A Travellerspoint blog

A Turkish Bath

rain

Not an early start for the final day of my one month overseas holiday. The rain was pouring outside so there was no incentive to rush out for some sightseeing. After packing my bags, breakfast (bread & honey one last time) I eventually decided to head out during a break in the weather. I made my way to the Blue mosque for a second visit. It was not long before the rain returned. I was stranded in the Blue mosque with all the cruise ship groups, my worst nightmare come true! Outside the mosque, the hawkers were selling umbrellas at an exorbitant price. After a while I decided the 20L was worth the cost and was soon on my way under my new umbrella. I observed that around 1 in 3 tourists had made the same purchase, rain is good for business if you are a hawker!
I made my way to Topkapi palace. This was not high on my to visit list but it at least is indoors. As I expected I found the palace is ok but nothing stunning but the additional fee to visit the Harem made up for the humdrum main attraction. What a stunning series of rooms, all adorned with the traditional Iznik tiles from the Ottoman era and domed ceilings.
For my final activity I visited a traditional Turkish bath. I picked one off the tourist track that is more used by locals. I did not want to pay the ridiculous charges levied by the bigger hammam's aimed at the tourist market. I had the hammam to myself, well except for my attendant. First it was into the steam room (damn it is hot in there. I could feel my lungs cooking inside my chest) and then sauna for 5 min then 10 min to open up the pores in my skin. From there I was rinsed, foamed, washed, scrubbed and finally massaged. I think I lost a couple of layers of skin during the massage. After it was all done it was back into the steam room then finally into the room temperature pool, which felt like ice after the steam room.
One last trip to the baklavary for you know what. I'm now waiting for my taxi to the airport.

M and MiL will be off on the European cruise in sept, so watch out for further updates to the Wheary Travellers at that time. With any luck the MiL might go MIA in Europe! Only joking, I think!!

See you all soon!

The Harem , Topkapi palace

The Harem , Topkapi palace

The Harem 2, Topkapi palace

The Harem 2, Topkapi palace

Blue mosque

Blue mosque

Blue mosque 2

Blue mosque 2

Posted by adtamo 04:49 Archived in Turkey Comments (0)

Up & Down in Cappadocia

semi-overcast

UP: 4:30am for the sunrise balloon ride
DOWN: 5:10am. back in bed Ballooning cancelled due to wet weather
UP: 7:45am. Advised ballooning back on and to be ready by 8:00am
DOWN: 8:05am. Ballooning cancelled again due to wind. Next opportunity at 2:00pm this afternoon
UP: Finally cereal provided for breakfast :) I'm so sick of bread & honey to start my day
DOWN: First stop of the day was Kaymakli underground city. An incredible maze of stables, stores, churches & living quarters.
UP: Back above ground next stops were Pigeon Valley & Ortihisar Castle
UP: Lunch was Clay pot beef impressively served in a bed of fire
DOWN: Ballooning cancelled yet again for the final time
UP: 5km hike climbing through Red & Rose Valley. Incredible landscape with beautiful red, yellow & white colours streaked through the sandstone rock.
DOWN: Planned 2 hour additional private tour itinerary altered without any consultation
UP: Private tour back on track after much arguing on my behalf. We visited Honey Valley which was defintely worth the effort
UP: Cappadocia is a region which boasts an incredible natural & cultural history. I have thoroughly enjoyed my 2 days. Despite some downs, these days are to be expected whilst holidaying, it is always important to remain up and make the most of the situation.

Rose Valley

Rose Valley

Ortihisar castle

Ortihisar castle

Rock scream

Rock scream

Clay pot lunch is served

Clay pot lunch is served

Honey Valley

Honey Valley

Pigeon Valley 1

Pigeon Valley 1

Pigeon Valley 2

Pigeon Valley 2

Posted by adtamo 21:11 Archived in Turkey Comments (0)

KAP-A-DOK-YA

rain

Yet another early start, this time up at 4:30am to catch the morning flight to the Cappadocia region. On arrival it was raining and my shuttle service was yet again poor. The driver just left me in the mini-bus for 15min with no explanation then had to stop for fuel, then stopped again for cigarettes and smoked whilst I was his passenger. Not happy! He then was speeding whilst talking on his mobile phone to try to make up the time. I missed the start of the tour so he had to continue to drive me on to catch the group but I had already missed the first stop for the day! Needless to say I was not happy and expressed my thoughts to the tour organiser.

The rest if the day improved from there. The rain cleared though the overcast, cold conditions remained. Cappadocia's landscape looks like the set of many a Hollywood Sci Fi movie. It is just incredible. The original inhabitants were Christians fleeing from the Roman forces. The Troglodytes dug into the soft rock to create a human-created cae-homes, places of worship, stables and stores. There are tunnel complexes linking cave homes effectively creating an underground city. This was an important region as it linked the silk road from Asia to Europe, making it a desirable asset for an budding empire.

Today we visited Monk's Valley to see the fairy chimneys, Goreme open air museum and their incredible rock-cut churches., the natural castles at Uchisar and finally Love Valley for more fairy chimneys, though these 'chimneys' looked deciding like another something else ;} The rain did return for the final stop at Love Valley so this was unfortunately but necessarily cut short.

The standout was the so called Dark church in Goreme with its wall to wall and ceiling frescoes dating back to the Byzantine era. This truly is a special place, equal to places such as Meteora and the Valley of the Kings.

After the tour I was dropped off at my accommodation for the night, a cave hotel cut directly into the side of a hill. My room is brilliant.In fact, straight after this blog I will hop into my spa. It feels like Fred Flintstone should appear at any moment yelling out WIIILLLLLLLMMAAAAAAAA! :)

Dinner tonight was a Testi Kebap cooked in a once use clay pot for up to 3 hours, the traditional cooking style of the region. Again another gastronomical treat followed up by yet another variety of baklava.

Tomorrow I'm hoping for one final early start, 4:30am again for a hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia. The weather forecast is not favourable so I'm praying to my current god, No. 17 for the Bulldogs :}

Rock Ghost, Goreme Open air museum

Rock Ghost, Goreme Open air museum

Mushroom rocks, Monk's Valley

Mushroom rocks, Monk's Valley

Uchisar

Uchisar

Fairy Chimneys, Love Valley, Hmmmmm.........

Fairy Chimneys, Love Valley, Hmmmmm.........

Cave hotel room

Cave hotel room

Posted by adtamo 10:23 Archived in Turkey Comments (0)

The Gallipoli peninsula

overcast

Humblled. Respect. Gratitude. Saddened. Proud. These are just some of the emotions I felt during a sobering day on the Gallipoli peninsula. Leaving Istanbul at 6:30 am I joined RSL tours for the 4.5 hour drive to the Gallipoli peninsula. Places visited include Lone Pine memorial, ANZAC cove, the Turkish memorial, Simpson's grave & Brighton beach. There is definitely a spirit present in this place and not just ANZAC. The Turkish spirit is strong. Preparation for the 100th anniversary of the landing was well under way with temporary grandstands in place and portal ops as far as the eye could see but no Kenny could be espied. How lucky am Ito be able to visit this sacred place only 6 days before the 100th commeration.

It was freezing on the peninsula and I was underdressed for the conditions. However this was not the place to comain About being cd.

The story of the stoic Turkish resistance is not as well known back home but should be. On the morning drive we watched a great Australian doco called Gallipoli from the air I would recommend you try to source this to watch.

Lest we forget

Lest we forget


Lone Pine memorial

Lone Pine memorial

Lone Pine 2

Lone Pine 2


Lone Pine 3

Lone Pine 3


Trench warfare recreation

Trench warfare recreation

Posted by adtamo 12:25 Archived in Turkey Comments (0)

The Mosque-ito coast

Hey, my friend.........

semi-overcast

In my 2 days in Istanbul I have made many friends. Strange thing is that they all want me to accompany them to their carpet shop! 'My new friends' usually hang out around the tourist attractions offering some useful a dice such as "Visitor entrance is over there" or " Mosque is closed now for prayer and will not re-open to..." They seem to be very good at guessing I'm an Aussie but then with ANZAC day ono a week away it is probably just a good educated guess.

This morning I went on a 'mosque crawl'. All up I visited 4 mosques being the Blue mosque, the New mosque, Rushen Pasma mosque & Suleymaniye mosque. Whilst similar each had their own style. The Blue mosque is the most famous, so named because of the 20,000 blue Izmit tiles that adorn the mosque. However due to the sheer size of this behemoth and the restricted visitor viewing area it is near impossible to see any of the fine detail in the famed tiles. However the grand scale of the Blue mosque is just incredible. Next was Suleymaniye mosque, the 2nd largest in Istanbul. More plainly adorned than the glamouros Blue mosque its understated interior perfectly highlights its magnificent carpet. Next was the small Rustem Pasha mosque which is also renown for its blue Izmit tiles without the viewing restrictions. Off the beaten mosque trail, I virtually had the place to myself, well except for a very alert attendant :) Finally it was the New mosque. I was probably mosque'd out by this point so only had a short visit.

Since my final mosque for the morning was near the Spice bazaar, how could I resist a short side trip for another mouth watering sweet ;} The early afternoon was spent lazily in a garden ( the name escapes me) with it's colourful display of bulbs in full bloom. Later in the day I made my way to Galata tower for another gorgeous sunset.

Amulets against evil eye

Amulets against evil eye

The Blue mosque

The Blue mosque

The Blue mosque 2

The Blue mosque 2

Suleymaniye mosque

Suleymaniye mosque

Rustem Pasha mosque

Rustem Pasha mosque

Izmit tiles, Rustem Pasha mosque

Izmit tiles, Rustem Pasha mosque

trees

trees

4 mosque skyline

4 mosque skyline

Sunset from Galata Tower

Sunset from Galata Tower

Posted by adtamo 12:19 Archived in Turkey Comments (0)

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