Rock On, Pray Hard

We aren’t history buffs, but our marathon long exploration of the ruins of Ephesus would make us believable posers. Most visitors spend an hour, maybe two moseying around the ruins while it took us nearly five hours. Unlike previous lengthy walking days, we were well prepared with some simit, cheese and bread leftover from our brunch. We’re getting the hang of this. What many would consider to be just a bunch of rocks was an entire ancient city that we could touch, walk on, and really experience for ourselves. We may have crossed a ruin-respecting line by posing as statues in […]

From “Yes please?” to “Yes Please!”

Bus stations in Turkey generally have a way of diluting individuality for travelers. Where you are coming from as well as your next destination are always obvious to every local you meet and even more so for the ticket vendors shepherding customers into their establishments. Understandable. With major attractions spread across the country, visitors typically leap frog them in a very predictable sequence—they simply choose between clockwise and counterclockwise, then connect the dots. Needless to say, upon arriving/departing from any given station, tourists are greeted with endless harassment under the guise of altruism. Arriving in Selcuk was no different. Cleverly, […]

Topkapi Palace – Lost & Found

You know that feeling you get when you’re looking for a place, come to a cross road, choose a direction, only to find that you are going the wrong way and have to double back on the same road in the opposite direction? That is one of our pet peeves. Granted, there are exceptions of course (i.e. “that’s the only way back down the mountain..”), but generally speaking, it thoroughly makes us feel like we’ve “revealed ourselves” as tourists. Yesterday we pasyal’d through Gülhane Park (passing by a couple of wedding photoshoots) to the tea house overlooking the Bosphorus river […]

Coexisting

Throughout Turkey, we saw evidence of many types of religions living, from what we could see, harmoniously. Calls to prayer from a mosque’s minaret can be heard from the steps of Catholic churches and Jewish temples sit alongside them both. In the popular neighborhood of Sultanhamet in Istanbul reside the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, and the Basilica Cistern. We felt kind of unprepared entering these unwieldy and grand structures. Knowledge of the Ottoman Empire and religious conquests were something we studied the history classes of yesteryear. The best we could do was use the handy audioguide to make sense […]

Stamina and Body Clock Deception

One big piece of advice that we’ve garnered from other travelers and guides is to trick your body into believing it is in the time zone of the place you’re currently in and never utter the phrase, well back in Japan, where I was just yesterday, it’s 2am, I should be sleeping! We landed in Istanbul, Turkey after a red eye flight from the Maldives with a long layover in Abu Dhabi. Our airbnb apartment wasn’t ready yet (I mean, it was 6am) so we harnessed our energy and let the fooling begin – it’s the early morning.. let’s have […]