Blogs from Turkey, Middle East - page 27


Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul January 15th 2013

On the ferry We began our glorious hunt by taking the usual route: a ferry from Uskudar iskelesi to Kabatas station in 'new' Istanbul and a bus down the scenic route by Bosphorus, up to Tophane station where Istanbul Modern is situated in. We were in the hunt for modern and contemporary art, but the first thing we saw were about fifty to hundred police officers in riot gear. We were confused, none of this apparent police control fitted our journey's themes of purification and inner peace. At first, we deducted that we must be somewhere close to a football stadium. After all, we had read and heard rumours that Turkish football fanatics can get extremely feisty. Late... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul January 15th 2013

I don't think it snowed overnight, but there was a very heavy frost because it was like driving through a winter wonderland on our way to the underground city of Kaymakli. There are eight levels of accommodation carved into the soft volcanic rock at Kaymakli and it is only one of 30 underground cities in this area. Kaymakli is the second largest of the underground cities all of which are said to be connected by underground tunnels. A few of the passages connecting sections of the city were a bit low and narrow which was a bit claustrophobic but, on the whole, it was surprisingly roomy and very well ventilated so it wasn't too unpleasant exploring it. Once again we had this amazing site to ourselves! From Kaymakli we drove to a viewpoint overlooking the Three ... read more
Underground City of Kaymakli
The Three Beauties with Mt Erciyes in the background

Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Cappadocia January 14th 2013

We had a HUGE day today! We were collected at six o'clock this morning for our balloon flight over the Göreme Valley. It was still dark as we drove out to the launch site. Once we arrived, we didn't have to wait very long before all of the balloon companies started to arrive with their balloons and baskets. In no time at all there were balloons inflating all over the place. Very exciting. Yalçin escorted us across the snow to our balloon while it was still being blown full of hot air. Before it was fully inflated they started loading us into the basket and handed out an instruction sheet. The first instruction was - No Smoking. Hmmn, the guys working on the balloon already broke that one! The second instruction was no-one within a five ... read more
Balloon 1
Balloon 2
Balloon 3

Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Cappadocia January 13th 2013

Our first stop today was at Çatalhöyük, a Neolithic settlement that was occupied for around 1,400 years more than 9,000 years. During the period that it was occupied old houses were abandoned and new homes were built on top of the remain which, over time, created a mound over 21 metres high. The dwellings were built closely together without streets separating them so it is believed that the inhabitants walked across the rooftops and used ladders to climb down into the homes' interiors. Archaeologists have explored the site during two periods of excavations. Initial excavation works were undertaken between 1961 and 1965. The site has been explored further since then with annual investigations taking place since 1993. Most of the findings uncovered at Çatalhöyük over the last 50 years are housed in the Museum of Anatolian ... read more
Reproduction house at Catalhoyuk
Catalhoyuk 2
Catalhoyuk 3

Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Konya January 12th 2013

The hotel last night was more modern again, but the rooms were quite cool because the heating only operated when the key fob was in the slot to activate the power for the room. The Grand Onder may have been a bit old-fashioned, but at least they kept a card in the slot so that the a/c ran all the time to keep the room lovely and warm. The Richmond's room was compact with a bed that was very firm and the world's smallest doona. There was barely enough of the doona to cover us both!! On the plus side, the shower at the Richmond was our best yet, but it was a bit strange having to step down into the sunken bath to take a shower. After breakfast this morning we had only a few ... read more
Road through the Necropolis
Roman Baths


Middle East » Turkey » Aegean » Izmir January 11th 2013

I went to Izmir to visit my friend, Megan and since she was going to be working all week, I decided to take a cooking class! But more about that later. I used to live in Selçuk, near Izmir, but I didn't see all there was to see, so Megan and I decided to visit the ruins at Bergama, about 100km north of Izmir. The Acropolis at Bergama is yet another example of extraordinary Roman ruins in Turkey, although I was a little surprised that it was 20TL, which is the same price as Ephesus, yet it is definitely not on the same level. What made this day great was spending it with my friend and two of her friends who I enjoyed getting to know. I have a lot of pictures of the Acropolis at ... read more
Turkish Wedding Dresses in Izmir
Two Puppies at Bergama Ruins

Middle East » Turkey » Aegean » Pamukkale January 11th 2013

Brrr, no sun today!! We headed off from Kusadasi in the drizzle hoping that the weather might improve as we drove inland. Today our first stop was at the city of Aphrodisias, which is considered to be one of the finest archaeological sites in Turkey. And yes, it was named for the goddess of love, Aphrodite. We were dropped off in a big parking area and ferried over the main road to another big parking area adjacent to the site in a trolley towed by a tractor. We have absolutely no idea why our mini-bus couldn't park in the car park on the Aphrodisias side of the road. This transfer made us feel more like we were taking the wildlife safari tour at Werribee Park Zoo than going to visit an ancient archaeological site!! Once again ... read more
Aphrodisias Face
Aphrodisias Theatre
Aphrodisias Stadium

Middle East » Turkey » Aegean » Ephesus January 10th 2013

Very cold again this morning for our visit to Ephesus, but with a clear blue sky and sunshine - fantastic. We left the hotel at 9.00am and we were being dropped off at the Eastern (uphill) side of Ephesus by about twenty past. What a difference from last year! We were very close to being the only tourists at the Eastern Gymnasium and Baths of the State Agora as Yalçin introduced us to the ancient city of Ephesus. Last year our guide stood with us under a lovely, leafy tree. It was strange to see that tree without its leaves today. While the ruins may endure the seasons with little visible change, the surroundings certainly reflect the passage of the year. We took our time strolling through the Upper (State) Agora (the city's centre of commerce ... read more
State Agora
Column in Arch
Marble Street to the Library

Middle East » Turkey » Aegean » Ephesus January 9th 2013

Even thought we just posted a blog we spent an amazing day at Ephesus and decided to post some pics from it. The weather has turned and we see on the TV, Istanbul has snow. Here, we are just very cold, but beautiful clear crisp air made for some nice photos. Ephesus was amazing! Originally an early Greek settlement in 1000 BC thru 6th century AD, with as many as 250,000 people. Lots of wars and a silting harbor contributed to its demise. There continues to be alot of excavation, with every dig they seem to find something! With the cold it was a very quiet day, and when we were touring the terraced houses we were the only ones there. Many times we would just sit and listen. It was very easy to envision it, ... read more
So many columns
So many geometric pieces

Middle East » Turkey » Aegean » Kusadasi January 9th 2013

Well, some people who are following our blog have been kind enough to say that they are enjoying our photos of the amazing sites that we are seeing. On the other hand, some of our followers just want to see pictures of my hats!! I didn't realise that mentioning my hat purchase would create so much interest. We were on the road by 8.00am again this morning. Very cold again today, but clear and sunny here on the Aegean Coast. It only took us about 25 minutes to drive to our first stop today at the legendary City of Troy. Before exploring the city ruins we were able to see the Trojan horse. As with most other sites that we have visited there were lots of stray cats and dogs roaming about but, of course, these ... read more
Troy VI Wall
Dreaming of Sheep

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