Auto-touring: Boulder, a little caving, and west to Arizona

When Ferda and I originally started making plans to come to the US, we weren’t going to visit Colorado.  It was too far from California, and it was going to be the middle of winter, the most uncomfortable time to visit Boulder.  It was important for me that Ferda liked Boulder, and I figured coming at the beginning of January would perhaps give us the lowest chance of that.  Boy, was I wrong!  The only place we visited in the US where Ferda thought she’d like to live was Boulder.  It may not be so pedestrian-friendly by world standards, but for the US, well, Boulder does a decent job.

In Boulder we stayed downtown with Cher and Bill and their new son, Reed.  They graciously hosted a party one night where Ferda was able to meet a lot of my friends.  And even though it snowed a day or two before we arrived in Boulder, it was warm enough to get out on bikes and show Ferda the city.  A livable city, great hospitality, friends, good weather — there’s a lot to like in Boulder.  Visiting the downtown Boulder Public Library cinched the deal for Ferda.  She was blown away and didn’t want to leave.  I think she was about to cry as I was showing her around the library.  Plus there was an exhibit of Maurice Sendak drawings in the gallery!

About the only thing we did besides visit friends downtown was a short hike in Eldorado Canyon State Park.  It was chilly that day, but of course there were climbers out on the sunny cliffs.  Hopefully we’ll be back soon.

DSCN9404 by bryandkeith on flickr
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Eye candy in the desert SW

Megan, Ferda, and I took off in Megan’s little red car and visited three national parks on the way from California to Colorado.  We spent longest at Joshua Tree where we did a little climbing.  The sun might make it look warm, but it was actually quite cold during our three days there.  We were lucky to get the last available spot at the Hidden Valley Campground, an area that is very popular with climbers.  Unlike, say, Geyikbayırı or Potrero Chico, it’d be rather difficult to visit and climb here without a car.  The campground didn’t have water, you can’t make reservations, and the climbs and crags seem to be scattered over a large area.

DSCN9964 by bryandkeith on flickr
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Tourists in southern California

I’m finally getting around to writing some blogs/posting some photos about Ferda’s and my trip to the US and Mexico 16 months ago.  We spent about seven weeks in the US and five in Mexico.  I took Ferda to some of my favourite places, like Palm Springs, Troncones, and Boulder, and we also went to some new places for me like Arches NP, Papantla, and Potrero Chico.  We tied everything together by visiting friends and family along the way.  Happily, Ferda liked it all enough that she wants to go back.

First stop: southern California, via Turkish Airlines’ longest non-stop flight: İstanbul-Los Angeles.  Isn’t that convenient?  Megan and my parents arranged a couple tours in Los Angeles for us.  Ferda was most excited to visit Hollywood and most disappointed that there’s really not much to see there, although we did eat ice cream next to Muhammad Ali’s star.

DSCN0079 by bryandkeith on flickr
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Skiing in Antalya

In January we had some unusually cold weather in Antalya.  It even snowed (twice!) down below Geyikbayırı in the camps where the climbers stay, something that hadn’t happened in years.  Guillaume, Seb, and I took advantage of the conditions and got out for three days of skiing near Antalya.

One first excursion was to Ala Belen, driving up the road toward Feslikan Yaylası.  We got up to the butcher shops below the curves where the road is really steep.  The ice forced us to park there and start our skinning through the houses of the yayla (Narpızlı Yaylası, according to openstreetmap).  At the car I thought there was no hope of good snow because we were so low, but it turned out to be surprisingly good, especially lower where the wind hadn’t hit the snow so much.

DSC06824 by bryandkeith on flickr
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A few fun days in Berlin with Ferda and Antje

During our week in Hannover, Ferda and I lucked out with surprisingly warm weather for December.  In Berlin, however, we found the cold.  Here are Ferda and Antje, braving the cold to visit this outdoor museum:

Ferda and Antje by bryandkeith on flickr

Don’t be deceived by the sunshine.  After about 20-30 minutes wandering around that site, we were happy to get inside and have something warm to drink.

This was my 4th visit to Berlin.  I’ve always stayed with Antje, and she’s always managed to point me in different directions so that I see new attractions every time.  The exception is the Greek restaurant near her house.  I’ve had dinner there three times in the last seven years.

This was Ferda’s first time in Berlin so we wandered around some of the highlights like the Reichstag, Brandenburger Tor, and Berliner Dom.
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