Friday, October 09, 2015

Yo Momma!

So, hello there little blog of mine ...

Haha, yep it sure has been a while. But I'm back at work (Day 3) and things here are still pretty slow so I thought I'd take the opportunity to write a little update on my last 6 months. Hey, if you're really lucky I may even get around to writing up the last 2 Turkey 2014 posts!

Yoh, so I'm a mamma. Life sure is different since March! I had my gorgeous little baby girl on the 2nd April. She arrived at a tiny 2.64kg, 44.5cm. In fact I think "Oh my word she is tiny!" was my first sentence when I saw her. What you don't realise till you give birth is how rarely you actually see or hold a newborn ... usually by the time friends are up for visitors, it is weeks after the birth and their babies have grown.

And she did have some hair :) That was the thing I most wanted to know on her arrival - since these days her 10 fingers and 10 toes had all already been counted in many scans.

Fast forward to last week and my baby had her half-birthday! Yep, she is now 6 months old and still pretty tiny (well, to everyone except us because we can see how she has grown!). She is finally starting to wear 3-6mnth outfits and weighed in at 6.3kg and 60.5cm long.

It hasn't been an easy 6 months of mothering.

I struggled with breast feeding, which is not nearly as natural as you might've been led to believe. But we found a lactation consultant when the Babe Girl was 6 days old. We weaned her off her formula top-ups (encourage during our 3 days in hospital) and got her exclusively onto breast milk. But then we moved to Cape Town and my milk dried up (apparently the stress can do that) and by the time I got it back with the help of Eglonyl (and Castle Milk Stout), she was only interested in drinking from a bottle! Cue more time spent expressing. Which, let's face it was bound to get tedious eventually. So around 4 months, we switched over to 100% formula. It wasn't the plan in the beginning, but that is how life happens and everyone is fine for it. So, no mommy guilt here :)

We struggled with sleeping. Everyone said it'd get easier after 6-8 weeks ... I thought week 8 - 10 were 2 of the hardest! But we got a bedtime routine down and life got much easier :) Till we hit her 4 month sleep regression and ended up getting a sleep consultant in. Around that time, I also ended up starting cipralex because the lack of sleep and motherhood suddenly combined to give me severe anxiety. And it is no fun feeling permanently on the verge of a panic attack.

There are many perks of being an "older" mother, I had the financial flexibility to take a full 6 months of maternity leave (no idea how people manage with less!) and to adjust my working hours (leaving the office at 13h30 to collect the Babe Girl from daycare makes such a difference!). But, a serious downside, I discovered, was that at this stage of my life, I was used to being good at what I did every day. Being a mom definitely didn't come as naturally to me as I expected. I thought I'd be better at it. I took my confidence down a notch because most of the time I don't know what I'm doing. And I've been banned from Google because that didn't help make me feel any better about things either! Nothing like 50+ conflicting views on what is wrong or right to muddle you more!

Seriously, one of my most terrifying realisations was that 3 days after your baby is born, they send you home from hospital and say "Bye, see you in 6 weeks" (well, you'll see your paed & gynae). Like, really? How on earth can I be trusted to know what to do with this tiny little thing? (Clearly we figured it out tho ;) )

All that said, life is wonderful. The Babe Girl is quite amazing and far more easy going than I am about all this - haha. She is a complete delight and I adore spending time just hanging out with her, watching her get better and better at everything she does!

She's been sleeping in her own room since about 4.5 months and been sitting well on her own for ages already! She is a chatty little thing (wonder where she got that, haha!). And even tho she is a distracted bottle-drinker, she is a very enthusiastic eater (we start solids just before 5months because of this). Seriously, we call her The Hoover! It's like feeding a shark, haha. Her latest thing is to take the spoon from me and feed herself. She is pretty amazing, I'm more than just a little bit in love with everything about her!

Oh yes, and we moved to Cape Town. Because, you know, having a baby wasn't enough for us, we decided to move provinces when she was 3 months old too! That was smoother than one might expect and we're very happy here. We got extremely lucky and have bought a house that is 5-10 minutes from both my folks houses, has easy access onto the M3 and in walking distance to the shops (I barely used my car during my leave, would just pop the Babe Girl into her pram and go shopping!). It is also in a very family orientated neighbourhood, with lots of parks nearby so our afternoon Baby & Dog walks are great fun and varied!

Madam has been going to a nearby daycare for a few weeks now. We decided that since we had the time, we would phase her in slowly, starting with just 2hrs a day for the first week, building up to her full time there this week.

Righto, that's enough of an update for now. You're mostly all caught up ;)

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

21 October: Istanbul

We woke up late-ish and had a slow morning ... we had a free day in Istanbul!

Showers were lukewarm, but I spose that's cause we were late. We had a quick breakfast and then The Trucker had to quickly login and sort some work stuff out. This is what he's been lugging our cute new slim little laptop around Turkey for!

After that we headed out. We borrowed a Metro card from the hotel and walked up a long hill to get to the station to load it with credits. 2.25Tl a trip. First we headed to Eminonu, the harbour stop to find out about Bosphorus Cruises. The ones the hotel was offering were 40EU, including a meal etc. I'd found one online for 12Tl. Unfortunately when we arrived they were closed. Ticket sales for their 14h30 trip would only open at 1pm!

So we decided to kill some time with one of my Istanbul picks, the Archaeology Museum. Unfortunately a large part of it (and many other things around town) was under renovation / construction. Not sure how much of a difference that made but, it certainly wasn't as impressive as I was expecting. And The Trucker was terribly bored.

I'd hoped for more (anything) about the Giant Heads at Mount Nemrut that were too far off our tour path for me to include ... and something on Gobekli Tepe! Didn't see a thing!

Just after 1pm we headed back to the harbour and bought our tickets for the 2hr cruise. Then we had to wait till 2pm before the gates opened for boarding. Luckily The Trucker and I split up so I got us great seats upstairs on the balcony and he got us the 10Tl Audio Guide.

I'm not exactly sure why everyone recommend a cruise up the Bosphorus. I didn't find it any more interesting than the museum. And my ears got tired of the Audio Guide around all the "Summer Residences"!

After that we wandered the Spice Bazaar and then walked back to our area. We ended up stopping at the Best Western for a drink on their terrace to watch the sunset (and play with our new selfie stick). And ended up having a little dinner there too. Biggest starter plate of chips I've ever seen!

Thursday, April 02, 2015

20 October: Kusadasi to Istanbul

We got collected by our next tour guide at 9am. I think this lady was my least favourite. Wish we'd had the guy from yesterday again!

She first took us to Mary's Church (or House). I didn't really follow it all. It sounds like somewhere along the way Mary swapped Joseph for John the Baptist (or did Joseph die?) and ran off to Turkey to hide (and apparently died here).

I will say it is surreal and a little hard to follow the history which overlaps with names we're very familiar with (Cleopatra, people from the Bible etc.).

We whirled thru the 2 room house that was clearly a religious experience for others (Catholics I presume ... apparently all the Popes have been to visit too). I quite liked the jam-packed wishing wall. Did consider wishing for a girl - haha.

From there it was off to Ephesus for a long day. Shewee. It was pretty cool but, I could've done with more unguided wandering on my own. The problem is, as fascinating as all the history is (and parts of it really are!), t is all very overwhelming to absorb or contextualise there and then. Impossible, even. It's amazing to see that so long ago, the Romans were so advanced ... central heating, saunas, plumbing in the communal latrines.

We walked thru a special section of terraced housing which had incredible mosaics. It was truly amazing. As much as we know tho, it's still hard to picture or imagine living then!

We saw the ancient library, which was very cool. And the much larger theatre, which although it seats far more than the one at Heirapolis, wasn't nearly as impressive (I didn't think).

From Ephesus, we went for lunch. Seriously, THE BEST lunch we've had on this whole trip! Finally, no touristy buffet but a selection of local dishes. Manti and Gozleme were my faves.

From lunch we stopped briefly at the Temple of Artemis (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World - probably the only thing impressive about it).

And then The Trucker and I decided to skip the leather & carpet sales-y portion of the day and got to spend an hour wandering the Kusadasi coast with a Starbucks caramel frappachino in hand instead. Yip, we totally scored on that one!

And then, at 5pm we left for the Izmir Airport to catch our flight back to Istanbul. We arrived back at the same hotel, checked in, got a different room and pretty much went to bed.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

19 October: Pamukkale to Kusadasi

Our experience with the hotel (Hotel Koray) just deteriorated. And after we looked it up on Trip Advisor, we were amazed at how many of our complaints were the same as people had listed there!

The wifi signal was rubbish. After I was already in the shower, The Trucker had to go and find clean towels! The breakfast was the least impressive we've seen so far (except there was watermelon :) ). The owners (or managers ?) were also not very helpful.

We're actually a little confused right now as they seem to have us registered as Graziela Someone-or-other?! Our itinerary says we're where we should be. Perhaps Graziela booked for us, but none of it left us feeling overly confident about this place.

We're being collected for Heirapolis and Pamukkale tour at 11h30. And at some point after the tour we have another "approx 3hr" bus ride ... let's hope it's better than the last one!

While we were waiting, we took a stroll around the area surrounding the hotel. The town seems in terrible disrepair. I would not advise staying here.

Needless to say, everything worked out and improved exponentially as soon as our tour arrived to collect us.

Our guide for Pamukkale was great! And again, we met some interesting people, for the day. We headed to the top entrance of Heirapolis and took a wander thru the unexcavated town up to the theatre. Which took our breath away!

Wow. Seriously, wow. It was amazing. I was completely in awe. I do think it helped that we watched Spartacus earlier this year. It really made the experience more real, imagining the people who lived here and attended the theatre (which was used for gladiators and animal fights as well as plays and other things).

On our way down the hill, we saw the tomb of St Peter being excavated in the distance. And then we wandered down to Cleopatra's Pool. Which wasn't at all what I expected. We decided not to pay the 32Tl to swim there but, rather visited the museum in the old bath house and then went down to the actual pools and "swam" there.

It wasn't quite what I was expecting, but it was pretty cool. The calcium deposit is just a large clump in the middle of perfectly normal mountains. Reminded me a bit of the stretch of fake snow in Lesotho at Afriski! Haha.

They divert the water regularly to different pools to allow others to dry out and kill the algae. But the pools we could go to were quite shallow so the water had lost it's warmth. The real fun was sitting in the canal with the warm water rushing past you!

After that our tour drove us to Kusadasi, our next overnight stop. The hotel here, Hotel Sozer, is awesome, with a sea view! Which definitely makes up for the last one. Reminds me a little of our experience in Nah Trang.

We checked in and immediately headed to the stretch of restaurants along the coastal road. We (oddly) settled on a Chinese spot and had a very nice dinner. I had Chicken with Satay sauce and The Trucker had Sweet & Sour Beef.

After dinner we headed to the Doubletree where the people we'd met on the tour had promised to leave some of their famous chocolate chip cookies for us. The Trucker is such a sneak! Delish :)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

18 October: Fethiye to Pamukkale

We were up before 8am, showered and had breakfast at the hotel before checking out. We left our luggage at reception and hopped on the scooter. Lots of exploring today!

By chance we passed the Lycian Tombs carved into the side of the mountain (in 350BC apparently!) (we had planned to find our way to them later in the day) and then continued on our way to Kaya Koy, the nearby ghost town.

What a gorgeous ride over the mountain thru pine forests (looked like Tokai forest!) ... although we were a little nervous about our scooter's ability on the steep uphills, we managed just fine.

Kaya Koy was pretty cool. Although, again, it's all Greek houses that were abandoned after the "swap" in the 1920s. What was amazing was going into one that had been preserved. Wow!

Read a little online about the whole swap. Sounds like it was all religious #sigh. People do dumb things in the name of religion. I mean who cares what someone else believes? Why do countries even have religions anyway? Should be down to personal choice. Also weird is to think that less than 100 years ago ... how few people were probably openly atheist? Frowned upon, I imagine. I find the whole religion thing quite surreal.

Then we headed back to Fethiye. Took a bit of a ride thru more suburban bits before taking the coastal road back to the city centre.

Stopped for BK for lunch haha. And then took a stroll along the harbour side. Such a nice walk. Although I did expect more in the way of beaches.

The Trucker decided he needed a beard trim at one of the many barber shops. It is quite amazing to watch these men, such a craft really. And you can't rush them!

And then we returned our scooter and collected our bus ticket and our laundry and returned to our hotel to wait for our transfer to the bus station at 4pm.

Our bus to Denizli left at 16h30 and our itinerary said it'd be an approx 3 hour trip. But I doubt it ever is ... ours took 4.5hrs. So instead of arriving at 19h30, in time to get some dinner, we arrived at 9pm.

And then struggled to find our hotel transfer. They said sorry, no one had phoned to confirm what time :/ Urgh, so we grabbed a quick toasted sarmie at the big Denizli Bus Station and then grabbed a local bus to Pamukkale.

We arrived at our hotel around 10pm.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin