Part 4: Visiting Santa Claus in Turkey and a picture book island in Lycia

By: barbamz , 7:00 PM GMT on May 31, 2014

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Hi everybody. Some of you may have already accompagnied me on my recent trip to Lycia (peninsula in southwestern Turkey)

hiking the Lycian Way in Turkey (Part 1) and
exploring ancient ruins, beaches and gorges (Part 2)
having a look at snowy mountains, mosques, shops, cats und dogs (part 3).

As I've already talked about the rich prechristian and the current islamic culture of this area I'd like to focus this last part of my little report a bit more on what christian tradition had and still has to offer for visitors of Lycia.

You may remember that the landmass of Asia Minor (which today is Turkey) belonged to the heartland of Christianity as long as it was part of the Byzantine Empire with Constantinople (= modern Istanbul) as its capital. Desintegration started in the 11th century when step by step the seljuks (muslims) got hold of the country.


The Byzantine Empire around 1000. Source wikipedia with a lot more maps and details of the history.

Modern Turkey is a secular but still islamic country which isn't inclined to provide much freedom for its few christian citizens. Still, in some part of the Lycian coast you find advertisement panels like this of a restaurant, owned by some Ipek (means "silk" and is used as female or family name) and picturing good old "Santa":



In Turkish Santa Claus is called "Noel baba", means "Christmas father". So this cafe is named "Christmas father cafe":



So why is this, lol? Well, Santa Claus hasn't been this white bearded old ho-ho-ho-guy, clothed in red and white for all the time. In fact, this figure had been coined by Coca Cola company in 1931 (though there had been some similar precursors in the 19th century). Originally Santa Claus is Saint Nicholas (15 March 270 – 6 December 343) who was born in Patara (Lycia; I've already shown some photos of ancient Patara in part 2) and later became the decent and influential bishop of nearby Myra.


Map of ancient Lycia with Patara and Myra on its south coast.

Although Christian Asia Minor produced a lot of important saints (here is a list), Saint Nicholas became the most popular of them. Legends are told about him, presenting him as the (secret) helper for children, poor young girls and sailors. But he's not only the patron of the children and sailors, but as well the national patron of Greece and Russia (you may read the details of his life and meaning on wikipedia).

No wonder, that a lot of people are interested to visit his residential town: Myra (which as a modern town is now called Demre).

The burial church of Saint Nicholas in the center of modern Demre had been excavated from the mud in recent decades and is now accessible as a museum: "Noel baba mueze".


Modern statue of Nicholas in the entrance of the former church. Notice its shiny left foot, polished by the touch of many thousand pilgrims who visit Myra every year; most of them come from Russia, and we've met quite a lot Russians on our trip in Lycia indeed.


Side entrance.


Ancient floor, ornated with so called opus sectile: art technique popularized in the ancient and medieval Roman world where materials were cut and inlaid into walls and floors to make a picture or pattern.


Main entrance to the church with its narthex, still with frescoes showing the assembly of an ancient synod.


Altar. As the church is a secular museum today and as Turkey is - to say the least - reluctant to concede many religious rights for Christians, there had been very rarely given permission to celebrate a christian service (mass) in this church.


An ancient sarcophagus which probably once contained the bones of Saint Nicholas. They aren't there anymore though. In 1087 parts of them were robbed (or some would say: saved) by sailors and translated to Bari in southern Italy (I've once visited the crypt with these remains), the rest came to Venice in 1100.


The beautiful old frescoes in this church had been restored and presented to the public in 2007.


All around the church/museum there are large shops which usually would meet the expectations of those tousands of (russian) pilgrims. Fortunately, when we've visited the place, it was still pre-season and very late in the afternoon. So we could enjoy the place nearly alone and in peace.

-----------------------

Well, as I have come to an end with this long report, lol, I'll skip another trip by boat to a hotspot of tourism in Lycia (the so called sunken city of Simena and Kekova), as it happened on a rainy day which wouldn't allow to take as beautiful photos as this location deserves.

A very bright day though was reserved for our trip to the nearby island which seems to have emerged out of a fairy tale - at least by the first look. Altough this island is very near to the coast of Turkey (closest distance: 1 mile), it belongs to Greece as the eastmost greek island (apart from the greek part of Cyprus which is an autonomous Republic though). The island got several names: Turks call it "Meis", derived from ancient greek "Megiste", means: the largest island (of several smaller ones nearby). The name "Megiste" is still in use in Greece, but the place is also known as Kastellorizo/Kastelorizo, derived from Italian and refering to the red rocks on which the castle of the island was built by the crusaders. I'll stick to "Kastellorizo" further on.


Meis/Kastellorizo seen from the garden of our nice turkish hotel in Kas (more about Kas in the last blog, part 3).


Map of Kastellorizo (German wikipedia).

The visit of this island had been one of the highlights for me, because it hasn't been for the first time. Actually, back in 1985 - nearly 30 years ago, uff - I've already spent a whole week in Kastellorizo. And it happened just by chance. Back then with a friend I made a trip to the large greek island of Rhodes in the southeastern Agean Sea. Rhodes usually is a nice island with an amazing medieval town. But nevertheless, it was a bad decision to go there as backpackers in the month of July. It was unbelievable hot; the island was overcrowded with noisy tourists, the locals and especially the waiters were unnerved, and the prices - f.e. for fish - were high. Adjacent islands were closed for tourism due to the lack of fresh water. So, how could we escape Rhodes, lol?

Then we found out that there was a ferry boat to the never-heard-of-island Kastellorizo, 78 miles (125km) east of Rhodes. Thing was, this ferry would run only once a week, so once you've left the boat there wouldn't be any way back for quite a while. Nevertheless, we dared to risk the trip, and we found a small, rocky island with only one little harbour town which was mostly in ruins to boot. Only some houses around the harbour were inhabitable and inhabited by a couple of locals and very few tourists. --- It was heaven! No road, no cars, no planes, no marine traffic either, except some fisher boats and yachts. No connection to the nearby Turkish coast as well, due to the enemity between Turkey and Greece, but back then it wouldn't have make much sense to visit Kas on the coast of Turkey anyway, as it wasn't developed at all at that time (the coastal road, requirement for development, was hardly built 30 years ago).

So we spent some very relaxed days on Kastellorizo back in July 1985: swimming in the very clear waters of some lonesome bays, exploring the little island, its hidden ruins and abandoned historical sites by using small paths, and every evening locals, tourists and sailors would gather in this calm, beautiful little harbour, drinking wine and enjoying very fresh fish which was also cheap.

Now of course I was thrilled to see that for already some years there is a daily ferry boat, connecting Kas and Kastellorizo. It's a bit pricy and you have to endure a lot of pass port controls, as you're going not only to cross a national border, but the border to the European Union with its Euro-money as well. And authorities make sure that after the stay of five hours on the island everybody is back on the boat.


Approaching Kastellorizo today by ferry boat.

Before I show you what the island is looking now we have to delve a bit into the recent history of the island (I skip the ancient one) to understand the specialty of this island:



This is a view of the harbour of Kastellorizo in 1921. Until a century ago, the island was quite wealthy as merchant vessels used to make a stop there. Between 10.000 or 20.000 (I've read different numbers) of people, most of them greek but some turkish as well, used to live there. But then everything went downhill for this poor island. First, long range ships didn't need to stop there any longer; a catastrophic earthquake destroyed a lot of houses in 1927. But the worst was that the island became a playing field for several political and military purposes. In the first part of the 20th century it was first dominated by the French, then by the Italians, later by the Brits. In 1923 all Turks had to leave the island (see last blog, part 3). The town was raided by troops and finally bombed by the Germans. The local population was evacuated for many years, and as there was no reason to come back to this demolished place most of them finally emigrated. Especially in Australia some ten thousands of descendants are living up to now (further details in the quite extensive English article on Wikipedia). And here a link to the "Australian friends of Kastellorizo": Link


Greek inhabitants of Kastellorizo in former times, wearing their traditional costume (I took this photo in the little museum of this island).

So when you look at the beauty of this island you'll have a tear in your eye because of this gruesome backside of its fairy tale. --- In the last years the greek government put a lot of efforts to keep the island inhabitated (around 200, maybe even 400 permanent residents now, a lot of elderly people though). An airstrip has been built and a road to this airport (in season once a day there would be flight with a small aircraft); a lot of renovation and reconstruction had been done, though still some ruined houses are left.


View from the ferry boat in the harbour of Kastellorizo.


Details of the houses, built and renovated in the typical style of the island (which is influenced by Italian architecture as it is the case in many places in Greece).


One of the larger churches of the island.


The old mosque (built in the 18th century) at the entrance of the harbour is now a museum for local history. Above the castle of the crusaders.


In the adjacent bay of Mandraki.


Alley in Kastellorizo, decorated with flowers.


The monument for shepherd Despina, who died in 1982. She voluntarily lived only in company of her animals in the nearby tiny island of Rho, flying and protecting the flag of Greece to maintain the claim of this island for her nation. Finally Turkey gave up on this rock in the sea, lol. Despina obviously is venerated like a saint beause of her resilience. --- BTW the "war of flags" is still ongoing: everywhere along the Turkish coast boats and many houses will fly the red flag of Turkey; in Kastellorizo it's the same with the blue and white flag of Greece, lol. Okay, if the war is restricted to flags, no problem, lol.


Behind the town a steep and stony stairway leads up to the rigde of the island. It provides a great view! Notice the coast of Turkey with the town of Kas in the background.




On the ridge of the island you're quite lonesome. By chance we've spotted the hull of an old bomb from WW II (probably a German one, huh) in the shrubs.


Back in 1985 the hidden monastery of Saint George which can be reached only by foot was abandoned and closed. Now renovation work is going on, and they told us that monks will move in next year. They'll also provide rooms for guests who are really, really looking for a lot of quietness, solitude and religious enlightenment.




Inside the church of the monastery.


Back in the harbour the staff of some nice restaurants are eagerly waiting for guests. Who wouldn't like to follow their invitation in a place like this?


Fresh fish is offered - but surely not this poor creature. Locals who were quite excited because of this catch, told us it's a sort of Ostraciidae which is very toxic.


So other sorts of tasty fish were served, but it wasn't as cheap any longer as it has been 30 years ago ;-).


Fine outlook during our lunch in the harbour of Kastellorizo. Ahh, the Mediterranean Sea ...


----------------------

Thank you, everybody, for having a look. Our trip to Lycia finally is finished. Hope you've enjoyed the pics and won't be bothered too much by my poor grammar. Will do some improvements the days to come, but have to leave for now.



Evening vista along the Turkish coastline above Kas.

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42. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
12:39 PM GMT on June 19, 2014
barbamz has created a new entry.
41. WeatherWise
8:52 PM GMT on June 17, 2014
It is very hot here too in the 90's today. HOT! It is to be 96 tomorrow, I think. Since you are on the subject of sports. How about the US OPEN Golf Tournament held in Pnehurst, N.C. - not too far from my area. The winner was Martin Kaymer of Germany . Not sure if you follow golf or not. Some of my relatives attended the US OPEN instead of Family Reunion.

Hope you have a good week. Stay cool - drink lots of liquids.
Member Since: February 28, 2003 Posts: 229 Comments: 5878
40. barbamz
9:15 PM GMT on June 13, 2014
Hey Nigel, thanks for the visit. World cup: Hmm yes, usually I am a fervent watcher of Europe and World cup matches. And sure I'll watch our team fighting, and some matches of other teams, too. On the other side: as I'm becoming older and have been watching quite a lot of matches already, I'm more relaxed than in former years. And to tell the truth: more and more I'm a bit annoyed by the tremendous costs of all these sportive events. - Nevertheless, all the best especially to Brazil (team and country)!
Hope you're fine in Jamaica, Nigel.

World Cup 2022: The Dark Side of the Qatar Dream
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 72 Comments: 8194
39. nigel20
7:18 PM GMT on June 13, 2014
Hi Barbara! How are you feeling about the FIFA World Cup; anxious to see Germany in action?

Jamaica is not at the World Cup, so I'm supporting Brazil for the time being :)
Member Since: November 6, 2010 Posts: 14 Comments: 9009
38. clearlakemike
1:42 AM GMT on June 13, 2014
Enjoyed the story about the "catastrophe tourists" and drunks holding up the detonation in Cologne...amazing that there are or have been so many un-detonated bombs left to dig up. Sort of like the land mines left in other conflict areas.

El Nino has global consequences. Its influence may not be quite understood yet, as far as I know also. Haven't studied this current developing one that much yet.
Member Since: November 21, 2004 Posts: 150 Comments: 2453
37. barbamz
8:56 PM GMT on June 12, 2014
Thanks Mike. Interesting you can already feel El Nino when dipping your toe into the ocean. --- But our recent severe weather probably wasn't driven by this developing El Nino which is still too far away, as much as I know.


Storm damage is worse than thought, warns DB

12 Jun 2014
GERMANY: Initial inspections have found that damage to the rail network in the Rhein-Ruhr region caused by a major storm on June 9 is worse than had been feared, Deutsche Bahn announced on June 11, and it is not clear when it will be possible for services to return to normal.
Inspections have had to be carried out partly using police helicopters, as rail and road links remain impassable. Overhead wires were brought down by the storm and trees blocked the lines, while stations in Düsseldorf and Essen were cut-off from the wider network and 16 trains were left stranded on running lines.
‘The devastation in parts of the Rhein-Ruhr region is even worse than from the [2007] storm Kyrill’, said Reiner Latsch of DB in Nordrhein-Westfalen. ‘Given this unusual situation, it is extremely difficult to give reliable forecasts and travel information.’ ...



---------------

Trouble for "Deutsche Bahn" (German railway company) elsewhere today:



Experts explode WWII bomb in Leipzig
The Local, Published: 12 Jun 2014 15:19 GMT+02:00
A bomb dropped by the US Air Force on Leipzig during World War II was blown up on Thursday morning. It was discovered on Wednesday night near the east German city’s main train station and the explosion was captured in these dramatic pictures. ...
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 72 Comments: 8194
36. clearlakemike
5:06 PM GMT on June 11, 2014
Glad to hear you are ok, Barb, and sorry to hear that the storms wreaked such havoc and may still...

Our T-storms were a bust yesterday but I got to enjoy a nice sunny day at the beach, lol. Got to swim without worrying about getting struck by lightning. The water is noticeably warmer now and it will be time to worry about sharks also, lol. Not sure how much the warming can be attributed to El Nino. During the last one the water was noticeably warmer. And then colder during the following La Nina. I am wondering if the El Nino is driving the intensity of your German storms?
Member Since: November 21, 2004 Posts: 150 Comments: 2453
35. barbamz
7:55 AM GMT on June 11, 2014
Good morning. Thank you Sandi. Indeed sweet dreams for me and temps dropped a lot. But it wasn't calm for everybody in Germany (and still isn't), and still a lot to repair in certain regions.

Hail and floods as storms head east
The Local, published: 11 Jun 2014 08:47 GMT 02:00
Deadly storms which killed six people in western Germany moved east overnight causing floods in the central states of Lower Saxony and Hesse.
Floods were reported in tunnels and basements in the two states. Emergency services were called to 200 incidents just in Goettingen, Hesse.
Weather service the DWD is warning of further bad weather in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein and in parts of Bavaria in the south.
And trains in North Rhine-Westphalia are still being affected by the storms which hit the area on Monday night and Tuesday morning.
Rail operator Deutsche Bahn said numerous stretches of track in the state were still closed. Trains heading to the Ruhrgebiet are stopping at Cologne and Muenster, while many S-Bahn services have been cancelled.
Storms are predicted to return around noon across the country. Thunderstorms can be expected particularly in southern and eastern regions of the country, with hailstones larger than 2cm in diameter.

Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 72 Comments: 8194
34. sandiquiz
6:43 PM GMT on June 10, 2014
Hope your night is full of sweet dreams and not strong storms...good luck:-)
Member Since: October 29, 2005 Posts: 318 Comments: 28905
33. barbamz
6:37 PM GMT on June 10, 2014
Sandi and Mike, thank you for your thoughts ... My eyes were glued to the screen yesterday night, flollowing German weather blogs and satellite sites, and are again this night - now combined with outlooks into the real world out of my window. In the moment it's still quiet, but you won't know to what stuff you will wake up ;-)

Today BBC dignified our French and German severe weather with a special video explanation:

Storms wreak havoc across Europe
BBC weather video, 10 June 2014 Last updated at 16:40
At least six people have been killed in Germany as a string violent storms swept across Europe. BBC Weather's Peter Gibbs has the details.


(Saved image). Storms are firing up, but until now nothing at my place Mainz.


Current warning situation in Germany, already with a purple one (will update).


Estofex has recently launched a special Mesoscale Discussion. Go here to read the details.
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 72 Comments: 8194
32. clearlakemike
4:59 PM GMT on June 10, 2014
Yes, wow, Barb...that appears to be intense!! Hope it doesn't get too crazy where you are and it cools off. We are expecting thunderstorms in places on this island today and tomorrow also. They are usually very localized but if they remain stationary which commonly occurs it can cause flooding problems for the areas affected. I am hoping for one to stall over me so I can refill my water tank with free water from the sky!, LOL.
Member Since: November 21, 2004 Posts: 150 Comments: 2453
31. sandiquiz
11:59 AM GMT on June 10, 2014
WOW, Barbara,

I saw that storm brewing, and the BBC gave a amber warning for the south of the UK but it never really came this way. About ten last night the sky was full of sheet lightning, but nothing came our way.

Prayers to the families who lost loved ones:(
Member Since: October 29, 2005 Posts: 318 Comments: 28905
30. barbamz
7:41 AM GMT on June 10, 2014
Short good morning hello from thunderstormy and record heated Germany ...

Raging storm in western Germany kills five, disrupts transport
Reuters, 10/06 09:03 CET, By Matthias Inverardi

DUESSELDORF Germany (Reuters) - At least five people were killed in violent storms that swept Germany's most populous state late on Monday, felling trees, disrupting public transport and leaving some roads impassable.

After a scorchingly hot three-day holiday weekend, thunderstorms, strong winds and heavy rain pounded the western state of North-Rhine Westphalia, causing Germany's third-largest airport in Duesseldorf to close for about an hour.

Three people were reported to have died in the state capital when a tree fell onto a garden shed in which they were seeking shelter. Fire fighters rescued three more injured people - two severely hurt - from the shed, according to media.

A cyclist aged around 50 died in nearby Cologne after being hit by a falling tree that local police said was probably struck by lightning. Another person died in the town of Essen while trying to clear a street.

Ten incoming flights at Duesseldorf airport were diverted while 10 other flights were cancelled. The airport said gusts of up to 150 kilometres an hour (93 mph) were recorded. It opened again at 10 p.m. local time (2000 GMT).

Early on Tuesday, national rail operator Deutsche Bahn said numerous train services were still suspended and trains in operation would face severe delays.

Fallen trees blocked some streets in Duesseldorf, where trams and underground trains were also stopped due to damaged overhead lines. Some locals reported electrical outages.



More than 230.000 lightnings yesterday in Germany. Source: wetteronline.de

New heat records (translated from here):
On Monday numerous heat records for the beginning of June were measured. On the Upper Rhine (Rheinstetten) the thermometer showed 36.7 degrees Celsius (98,06F). The old national heat record for the first third of June stood at 35.5 degrees from the year 1947. Too, the records of more than 100 years long time series such as those of Stuttgart, Bamberg, were outbid by more than one degree. On Tuesday, new records can tumble in the East. In the Berlin area, we expect about 35 degrees.



Germany storms: Six dead in North Rhine-Westphalia
BBC News, 10 June 2014 Last updated at 09:35 GMT

Another breathtaking video from the storm (Link to youtube, as embedding is disabled).


I'm in the red cone of Estofex today. We'll see whether something will develop later this evening.

Quote from the discussion:
Main activity is expected in the evening and night hours in the wake of the short-wave trough due to the QG lift underneath the right entrance region of the mid-level jet streak. Together with warm air advection, steep lapse rates will be in place over the moist boundary layer, resulting in 30 hPa MLCAPE of more than 1000 J/kg well into the night.


Gif animation I've created yesterday night with screenshots from a webcam in Dortmund, showing the arrival of the huge shelf cloud.
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 72 Comments: 8194
29. WeatherWise
12:26 PM GMT on June 09, 2014
Hi Barb, I was thinking perhaps no air conditiong for cooling. Hope the heat spell is moving on out of your area. Heading out for my morning walk - is a bit overcast this am or perhaps it is fog cover and 69 with a promise of 88 and then 92 for Tuesday and Wed. but still cooling down to 68 to 69 at night. It's Monday1 Hope you have a great day!

Happy Monday!

Member Since: February 28, 2003 Posts: 229 Comments: 5878
28. barbamz
8:49 AM GMT on June 09, 2014
I've just read some temperature records were broken in Germany yesterday. Here is a snippet from the report of DWD, our national weather service, translated by google:

In fact, yesterday temperature records fell like dominoes.
Outstanding was the beginning of June (decade from 01 to 10) highest
ever in Germany measured temperature. 35.6 degrees it was in
Waghaeusel, located between Mannheim and Karlsruhe. The old record
35.5 degrees from 03.06.1947 in Frankfurt is at least 67 years
back.


35,6C = 96,08F




Good morning. You rarely see the pink color in warning forecasts from Estofex (European Storm Forecast Experiment). Yesterday already strong thunderstorms with high rates of lightning hit western Europe from Paris to Benelux and northwestern Germany. Not sure when my place in the mid of Germany may get these storm which will end our little heatwave step by step (this evening or - more probably - tomorrow).

Here is what Estofex says for today:

SYNOPSIS

In between of the deep low over the Atlantic and the ridge over Central Europe, strong southerly to southwesterly flow will advect hot airmass characterised by steep mid-level lapse rates from N Africa towards France, Germany and then around the ridge towards Poland. Potentially dangerous situation will evolve over France, BENELUX and NW Germany just ahead of the diffuse, wavy frontal boundary that will remain quasistationary close to French coastline during the most of the day. Another low will slowly dig SE-wards across NW Russia. Moderate to strong NW-ly flow is simulated at its southwestern flank. With prevailing low geopotentials over much of Eastern Europe, so scattered DMC is expected also there, albeit severe threat will be smaller than in case of France / BENELUX.

DISCUSSION

... France towards BENELUX and NW Germany ...

Very dangerous setup will develop over the region by the late afternoon hours. With pronounced overlap of low-level moisture and steep mid-tropospheric lapse rates, models agree on the development of high to extreme CAPE values, with Central France towards BENELUX and NW Germany having the highest odds of seeing 3000 J/kg of MLCAPE by the late evening. As 500 hPa winds between 15 to 25 m/s overlap with backed low-level flow thanks to the presence of the surface trough, strong DLS (20-25 m/s) is forecast. By the late evening, with the enhancement of the low-level wind field with deepening trough, SREH values will increase especially over NW France / BENELUX (with values over 300 m2/s2 possible). Such setup will be very conducive for intense supercells / bow-echoes, capable of very large hail and damaging wind gusts. Towards the evening (beyond 18 UTC), as LLS strengthens, tornadoes will become a threat as well, especially if isolated supercells manage to persist into this time frame.

However, models do not simulate any pronounced QG forcing to rapidly reduce CIN. This will, on one hand, allow for CAPE to build-up steadily towards the late afternoon. On the other hand, it is highly questionable how many storms will initiate and where exactly. There is considerable disagreement by individual models. Overnight / morning convection, along with the outflow boundaries laid by these may be crucial in this setup. Current thinking is, that the foci for late afternoon initiation will be NW France, along the surface convergence zone, with storms spreading into BENELUX. It is likely that these storms will be isolated supercells at first, with subsequent clustering resulting in a fast forward propagating bow-echo. Towards the night, Southern to Central France may see convective initiation, with another possiblity of MCS travelling north towards N France.

Level 3 was introduced for the region, where the highest probability of high storm coverage is forecast and where high density of extremely severe events is most likely. With that in mind, any spot in the Level 2 may see extremely severe storms in these highly favourable conditions, provided storms can initiate. ...




End of a BBQ in Helmstedt (Lower Saxony) yesterday, lol.

New addition from Estofex:

New Mesoscale Discussion from Estofex
Valid: Mon 09 Jun 2014 10:00 to Tue 10 Jun 2014 15:00 UTC
Issued: Mon 09 Jun 2014 09:48
Forecaster: PUCIK
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 72 Comments: 8194
27. clearlakemike
5:49 PM GMT on June 08, 2014
That is a lot of hail!! Size of golf balls, ouch! I saw on the news here recently that hail the size of baseballs, I think, rained down somewhere in the US midwest and damaged thousands of new cars on a car dealer's inventory lot. Also damaged a lot of aircraft at an airport. Can't remember now where but it looked awful!
Member Since: November 21, 2004 Posts: 150 Comments: 2453
26. palmettobug53
5:12 PM GMT on June 08, 2014
HI, Barb. Just a quick fly by to say hello. I am out of computer time and have some errands to run.

Hope you've had a good Sunday.
Member Since: October 7, 2005 Posts: 245 Comments: 26059
25. barbamz
11:45 PM GMT on June 07, 2014
Thanks for your concerns, guys :-) Yeah, four hot days (three still to come) with humid heat and severe storms in certain places. And no a/c around in most of Germany's flats and houses (including my place). But if the heat lasts only half a week - as it is forecast - it's okay and I'm able to keep my rooms a bit cool by darkening the rooms and close the windows during daytime (wayyy worse would be a heat wave like in 2003 which lasted for several weeks with a high death toll all over central Europe).



Belgium's World Cup warm-up game against Tunisia is delayed after super sized hailstorm forces players off the pitch
By Richard Arrowsmith, Published: 19:31 GMT, 7 June 2014 | Updated: 20:23 GMT, 7 June 2014
Belgium's final warm-up game before the World Cup was postponed after a severe hail storm forced players off the field. Many people's choice as dark horses to succeed in Brazil were playing Tunisia at the King Baudoin stadium in Brussels when supercell thunderstorms erupted over north east Europe. Hail stones the size of golf balls rained down on the pitch, eventually forcing players from both teams off after 24 minutes with the score still goalless. The game was resumed after 40minutes once the storm passed.




Culprit for the hail is the blob in the upper middle of the picture.
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 72 Comments: 8194
24. clearlakemike
6:53 PM GMT on June 07, 2014
Is it a humid heat, Barb? And do you have air conditioning? 91F is hot if it is humid and no "air". Hope you enjoy the weekend and perhaps enjoying the festivals. You seem to have timed your holiday in Turkey correctly! No mobs of people or rain!!
Member Since: November 21, 2004 Posts: 150 Comments: 2453
23. WeatherWise
11:43 AM GMT on June 07, 2014
Hi Barb! Sounds like you are in for a hot day? Hope you can keep cool a bit. We are to get up to 85 today so should be a nice day here. I am off to the farmers market and perhaps a walk on the Riverwalk. Hope I see the heron again and that he is closer to shore for better photo op.
Member Since: February 28, 2003 Posts: 229 Comments: 5878
22. barbamz
10:59 AM GMT on June 07, 2014
Have a beautiful weekend everybody and thanks for your visits (Mike, WW, GG ...) :-)



SYNOPSIS for Europe from Estofex:

A cyclonic vortex will remain located over the eastern Atlantic, with strong southerly flow simulated on its forward flank. An "EML" is advected towards the north (France, BENELUX, W Germany) from N Africa. A cut-off low will slowly translate from S Sweden towards the Baltic states during the forecast period. In between of these two aforementioned features, a ridge will stretch from the Mediterranean towards central Europe. There will be two foci for thunderstorm initiation - the first being in a belt from S France towards S England and the second being much larger, spanning much of Scandinavia towards the Balkans and Turkey. In between, more quiescent conditions should prevail.

Turkey really gets a lot of rain these weeks (combined with regional flooding). Which is very good because their severe drought should be history by now. Vacationers in this country (and I was one of them one month ago) won't be happy though ;-)

First (mild) day of our heatwave in Germany. It's noon and already 29C/84,2F in my backyard. And this is just the beginning. But people won't complain yet :-). A lot of open air festivals this weekend.


Webcam Mainz Cathedral with market near my place.


Current temperatures in Germany (will update). Source.

Edit at 3 p.m.: Now the reading in my backyard already is 32C/91,4F
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 72 Comments: 8194
21. GardenGrrl
8:26 PM GMT on June 06, 2014
Oh this is so cool. Just got back from my trip and am checking in to see what people are up to.
Member Since: March 25, 2007 Posts: 282 Comments: 11024
20. WeatherWise
12:39 AM GMT on June 06, 2014
Hi Barb, Stopping by to wish you a fun filled weekend! Guess summer is over your way, too. My daugher is out in Yellowstone - saw where their weather is in the 20's and30s at night but in the 60s midday.

Yellowstone National Park, WYLink
Member Since: February 28, 2003 Posts: 229 Comments: 5878
19. clearlakemike
6:12 PM GMT on June 05, 2014
Even a lot of Americans would not understand that video, Barb. It is definitely niche market humor. So congratulations on trying to understand it.

Interesting entry about the D-day weather! Weather has played an important role all through out military history.

Military Weather History

Here are some famous examples (out of hundreds):
"Weather and terrain have a greater impact on battles
than any other physical factor-including weapons"
Member Since: November 21, 2004 Posts: 150 Comments: 2453
18. barbamz
5:30 PM GMT on June 05, 2014
D-day anniversary: The weather forecast that paved the way for the Normandy landings
Weather forecasts by the former naval meteorologist Harold Checketts determined the timing of the Normandy landings
Helen Pidd, The Guardian, Thursday 5 June 2014

D-Day Was A Success Because Allied Meteorologists Saw An Opening That The Germans Missed
BI, Gus Lubin, Jun. 1, 2014, 8:21 PM

The original German weather maps for June 6, 1944 were only recently found in archives and are now published by the National Weather Service of Germany (DWD).
Here is a pdf which has these newly found maps and the weather maps from UK as well.

Well done photo gallery:
D-day landings scenes in 1944 and now - interactive

And more than thankful memories to all those who lost their lifes in order to free Europe!


New BBC video, at the end refering to those above mentioned newly found German maps.
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 72 Comments: 8194
17. barbamz
4:53 PM GMT on June 05, 2014
First heatwave of 2014 to bring highs of 34C
Published: 05 Jun 2014 17:20 GMT+02:00
This weekend is set to be the hottest Pentecost public holiday for at least 50 years, with temperatures forecast to reach 34C (93,2F) in some parts of Germany. ...


Thanks for the video, Mike. I didn't understand everything, but got its overall meaning, I guess, so a good laugh ...
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 72 Comments: 8194
16. clearlakemike
10:04 PM GMT on June 03, 2014
Yes, that is an interesting image! Your gardening methods sound familiar, Barb, lol. Do the talking plants mean that I should now feel guilty about eating them also?

An enthuiastic tour guide can be a blessing or a curse, I guess. I always think of this one...(not sure if you will "get it" or be able to follow but I will give it a try.)



I usually like to do self tours myself but sometimes I have enjoyed the tour guide's expertise. We also enjoyed our tour guide's assistance at the Taj Mahal in keeping overly curious "locals" at a comfortable distance. Unfortunately, at the tourist sites in India one is often besieged by beggars, usually children and sometimes pick pockets.

Revisionist history is quite common here in the US also.

Member Since: November 21, 2004 Posts: 150 Comments: 2453
15. barbamz
9:57 PM GMT on June 02, 2014
10 surreal images of Istanbul showered by rain
Heavy rain hit Istanbul on June 2, causing local flooding and creating chaos in the metropolis. Incredible images, like the one showing a minibus "cruising" alongside a Bosphorus ferry, have gone viral on social media. Here are 9 more surreal scenes from Istanbul today ...



Nevertheless, in respect to the very severe drought in this part of Turkey I think the rain was good news.
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 72 Comments: 8194
14. barbamz
9:14 PM GMT on June 02, 2014
WW, my terrace is a jungle now (as every year). Some plants in the pots are old residents, some deliberately planted or seeded, some will grow because wind or birds carried their seeds to my place. I let them grow for a while as I often forget during winter what's in those pots I often shift around (lol), then weeding out what seems to become too bold and disturbing, lol.

Talking Plants
EuroNews Video, 02/06 17:08 CET
Plants communicate using their own language, made up of electrical signals, they send messages to other plants and to the environment. In Florence, a European research project is analyzing this electrical activity.
Stefano Mancuso, a biologist, explained why: “Plants are able to sense the gravitational field, electrical fields, chemicals gradients, etc. This huge amount of information, exchanged by plants is there, why shouldn’t we use it? We just have to find out how to decode it, and then make it intelligible.” ...
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 72 Comments: 8194
13. WeatherWise
6:33 PM GMT on June 02, 2014



Hi Barb, Happy June Days of Summer! I had three Stella de Oro Daylilies in bloom today! Should have zillions but last year right after I said that some critter came and ate all of the tender buds. I hope that does not happen this year. My daisies are slow to bloom. I have one that is trying to open with several that will be right behind it. I just love the daisies and day lilies of June!






Member Since: February 28, 2003 Posts: 229 Comments: 5878
12. barbamz
6:19 PM GMT on June 02, 2014
WW, thank you very much! And concerning your son: Yeah, trecking foreign countries could leave you addicted, lol. May he experience lot of more pleasure out of this! Much better than to book an "all inclusive" arrangement and never get your nose out of one resort, for sure.

The last two decades, I've been hiking and walking in a lot of foreign countries, mostly in Europe. But for several reasons I now tend more and more towards sticking to nearby areas in Germany and adjacent countries (Turkey was a sort of exception).

Mike, sure every place in Europe, especially in the more southern parts, is packed with a history of some thousands years. This will make guided tours in historical sites often quite lengthy and often a bit tiring, lol, if the guide chooses to tell you as much as possible. I'm glad to have wikipedia around, so that I won't have to write a whole novel about every location but just have to give a link, lol.

Moreover, it's not always easy to tell the story in an impartial way. Here's an interesting article I found today:

The new official history and St. Sophia
Hurryiet Daily News (English version of a Turkish newspaper), Monday, June 2, 2014
I remember the times when our high school history textbooks changed in the late 1970s, after the nationalist-conservative coalition government came to power. I was going to one of the few private high schools of the time and our teachers preferred to use the old textbooks; nevertheless, we were supposed to buy the new ones. When I scanned the new books out of curiosity, I noticed the difference: the focus was now on the glorious times of the Ottoman Empire, whereas the old books emphasized Western history, as well as ancient Turkish history in tune with the official Republican ideology. ...
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 72 Comments: 8194
11. clearlakemike
2:06 AM GMT on June 02, 2014
Barb, fascinating map! Interesting that the southern part of Crimea was part of the Byzantium Empire (and also part of the Roman.) That part of the world has seen so much coming and going of conquerors and Empires. And still does...

I will be spending a long time studying this blog!! So much here! As with the previous installments also.

Have a good week!
Member Since: November 21, 2004 Posts: 150 Comments: 2453
10. WeatherWise
10:56 PM GMT on June 01, 2014




Another beautiful segment of your trip to Turkey! Your photos are beautiful and the maps point out clearly the places you are speaking of. Thanks for sharing your story of your little island 30 years ago compared to your little island today. Thanks for sharing the info under each photo. I really like the personal interest photo that you slipped in of the Alley in Kastellorizo, decorated with flowers. So how do you feel now that you are back home? Are you already longing for another walking trip. I sensed that yesterday as I had lunch with my son that just completed the walking trip across England. I think he will probably do another and another.



Member Since: February 28, 2003 Posts: 229 Comments: 5878
9. barbamz
8:32 PM GMT on June 01, 2014
Hey, Bug, thanks. Yes, the situation in Turkey is full of tensions; fortunately in the vacation areas you normally wouldn't notice much of it.




BTW, US soccer team, trained by our German Klinsman, just has beaten the Turkish national team 2:1 (preparation play for the World Championship).

------------

Sandi, we nearly could have met back then in Crete. My first journey to Greece/Crete in the wake of my family was in 1973. True, tourism still was very moderate in those days.

------------

Mike, thanks for the comments and especially the laughs with the "squirrel", lol!


See you later in the new week. Have a nice start into it!
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 72 Comments: 8194
8. clearlakemike
8:10 PM GMT on June 01, 2014
Also, as I read down the comments, thank you for links. Very sorry to hear about the troubles in Turkey and that people lost their lives.
Member Since: November 21, 2004 Posts: 150 Comments: 2453
7. clearlakemike
8:05 PM GMT on June 01, 2014
All I can say at the moment, Barb, is WOW! What a tour. I only have time to quickly go through this time and will be back. So much interesting detail to observe and think over here. The photos are wonderful and a speed read of your narration I still enjoy your wit and interest of what you are reporting. Thank you for sharing all this with us.

I popped in as I am catching up on my Sunday morning tour of the news world and came across this. And yes, it is another installment of "The Krauts Always Get It" lol (And the Canadians...can't leave them out of the fun either.)



Germans have a really hard time saying 'squirrel'

Source.
Member Since: November 21, 2004 Posts: 150 Comments: 2453
6. sandiquiz
6:34 PM GMT on June 01, 2014
Thank you for your four-part journey ....I have loved it.
I enjoyed ŷour trip.back to the Greek Island. The only bit of Greece I have ever been to is Crete, way back in 1974, when it was still fairly rare to travel to the Greek islands as a tourist.
Member Since: October 29, 2005 Posts: 318 Comments: 28905
5. palmettobug53
5:22 PM GMT on June 01, 2014
Hi, Barb.

I hadn't heard anything about the push to turn the Hagia Sophia from a museum back into an active mosque.

I did, however, see something in this morning's paper about the clashes in Istanbul. I'm glad you missed all of that.
Member Since: October 7, 2005 Posts: 245 Comments: 26059
4. barbamz
3:35 PM GMT on June 01, 2014
Thank you Pedley. Unfortunately there is always a nasty snake sneaking in paradise ....

---------------------------

Protesters Pray For Turkey's Hagia Sophia to Become a Mosque

NBCNews, May 31, 2014

Protesters pray in front of the Hagia Sophia museum in Istanbul, Turkey, early Saturday, to show their desire that it be turned into a mosque.

It has served as the exalted seat of two faiths since its vast dome and lustrous gold mosaics first levitated above Istanbul in the 6th Century: Christendom's greatest cathedral for 900 years and one of Islam's greatest mosques for another 500.

Today, the Hagia Sophia, or Ayasofya in Turkish, is officially a museum: Turkey's most-visited monument, whose formally neutral status symbolizes the secular nature of the modern Turkish state.

But tens of thousands of Muslim worshipers gathering there on Saturday hope it will again be a mosque %u2014 a dream they believe Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan can fulfill.

There are even rumors - denied by the government - that Erdogan, a religious conservative who is seeking the presidency at an election in August, could lead prayers there one day soon.

Built in 537 by Byzantine Emperor Justinian whose rule stretched from Spain to the Middle East, Hagia Sophia - meaning "Divine Wisdom" in Greek - was unrivaled in the Christian world until Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II conquered the city in 1453 and turned it into a mosque. Modern Turkey's founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, decreed it a museum in 1934.

Reuters, First published May 31st 2014, 6:12 pm

More than 100 arrested and several people reported dead in Turkey clashes
EuroNews, 31/05 22:35 CET
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 72 Comments: 8194
3. PedleyCA
2:29 AM GMT on June 01, 2014
Thanks for the Free Vacation, very lovely place, even with that nasty bit of history.
Member Since: February 29, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6863
2. barbamz
1:03 AM GMT on June 01, 2014
Thank you, Bug. Sure it's a hard fate to be a saint in the westerly or easterly (catholic/orthodox) church, lol. Hopefully the diversed bones will be somehow put together in the future Day of Judgement. :-) But maybe we won't need them anymore ....
Member Since: October 25, 2008 Posts: 72 Comments: 8194
1. palmettobug53
11:06 PM GMT on May 31, 2014
What a lovely ending to your travelogue, Barb!

Kastellorizo is an amazingly picturesque place, with the white houses with Grecian blue and other colours. Little winding pathways and all the flowers.

The tour through the ancient church of St. Nicolas was very interesting. I love ruins and old things and places.

Poor St. Nick. His remains divvied up between Bari and Venice. So much for resting in peace.
Member Since: October 7, 2005 Posts: 245 Comments: 26059

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I'm Barbara in Germany (Mainz), and I'm interested in weather already for decades.

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