Troy (Truva)

**continuation of Dedetepe Eco Farm post (the pictures in this post are not mine, but thanks to the people that took them!)

Shortly after leaving the farm I started feeling miserable. Something I ate must have not agreed with my, but I stuck to bland food and some Sprite for the rest of the day. As you can probably gather, this is not normal behavior for me. 

We drove to Troy first and got another tour from a very knowledgeable guide. I highly recommend getting a guide if you don’t know much about the sites, as the signage is fairly poor.  We learned about the 9 versions of the city of Troy which were inhabited by several different groups of people (Hittites, Romans and Ottomans). We then got to see the ruins, which were cool, but not as impressive as I was expecting. We also learned that the story of the Trojan horse is most likely not true. Slightly disappointing, but at least it makes a good movie. The real invasion probably involved an earthquake.  The Trojan horse that is at Troy is huge though! It is probably close to 50 ft tall and you can climb inside on two levels.  I was still feeling not so hot, so I joined in a bunch of group pics where we all look fabulous due to lack of showers, and chilled while we waited for the rest of the group to come down for the horse.



The CIEE group at Troy.


The Trojan horse!


The ruins at Troy.

Our next stop was a fantastic looking lunch in Çanakkale at a kebap restaurant.  I only ate pita bread since I didn’t feel good, but decided that I get sick at the worst times, because CIEE (meaning us) was paying and the food looked soooo good. 

After lunch we started the long bus ride back to campus. The roads were much rougher than in Istanbul and the driving was much calmer as well. Don’t rent a car if you plan on coming to Istanbul. Public transportation is quite adequate and you are likely to get in a wreck if you drive. 

We arrived back at Koç at 8pm and I was able to prepare for my 9:30am organic chemistry lab. 

Questions? Anyone want to come visit yet??  Thanks for reading!


Dedetepe Eco Farm

Since I am so far behind on my blog, I feel that I should just keep going and try to catch up a little. Right now I am on the bus to Pamukkale and it is November 6th.  Now, look several weeks back to the second to last weekend in October. I traveled with the CIEE crew to Çanakkale, Galippoli and Troy.  CIEE had us stay at an ecofarm which unlike my expectations was actually my favorite part of the trip.  I will start at the beginning of our trip so everyone gets a better idea of the amount of activities packed into 3 days. We left campus early on Friday morning (7am!!—haha this is probably the earliest that I have gotten up since being here) after some minor fiascos involving the alarm clocks and drinking habits of some of the other students. Let’s just say that we didn’t leave until closer to 7:35am and our coordinators were not happy. Ten minutes into the bus ride we were headed down the hill from campus and could see the beautiful view of the Bosphorus. This of course inspired me to take a picture, only to discover that my camera was sitting uselessly on my desk back in my dorm Sad smile!!!! Oh no! Though I was pretty upset with myself, I decided to make use of the other 17 cameras on the trip and hop into as many pictures as possible. (At this point you should realize that this post will contain a lot more writing than normal. The pictures below were not taken by me, so I give all the credit to the students that I stole them from.)

On the way to Çanakkale, we stopped at the Galippoli battle fields along the Dardenelles. image   Our guide was a very interesting older man who seemed to love what he was taking about and tried to give us a very good image of what occurred there.  (He was a Fulbright Scholar to the U.S. and studied at OSU!!!) This battlefield is from WWI, just before the Turkish Republic was founded in 1923.  Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, was a general for the Turkish army at this site.  Four nations were involved in the battles here: Turkey, France, Australia and New Zealand.  Australia, New Zealand and Turkey all have cemeteries and monuments around the site. The graves, statues and stories really reminded me of Gettysburg in the US.  We got to see the landing site of the Australians and New Zealanders (ANZAC), the trenches where the soldiers of opposing sides were no more than a couple yards away in some places, and the monuments to honor the soldiers that died there. Though I wasn’t affected by the war, I could see how moving the site could be for people with connections to the war. 




Walking in the trenches.

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The Turkish soldier cemetery.

Our next stop was the ecofarm which was several more hours drive.  Dedetepe (Grandfather Hill) is an ecofarm run by the Buğday Association which manages and promotes ecofarms around the region.  Buğday means wheat in Turkish which fits with the organization’s message of sustainable farming and as close to subsistence farming as possible.  Volunteers are the main source of labor (we were guests, not volunteers) and in return they receive home-cooked vegetarian meals.  At Dedetepe there is a flock of chickens, bunnies, a horse (with one eye), and many olive trees.  The couple that started and run the farm are very nice and laid back. When we arrived dinner was ready (cooked by the volunteers that were already there) and we sat down to eat. Of course the food was good. (Sidenote: Sometimes on the CIEE trips I feel as though we move from meal to meal instead of site to site. The food is always plentiful and delicious! I think I’m going to miss the flavorful dishes the most.)  We got to talk with the people staying at the farm throughout dinner and the campfire afterward.  Jesse, from Portland, OR, and I were so excited to see a campfire because we had both been Outdoor School counselors for middle school students when we were in high school. We attempted to lead a few campfire songs without much enthusiasm from the other students. Oh well.  We also really missed having s’mores. Marshmallows are outrageously expensive in Turkey because they have to be imported or made with beef gelatin instead of pork gelatin (Muslims can’t eat pork products). 

That night we were divided into groups for the yurts and cabins.  I shared a yurt with Jesse (Oregonians for the win).  It was unheated (something that wasn’t quite mentioned in the pre-trip e-mail from our coordinators), but comfy and definitely fun.  I slept with all my clothes on and three wool blankets to stay warm.  The showers and weekend schedule were a little inconvenient for showers, so our group mostly went without and looked extremely attractive by the time we headed home.  My OSU beanie and sweatshirt made me stand out in all the group pics just like normal. (Sidenote: everyone in Turkey owns either a dark brown or black coat, so when I wear my OSU sweatshirt, my Phi Rho letter sweatshirt or my blue rain jacket, I am always the brightest one in the crowd)

The next day we started with a fun Turkish breakfast filled with shooing away wasps from the honey.  We learned that the farm trades it’s products (olives and olive oil soap) with other farms for ingredients for their meals. So the honey we were eating was produced by local bees from another farm nearby.  We took a small tour of the farm and learned that it is disconnected from the power grid and produces all the electricity that is needed from a few solar panels, a wind turbine and a water wheel during the winter.  There is a river right down the hill that provides water for the bathrooms and showers. Drinking water is brought in from the nearest town.  The farm has many olive tress on the property and is also surrounded by cultivated olive groves.  I learned that all the trees are grafted so that the roots are that of the wild olive that is native, and the branches are from the preferred eating olive.  This way, the tree grows well in the climate and produces the desired product as well.  We took a trip to the sustainable farm cultural center where we learned about the philosophy of the farm.  They told us that their mission is to reduce the distance that food travels and keep everything organic so that it is healthier for you. Though this is great, I think we were the wrong audience because we were all students with limited budgets. Organic food is expensive!

Back at the farm we took a small hike to the top of the nearby hills to see the view. We also got to see an old grist mill and bridge that we climbed on. Of course there were no safety measures, as this is Turkey, and our residence director and her boss who was along for the trip looked rather worried a few times.  We also got to pick olives so that we could make our own to take home. We picked the fattest completely green olives, smashed them with flat rocks so that the flesh cracked, and put them in a jar full of water.  Erkan, the farm owner instructed us to change the water after each three days, for nine days and then change the water and add a good amount of salt.  This removes the bitterness and cures the olives when the salt is added.  My olives are now sitting in the salt water waiting for my taste test when I return from my weeklong holiday vacation.  Hopefully they turn out ok. 


The old bridge near the grist mill.




Smashing olives. Yes, those rocks are from the ground. Hopefully none of us get sick from the olives.

For dinner we got to help the volunteers cook!  (I was soooo excited!) Remember that there isn’t very much electricity available.  We made falafel, hummus, salad, rolls, apple and pumpkin tart and quince cake.  I was on the falafel and hummus team. We used a hand grinder to grind the chickpeas (Garbanzo beans) and herb mixture that were used for the falafel and then cooked the remaining chickpeas and ground those for hummus.  It took a little over two hours to cook everything for dinner, but it turned out delicious!


The open air kitchen.

That night we joined in a Turkish wedding celebration. The farm’s owners had been invited to the wedding, and they asked if they could bring our group and the family agreed. This was really fun cause we got to learn how to do a traditional Turkish dance, learned about the henna night of the wedding (Turkish weddings last for three days) and congratulate the bride with our limited Turkish language skills.


Dancing at the Turkish wedding! The bride was dressed beautifully! This was the first day of the wedding or the henna night.


Ignore my face in this photo (I thought he was just taking a picture of our hands). This is the henna that the girls get at the wedding celebration.

Our last day of the trip included another great breakfast, receiving a lot of olive oil soap from the farm, touring an olive oil museum, and touring Troy! (see next blog entry)


In the CIEE program we take two “study trips” during the term. The first was to Ankara and our next one is to Çanakkale (pronounced: Cha nawk ah lee) in another week. Ankara is the capital and the second largest city in Turkey.  We took an overnight train on Thursday and arrived at 8am Friday morning just in time for an entire day of sightseeing.


The sleeper compartments were very comfortable and reasonably priced. 37.75TL each way which is $20.63. Amtrak easily costs 4 to 5 times that. The train provides sheets and a pillow and the compartments have heaters, electric outlets, and locking doors. Four people sleep in one room.  Does this look Harry Potterish to anyone else?? One of the guys in our program got his backpack stolen while he was in the dining car. His ipod, dictionary and a few other things were stolen. He was actually most upset about losing his dictionary.


A view from the train in the morning.


I liked this building because it had so many signs on it. I am so used to Canby having very short buildings, that it is still quite strange when I am directed to a different floor to pay for items in stores.


We stayed at a nice hotel in Ankara. They had triple rooms with three beds! Much better than Cappadocia where 3 beds were squished into a 2 bed room.


A statue on the campus of METU (Middle Eastern Technical University). Some of the students showed us around the campus. Apparently it is known for being an activist center.


Devrim means revolution. This is the futbol stadium at METU. According to the student giving us the tour, a few years ago chemistry students thought it would be fun to use chemicals to etch this into the seats. Haha I love Chemistry!


After METU, we visited Ataturk’s Mausoleum. Ataturk is the founder of the Turkish Republic and is considered to be the ultimate Turkish hero. It is actually against the law to disrespect his memory.


This statue represents the female Turkish population.  Not sure what they all stand for.


And these represent the male Turkish population. All men are required to serve 15 months in the military either right after high school (if not attending college), or after college for a shorter amount of time.


This is the walkway to the mausoleum square and museum. The stones are set far enough apart to make you trip a little. This is supposed to keep your head bowed while you approach Ataturk’s tomb.


The lions


The second tallest flagpole in Europe. (Turkey/Istanbul seems to have the second biggest of a lot of things)


Pretty passage way pictures.


This is the tomb of Ataturk’s right hand man.


They have guards similar to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington DC. They even get wiped down every so often because they aren’t allowed to move and it’s fairly warm outside.


Ataturk’s tomb. Dignitaries from all over the world come to visit here when they are in Turkey. The wreath on my right is from someone who visited that morning.


It looks a whole lot like the Lincoln Memorial


A cool Turkey map planted with flowers. Note that the purple is all the water surrounding Turkey. The crescent and star are on Turkey’s flag and a very recognizable everywhere.


The changing of the guard. It was very formal and their marching style made me remember marching band in high school because it would hurt really bad to play an instrument with the way they were marching. They slammed each foot into the ground after lifting their entire leg up. Ouch.P1060369

Lahmacun. Kind of like pide (Turkish pizza), but cheaper and thinner. This one has ground meat, tomatoes and spices on it. Delicious!


Hilal (one of our mentors) and Kim


There was a side street in Ankara that had only bookshops! Heaven! I found my Turkish Harry Potter book here SmileP1060457


A cool café we heard about. It really reminded me of the Portland atmosphere Smile


This is the Temple of Augustus. It has a long history of being used by different religious groups. It is connected to the corner of a famous mosque in Ankara so it has a bit more protection than some of the other ruins in Turkey.


Ancient inscriptions, linking the temple to a specific religious group. Not sure which one. whoops


Pretty fountains Smile


Prayer beads and the inside of the famous mosque. Men and women pray separately in mosques, so we toured both sections.


Does anyone else think this looks like the Space Needle?? The castle in the background was one of our next stops.


Busts (Hanane that’s for you) at the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations.


Carvings and statues at the museum. Most of the stuff there was from the Hittites and Phrygians, but this statue shows the Assyrian influence as well.


Think this is a cuneiform tablet.  How cool is that? Western Civ is so real here Smile


This sun disk used to be the symbol of Ankara until a few years ago. Cool design and even cooler that it is so old. I really have a hard time remembering that there is soooo much history spanning many centuries here. (The U.S. is a baby compared to this large amount of history)


Yes, that original, and yes you can touch it. So weird.


My favorite ceiling from the trip! So cool!


A rather awful picture of myself at the castle I showed in the previous picture. It was really high up and we were walking on the outer walls with no supports. A little more than I was comfortable with.


The view from the castle.


The part I couldn’t bring myself to walk on. A little lot too high.


We ate lunch as a big group at little restaurant nearby. We had my favorite, mantı.


In the afternoon we headed to Beypazarı, a small town about an hour outside of Ankara. It is known for carrots (juice etc) and traditional Turkish crafts.


This was one of the few times where I didn’t eat any baklava. Apparently (according to Wikipedia) Beypazarı is known for 80 layer baklava. YUM!

We went to a traditional crafts museum where people dress up and tell about ancient crafts and rituals. This reminded me of all the Oregon Trail and Lewis and Clark museums that I have been to.


We tried water marbling (Ebru) which was awesome! You flick paint of different concentrations (this makes it spread out differently) on top of water that has a special plant dissolved in it.  Then when you finish making your design, you place a piece of paper on top and slide it off the top. The paint clings to the paper with the design that you made.


(not mine, but you get the idea)


A really fuzzy version of what mine looked like when it was finished.


We also had our evil-eye removed.  The idea that everyone has some evil eye in them is a very common idea in Turkey. People with blue eyes get it easier as well. You can get your evil eye removed by having a gypsy woman melt lead and pour the molten metal into a bowl of water above your head.  You are covered with a white sheet during this process. She then “reads” the resulting shape and flicks your with water. You also eat a grain of rice, and a pinch of sugar and salt.  This is to help you lead a balanced life. For extra protection, people carry evil eye beads (nazar boncuğu).



I found this super cute penguin puzzle at the museum in Beypazarı as well. Penguins are the mascots of my sorority (Phi Sigma Rho-the engineering sorority) so my future little (little sister) is definitely going to inherit this Smile

I epically fail at posting blog entries, but at least I get some of them up Smile Leave me some comments! I love hearing from you.

The Princes’ Islands and Model

The same weekend I went to the Spice and Grand bazaars I also went to The Princes’ Islands. A large group of us arranged a shuttle from Koç (A) to the ferry dock at Kabataş. If you have over 17 people going to a certain place, you can arrange a shuttle to take you there and back. Everyone pays a flat rate (much cheaper than public transportation with all the transfers) and you get where you are going much faster. The ferry ride was about an hour and a half long and stopped at multiple islands in the archipelago.  Our group went to Büyükada (Large Island)(B), the largest island. This is a major tourist attraction and the ferry was packed.  The islands are named the Princes’ islands because during the Byzantine period, princes were exiled here. The Ottomans also sent their exiled sultans to the islands.  During the nineteenth century the islands were a popular destination for Istanbul’s well to do. There are still many well preserved Victorian era houses today.  Leon Trotsky also spent a good amount of time there when he was exiled from the Soviet Union. image

Büyükada is known as a tourist destination because there are many beach resorts and nice restaurants. When the weather is clear, you can see the southern Asian Istanbul coastline. There are no cars on the island (except for emergency vehicles) but you can take a horse drawn carriage almost anywhere. You can also rent bikes from about 100 different rental shops for 10TL ($5.50) for the whole day. This was my third day of sightseeing this weekend so I was pretty wiped out by the time we got to the islands. I have decided that I need a rest day during each weekend so I don’t go crazy and get super exhausted.

Hanane, Eelin, Jenn and I broke off from the large group and headed into the middle of town to look around. One major thing I noticed was that the horses were not the healthy strong ones of Oregon, but skinny, boney unhealthy looking ones that made me sad. We decided to not take a carriage ride because of that.

Here are some pics of the day:


A traditional Turkish breakfast includes: beyaz peynir (white cheese-kinda like feta), kaşar peyniri (melty cheese), cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, salam (kinda like bologna or salami), a bell pepper slice, honey, butter and lots of bread. I am hooked and am really going to miss this when I get back to the US.


Jenn at breakfast


Hanane and Eelin at breakfast.


The main street on Büyükada


The rear view of the carriages. I didn’t take a picture of the horses because they were too sad.


This was a really nice neighborhood. Very fancy houses with great views!


I have no idea what this building is.


Just like campus and Istanbul there were cats everywhere.


It was a bit overcast so the view wasn’t the best, but still pretty great!


The shore near the restaurants. I didn’t see the beach resorts, but I think they were on the other side of the island.


And of course we had dessert! This was kadayıf with pistachios. Yummy! The ice cream here is almost chewy in texture, but is very delicious.


I also found loukoumades which are actually Greek! I get them every year at the Greek Food fest in Portland, so I had to get some here as well!


My new bag that is helping to dress up my wardrobe. It’s real leather and a fake Mulberry (which I have been told is really expensive).


This is my roommate Nalan. She is a 4th year Industrial Engr. major. We get along really well Smile

Model Concert

I decided to include the concert at Koç in this post because there were only a couple pictures of it. Koç held a welcome party for the school to start off the semester. They were going to have a bar at the event (normally alcohol is illegal on campus and in the dorms) but something happened and they didn’t have one. There were two performances: Model, a really popular Turkish band came and then a DJ. Model was really good, but I didn’t enjoy it a whole lot because I couldn’t understand any of the lyrics. I am still learning about Turkish music Smile Some of the girls wanted to dance once the DJ came on, but the music was super mixed and even the good songs were hard to dance to. DJs play a lot of American pop music at clubs and at concerts.


Koç only has about 4,000 students, so this was a huge gathering!


Me, Aida (Bosnia), Hanane (Norway), Wing (Hong Kong), Stephanie (Hong Kong), and Rumeysa (Holland).


These giant stairs provide a semi amphitheater experience. Though there is also an amphitheater on campus as well.


People started lighting off fireworks, no biggie…


Three of us shared a waffle which is a fairly common street dessert. The waffle is a lot more sugary than the ones we make for breakfast and has ice cream and other toppings on it.

I’m getting closer to being caught up on posts! I should be almost done with catch-up by the end of the weekend. Smile