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Our Greatest Adventure Yet!

We’ve been to a lot of amazing places and seen a lot of incredible things during our short time on this planet, and each adventure was extraordinary in its own right, but now we are starting off on the greatest adventure of them all… parenthood!

Proudly introducing the newest member of our crew:

Hadley Hamilton Renfroe

The new Team Renfroe!

The new Team Renfroe!

Born at 5pm on October 2nd, 2014.  Weighing in at a respectable 7lbs 15oz, 21 inches long, with 10 fingers and 10 toes, a voice like a lion, the constitution of a sailor, and a face that could melt butter.  He is everything we ever dreamed of and we can’t wait to show him the world!

These, as I am sure you will expect, are just the very first of about 10 million photos we will be taking of him in the coming days.  This first set of pictures is of our brief stay in the hospital, which didn’t go quite as smoothly as one would hope.  But as we always say: all’s well that ends well- we all ended up making it out of there in one piece and are now happily acclimating to life at home with a little baby hurricane.

More to come soon…

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Elective Torture

The sunrise in Cappadocia is never, ever something you want to miss.  Being in such a dry, arid climate, it is a given that it is always pretty, but more than that, and because of that, there is a thriving industry for early morning hot air balloon rides over this historied land, which happens to provide for an exponentially more picturesque view of the sunrise, being as it is mottled and highlighted by dozens of colorful aerostats.  Ideally, the best way to take advantage of this extraordinary circumstance is to actually book a ticket and go up in one of the balloons, but seeing as how the price is equally extraordinary, upwards of $300 USD per person, we opted for the much more economic option of waking up early and schlepping ourselves up to the rooftop patio of the hotel for a, let’s say satisfactory view.  I will take this opportunity to point out that for us, traveling is always a delicate dance between prudent thriftiness and unbridled expenditure- in this case we all agreed that our collective twelve hundred dollars could buy something far more memorable than an hour up in a wicker basket.  Personally, based on the photos, I am happy that we chose to view this spectacle from the ground.

After the slightly too early balloon viewing party, we… all went back to bed.  But then, a few hours later, we got up and were ready for our final day in Cappadocia: a day at the spa. Or hamam to be more precise.  This was the first time any of us had been to a Turkish bath, and actually the first time I had ever been to any sort of masseuse, Turkish or otherwise.  Boy was I in for a treat, a real treat. You start with a deceptively relaxing lay on a big stone pedestal in a hot steamy room, apparently so you can sweat it out a bit and dehydrate yourself before the actual message. Then, each person is called, one by one, through the door of the hamam to meet their fate, I mean masseuse.  Meanwhile, the remaining patrons in the sweat room are completely clueless to what is about to befall their unlucky friend, and them too in short order.  I like to think of it as the same scenario that is played out in hundreds of slaughter houses across the country each day- the doe eyed cows patiently waiting for their turn to walk through the gates, to their unwitting doom.

To say that the two unassuming gentleman working that day were merely doing their job would be the understatement of the year- no, they enjoyed it, they thrived on it, they took immense pleasure in knowing that they were causing you so  much pain.  They weren’t masseuses, they were sadists! I never knew so much pain could be inflicted by a pair of thumbs and a loofa sponge!  It was a miracle I was able to walk out of there I was so tender and bruised.  And to think, I had walked in to there voluntarily.  The rest of my crew didn’t have quite the same take from the experience as I did, some of them quite enjoyed it actually, but for me, and my delicate uninitiated muscles, it was nothing less than a torture chamber.  Travelers beware, the Hamam is nothing to joke about!

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Hoca Mesut

We had one final stop on the itinerary before we called our day of marathon sightseeing a wrap: the Caravanserai of Hoca Mesut.  Built along the Silk Road between Europe and the Orient in the 11th century as way-stations for traveling caravans, the system of caravanserais developed by the Seljuk Empire was way ahead of its time.  Each one was typically sponsored by a wealthy benefactor, usually a prince, or maybe a well-to-do merchant, who funded the construction of the compound and provided an endowment for its continued operation- for the caravanserais were completely free!  Free lodging, free storage, free protection, free food and fodder- all free!  I guess the benefit to the coffers of the empire from trade along the Silk Road outweighed the cost of maintaining all these road stops, but still, here it is 2014, and I still have to pay for my gas, and McMuffin, and Motel 6 whenever we drive across the country?!  I think we should take a lesson from the Turks.

The grand hall of Hoca Mesut

The grand hall of Hoca Mesut

 In any case, the caravanserai we stopped at was one of the better ones that still exist in Turkey today- it is mostly refurbished, with the exception of some rather narrow and dicey stairs leading up to the entrance of the center mescit, or mosque.  We had a nice self-tour around the complex- the columned stables, the grand hall, the view from on top of the mosque- and it was even better because we were the only ones there!  There was one old gentleman manning the gate, but once we paid him our one Lira entrance fee, he disappeared and we had the place to ourselves.  Come to think of it, he might have just been a random guy who tricked us into paying a fee…

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