Saturday, 31 January 2009

Friday, 30 January 2009


Well that was interesting. Just left Syria after a twelve day visit. The majestic Euphrates, vast plains and deserts, ancient kingdoms, stunning ruins, artefacts lieing on the ground- ancient pots sticking out of the ground, desert birds, amazing wetlands, living history, friendliest people ever, secret agents following us everywhere we went, attacked by dogs, great food, Arabian Oryx, illegal to blog, the most stunning and graceful beautiful women and met a guy who not only discovered the Bald Ibis colony at Palmyra but also ate one of them. What a place. Now in Jordan.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Life is a Musical

Nice to see people conversing in song- most pleasant way of communicating.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Kulu Golu

Off the beaten track today. Vısıted the town of Kulu and nearby steppe lake.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Turkish Bath

I have just been foamed up and bathed by a big hairy semi-naked turk. I dont think I will ever be the same person again.


Stopped off at Ankara on the way through central Anatolia. At first glance (and in some ways) this city reminds me of Nairobi or Accra. This recent and sudden growth (mainly post 1920s) is betrayed by a lack lustre architectural monotony (like an Asian Basildon) but comes alive with a gritty, edgey and hustle and bustling street culture. These are pioneers out here on this plateaux- and they look it.

No sign of any city chicks in these parts.
Paul with Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

Sunday, 11 January 2009

People of Istanbul

An interesting socio-tpye mix here- fascinating street culture, excellent food , breath taking architecture, parks and gripping history.
Instanbul (approx 41 N, 29 E)- spreading out over a major faunal migration interesection is surely one of the most stunning homocentic-ecoystems on this planet.

Saturday, 10 January 2009


I discovered Raki. I tried to re create and capture the pyschological experience in this room spinning video.

Friday, 9 January 2009


Finally arrived at Instanbul and staying in an area overlooking the Bosphorus.The first time I have seen a traffic jam of ships.


Left Shipka yesterday. The tales of our pilgrimage led the Kazanlak teachers (above)to comment on our bravery and they asked on our return to do a presentation to the local school about our adventure. With cheers and wishes we set off for the promised land.

A couple of hours later we pulled in to a service station about 10 miles out of Kazanlak to recover after the trauma of entering a snow flurry in an off road vehicle. I think it is going to be tougher than I thought:-).

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Modern Birding

Travel used to be easy. It used to bins, scope, tripod, passport and wallet.
Now it is bins, scope, tripod, passport, wallet, compact camera, DSLR camera, 300mm lens, 50mm lens, 200mm lens , 1.4 x converter, i-pod, speakers, lap top and then there are the 5 chargers, 20+ batteries, 4 USB cables, i-pod adaptor, universal adaptors, compact flash cards, memory sticks, power sockets, transformers and nowadays I even bring along a change of clothes.
What is the world coming to.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009


Woken up this morning by a feral cat licking my face so got up before light and headed out round town. Spent the day checking out the monastery and village.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009


The primary objective of the mission is to get a full set of new teeth so work began today. By the end of the trip I will hopefully have a full new set of gleaming gnashers.

A secondary objective is to complete the christain pilgrimage from Bulgaria to Jerusalem and thus acquire the pre-fix of Hadji to my name (hence Hadji Peter Alfrey)- once a high status symbol in these parts.

The tertiary objective is to record natural history data from this region with a particular emphasis on birds and humans.
After the dentist we helped delivering a lesson at the regional high school in the difference between american and english english. I dont always understand what I agree to but found myself with Paul standing on a stage infront of a load of kids with my bins still round my neck.