Blogs from Turkey, Middle East


Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul July 28th 2014

ISTANBUL SUNDAY/MONDAY 27/28 July, '14 Today is my last day on the Silk Road and my last blog, until next time. Recipients who want relief from torture, can let me know and I will remove you from the email list, no issue! It is with mixed emotion that I write this. I am sad to be ending a journey I had contemplated for a lengthy period. Whilst I didn't complete it on the bike, I know it wasn't riding the bike that defeated me, rather the gastro issues became an important concern, something that I had given scant regard to before starting the trip. Whilst it was always a possibility, I don't generally experience those issues. It was the side effects, experienced in short dose, that concerned me more, and it was those I rationalised would ... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul July 27th 2014

ISTANBUL. SATURDAY 26.7.14 Another magnificent weather day. Wandered down to the international rail station to enquire about trains heading west. Sophia, Bulgaria is 14 hours away via night train. A pity as I think the scenery along the Bosphorus would be stunning in daylight. At only 17€ , the price is right. The spice market beckoned. It seemed a little different to my last visit 20 years ago. Not as many spice stalls, with more shops selling jewellery, ceramics and tourist memorabilia. Must be higher margin. Nonetheless the spices smelt and looked fantastic. Also the cooked sweet dishes. In this part of the Mediterranean, the food seems very similar, just called something different. Sweets are coated in honey and pistachio and walnuts. Very tasty. Those kilos I lost, more likely misplaced it now seems, have been ... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul July 26th 2014

ISTANBUL. FRIDAY 25.7.14 Another beautiful weather day. Woken by the call to prayer at 4.14, didn't realise it started so early. As hotel is surrounded by mosques, the calls start at slightly different times. Some sound as though they are answering another's call, but I think in reality they all say the same words, just different accents, and as the calls are in Arabic, it's not as though I can comprehend what is said. However they sound very exotic and add mystery to this marvellous city. Spent time wandering the Grand Bazaar, a huge collection of small shops selling jewellery, pottery and ceramics, carpets and kilims, coffee, tourist treasures and material. All very exotic. Got caught short so needed to dash back to hotel. The bug has not fully left me yet. Planned the Spice Bazaar, ... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Aegean » Fethiye July 26th 2014

Turkish Delights.... Monday 7th July Checked out of hotel at 12, went over to Ankur's and watched Gravity in 3D, apparently another film I have to watch for my life to be complete!! Lol At 3pm we left and Ankur dropped me off at Delhi about Deja Vu! This time I was definitely leaving India for a while, no coming back the following week as my visa was shortly going to expire! So I said an emotional farewell to the country I love, oh and Ankur and headed towards my 6.20pm plane to Mumbai. Flight, thankfully, was turbulence! Arrived in Mumbai at 9pm and waited for Kirsty who flew into Mumbai from Kochi at 10pm! We met up at 11pm and grabbed a bite to eat and drink and chatted about each others previous ... read more
Kittens in Istanbul
Galata Tower
View from Galata Tower

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara July 25th 2014

DUSHANBE WEDNESDAY 23.7.14 My second day in D. Again very hot 35C. Receptionist told me that in winter the av. day temperature is -15C. I wouldn't like to live here because of those ranges! Walked to the Central Park boarded on one side by a massive library building, then the massive presidential palace, then another massive domed building under construction,then the main thoroughfare lined with government buildings and banks. Around the park were impressive water fountains pumping out litres of water. Amazing considering much of the country I rode through looked like desert. Maybe snow melt fills the dams, or simply the President likes fountains! This is a featureless town, dressed up with wide roads and imposing government buildings of minimal style. Not many redeeming features and largely forgettable. Not much by way of shopping. Seemed ... read more


Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Beşiktaş July 15th 2014

Yeash, it has been awhile. So for starters, you all haven't missed much. Things have slowed down considerably lately due to high heat, a mid-term exam, and recently being more caught up in little league baseball than the average bear. However, the other day my roommate and I did go on a grand adventure to the Istanbul Modern Art Museum. This was one of the many times I am grateful for being a student in this country, there are so many discounts! Once we were inside we were greeted with a "plane" emerging from one wall, four glass walls puckered with bullet holes surrounding a staircase in the middle of the room leading to the bottom floor, and a mural of colors that covered a wall completely from floor to ceiling. Now personally I have never ... read more
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Middle East » Turkey » Aegean » Ephesus July 14th 2014

There were stones piled everywhere. Lengths of columns. building blocks, sections of red-brick arches. Some marked with nomenclature numbers while others had no identifiers at all. Weeds grew between the stones as if they hadn't been moved in a while. We were in Ephesus which is a premier destination for folks visiting Turkey though not many people will spend a night here. Most visitors arrive via tour bus from Izmir and most of these are cruise ship passengers taking a day trip. Ephesus was one of ancient Rome's greatest Asian cities. A fine natural harbor and the commerce it invited supported a population that, at one time, reached between 35,000 and 50,000 residents. Founded by the Greeks around 1,000 BC it didn't reach its zenith until the Romans arrived about 150 BC. After the harbor silted ... read more
Mosaic Floor
Smartest Person In Ephesus
Street To Old Port

Middle East » Turkey » Aegean » Izmir » Konak July 12th 2014

The old Turk reeled in a flailing, silver-gray fish from the clear-blue Aegean water. Three cats waited behind him patiently. The rising sun tracing feline heads in wispy golden-hued halos. Unfortunately for kitty this fisherman had other plans. He stowed his fresh-caught lunch in a Styrofoam cooler strapped to his bike. No worries. There were dozens of women fanning out along the sea-side promenade, filling water bowls and distributing food amongst Izmir's furry denizens. We pulled out of Canakkale on an early morning. The night before we had shared a last meal with Hatice and Neuraz on the waterfront. We will miss them greatly. They showed us every kindness they could, assuring that our time in Turkey was as pleasant as possible. It worked, as Canakkale is now permanently etched into our 'Gotta Go Back There' ... read more
Western Turkey
Hasan Checks The Menu
Matt and Joy

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Beşiktaş July 5th 2014

This time on Darrah's adventures through Istanbul! So yesterday a group of my fellow summer term students and I decided to travel into the Old City so that they (practicing Muslims) could do Friday prayer at the Blue Mosque. To start the day however, I was awoken by the pitter patter of rain against my windows. Maybe it's just the mid-westerner in me but I say it was the best present I could have woken up to here in Turkey. The rain had stopped though when we left around noon as we took a bus, then the tram, to the Blue Mosque. Getting there was easy, getting inside was the same. After covering our heads and shoulders we entered onto the mosque grounds and made our way inside. I have to say that the Blue Mosque, ... read more
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Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Sultanahmet July 4th 2014

Woolly says – Our time in Istanbul certainly seemed to go too quickly, although not our usual independent way of travelling it proved to be highly successful and excellent value for money. We booked the three days, two night tour through one of the tour shops in Alanya and for 900 TL (approximately £250 GBP) we had all of the transfers, flights to and from Antalya to Istanbul (including snacks on the plane), two nights’ accommodation, a cruise on the Bosphorus and a half day Istanbul classics tour included in the package. I was well impressed. The tours would have cost 35 Euro each if booked separately (approximately £28.00 GBP) and when Jo priced everything up separately we found that we saved £30.00 GBP overall leaving extra money for snacks! We had expected the price of ... read more
Graves at the Pierre Lotti Coffee house
Different Architecture
Mammoth enjoying the Lights

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