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Alan, David, George, Heather, Helen, John, Karen, Margaret, Maggie, Monica, Peter and Sheila travelled to Istanbul from various airports and met up in Arrivals.   We drove to the Çeșme Hotel hotel near the Blue Mosque, where we met Pamela who had been sightseeing in Istanbul for a week and Basak who was to be one of our guides.  

Dinner was at an open air restaurant opposite the Mosque and backing on to the Bosphorus.

Yellow taxis waiting at the airport

Hotel stairs

The Blue Mosque - Night flying seagulls were circling around the mosque, if you click on the image to enlarge it, you may be able to see the small shapes in the sky if your eyesight is particularly good!

Map of Lake Van under the button, showing some of the areas where we found flowers


Map showing countries bordering eastern Turkey




We got up very early too early for breakfast at the Hotel, so we had breakfast at the airport.   The flight to Van passed over great views of the mountains and the lake.


Breakfast bar light solarised

Flight over Lake Van

Arrival at Van airport


We travelled in the mini buses to Doğubeyazıt (altitude 1625m) via the waterfall at Muradiye, where we had lunch, botanising at sites on the way.  


Orchis pseudolaxiflora

Dactylorhiza osmanica

Pedicularis comosa

Pale form of Orchis pseudolaxiflora

Meadow full of orchids

Aethionema grandiflora

Margaret, Basak and the mini buses

Geranium tuberosum/steporum

Processionary caterpillars

Ixiolirion tartaricum

Dipsacaceae seed head

White conical snails

Astragalus halicacabus

Potentilla bifurca?

Anchusa azurea

Ixiolirion tartaricum

Euphorbia sp. virgata?

pea family fruit

Rindera lanata

Vicia canescens

Euphorbia cheiradenia

Iris barnumae

Astragalus caraganae

Salvia multicaulis



Adonis eriocalycina

Orobanche anatolica


Primula auriculata



Phelypaea tournefortii - this looks like a cartoon character possibly Yosemite Sam

Fibigia suffruticosa

Stachys lavandulifolia


We had lunch under the poplars and discovered a sour cherry juice drink which was delicious.   Contrary to expectation the local tipple is strong black tea and not coffee, though instant coffee was available.

King fish - thanks George

Onosma araraticum   

Phelypaea tournefortii - parasite on Tanacetum species


Avenue of poplars

Poplars and our gang

Phelypaea tournefortii

Poplar trunks

WCs are few and well advertised

Washing at the tap

The Waterfall

Wobbly bridge

Perilously perched digger

View of the falls from the bridge


Scarce copper

Iris Iberica elegantissima

Modern houses in the countryside

Mount Ararat

We fitted in a short sleep on arrival at the hotel - Sim-er.   It had been a hard couple of days.   Dinner then more sleep.


Thursday 24 Friday 25 Saturday 26 Sunday 27 Monday 28 Tuesday 29 Wednesday 30
Thursday 31 Friday 1 Saturday 2 Sunday 3 Monday 4 Tuesday 5 Alan's Pictures