Blogs from Turkey, Middle East


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


Middle East » Turkey » Marmara July 4th 2014

The Egnatio odos runs from Thess.. about 40 K to the border with Turkey and as you get near the border the road feels like a WWII leftover… good thing we have a sturdy vehicle. The border was the toughest one we have encountered yet. The Greeks are not enamored of the Turks and vice versa so they take it out on the crossers. We had heard that the crossing can take 4 hours but it only took us 1…probably because we are Americans. We almost made it in 20 minutes but the 3rd gate we went through, the guy must have forgotten to tell us our insurance was not any good there because the German rental company had checked the wrong box. So as we got to the last booth the guy pointed at us ... read more
The Bosphorous
Bosphorous fishermen
crowded Istanbul

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul July 3rd 2014

Istanbul June 30-July 2, 2014 I'll combine the last three days, as things are winding down here for our visit in Istanbul. My most memorable event of June 30 was getting stuck in the elevator. Wayne was at his meetings, and I was heading out for a walk. I boarded the elevator, and it started down but stopped suddenly, and all the lights went out, as in pitch black. I had heard of this happening and always wondered what I'd do, and now I know. My first thought was that I could use my cell phone as a flashlight to see where the emergency telephone might be. Wouldn't it have been more sensible to use the cell phone as a PHONE? Anyway, before I had a chance to embarrass myself further, the power came back on, ... read more
Galata Tower
View from Galata Tower 1
View from Galata Tower 2

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Beşiktaş July 3rd 2014

Yes this post has an interesting title, yes this post will most likely make you laugh, and yes this post might be a bit long. Not sorry about it. Tuesday, July 1st, my roommate and I planned to go visit Topkapi Palace located on the Old Peninsula of Istanbul where the Blue Mosque and Grand Bazaar are located. We decided to take the bus because being in the middle of the day when we left, the ferries are not running and we were unsure where to get onto the tram. So we had one connecting bus in Besiktas (pronounced Besh-ik-tash) we thought that the bus, which was 28T to Topkapi, would take us directly to the palace. The bus weaved along the peninsula, driving next to mosques, tourist shops, and restaurants until it reached its final ... read more
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Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Sultanahmet July 3rd 2014

With our time running out in Istanbul we still had a couple of places to see, abandoning the thought of public transport we opted for a taxi to get a head start on the day. Woolly says – Jo hadn’t told me a lot about our first destination but I had caught a snippet of conversation about Mini Turks, maybe we were off to visit Woolly sized Turkish people, it’s always nice to meet people of your own vertically challenged proportions so as the taxi sped through the city I kept my eyes peeled for some new friends. He hadn’t heardcorrectly but then when you consider the amount of jam and marmalade he stores in his ears this is hardly surprizing. Miniatürk is a miniature park situated at the north-eastern shore of the Golden Horn... read more
Mardin - another place that we must go to
Following in the footsteps of Top Gear
Playing the game

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Sultanahmet July 2nd 2014

Woolly says – Having already checked out the Turkish buffet breakfast and helped the kitchen in reducing the quantity of boiled eggs I hurried back upstairs to make sure the girls were up and moving. Thankfully even daughter Zoe was shuffling about and as I hustled them down to the reception desk we made it just in time for our tour of the day. Our coach delivered us safely to our first destination, the famous Blue Mosque. With cameras clicking we waited in line to enter, I covered myself appropriately before finding that I had a slight problem. We didn’t have the heart to tell Woolly that only head, shoulders and leg needed covering and then only if you’re female as he provided great entertainment for the growing crowd as he staggered round with a scarf ... read more
Hagia Sophia
Dome of the Blue Mosque
The Blue Mosque1

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