Troy We got home last night exhausted after 22 hours of traveling. I'm downloading my pictures and will post a picture story and link it here, but for now the news is that we are safely home and the trip couldn't have gone better. Amazing to be there with no tourists. The Byzantine history has mostly been erased in Turkey but the classical sites are just amazing--whole cities.
Typing on a Turkish keyboard is interesting--most frequent problem is that the i with a dot is a different character in a different place on the keyboard. I don't see any triangle brackets for code.
Trip is going very well! On and off light rain in Istanbul but not cold, clear but windy and cold--a few degrees C above freezing--as we go along the coast. But we are so happy we are here in the winter. Usually no other tourists in sight--even at Troy. At Assos we pulled off the road and went in an open gate to explore the theater (4th century BC)--no one around but a sheperd with his sheep. The driving is mostly easy because there are very few cars on the road--that it costs almost a hundred dollars to fill up the tank of our compact car probably has a lot to do with that as well as the almost total lack of tourists this time of year. Most of our hotels have been very nice, just one where the shower was a hand shower in the corner of the bathroom (with a drain and curtain but no separate floor area with a rim to hold in the water) and they turned on the hot water only in the evening. And that was worth it to wake up and see a tiny fishing harbor right out our window, no one around but cats and a few fishermen. Cats are everywhere.
We are off today to Turkey, returning late Dec. 29. Some hotels apparently have computers for guests to check their email so I might post a quick update, but probably I'll post a trip report when I get back. I'm seeing the challenge as traveling in a more flexible style, rather than having everything figured out in advance. My goal is for our kids to be able to imagine traveling college student style (as I did in when I was in college--backpack and youth hostels) after experiencing this trip. We are staying in two star hotels and renting a car--not college student style but on a considerably simpler scale than the trips organized by my father.
I've been writing letters of recommendation and a Christmas letter. I wish I thought honesty would be trusted--I worry that what I would say honestly would be read as sugar-coating something much more negative.
This is exam week, and then we leave for Turkey next Monday. A busy time.
I worked very intensely with a therapist in North Carolina for almost seven years, starting in Feb. 1996. When he partially retired three and a half years ago he told me I would have to find someone else. At first he wanted that to be a clean ending, but in we eventually worked out ending the therapy relationship but continuing to meet once a month for an hour (we called it spiritual direction). He was uncertain at first whether that was a good idea, but it turned out to be a lovely thing not just so I didn't feel rejected but to be able to go back and revisit what I had learned with him.
I did move on. The next person I saw didn't work out, but now I have another therapist I can do the deep work with. I hadn't thought anyone else would be able to go as deep with me as the person in North Carolina, but I have found someone with whom I can go deeper.
Yesterday I had my last meeting with the person in North Carolina. He is retiring completely now. I am much readier for this ending than I was for the first one, but it is still very sad. I have tried so hard to feel my feelings, but I've still got a very sore shoulder, which my massage therapist says is a classic place for grief to come out.
A month ago, when I did a metric century that was hillier than I expected, I decided I wanted to go back to Charleston to do the Island century ride at Festivelo. I had done that ride two years ago as my first century since coming back to bicycling, and it is very flat.
My family didn't go this time, but I found a friend who was interested in seeing Charleston to share the drive and hotel with. When we got to our hotel we walked over the the minor league baseball arena where the start would be and I was surprised how warm it was. I decided to wear my lighter pair of tights and a light long sleeved top under my vest instead of wool. I had only brought warm wool socks, which it turned out I was glad of.
We got up very early because I thought the century ride started at 7 and I needed to check in and eat breakfast. It turned out that it started at 7:30, so we got cold sitting around (the temperature at 6:30 was 54 F). But we had fun talking to people from all over who had come to do the whole four-day event (I had just signed up for one day). There was a family who had come from British Columbia by plane with a tandem that came apart and a second bike.
It was exciting to head out early in the morning with about 50 people (the metric century started later). We rode up over the James Island connector, basically a highway bridge over the river and marshes but very quiet and pretty early on a Saturday morning. Once we got onto Johns Island there were fewer turns and traffic lights and we could settle in. I kept up a fast pace, averaging 17 mph for a while. After the first rest stop I pushed to catch up with a pair of young women and rode behind them for 5 miles for so, but when they stopped talking and put their heads down they dropped me quickly. Then at another place where we went out to the end of a road and turned around I saw some people turning around at the entrance to the town (instead of at the end of the road) and pushed to catch up with them and ride behind them. I stayed with them until the second rest stop but then I rode out of that with some other people who dropped me even more quickly. I had seen a lot of riders behind me but no one caught up with me for the next 15 miles. I was keeping up a considerably better pace than two years ago--I averaged 16 mph over the first 60 miles. I began to worry that everyone else had taken shortcuts, but when I got to the lunch stop at 80 miles I heard there were still about 25 riders out on the course.
Lunch was hamburgers and chips and potato salad on the Folly Beach Pier--hamburgers have never tasted so good. I had eaten peanut butter sandwiches at the first two rest stops and a banana and chex mix at the third, and it felt like time for something more substantial. I drank only water.
The high for the day in Charleston was 67. It never felt that warm, but it was sunny and pleasant and the wind, while occasionally annoying, wasn't bad. The last 20 miles I slowed down, but I wasn't hurting or struggling to keep going. I didn't even find going up the big bridge of the James Island Connector hard; the hard part was dealing with highway traffic. I finished the 103 miles in 6 hours 52 minutes riding time (7 hours had been my goal), for an average of 15 mph, in about 8 hours elapsed time
When I did this ride two years ago I had only been back to bicycling six months, but I had prepared more carefully, with more long rides. This year my longest rides this fall had been three 60 milers, and I don't think I did any other rides over 40 miles. So I was impressed that I was about an hour faster this year and it didn't feel nearly as hard.