BOOK 21: ON THE HASANKEYF TRAIN
TriciVenola -FALL 2007 ON THE HASANKEYF TRAIN
HASANKEYF SOUTHERN TURKEY ANATOLIA KAPADOKYA
Project inception: Fall 2007: The ancient city of Hasankeyf, on the Tigris River, in Mesopotamia, the cradle of civilization, was doomed by the Turkish government to be drowned by the Ilisu Dam. Atlas Magazine and Turkish ecologists organized a train to protest this, The Hasankeyf Train. My old friend Celal Ögmen, at Kalamar Restaurant in Kumkapi, had wanted to send me to draw his mother’s village in Lake Van. Instead he bought me the last ticket on the train to a place I’d never suspected: Hasankeyf. Much of the art in this book appears in this section of the blog: ROCKING THE CRADLE OF CIVILIZATION IN HASANKEYF
-Phyllis / Filiz -R Crumb would faint if he could see this German-Turkish Amazon valkyrie. -Amazing old chandelier leftover from the glory days -Istanbul, Fall 2007: Invited by my friend Celal at Kalmar to go on a train to “Hasankeyf” on the Tigris, the oldest continuously-occupied town in the world. 12,000 years of visible history, and the Turkish government is going to destroy it with a dam that will last 40 years. This is a protest train from Istanbul to Sumeria- Mesopotamia (Modern Turkey) sponsored by Atlas Magazine. I am the only foreigner on the Hasankeyf Train. -TriciVenola ©2007
-The fifth wrong seat was this guy. Luck! –One of the organizers -“(NCRPL)Natural & cultural rescue & protection for life. It’s a long name but it’s true.” –Ahmet Tuncay, architect, planner, archeologist, President of the protest group. –Two guys putting posters on the conference car. –Drawing “out the window” for the first time in YEARS. –And we’re off! A very long train bound for an ancient village soon to be drowned by greed and idiocy -“It is 12,000 years old Sumerian, like that, they kill it.” -“We will have a city under water- we will dive.” -It’s like I know these people. -TriciVenola ©2007
I did know them. They’re the ecology-loving, women’s rights-promoting, heritage-preserving, leftist celebrators of peace and freedom I’d been looking for since I moved to Turkey. My brethren!
-Curled up on the seat with Mother’s old red shawl, on a night train to forever ago. Full moon. -Everyone is sleeping. -Later out in the murk I saw an immense pale hill –I feel like the world is a secret I’m listening in on. -SAPAK -Ahmet Tuncay -The loneliest train station in the world. Out on the whitened plain -Under the high chill moon. -TriciVenola ©2007
30 August 2007 -Guven Eken -Oscan -Trici Venola’s participation in this trip sponsored by KALAMAR RESTAURANT in KUMKAPI-TriciVenola ©2007
I learned more about how dams dry out the country than I ever wanted to know, and all of it is true, borne out by Turkey’s worsening rural conditions and subsequent horrific overcrowding of its cities, primarily Istanbul, by families who can no longer be supported by the land.
Me drawing out the window. The next four pages are full of tiny thumbnails drawn on the fly, which appear much larger here, like this:
-In the dawn the moon turns a different face -Solid blocks of poplar trees -You see these lone formations that look like mounds— and here, they could be! -The only bushes here are at the tracks. -A door in a hillock -Doga Dernegi (Nature Society) -Atlas Magazine, Doga Turizm// organized this train-325. -A lone olive tree -Like a pepper tree -Knuckles of distant brown mountains -It is very, very dry. -A plateau- house near a huge rock -A whole flock of turkeys in Turkey -Men & women standing with plastic sacks of potatoes. -TriciVenola ©2007
These things were drawn as they flashed by the windows of the train. The descriptions above make a poem of Turkey.
-Mt Argaeus— Erciyes Dagi –Hiding out in the smoking car, the only place free of a very loud long [amplified] lecture. -My companion at the table tells me that all these dams that are supposed to help Turkey have dried it out. “They have created a dust bowl of Paradise.” -And now they want to sell the rivers that are left. -Building such big dams with no thought to the effect. -The dam that will drown Hasankeyf is supported by 4 countries: Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Turkey –Big money 1, 2, 13 banks -The air conditioning has quit. –Red rock ramparts –Hay piled up behind the barns –Hilltop community and lowering above a monolith that must’ve housed their gods for millennia. –Miles of brown wasteland and in the middle a verdant greensward from a surviving river. This is what the country SHOULD look like. –Near bottom land full of stumps, an apple tree’s offering goes ignored. –An actual mesa –OH MAMA! I LOVE TRAINS. -TriciVenola ©2007
I would have loved the long amplified lecture too, but my Turkish wasn’t up to it. People on the train who spoke English educated me as to the reasons for the protest.
-Büyükçekmece Çevre Koruma ve Guellestirme Dernegi Alahattin Cücük -Spectacular mountainscpes as we head toward Malatya -Vast pale mountains behind dark ones -The mountains are so beautiful they make me cry –I need temporary deafness -Earsplitting harsh commentary blasting out of speakers -Inescapable -Forlorn dusty riverbed and dam beyond -Family waving to us as they take the air in a very tiny village high in the mountains of Anatolia -U ISIL IS TV -God save this land from its government -Valley after valley ruined with dams -“The fruit production economy of the Euphrat Valley would exceed that of the energy produced by the dam” -Eker -TriciVenola ©2007
O that goat train! Those spikey mountains! That goddess rock! And that family waving, they break my heart.
Off the train for half an hour here…
1980s Storks-Land in marshes- Ground squirrels- How quickly it disappears- Dam- Çatalhöyük- We are 6 hours late due to delays, even though the Minister of Transportation was involved in planning this trip. Very little time left to see the village, all of us activists who would save it. -There is some feeling that it was sabatogued because the government supports the dam, which will destroy our international heritage & ruin thousands of lives & make 100 people rich. -How novel! A river with water in it! -Big excitement as the train is hit by rocks in and after Diyarbakir. -Malcontents hurling rocks- A mud barn thatched w/hay, and many ducks, but now we must close the shades. -Buket saw 3 little boys throwing rocks just before we got hit the 2nd time. -Pulling down the shades is a drag. They got 3 windows so far. -TriciVenola 2007
-All and everything is gold -The Tigris Valley –Cradle of Civilization-Rounded mountains on one side, magnificent walls on the other, a fantasy landscape carved by the Tigris over millenniums.-TriciVenola ©2007
When I drew this, there were still people living in this village, a few miles from Hasankeyf.
-Banging that drum for all she’s worth.
A crowd of little girls, singing and beating drums, met us at Batman. They had waited for us all day, dressed up & ready in the searing sun.
Many bright faces in Batman! The whole town was there and had been all day, including a band, the drums, and the Mayor, who handed a carnation to each woman to descend from the train.
Not only does everyone in Turkey love Hasankeyf, but Tourism is a major factor here.
-“My father made me interested in such things as Hasankeyf” -“Please draw me later when my hair is clean!” -Boy, did we have fun! Apple-cheeked Buket Sahin, my train-companion and seatmate. BOO-CAT! She is so sweet that it’s a shock to discover how hip she is. -TriciVenola ©2007
HASANKEYF AT LAST
Buket’s father is noted Turkish author Osman Sahin. She gave me his book Tales from the Tarsus, a collection of folk stories, from the myth-rich Tarsus Mountain region, that he spent years researching. An ecological activist, he protested the dams and strip-mining to the point of being punished by previous governments. Buket is a fantastic photographer, spent years in the States, and is still a great friend. Meeting her, listening to her across the whole country and in Hasankeyf itself, made all the difference in my perception of Turkey.
-And all the while this city has been here. -Ozgur -Umut -Seçkin “We want to learn about our heritage.” -3 young men sitting on the very edge of the castle precipice staring out into the darkening valley. They are students in Izmir who read Atlas Magazine, here to see & support. They have decided to spend as much time as possible touring Turkey & discovering their history. -TriciVenola ©2007
I was much moved by these three students, and have often wondered what became of them. Behind them, the Tigris glows at the horizon, while the town sinks into twilight. I drew the boys from life, and the town later, from a photo I took from the castle at twilight.
-The castle at Hasankeyf, from a photo taken in 2007. -TriciVenola ©2018
I love this aspect of the great Castle of Hasankeyf, and learned a great deal drawing it 11 years after I took the photos in 2007. It looked then, and looks to me now, like a great griffin poised on the edge of the Tigris, which barely shows off to the right.
They started the brickwork less than half-way up the natural striations of the rock. There’s a decorative border around each window, and the palace extends all the way along the ridge at back.
Those caves at center are copious and were surely occupied. Just below center, on the right, there are the remains of huge stone gears, used for pulling the bridge across the river.
That slanted plane at lower center is a great terrace, titled by age or earthquake. Off at bottom left we can see the tops of pine trees growing up the edge of a sheer drop.
The color, when I took these photos, was pink-tinged blue, but by day this place is golden. I think about the woman and her child, forever walking up the road at dusk in September 2007. Where was she going? What was she thinking? Where is she now?
-Sunset kids -Hasankeyf 2007 -TriciVenola ©2018
What makes Hasankeyf seem miraculous, there on the edge of the great eternal River Tigris, is that it is alive. It’s not a museum ruin, it’s a lively, functioning village and has been all along. Here have lived generations of Assyrians, Byzantine Christians, Hittites, Urartians, Arabs, Ottoman Turks, and all manner of civilizations. These folks now are mostly Kurdish. They’ve been here for centuries. I love these children, smiling down at me as I snapped their picture in the golden light of sunset. I expect they’re all grown now.
-Hobbit walk Hasankeyf -From a photo taken in 2007 -TriciVenola ©2018
Long before Tolkien came up with his round hobbit doors, cave dwellers worldwide were using them! This charming cobbled street runs along under a great shelf of rock eroded out of the sheer cliff, punctuated with caves. All the families there have been in these homes for generations. The government had promised them a small settlement and a cinderblock home across the valley. They didn’t want to move. And at this writing, the water is rising.
CRADLE IN A CAVE
-A store in a halogen cave. -Trici Venola ©2007-2018
I started this drawing in a cave curio shop, roaming around with Buket back in 2007, and finished it a year ago, from a photo I took back then.
Drawing the cradle in 2007. All the lights are halogen, which gives an eerie cold aspect to the warmth of the tribal accoutrements.
-Everyone is singing -I drew this in the dark, sitting with my feet in the Tigris -TriciVenola ©2007
A happy evening, sitting at tables set up in the very running river. It was very hot, and there are no mosquitos— it’s too high. It’s Paradise. I believe the man at center paid for our dinner. Thank you, anonymous giver!We ate fish caught hours before in the river, and threw the bones back into the river to be consumed by plant life and turned into more fish. We all wore fantastic headdresses: our hair was flat and greasy with sweat, but we should care; we had the river!
-Ali Baba’s cave: actual title “Transpassers’ Cave” with Buket & a litter of tiny, flealess kittens. Heaven! -TriciVenola ©2007
After dinner, Buket and I set out to find a ladies’ room. It was next to the huge triangular entrance to this cave. We wandered in and were invited to sleep there. The whole town of Hasankeyf was glad to see us protesters, but their generosity was still startling: the cave owners wouldn’t let us pay them. So we spent the night in what might vey well have been the original Open Sesame Ali Baba’s Cave, tucked up in tribal fabric, with the water trickling down the back wall, and the treasures were the kittens, who romped and snuggled with us all night.
-Grave, focused and kind, 15-year-old Erkan was born in Hasankeyf & loves it. He made our visit safer & happier, without a trace of huckterism- the very best face of Turkey. AND he held still for his portrait! -TriciVenola ©2007
He is on my wall to this day. I think of him often. I wonder where he is now. He took Buket and me to see his mother, invited us to stay there any time. He was absolutely lovely. It was he who told us that he didn’t want to live in a cinderblock house in an ugly place. He wanted desperately to stay in Hasankeyf.
Hasankeyf Train organizers Ozcan & Given Eken with the Mayor, and an ancient shop recently excavated (2007) in Hasankeyf. -TriciVenola ©2007-2018
The shop goes back a couple of thousand years. I drew the three gents in 2007, from life, and filled in the rocks around them from a photo taken at the time. They all seemed to be of a piece.
-These two were all over the place filming -Aydin filmed me drawing this portrait of Isil as she interviewed me for IZ TV. -Isil -One emerald eye & one brown -A stone wall, immeasurably old, carved with writing in an ancient language, and in front of it sit three young men & a grandmother under hand-lettered signs protesting its destruction, saying “We will live under water if we have to.” -A beautiful wolf face -Aydin -TriciVenola ©2007
Iz TV’s half-hour Hasankeyf documentary mostly featured Buket and me. I wrote on a napkin: Trici Venola’s participation sponsored by KALAMAR RESTAURANT in KUMKAPI, and held it up to the camera. It went into the subtitles. When that showed up at my patron Celal’s restaurant, the whole place exploded. The documentary aired frequently and for years. I could always tell because I’d get recognized in the street. Oh, how I wish we had won.
-Ahmet Tunçay Karaçorlu -Assyrian Bridge Monolithic Ruins -Cihat Köseoglu -I really, really like this guy’s face for some reason… -He won the photo contest! -Bane Bakarmisin – Akshahir-Konya -TriciVenola ©2007
Drew these guys on site and then pulled a background from my photos for them. Ahmet Tunçay was just all over the place, I think I drew him more than anyone.
-View of enormous Assyrian stone pier from the castle -Yis Yeshim -Face like a sun and golden hair -TriciVenola ©2007
Was actually able to get a decent drawing on site from the castle. And this girl’s glorious full face was like a benediction wherever she went. The drawing in the center was done on the train, heading home.
-Another dead river, another dam. -Organizer Given Eken points out another dead river to rapt audience, including me. -TriciVenola ©2007
How proud the villages must have been of their bridge when it was built, when the hills were green and the tree was alive with a leafy crown, dappling the rippling water. All across Turkey are these sad dried-up riverbeds, and in the distance, the hard bright blue of another dam.
-Habip -Edanur -Aysegül -This hilarious woman kept everyone laughing for hours. I couldn’t understand the words, but man, was she funny! -Trici Venola ©2007
She didn’t want me to draw her in disarray, so we arranged a later session. She showed up very dignified, and I drew her anyway. I wanted to celebrate her. We very much needed to laugh.
-Fellowship! We were exhausted and sweaty but did we care? A raucous party all Saturday night as the train roared through Antalya. -Gültar -Whatta ball o’fire! Danced all night in the aisle- got everybody up -Trici Venola ©2007
We thought we were pretty outrageous until one of the waiters said, “Oh, you should see the trains from Iran. The minute we cross the border, everybody just explodes, ripping off all that black and jumping up on the tables.”
Hasankeyf That Was -Hasankeyf 2007 -TriciVenola ©2018
A great friend and champion of Hasankeyf once told me that its charm was threefold: golden cliffs, antiquities, and reflective water, all in a perfect ecological system. This drawing took me a couple of days, I was so determined to capture every precious doomed detail. I combined several photos into one panorama and, as with the Castle Moon piece, learned a great deal. The sheer cliffs at back center are honeycombed with ancient staircases zigzagging up the cliffs. The biggest one is our Zigzag Staircase, just left of center. The tiny triangle left of its bottom is the vast entrance to Transpassers’ Cave. I hadn’t realized, back in 2007, that Hasankeyf continued up along the tops of the cliffs. The rich civic area at left is full of enchanting terraced houses overlooking the river, while people still lived in the caves above. Down to the left of the big dark area under that big arch is a collection of Romanesque ruins: looks to be a ruined domed structure. In the bottom left corner of the drawing, a white horse grazes at the water’s edge. Studying the photos, I could see evidence of collapses, rebuilding, and a great fall of debris at the bottom of the sheer cliff behind the Arabic Minaret. The rope-and-wood bridge from pier to pier across the Tigris washed away in a flood. Most of this is gone now, and what remains has been encased in cement, thanks to the Ilihu Dam. We lost our fight, but we tried. Hasankeyf That Was endures for me in art, and in the collective unconscious. And as everybody knows, once something is uploaded, it’s virtually eternal.
TRIPPING WITH MY SISTER
SOUTHERN TURKEY ANATOLIA KAPADOKYA and back to PLOVDIV
Fall 2007: My sister Penelope was retiring from four decades of teaching art. She took us on one splendid wander.
This trip had been preceded, for me, by a summer made hideous by a landlord couple’s insatiable greed. I could not keep them happy no matter how much money I spent, and I spent it all. I later found a tough lawyer to deal with such behavior, but at that point back in 2007, I was exhausted from stress– No kitchen! No Internet, for God’s sake- and a neighbor who screamed abuse while I crawled about trying to replace a neighborhood trash pile with a garden. I was beat down and broke. Moving, in Istanbul on limited funds, can take months. I hadn’t wanted to ruin our trip. I sold books and scrounged money. I got a stress tic in one eye.
But then came the Hasankeyf Train, and Penny and I had that splendid holiday, bless my generous, art-history loving sister! Afterwards, I felt like myself again. My tic was gone. I was able to finagle my cats and me into a small but happy apartment- with a lovely kitchen- overlooking the Marmara Sea. Good Times were ahead, and we all knew it.
DIAMOND DUST MARMARA
-These specks of ink are really tiny points of light- diamond dust on the silky pale water -Marmara Sea from the Polat Hotel, Yesilköy 9 September -TriciVenola ©2007
Back in Istanbul with my life changed forever.
PENNY &THE TAR BABY
-Penny -Swimming in ruins near Kekova -Black clouds drift over the moon’s face -Heartbreakingly beautiful Lycian night with memories of longing -Top of a Lycian tomb in Myra -One warrior still grabbing the other’s bow for 3000 years already! -A very amiable kittycat with a VERY long tail -Our little tar baby- With stiffened tail and gummy paws that defied attempts at removal – we got some of it off -and left him clean & fed. -TriciVenola ©2007
BITS OF PHASELIS
-Another Anatolian Lion! -Phaselis -Adnan@Favori -TriciVenola ©2007
Here is the proprietor of our favorite restaurant in Antalya, along with some lions and grapes from Phaselis, a winter hangout of Alexander the Great.
TRIPLE WINDOW AT ST NICK’S
-St Nick’s in Myra -Mosaic like embroidery -TriciVenola ©2007
The Basilica of St Nicholas in Myra, built in the 6th century by Justinian. These Byzantine triple windows represent Ss Peter and Paul holding up the Church.
A TOMB WITH A VIEW
-The Lycian Trail, Simena. Mid-September -Trici Venola ©2007
Penny walked the trail and left me to draw happily for two hours. I’ve never looked at this image without wishing I was there.
-Simena -The Lycian trail: Two hours inthe searing October sun while tours trekked by… the silent peace when they had passed was worth the pain of sunburn -TriciVenola ©2007
Thousand-year-old olive trees and cinnamon and saffron colored Lycian tombs from 500 BCE. Turquoise water shading to cobalt in the shadows of the rising hills.
TOMB &OLIVE TREE
-Simena -1000-year old olive tree -2500-year old tomb -TriciVenola ©2007
A closeup of the preceding drawing. Imagining these two old friends growing ever older together. The hole in the tomb is from looters, presumed to have been Italian Crusaders.
PENNY &THE PERGE LIONS
-Grandfatherly lion in Perge -9th Century Seljuk painting on the 2nd Century Roman theater in Aspendos -Another Perge lion…a whole row of lions still growling -PENNY -TriciVenola ©2007
My big sister Penelope is the best teacher I ever knew. She taught art for 45 years in the second-biggest barrio in the United States, continues to teach to this day, and manages to look decades younger than she is. Perge is one of the great cities of the plains in Southern Turkey. It’s probably older than Rome, but these lions are Roman.
HAPPY OVER THE VALLEY
-What a happy day! -A sunny morning -Moni & Phil, Omer & Penny at breakfast over the valley -30 September -TriciVenola @2007
After a languorous journey along the coast of Antalya, we drove up into Cappadocia and fetched up at the Museum Hotel in Uçisar, where we met Moni and Phil from Malasia. He’s a British musician, at loose ends until he met Moni, who tied up the loose ends nicely. They are still together. We so enjoyed their company, and the view from Museum’s terrace, that we stayed there all day.
VALLEY FROM UÇISAR
-Drawing the sublime view from Museum Hotel with a horrible cold 4 October -TriciVenola @2007
The view from the terrace, with Omer’s fancy white pigeons in the foreground. Nice to think I got to trade a forgotten cold for this eternal drawing.
-Ömer Tosun at his beautiful Museum Hotel in Uçisar -TriciVenola ©2007
In those days Ömer would stroll his fabulous terrace with a giant Kangal dog. He had built his hotel from a carpet business, with skill and luck. As the Soviet Union broke up, he told us, people sold immensely valuable carpets for very little. It’s an ill wind…
THE BLUE MOSQUE
-It always makes me pause to realize that the people who built the visions glowing in the night never saw them like this… fairytale visions created for future generations. -They would’ve been lit up with torches though…©2007 TriciVenola
MONI & PHIL
-LET IT BE -Phil playing Besame Mucho while the Blue Mosque glows outside &Moni glows inside. -TriciVenola @2007
Back in Istanbul! Before Phil started playing, Let It Be came on the radio. All my life that song has come to remind me that everything is playing out as it should.
MONI & PHIL AT MIKE’S
-Moni &Phil from Malasia via Kapadokya at Mike’s -Aw, you make me look so sweet! -TriciVenola @2007
DANCING AT MIKE’S
-Mike on his 53rd birthday -October 13 -TriciVenola ©2007
Perhaps the last drawing I ever did at one of Mike’s legendary birthday parties.
PEACOCK AT CHORA
-I love this peacock in the corner -Chora -©TriciVenola 2007
SMOKERS AT A WALL
I now set about the serious business of finding an apartment in Sultanahmet, in between forays into Byzantium.
FAST TAKE ON THE VIRGIN
CHORA-I wonder how many term papers have been written on the influence of Byzantine art on Klimt, Beardsley & Art Nouveau in general? -TriciVenola @2007
-In Sultanahmet. 2007 TriciVenola. Some of my apartment-hunting were pleasant… others, less so.
-This guy owns an apartment with a view I dearly love… we went ‘round and ‘round— But it was doomed… He actually told me that I, as a single woman, could not have visitors!©TriciVenola 2007
That’s like being told that you seem a prostitute. What a creep!
COWBOY & KIDS DANCING
-Cool guy from America I met on the bus— bought a book, I took him to Mike’s. -Kids handkerchief-dancing in a Pasaj off Istiklal one fall night on my way home. -Ilhan Cevdet Necip -TriciVenola ©2007
Three Kurdish kids whooping it up in an old han on the Istiklal. Happy on my way home after apartment hunting all day singing “Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets.”
DOODLING AROUND TOWN
-TriciVenola ©2007 Boh-dee-oh-doh
SCRIBBLY BOO CAT CAFE
-Beautiful Boo-Cat from the Hasankeyf Train in a cool roof club in Tarlabashi
-Murat Elberger -Summer 2007 -Doesn’t BEGIN to do him justice! -TriciVenola © 2007
ADNAN FROM ANTALYA
©2007 TriciVenola Adnan @Favori in Antalya
MOON OVER AYA IRENE
-Hot August night -Moon over Aya Irene -TriciVenola ©2007
-Abdullah -TriciVenola ©2007 I was exhausted from apartment hunting. Abdullah took me out to dinner and bought me the new Harry Potter. A pal!
PINKIE & THE REFUGEES
-The most dangerous stairs in the world— razor stairs! -I pray every time I use these stairs: “Balance & harmony, focus, presence, faith” while I spend all my time looking for another apartment. Pinkie, being only a cat, was not able to understand. -It’s my dearest wish that my bloodless money grubbing freak• landlady walk down these stairs carrying her son. *Thank you, Alan Ball
-Handsome angelic vet surgeon Dr Kubilay Elginoglu “The bond between you and Pinkie is very strong.” But he breeds cats. –Dr Umit drove me 1 hour to see Pinkie who has lost 1 1/2 kilos &thought I had been eaten by a predator
-Sitting in a cafe full of fascinating faces while the image of my poor wounded Pinkie-Boy takes precedence. I don’t get him back for another TEN DAYS.
-Draw my peechor, is possible? I am Afghanistan. –3 Refugee guys- David: He didn’t want the drawing. He wanted it to have been drawn. -TriciVenola ©2007
Oh, the saga of Pinkie. He broke his leg on the razorblade stairs and had to be thinned down before surgery. He thought he was abandoned. “Your cat tried to commit suicide,” they said, “he did not move, he did not eat, he did not drink, and he did not use the catbox. He turned his face to the wall… so we called you.” I told Pinkie to be good, and fed and petted him, and his surgery was a success. He has outlived all the other cats. I have him still!
PINKIE IN THE CUP
-“Don’t forget me!” -Big chortle, garland or white cat head….Telling my friend Ahmet Sengör about big fat furry white Pinkie— and looked into my coffee cup to see this! I choose to believe it means my Pinkie will be all right. 5 November 2007 -Note: It’s six years later & Pinkie is still with us, fatter than ever & quite the grande gentleman. 15 June 2013 -And still!! 3 July 2018 -And still! 14 February 2019 -TriciVenola
BAR GIRLS IN PLOVDIV
Time to drop everything and go back in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, for another visa run. Notice that cute dancing pig with ribs.
-Wandering around Oldtown Plovdiv, Bulgaria -TriciVenola ©2007
Saints and angels amid the lampposts and cobbles. For a town that was behind the Iron Curtain for decades, they sure preserved their churches.
HIGH ANGLES IN PLOVDIV
-High angles in Plovdiv -TriciVenola ©2007
Plovdiv has the most wonderful wooden and stone architecture, left over from Ottoman Turkish merchants, built on Byzantine foundations on even older Greek fortifications.
IN OLDTOWN PLOVDIV
THE NEW LANDLORD
-Huseyin Bey in front of his view -Sultanahmet -November -TriciVenola ©2007
After much search, a new landlord. I loved this apartment and spent a blissful 28 months there before this guy threw me out to make an airbnb. Just in time for construction to ruin his view. But we’ve got the drawings!
-Virginia -9 December -TriciVenola ©2007
I miss you, Virginia.