Turkey

Elveda Türkiye!

We only had two weeks in this country and there’s still so much more to see — the coastal town of Cirali, Mount Nemrut, and Göbekli Tepe. Maybe one day. For now, we carry our love of kebabs, history, and walking (everywhere) onto our next destination: España!

Turkish Delights

“Yes, tours are okay, but, for me I can sit here and look at this… …all day.” This is the wise opinion of our hotel owner, Mehmet, when we asked him about the tour we took of the underground city Derinkuyu the previous day. Taking his advice, we decided to spend our last day in Turkey updating our blog, reading, and backing up photos against this beautiful backdrop. Half way through the day, our hankering for more Turkish food (we really couldn’t get enough) prompted us to head into town for pide. Not only did we get pide, but we […]

Down Under

Queue Indiana Jones soundtrack We went deep… 53 meters into the center of the earth. Armed with our trusty guide we descended down narrow corridors, bypassing infinite abysses and death drops, with only the derriere of our fellow tourist in sight. Okay. This is an exaggeration. While we did venture into the depths of Derinkuyu, our safety was never at risk. The drops were covered with grates and the only injury one could incur was a bump on the head if not cautious enough. Derinkuyu was one of the underground cities that were built as a refuge for Christians from the […]

Flintstones & Foragers

Rocks. Big ones. Weird ones. Rock churches. Sounds like a place where the faithful gather on Sundays and the choir belts out some Springsteen. Unfortunately, the rock churches we visited at the Goreme Open Air Museum in Cappadocia were established for worshipers who were escaping religious persecution. A whole network of churches and living quarters were made in these formations originally created by volcanic eruptions millions of years ago. We channeled our inner Flintstone to understand (and when appropriate, imitate) how the cave dwellers lived. One slab of rock was a table. Some indentations in the walls were used for […]

Night Court

Our overnight bus ride from Antalya to Cappadocia could only be described through Raymund’s experience. He recounted this to Brent via e-mail and the story is too good to leave off the blog. – From: Raymund M. Date: Tue, May 1, 2012 at 5:14 PM Subject: Re: court(ting) gestures To: Brent F. Background: Court jester is a local bar in Matawan, a couple of minutes from where we live. On the bus ride from Antalya to Goreme, I was sitting at the back of the bus on the right side of the equivalent of “bitch” (the very last seat at […]

Easily Distracted

Often times the beauty of travel is having no plans — being able to do whatever, whenever, without any consequence. Even better is actually having a plan which is then subverted by other plans. We had a full day to stay in Antalya, another one of Turkey’s idyllic coastal locales. The sinuous streets took a while to get a hang of, but after several iterations we set our sights on finding the Old Town. Not long after we forgot about our original intent because we came across two of our new-found Turkish favs: Lokum (or Turkish Delight) and cheap Efes […]

Kas Money I love Turkey!

Yes. Our experience of Kas warranted a Van Damme reference. We were hit with options — too many options — of where on the coast to stay between Pamukkale and Antalya where we’d board the infamous overnight bus to Cappadocia. Olympos and stay in a tree house? Bodrum? Cirali? Fethiye? Still not sure of why we chose Kas, but the lazy coastal town allowed us to slow down our pace a bit. Aside from the coast, there weren’t too many touristic sites in the town. It only took us a couple of hours to find the Lycian caves and rock […]

We’re Not on the 139 Anymore

We never looked at each other with such bewilderment as often as while we traveled through Turkey via bus, especially our trip from Pamukkale to Kas. Only on the intra-Turkey bus lines would one find any of the following: The bus picks up a mysterious looking man by the side of the road who later takes over for the bus driver In the middle of the hills, with virtually no one in sight, a passenger briefly disembarked to deliver a package to an unassuming woman standing on the side of the road. Bus stops don’t exist. Passengers are dropped off […]

Moonwalking & Snowshoeing

Calcium Carbonate. We love this stuff. Not only is it used for antacids and blackboard chalk (riveting), it’s also the main component of the travertines of Pamukkale. We’ve seen these snow-like plateaus in pictures but whoababy did we make our experience of it a unique one. Our bus from Selcuk dropped us off in the early afternoon and we were eager to walk right over to Hierapolis and Pamukkale. The owner of the Melrose House Hotel, where we were staying for the night, advised us to wait until the late afternoon to make our journey to avoid the blazing heat […]

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 […]