're Americans and eat earlier than the average European, we were the first ones in the restaurant.  It had a great ambiance and we quickly ordered a bottle of wine with the recommendation of the waiter, as well as steaks.  I'm not a huge red meat person, but this was a delicious meal.  The steaks were juicy and the potatoes and vegetables that accompanied it complimented it greatly.  Yum.

Most of the restaurants in Turkey have free wi-fi, but this one decided to go against the grain and not have free wifi. Instead, we were ordered to talk to each other and get drunk.  Tough life. 

After our delicious meal, we headed to the water for a few drinks and a decent view before calling it a night.

We woke up on Sunday unsure of what to do.  It was hot again and we had to catch the bus at 3:15 to head back home.  After consulting our handy guide book (Lonely Planet is the way to go) we realized that one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World was right around the corner!  The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus was located in present day Bodrum.  Key was.   This is what is located there now.

Granted, they had a museum and some of the artifacts were pretty cool, but it's disappointing that it was destroyed.  Oh well, at least we can say we went!

We grabbed lunch at a pizza restaurant and headed to the bus stop for a long journey home.

And, as a bonus edition to this post, I'm starting a little section called Michael's musings.  Mike had me laughing all weekend at different things he said and I wanted to share them with you because...Monday.

"It's like the Mike Hogan of restaurants." -Mike describing the number one restaurant listed on TripAdvisor.  We're obviously lacking in the self-esteem department around here.

"It's like we're living in a freaking zoo." -Mike describing all of the dogs and cats around

"Do you love me? Do you love me?" -Mike singing the Dirty Dancing song every time he thought I was ignoring him (aka reading, trying to fall asleep, etc).

As if this weekend wasn't hot enough, we're in for a scorcher here for the next few days. Even though I am usually one to vocalize every sort of complaint, nothing can break this girl's good mood because our furniture comes tomorrow!! Can you say Christmas/birthday/Thanksgiving/Valentine's Day/4th of July/Memorial Day all in one?