Pamukkale, Turkey

“I know most cats don’t like to get into water, but you have to try our famous thermal springs. You will feel like you have been to a luxurious spa” said my friend Bas, a purebred Van Kedisi cat. A native of Turkey, he is pure white but has the unusual trait of two different colored eyes.  He invited me back to Turkey after we had so much fun on my previous visit. This time we went to southwest part of Turkey to Pamukkale which means Cotton Castle. Legend has it that the limestone formations are solidified cotton that giants left out to dry. Everyone had to go barefoot to prevent damage to the pools; it was a slippery trip to the 17 pools to enjoy the naturally heated water just like Romans did thousands of years ago. The minerals in the pools, formed by underground hot water sources, are said to help with all sorts of illnesses, especially digestive and circulation problems.  The ancient city of Hierapolis was a large city built nearby, there plenty of well-preserved ruins we explored including a restored amphitheater. Nearby, there’s also an archaeological museum for those that are interested in the history of the area.  Bas was right, soaking in the warm pools felt good after hiking around the ruins.  Purrs, Gulliver

Cars old and new

Mom and I flew to California for a family visit and rented a car. When cars were first built about 100 years ago they were very simple. Now they have computers and all kinds of buttons on the dashboard.  Each car seems to have a different set up, so this car had the gearshift on the floor instead of the steering column.  Every time mom tried to put the car in reverse, she set off the windshield wipers! Next she started the wiper in the rear and couldn’t get it turned off.  We put a glove on it and drove down the freeway waving at the cars behind us every 30 seconds! We could have used that wiper when we were running late through the airport on the way home. Wave hi/bye to the baggage drop off, hi/bye to the security clearance team, hi/bye to the postcard seller. Whew, we made it to the gate and onto the plane.  Time to go home! Purrs, Gulliver.

Postcard History

Happy Birthday Postcard! This year is the 150th anniversary of the creation of the postcard, which was first known as the correspondence card.  Early postcards had addresses on one side and the message on the other. Now the back is divided with address and message on the same side, and a picture on the front. History lovers enjoy postcards which document how the world looked long ago – buildings, gardens and tourist sites all change with time.  Postcards also celebrate major events, sports, transportation and entertainment. Between 1900 and 1915 when the postcard was most popular, over a billion postcards were sent. Some people prefer to email and use the telephone to communicate, but I will always love postcards! Purrs, Gulliver

Pergamon, Turkey

Sometimes I need a local guide to help me find my way around a new place. My tour guide was Bas, a Turkish Van Kedisi cat. Bas is typical of his clan with an all-white coat of fur and one blue eye and one light brown eye. He was full of energy and enjoyed being the center of attention. We explored the ancient city of Pergamon, which is now called Bergama, looking at all the ancient monuments which were once theaters, temples, a stadium and even a spa! There were beautiful pieces of art which had been carved on walls as well as 2, 300 year old columns which once held up the roofs of buildings. The tour had lots of hills and stairs to climb which made my poor paws sore. Bas took pity on me and we went to his cousin’s house. The Turkish people are very family oriented and love having company. Bas’s cousin made kebabs and served them with pilaf and pita bread. For dessert we had both kadayif, a sweet, crispy treat made with dough, nuts and lemon juice, and baklava, which is similar, but includes honey. I was stuffed! Purrs, Gulliver

Spring Break

For spring break my sister Sasha and I are going to Washington, DC. This is the capital of the United States, so we will have a tour of the White House and the Senate building. There is a lot of history here, so we are going to visit the Washington and Lincoln monuments and the Smithsonian, affectionately known as “the nation’s attic” because it has so many old treasures. There are actually 19 museums, nine research centers and the National Zoo as part of the Smithsonian. They collect everything from dinosaur bones to airplanes. Why keep a hundred year old octopus? So we can use it to compare to what an octopus looks like today and measure changes in size, diet and . It will take me more than one spring break to explore everything in the District of Columbia! Purrs, Gulliver

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Old Palace, Seoul, Korea

After going to the mud festival in Boryeong, South Korea, I scampered over to the capital, Seoul to visit some tourist sites.  There are not one, but 5 palaces in the capital city. The oldest is Gyeongbokgung Palace (Palace Greatly Blessed by Heaven) which has 7, 700 rooms in over 500 buildings.  So a palace is not just a large home for royalty, but a place that has government offices, meeting halls, and even museums.  I could not see the whole place, but I was very impressed with the folk museum which shows how people dressed and worked many years ago.  One thing that has not changed is the national dish, kimchi, though there are many recipes. Vegetables and spices which have been fermented for months, it is spicy and sour tasting!   Purrs, Gulliver

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The Pony Express

If I were a time traveler, I would love to visit the Wild West in the mid-1800s. Before there were railroads, airplanes or automobiles, people and mail traveled in stage coaches. It would take a month or more for mail to cross the country this way, and often mail was not delivered. Then a startup business called the Pony Express came along which delivered mail and small packages by horseback from Missouri to California in as little as 10 days. That is around 2,000 miles! People thought the business owner was crazy and the scheme would not work. The Pony Express needed to keep 500 horses available, with the rider changing to a fresh horse every 10-15 miles. The riders would travel about 75 to 100 miles before handing the mail off to a new rider.  “The mail must go through!” was their motto.  Not only bad weather was a test, but bandits, hostile natives, even injury to the horse or rider could stop the mail. The business lasted only 17 months before being replaced by technology in the form of a telegraph machine.  Yet the romance of riding across the West on horseback and delivering news from loved ones lives on to this day.  Purrs, Gulliver

Williamsburg

I wish I could travel back and forwards through time.   Going to Williamsburg, Virginia is like traveling through time to when the original United States were still colonies of England. Williamsburg was the capital of the Virginia Colony from 1699 to 1780 In the 1600’s and 1700’s, there were no airplanes, telephones, refrigerators or cars. People grew their own food, made candles for light (electricity had not been discovered yet), made their own clothes and tools. Kitchens and toilets (privies) were separate buildings from the living and sleeping rooms and there was no running water to the house. Everyone had to work hard- even the cats that caught rodents and kept them from eating people’s food.  Wow, I didn’t realize how lucky I am – I don’t have to go hunting for my dinner! Purrs, Gulliver

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Stanford mansion

Remember the Governor of California who had to go to his inauguration in a rowboat, and when he came home he had to climb through a second story window to get into his house?  This is the house in Sacramento!  He had a much bigger one in San Francisco called the Palace which burned down in 1906, and a horse farm in Palo A lot where he later developed a university named after his son – Leland Stanford Jr. University.  After her husband died, Mrs. Stanford donated this house to a charity which ran an orphanage for many years. Now owned by the State of California, it is used as a museum and parties and meetings hosted by the current Governor.               Purrs, Gulliver

 

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California missions

The California Missions are an important part of  our history.  I thought they were built starting in San Diego and moving north, but found out they hopscotched up and down the lower part of California. I have not visited all of the sites, but the one I like best so far is Mission San Juan Bautista because there is a cat door carved right in the people door to let the cats come in the church at night and catch the mice that were always looking for food. Cats worked as hard a people to earn their daily keep! Do you have a favorite mission?  Purrs, Gulliver

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