Mark Chircop


Mark Chircop

Oceania » Australia » Victoria » Melbourne October 2nd 2023

It took from 8:15pm on Saturday local time in Istanbul to 2:30am on Monday local time in Melbourne for us to get home. A long and tiring trip, but the flight itself was uneventful. What was, for so long, something we were looking forward to, is now memories that will last our lifetimes. So by the numbers, • We rode in 14 countries, • and dealt with 6 different currencies, • We travelled over 4,500kms in distance, • We climbed just on 20,000m in vertical height • We stayed in 67 different hotels/apartments and • We created countless memories. It's quite a thing to sit back now and reflect on what we have just completed. There was never a thought before hand of us not completing the trip, but while travelling it became obvious that any ... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul September 30th 2023

It's over. Our flight today is at 8:05pm and our pick up for airport transfer is at 3:30pm so we have time to kill.We both decide to go for a morning walk. I head for the water from to the south of us, somewhere I haven't visited. There are green spaces but oddly they are fenced off, so just for show and not for use. Fishermen try their early morning luck off the walk way. All is good until the rain rolls in, and all I can do is hide under a tree. Now wet, I wait out the showers and head back to the apartment to dry out my clothes. We go down to the bikes and Jeff finishes his pack and we're done by 11:30am, 4 hours to kill. We head off in different ... read more
Fountain1 1 by the waterside
Another Mosque
Fishing off the board walk

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul September 29th 2023

Let's start with where I left off yesterday. On the way to the airport in Cappadocia to return back to Istanbul on an 8:25pm flight landing in Istanbul at 9:55pm. Our hope was to be out of the airport by 10:30pm and back at the hotel by 11:30pm. Well, that was a good plan - until it wasn't. We checked in and all was good, then shortly after that we noticed our flight had been delayed to 9:30pm, that meant not getting back until after midnight some time. We had meant an Australian Father/Daughter couple on our tour (Keith and Georgia) and they were travelling on the same flight back to Istanbul. We sat and chatted and then noticed that the flight had been delayed again, until 10:30pm. Argh, what a long day this was becoming, ... read more
River side are all the water/boat related shops
Galata Tower from across the Golde Horn
Cruise Boat Central

Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Cappadocia September 28th 2023

Last night we walked around and found a restaurant that had a viewing area up high from which you could eat. We have a lovely dinner overlooking the town of Goreme which is lit up with lots fairy lights. It was a very early call for both of us this morning. Jeff headed off for a sunrise horesback ride and I headed off for the Hot Air Balloon ride. We both had a 5:30am pickup. It was a bit of a drive to the Hot Air Balloons and there were heaps of them. I later found out there are 162 hot air balloons operated by 32 different companies. By the time we arrived the my balloon was mostly inflated but the bursts from the jets were still lighting up the insides of the balloon like a ... read more
Last Night's Moon
Night shots of Goreme
Almost ready

Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Cappadocia September 27th 2023

We had to be up at 3:00am to be ready for a 3:30am pickup. Tom got up to say good bye and we wished each other well as we now go our separate ways. The cab ride to the airport with no traffic took 40 minutes, I guess that's our base line to work from when we leave on Saturday. The airport is HUGE but well signed, so we made our way to the right spot without any issues, got our flight and slept most of the way. There was then about an hours drive to Goreme where the tour started from and we slept most of the way there too. Our tour today of North Cappadocia only had 6 people on it which was a good sized group. Our first stop was to Uchisar Castle ... read more
Fairy Chimneys at Uchisar
Fairy Chimneys at Monks Valley
Fairy Chimneys at Monks Valley

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul September 26th 2023

It was a late night last night due to the river cruise so there was certainly no hurry to get up this morning. We also had very little on the list of things to do, as most of the big ticket items had already been done. We left the apartment about 10am and walked over the hill (again) and down to the Saltanahmet area. Two things on the list here were to finally go to the Ayasofya Mosque which was completed in 537AD. It's interior is showing signs of wear with patches of the ceiling decoration having come away. Its still one of the longest lines to get into, thankfully we beat the peak period and it only took about 20 minutes to get in. After that Jeff and Tom went to the Basilica Cistern which ... read more
Ayasofya Camii
Ayasofya Camii
Ayasofya Camii

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara September 25th 2023

As I have mentioned, we still haven't decided how to get our bikes to the airport. Our options are someone comes and collects our bikes, takes them away and packs them, and then returns on the day of departure and transfers us to the airport in time for our flight. A great option but two considerations are that we won't actually see our baggage being packed, and Jeff has some concerns about someone else packing his bike without him being there. The second option we have is to find bike boxes ourselves and pack the bikes up here at the apartment and then find an airport transfer independently. This is made difficult by the fact it's not that easy to find bike boxes in Istanbul and we would be spending time packing instead of exploring the ... read more
Down the stairs . . .
. .. and into the dungeon
Eggplant and sausage with tomato

Middle East » Turkey » Aegean September 24th 2023

We had an early start today being picked up at 6:45 for our all day tour to the Gallipoli Peninsula. It was a long (and fast) drive to Ecebat where we stopped for lunch at 11:30am. We had covered 300kms in that time including a couple of 30 minute stops. After lunch we hopped on the minivan and our guide started telling the story of the Gallipoli Campaign. The goal of the campaign was to gain access to the Black Sea to support Russia against the Austrian Hungarian Empire (Germany) during WWI. To do this the allies needed access to the Dardanelles, a body of water down one side of the Gallipoli Peninsula which effectively linked the Mediterranean all the way through to the Black Sea. The offensive which landed on April 25th was the second ... read more
Anzac Cove Beach
Ari Burnu Cemetary

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul September 23rd 2023

Now that the riding is over we can take it easy and rest up, right? Well, that's not how it panned out today. We left the apartment shortly after 8:30am with a list of 6 things to see. 1. The Blue Mosque 2. Topkapi Palace 3. Basilica Cistern 4. Hagia Sofya Mosque 5. Grand Bazaar 6. Galata Tower Although we had metro cards we plotted a course in google maps that took us to each of these points and started walking. We first reached the Sultanahmet Area which provided many sights including a couple of obelisks brought from Egypt. We then stood in the line for the Blue Mosque which moved quite quickly. The Blue Mosque is very impressive, most of the mosques are, but this one especially so, not only because of it's size but ... read more
Obolosk of Theodius
The Blue Mosque
The Blue Mosque

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul September 22nd 2023

We had breakfast overlooking the pool and the Black Sea. What an outlook. Breakfast was one of the better ones we've had too. The tardus like stomachs of my travelling buddies defies reason, I don't know how they do it and then ride straight after. We got away at 9am, no hurry today as we only have 45kms to ride into Istanbul with a 2pm check-in, plenty of time. Our ride out of Kumkoy is uphill, not too steep to start with but then it turns uphill viloently for almost two kilometers averaging 14%. None of us can get to the top without having to have a break. We regroup at the top and continue on to the town of Bahcekoy and then turn towards the Bosphorus River. Considering the climb we had just done it ... read more
The Bosphorus
Local enjoying the river

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