Blogs from Turkey, Middle East - page 26

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Middle East » Turkey » Aegean » Akbük July 7th 2013

Akbük, a small town along the Turkish Turquoise Coast. Stewart was delighted by having a bathroom in which he could sit on the toilet, brush his teeth, shower and watch the boardwalk's goings on through a small window without having to move (giving new meaning to "cute and cozy"), but the "crowded rat syndrome" was a bit much for me so we packed our suitcases and moved to a fabulous hotel where the endless pool seemed to flow into the sea. Our difficult decisions over our five days there have been whether to swim in the pool, the Aegean, or both. Stewart has partaken in a number of rousing backgammon games with locals of all ages and genders - winning most of them, thanks to his Peace Corp days mastering his game! We took a day ... read more
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Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Sultanahmet July 7th 2013

Sun 7th July 2013 Yesilkoy district, Istanbul. Morning involved a short walk around the beach not far from the hotel. I saw the natives using a wood fired water boiler to make their tea. I thought 'this can be very useful to me on my journey'. The only problem is I don't know where to buy the piece of equipment. Breakfast - I went to a local pastry shop that made some delicious food for breakfast. It looked very fattening, but I don't care. I had a portion of that delicious pastry, lots and lots of 'Ayran', a salty yoghourt drink and some lemonade. I made a second attempt at visiting the 'Sultanahmet'. This time, I set the SatNat on my mobile phone for the mosque. It worked better than I thought, it guided me to ... read more
Me beside the beach
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My Turkish friends and their tea making equipment

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Sultanahmet July 6th 2013

Sat 6 July 2013 Burgas in Bulgaria to Istanbul in Turkey Driving from Burgas to Istanbul involved driving on more pot holed roads. The roads were so bad, the car nearly lost its other 'eye'. It fell off while climbing those steep mountains in Bulgaria, but luckily it got trapped between the car and the bumper. I discovered the problem when I stopped the vehicle to allow the vehicle to cool down. Luckily, I brought tools and some spare washers, and I managed to re-attach the 'eye' back on to the car. The Bulgarians are nice people. One driver stopped and asked if I needed help. Getting out of Bulgaria at the border crossing was easy, just checked the vignette and passport, etc and I was out of Bulgaria. Getting into Turkey was a more difficult ... read more
Cooling down in Turkey
shop in Instanbul

Middle East » Turkey » Aegean » Kusadasi July 4th 2013

It is all a mixed bag - the excitement of travel to exotic destinations and the reality of the journey - finding lodging (some hotels completely different than depicted on their website and having to forfeit our pre-payment), the noise of big cities, catching a sunset that a Marin teenagers across the world from here, locals, tourists and ancient ones alike would marvel at, traversing our route by bus, tram, metro, taxi, boat and foot, the time it takes to get around, getting lost going from place to place but eventually finding our way, old train stations serving as hubs to pass through one another's lives. And sometimes a friendly innkeeper, who at the end of the long day of travel arranges at 10:00 pm for a Hamam to wash it all away and leave us ... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Aegean » Selçuk July 3rd 2013

Mad dogs and Englishmen, or perhaps it should be the other way round...... mad Englishmen and bloody wild dogs! As I continue on my route through Turkey the temperature is hotting up and I am regularly experiencing temperatures in the high 30s. I have hence had to adopt my routine a little and now rise at 4.45 in the morning for a 5.30 am start on the road, usually finishing no later than 1.30 pm in the afternoon. From predominantly riding on flat roads throughout Europe, I am now having to regularly get out of my saddle to scale the hills on the coastline. I know I have much worst to come when I start heading inland, but hopefully the heat will be less stifling when I gain some altitude. Istanbul was my first major milestone ... read more
Drying off after coming out of the Turkish hammam
In Taksem Square, Istanbul
Sultanahmet

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Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Izmit June 27th 2013

The ruins at Asclepion were in much better shape. We visited a wellness center that people used to go to when they were sick. In order to be admitted you had to be able to walk down the long driveway at the entrance without any help. The services they offered included psychotherapy, mud baths, massage and herbal medicine. They were big on positive psychology. Apparently the staff convinced everyone that they were going to get better and when people didn’t make it they told the rest of the patients that they had went home when in actuality they were buried on the grounds. Bones were later found underneath the buildings. Izmir is a very large city. It’s where Homer was born and happens to be where one of Gabriel’s friend’s from home was staying with her ... read more
Asclepion
Ruins 1
Ruins 2

Middle East » Turkey June 25th 2013

Anchored off Anzac Cove at 6.00a.m ., saw the sunrise over Anzac Cove at about 5.45a.m. It was interesting to see the area from out in the water, as we were here on land in 2009 for the Dawn Service - and it was a hell of a lot warmer than it was then - in 2009 it was absolutely freezing - quite a different outlook with not a soul in sight after being there with thousands in 2009. The captain and the cruise director did a 1/2 hour service which was very nice - with a solo singer doing a song about Gallipoli and the Princess Choir (passengers who have been practicing since Sydney), it was a lovely service and many out on deck to witness that - Turkish authorities would not let the captain ... read more
SUNRISE OVER ANZAC COVE
SERVICE ON BOARD
ANZAC COVE

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul June 24th 2013

Entered the Dardanelles around 11.30 last night and then into the Sea of Marmara early this morning and after daylight (we were up to see sunrise over the Sea of Marmara) into the Straits of Bosphorus - our Turkish pilot boarded around 7.30 and guided us into the port, bit of ducking and diving as its a very busy area with loads of ferries going in all directions from one side of Turkey to the other. Having being to Istanbul (5 days in 2009) before, we decided to just walk and soak up the atmosphere of this city, we love Istanbul, its quite mystical and a shopping mecca. Walked 12kms today around town, went to the Galatas Tower which we had not been to before and had a great view over the city and the Bosphorus. ... read more
SPICE BAZAAR
GRAND BAZAAR
ISTANBUL

Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Cappadocia June 23rd 2013

There are no words to describe the view of the EARLY morning landscape from a hot air balloon over Cappadocia. I’ve never been in a hot air balloon. Seeing the crew shooting fire into the balloon was very exciting. The maneuvering of a hot air balloon is a lot like scuba. You try to stay neutral which allows you to stay idle even a foot over the ground. If you start to drop the pilot shoots more fire up and if he wants to drop down he pulls a string that opens a flap on the side of the balloon to let some air out. There were 16 people in our balloon and still there was plenty of room. You could not take a bad picture. We went into the canyons, over the pinnacles with windows ... read more
Sunrise in Cappadocia
The sea of hot air balloons
Flying low and high

Middle East » Turkey » Aegean June 22nd 2013

At 6 am, we reached the port of Kudasi, Turkey. Buses took us to the House of the Virgin Mary & to the Ruins of Ancient Ephesus. During New Testament times, this was the capital of the Roman province of Asia. Paul, John, Timothy, & Mary all lived & ministered here. In a small valley on Mt. Koressos lies a chapel where many believe that the Virgin Mary spent her last days It is a peaceful place surrounded by pine trees. Our guide told us about the miracle that happened here just a few years ago. The whole mountain was blazing as winds whipped out of control flames up the slopes. Everyone thought that the House of the Virgin Mary would be consumed, but just as the fire reached the perimeter - it stopped.. You can ... read more
Ephesus stage




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