Page 8 of Trabern Travel Blog Posts

Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Cappadocia January 14th 2013

We had a HUGE day today! We were collected at six o'clock this morning for our balloon flight over the Göreme Valley. It was still dark as we drove out to the launch site. Once we arrived, we didn't have to wait very long before all of the balloon companies started to arrive with their balloons and baskets. In no time at all there were balloons inflating all over the place. Very exciting. Yalçin escorted us across the snow to our balloon while it was still being blown full of hot air. Before it was fully inflated they started loading us into the basket and handed out an instruction sheet. The first instruction was - No Smoking. Hmmn, the guys working on the balloon already broke that one! The second instruction was no-one within a five ... read more
Balloon 1
Balloon 2
Balloon 3

Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Cappadocia January 13th 2013

Our first stop today was at Çatalhöyük, a Neolithic settlement that was occupied for around 1,400 years more than 9,000 years. During the period that it was occupied old houses were abandoned and new homes were built on top of the remain which, over time, created a mound over 21 metres high. The dwellings were built closely together without streets separating them so it is believed that the inhabitants walked across the rooftops and used ladders to climb down into the homes' interiors. Archaeologists have explored the site during two periods of excavations. Initial excavation works were undertaken between 1961 and 1965. The site has been explored further since then with annual investigations taking place since 1993. Most of the findings uncovered at Çatalhöyük over the last 50 years are housed in the Museum of Anatolian ... read more
Reproduction house at Catalhoyuk
Catalhoyuk 2
Catalhoyuk 3

Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Konya January 12th 2013

The hotel last night was more modern again, but the rooms were quite cool because the heating only operated when the key fob was in the slot to activate the power for the room. The Grand Onder may have been a bit old-fashioned, but at least they kept a card in the slot so that the a/c ran all the time to keep the room lovely and warm. The Richmond's room was compact with a bed that was very firm and the world's smallest doona. There was barely enough of the doona to cover us both!! On the plus side, the shower at the Richmond was our best yet, but it was a bit strange having to step down into the sunken bath to take a shower. After breakfast this morning we had only a few ... read more
Road through the Necropolis
Roman Baths

Middle East » Turkey » Aegean » Pamukkale January 11th 2013

Brrr, no sun today!! We headed off from Kusadasi in the drizzle hoping that the weather might improve as we drove inland. Today our first stop was at the city of Aphrodisias, which is considered to be one of the finest archaeological sites in Turkey. And yes, it was named for the goddess of love, Aphrodite. We were dropped off in a big parking area and ferried over the main road to another big parking area adjacent to the site in a trolley towed by a tractor. We have absolutely no idea why our mini-bus couldn't park in the car park on the Aphrodisias side of the road. This transfer made us feel more like we were taking the wildlife safari tour at Werribee Park Zoo than going to visit an ancient archaeological site!! Once again ... read more
Aphrodisias Face
Aphrodisias Theatre
Aphrodisias Stadium

Middle East » Turkey » Aegean » Ephesus January 10th 2013

Very cold again this morning for our visit to Ephesus, but with a clear blue sky and sunshine - fantastic. We left the hotel at 9.00am and we were being dropped off at the Eastern (uphill) side of Ephesus by about twenty past. What a difference from last year! We were very close to being the only tourists at the Eastern Gymnasium and Baths of the State Agora as Yalçin introduced us to the ancient city of Ephesus. Last year our guide stood with us under a lovely, leafy tree. It was strange to see that tree without its leaves today. While the ruins may endure the seasons with little visible change, the surroundings certainly reflect the passage of the year. We took our time strolling through the Upper (State) Agora (the city's centre of commerce ... read more
State Agora
Column in Arch
Marble Street to the Library

Middle East » Turkey » Aegean » Kusadasi January 9th 2013

Well, some people who are following our blog have been kind enough to say that they are enjoying our photos of the amazing sites that we are seeing. On the other hand, some of our followers just want to see pictures of my hats!! I didn't realise that mentioning my hat purchase would create so much interest. We were on the road by 8.00am again this morning. Very cold again today, but clear and sunny here on the Aegean Coast. It only took us about 25 minutes to drive to our first stop today at the legendary City of Troy. Before exploring the city ruins we were able to see the Trojan horse. As with most other sites that we have visited there were lots of stray cats and dogs roaming about but, of course, these ... read more
Troy VI Wall
Dreaming of Sheep

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Gallipoli January 8th 2013

We left Istanbul at 8.00am this morning in the snow! The roads were pretty wet and icy, but we made it out of the city without incident heading for Gallipoli. Once we cleared Istanbul the weather actually improved a bit. We thought that it might be worse on the Gallipoli Peninsula, but the snow stopped and the sky cleared. We even had some sun. We had a comfort break after a couple of hours. I think the minibus appreciated the break the most - it had a complete wash down to clear all the snow sludge from the windscreen and windows. The bus has an electric door and side step mechanism, but the ice had fouled things up a bit and the step was stuck halfway out ... or was it halfway in? After another hour ... read more
Gallipoli Museum
Anzac 2

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul January 7th 2013

Brrr, it is really, really, really cold today!! Saturday was positively mild by comparison. We met Yalcin and our driver in the foyer about 9.15am this morning and headed to Topkapi Palace. We had much better weather when we visited on Saturday morning, today it started to snow not long after we arrived! Although we had already seen the palace we were happy to go back for a return visit. We didn't hire audio guides on Saturday because we knew that we would be back on Monday with our tour guide. Sure enough, Yalcin was able to tell us about the history of the palace and we even saw some things that we missed on Saturday. At the weekend, when we went through the building housing the royal weapons and armour we didn't notice all of ... read more
Council Chamber Dome, Topkapi Palace
Look it is snowing
Blue Mosque

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul January 6th 2013

Our first stop today was the Dolmabahçe Palace. We caught the tram to the Kabatas terminus and then walked from there to the palace entrance. We arrived just in time to slip on our plastic overshoes and join the 9.30am English speaking tour. In 1843, Sultan Abdül Mecit wanted to reinvent the Ottoman Empire in a European image. The luxurious and lavishly decorated Dolmabahçe Sarayi, completed in 1856, is the result of that ambition. The gold and crystal decorations rival those of the Palace of Versailles in France. The sheer extravagance of this palace hastened the end of the Empire and the last emperor fled from here into exile in 1922. In 1922 the sultanate was abolished and in 1923 a republic was declared. Turkey's first president, Mustafa Kemal Pasa (Atatürk - 'Father of the Turks') ... read more
Dolmabahce Palace
Dolmabahce Palace 2
Soap at the Spice Bazaar

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul January 5th 2013

We didn't sleep too badly overnight. We slept until about midnight/1.00am and then managed another stretch until about 4.30am. After than we only dozed until about 6.00am when we gave up on sleeping and decided to write some more of the travel diary and process some of yesterday's photos. About 7.00am we hit the shower before venturing down to the mezzanine level for breakfast. After a quick breakfast we headed back to our room to put on several layers of clothing to go out sightseeing for the day. The trouble is that it is so warm in the room we feel really uncomfortable layering up our clothes. Of course that only lasts until we step out the front door! In fact this morning, by the time we had topped up our travel card at a kiosk ... read more
Topkapi Palace
Galata Tower from Topkapi
Tracey and the tower

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