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Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Sultanahmet April 24th 2014

A day at the Grand Bazaar!... read more
Roof top at Grand Bazaar
New Mosque
Across the Golden Horn

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Ortaköy April 24th 2014

Rain Today....can't complain. First rainy day of trip. Shannon drove us to visit the Metro city Mall. We enjoyed a cup of coffee and chocolate Brownie before wandering around to do a few errands and shop for groceries. It is a beautiful modern structure .... we were typical tourists taking photos and enjoying the sites . Had a nice lunch an came home, Shannon is so brave to drive in this city....watch out when she and Peter are back driving in states.....wouldn't get in their way for awhile. Peter prepared us a delicious Pasta dinner ..... with salad, bread and wine. Watermelon and coffee. We are really getting spoiled.... read more
Metro City Mall
Metro City Mall
Metro City Mall

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Sultanahmet April 22nd 2014

Today Sharon, King, and I ventured out into this amazing city on our own. our personal guide, Shannon Vogelaar, had a previous engagement so.....she tucked us into a taxi to Kabatas where we caught the tram to Sultan Ahmet Square in the heart of "Old Town". We walked through the square to the Sultan Ahamet Mosque...."The Blue Mosque". It is the most splendid mosque of Istanbul, constructed between 1603-1617. Although many other mosques were built after this one, none were as large or elegant. it is known worldwide as the Blue Mosque from the mainly blue Iznik tile work decorating its interior and dome. We strolled the beautiful gardens and walkways to the Hagia Sophia, a Roman Monument constructed in the Byzantine Age ( 537 ) .It was used as a church for 916years - then ... read more
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Middle East » Turkey » Mediterranean » Olympos April 22nd 2014

20 April We arrived at Bayram's Tree houses late yesterday afternoon and split ourselves into two groups to share rooms. Talbot had said we were staying in treehouses and I was SO excited until Nic showed me her Lonely Planet that said they might not actually be in trees. Which turned out to be correct. If they're tree houses because they're built from wood, then I stayed in a treehouse. But I tend to think it means they're houses up in trees... The price includes breakfast and dinner so it was nice to spend the hours lounging about whilst waiting for the 8pm dinner call. I found the staff who made me a gluten-free meal with grilled chicken, salad, cheese and yoghurt which was excellent, as was everyone's. At 9pm we piled into a minibus and ... read more
Chimeara flames
The staircase down from our 'treehouse'
Delicious strawberries and mulberries

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Ortaköy April 21st 2014

Abby and Luke back to school today. :-( Peter had day off so chauffeured us once again through the maize of streets and gnarled traffic to Emirgan Park ..... This beautiful park is the location of the famous Tulip Gardens. It was a wonderful spring day so we were not alone! The park was big enough for all.... We wandered leisurely through the tulips, topiary trees, public picnic areas, laughing school children and fun playgrounds. After sitting awhile watching the ships navigate the Bosphorus we visited the Museum . A drive along the shore of the Bosphorus to see the beautiful old wooden waterside villas , mosques and grander residences along the way led us to Rumeli Feneri, a lovely fishing Village on the point where the Bosphorus meets the Black Sea. We ate lunch at ... read more
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Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Cappadocia » Göreme April 20th 2014

Flew into Neveshir, in the Goreme Valley.In this valley lie the greatest concentration of rock cut chapels, monasteries and rock formations dating from the 9th. Century onwards. These formations, built out of volcanic "tuff".....were created 30 million yrs. ago when the erupting volcanoes blanketed the region with this volcanic ash which solidified into an easily eroded and excavated material .... Tuff ......over time was worn away by wind, water and temperature change creating a landscape that has to be seen to believe. The cave dwellings carved out of a single cone of tuff would provide shelter for a whole community. After arising at 4:00 am for our hot air balloon ride at sunrise we were disappointed to find it was too windy to fly. :-((((. We re-scheduled for next day and hired a van and guide ... read more
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Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Cappadocia » Göreme April 20th 2014

Good Friday AM...up at 4:00 again today....bad news at 5:00 too much wind to fly. Back to bed until loud pounding on door at 7:00. HURRY....We are going to fly! In air by 7:40 after being literally picked up and tossed into basket!!! Most amazing adventure ...no words to describe....our most excellent pilot, Mustafa, even had an evil eye hanging in basket to protect us from harm. It worked :-) and once back on ground we celebrated with Champagne, cake and beautiful red strawberries. Once back at hotel (only 9:00am) we enjoyed a Turkish breakfast and started our leisurely stroll through the village, up a long hill to the Goreme Open Air Museum. Here there are many chapels cut into the hillside . inside each are still beautiful Byzantine frescoes with scenes from both the Old ... read more
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Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Cappadocia » Göreme April 20th 2014

Today we leave our beautiful oasis in Cappadocia. After another lovely Turkish breakfast at the hotel we went back to "gourd Man" where we purchased some beautiful hanging gourd lights . We Were invited into Suleyman Ikman's Carpet shop....he very graciously served us tea and told us stories about some of the beautiful dresses and brides hats displayed within. After an enjoyable visit and tour of the old shop we purchased some pillow covers and other souvenirs before heading to airport. Good trip home to Ataturk Air Port in Istanbul. We like Turkish Air! GREAT TRIP!!!!... read more
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Middle East » Turkey » Aegean » Oludeniz April 19th 2014

16 April It was an early start to get to Pamukkale which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site definitely worth a visit. Meaning 'cotton castle', Pamukkale is a series of travertines; terraces of carbonate minerals left by flowing hot spring water. The water varies in colour and temperatures, some warm enough to swim in. But I'm ahead of myself. We parked the truck and walked to the entrance where we paid 25TL (it seems we've arrived at the start of the high season as all the tickets have gone up 5TL; we've been peeling the stickers off to see) and walked through the turnstiles. A short walk towards the white landscape and we removed our shoes, put them in bags and stepped over the divide and onto what could be described as a waterfall. Over beautifully ... read more
Pamukkale
The clay-like ground felt lovely between my toes!
One of the many pools

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Ortaköy April 15th 2014

Another rather slow start....we are still re-charging our E-bunny batteries. Breakfast, set off for a visit along the The Bosphorus, the straits separating Europe and Asia , which join the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara. The shores are lined with beautiful old buildings, wooden waterside villas, graceful mosques, market squares, and boats along the waterways. We are heading for the market area. Must take a moment to try to describe the bustling atmosphere of this area. The HILLS and narrow curving roads winding their way through the old neighborhoods of buildings stacked on top of each other are what you might imagine x 100! This makes the hills of San Francisco seem fit for ants. Amid these winding streets are local small businesses, corner cafés, small markets, fruit shops, flower shops, sleeping dogs, sunning ... read more
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