Published: June 21st 2012June 21st 2012
Hey friends! It’s been a while since my last post and so much has happened since then! I have travelled to Stockholm again, Paris, Finland, Russia, Holland, Iceland, London again and now I am in Turkey. Oh, I should probably mention my exchange in Sweden has come to an end, and how fast the end of the most interesting and eventful semester of my life came! I think I could write ten books about my Lund adventures alone. Anyway, Turkey!
Firstly, I had no expectations about this trip because Laura pretty much organised everything (thanks!) and I must say what an excellent surprise. Istanbul is definitely one of my favourite cities I have been to in the world. This is what I liked: the smells, the heat, the hills, the buildings, the old, the new, the in between, the food, the busyness, the men on the side of the road playing board games with tea, the calls for prayer and most of all the fact people aren’t putting on a show for you. It is what it is. I think the only thing I didn’t like was the male attention.. but who can blame them really ;)
We stayed in this cool area between the old part of the city and the new part of the city. It had some quirky cafes, antique stores, boutiques, galleries and wasn’t packed with tourists. In saying that, we did do the most touristy things in the whole world such as taking a river cruise, having beers at a roof top bar, shopping at the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Bazaar, visiting the Blue Mosque, Aya Sofya, and Topkapi Palace, which I can’t deny were amazing. I also thought it was really interesting to see the Christian history in parts of the city and in some of the buildings. It actually took me back to the Crusades course I took in Lund and thought I would never think about again. Well there you go.
In this region the whole society is based in caves and the town we stayed in was called Gorome. It was super touristy, but I can’t blame anyone! The scenery was pretty epic and how often do you get to see a place where literally thousands of people lived underground and in caves? Speaking of underground, Laura and I went to visit an underground city one day and we were followed by this weird man onto the bus, off the bus, to the city, into the city, out of the city, back to the bus stop and onto the bus again and back to the town.. talk about creepy. Here we also went on a hot air balloon ride which was definitely one of the highlights of the trip. I also tried baklava for the first time and it is now my favourite dessert! I don’t know why I never tried it before. Oh and by the end of Cappadocia Laura had turned into a pink Crayola crayon.
An overnight bus and the third 5am start in a row took us to Pamukkale. I think by this time I had achieved about 12 hours sleep over three nights. Anyway, this town is based around these hot springs on the side of a hill that people have been bathing in for over a thousand years. Back in the day it was thought to heal certain diseases. We walked through some ruins to get there and then walked down the springs taking a dip every now and then. It was so hot outside that the water didn’t actually feel warm! Definitely a relief. I should add, travelling with a Korean will help your budget!! We met Sarah in Cappadocia and she gets free stuff everywhere!! We even got free tea when we were with her.
This is where I am now and it’s probably my least favourite place. It reminds me a lot of Kao San Road in Bangkok. I also met another Korean girl here, Amy, who nearly drowned in Italy and who taught herself how to swim in the hostel pool yesterday. She seems pretty confident now. Anyway the good thing about it is that it has a beach and it’s close to Ephesus, the largest remains of Roman ruins in the world. I thought it was interesting that Paul from the Bible lived there and that the city is referred to in the book of Revelations. My favorite building would have to be the library, that back in the day apparently had a secret passage that lead from the library to the brothel. How educational. We also saw the house of the Virgin Mary which felt quite surreal.
Funny story: I met this American kid who showed me a video of his cockatiel sitting on his shoulder and picking at a wobbly tooth until it pulled it out! The bird then flew away and the tooth was never to be found. Hilarious! A bit gross too.
So my time in Turkey has just about come to an end. Laura has gone to Croatia and tomorrow I’ll be off to Greece for some more sun. Julia Black is coming back. Watch out. Laura is still pink.