Blogs from Central Anatolia, Turkey, Middle East

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Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Cappadocia April 14th 2018

I’ve given my wife a lot of blank looks over the years but when she told me we were off to Goreme for a holiday I had to dig deep into my repertoire of bemused expressions. I settled for a bland gaze with my eyes twitching quizzically to the left and right. Then I did some research. Goreme is a small town in the Cappadocia region of central Turkey. It is ‘famous’ for; developing the Christian Doctrine of the Trinity, inspiring the set of Star Wars ‘A New Hope’, picturesque cave houses and hotels carved into the rock of the landscape, and over thirty cities dug underground over 1000 years ago capable of hiding 20 000 people with provisions and livestock. Quite a set of achievements, I guess the place deserves to be more famous. ... read more
A cave Church cut into the rock
Hot air balloons at dawn

Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Cappadocia April 8th 2018

Sadly we are leaving the natural wonders of Cappadocia behind today, with another long drive, this time heading towards Darende, but more of that later. First we are having an early morning visit to the Goreme Open Air Museum (hoping to avoid the crowds). The Open Air Museum is a must see if you're in the area. It's a UNESCO world heritage site and it's easy to see why as we begin to look around this huge site housing a large number of 10th, 11th and 12th century refectory monasteries carved out of the rocks, many of which are highly decorated with religious paintings. As we enter the open air museum, on our left is what's known as the 'nunnery'. It's a 7 storey building with a kitchen, dining hall and other rooms, along with a ... read more
Church at Goreme Open Air Musuem, Cappadocia
Kitchen table and benches carved out of rock, Goreme Open Air Musuem, Cappadocia
Church at Goreme Open Air Musuem, Cappadocia

Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Cappadocia April 7th 2018

Stumbling out of bed at 4.45am in a cold cave is a surreal experience. I am in Cappadocia, in Turkey, staying in a cave hotel and about to take my first ever hot air balloon ride and an early morning is required in order to see the sun rise. Personally I'm not that fussed about sunrises and would rather have an extra few hours in bed, but nevertheless we are picked up by the ballooning company's minibus and a bleary-eyed group keeps fingers crossed that the wind conditions will be ok to fly (or float - not sure what term you use for hot air balloons). It seems our minibus driver is a rally cross wannabe as we race past other trundling buses at break neck speed, dust flying up behind us, tyres screeching. We are ... read more
Hot air ballooning, Cappadocia
Hot air ballooning, Cappadocia
Hot air ballooning, Cappadocia

Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Cappadocia April 7th 2018

We are all on a high from our hot air balloon ride and find it odd to be arriving back at our hotel at what would be our normal breakfast time. It feels like we've had half a day already. We're heading off on more activities later, but we have a bit of time relaxing at our cave hotel reading, going for short walks in our little valley and round the top of the cliff, watching a couple having wedding photos with our hotel as a backdrop and generally soaking up this unique location before we go. In the afternoon our bus driver picks us up and takes us to the start of a walk through the alien landscape of Cappadocia in one of the valleys near Goreme. We stop at a particular rockface where Burak ... read more
Fairy castles, Goreme, Cappodocia
The start of Burak's rock cave hotel
Galip Korukcu, Turkey's Einstein!

Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Cappadocia April 6th 2018

Another travelling day sees us eating up the miles on our way from Konya to one of the most iconic districts of Turkey, the natural wonders of Cappadocia. As usual on travel days our clever tour company has included interesting stops along the way. Our first is to see a 13th century pit-stop for camels, the Sultanhari Kervansarayi. This is one of a number of 'hotels' along the Silk Road where traders would stop for 3 nights to allow their camels (donkeys if they were Del Boy types) to rest before the next stint of their journey. They were not able to travel at night because of thieves and bandits lurking in the hills, so only traveled a day at a time covering approximately 40km to the next Kervansarayi. The Sultanhari has a massive portico doorway ... read more
Derinkuyu underground city
Derinkuyu underground city
Lottie Let Loose in the Derinkuyu underground city

Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Cappadocia April 6th 2018

This trip was a bit of a surprise to us. Our plans for Easter were to fly to Bangkok and then try to organise a trip to Myanmar, but for some reason the price of the flights to Bangkok never seemed to drop. I think we may have been spoiled by the £360 bargain we bagged last year with Oman Air, it’s set a precedent I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to match. This meant I was scouring the flight search engines for flights to ‘somewhere new’ which was the only guidance I’d been given by Faye. Jordan has always been somewhere we’ve wanted to visit but flights weren’t far off what we’ve paid to visit South East Asia, the cheapest being with Turkish Airlines, via Istanbul. The flights for the London-Turkey segment were ... read more
Blue Mosque
Balloons at sunrise
Grand Bazaar

Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Konya April 5th 2018

'One does not become a wise person by wearing a cloak and a turban. Wisdom belongs to one's character, be it inside a silk dress or a coarse woolen cloth.' So said Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, otherwise known as Mevlana the 13th century Persian poet, mystic and theologian with a marked propensity toward spinning round and round in circles with his head cocked to one side. Yes, we are off to the birth place of the whirling Dervishes - Konya. But first we have a long, long coach journey to get us there, shared this time with Turkish passengers who it seems the bus company has double booked in the same seats as us. They get really annoyed at us bloody tourists sitting in their seats and poor Burak has to listen to them complaining to ... read more
Mevlana Tekkesi
Konya dress shop
Living quarters of the trainee whirling dervishes

Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Cappadocia August 15th 2016

This is not the best year for Turkey. Just few weeks before getting into the country, there is a solid failed attempt military coup. Bombs have also blown in few places all over the country, including in Istanbul over the last few months....and the airport of Istanbul has just suffered from a major massive blow, just weeks before we arrived in Istanbul. So people will tell me, why go now? Simple answer....less tourists, nicer welcome....better experience! Ok, I like to play it fun...visited Angkor a week after a coup in 1997...had Angkor to myself at 3pm....was in Cairo 5 days after Mubarak went down, and did Syria...3 months before the mess started...so let's say...I love uncrowded and slightly unstable places...after all, I was in Kinshasa during the recent troubles in September. The point is always the ... read more
Turkey is suffering of a serious lower amount of tourists...in normal time, it's not 40 balloons like today, but way more!
Uchisar Castle
This place is so.....romantic...

Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia June 2nd 2016

Saturday, 28 May – Cappadocia This was our biggest day of driving with 600kms to cover as our adventure turned inland. 50kms outside of Antalya, as we were hooting down the dual lane freeway at 110kph, we faced a semi-trailer driving in our direction in the emergency lane! He wasn’t even reversing – he was literally driving the wrong direction into oncoming traffic in a lane that barely fit his vehicle! Why? Because…Turkey!! We followed the coast for an hour before heading over the mountains. The highest pass was 1850m and it was a very pretty drive. The mountains were rocky and steep, covered with perfectly shaped pine forests from peak to creak. The road was fantastic as it had passing lanes the whole way up, there was not much traffic and there are no towns ... read more
Our room mate. She came in a window during the night :-)
Love Valley
Sunrise over Cappadocia

Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Ankara May 24th 2016

Why travel to Turkey in these unsettling times you might ask. To answer, lets back up a bit to 2013 when our youngest, Jessica, feels the pull to add Turkish to her list of language proficiencies. In short, she studies 2 years and receives a Fulbright scholarship to teach English in Turkey’s capitol city, Ankara. Being both a dedicated mom and a hopeless wanderer, this is just the reason I need to overcome any trepidation and dive in to explore this interesting and oh so important part of our world. Over the course of 2 visits, including stops in Istanbul, Ankara, and Cappadocia, I have seen the palace of sultans, breathtaking Islamic mosques and byzantine cathedrals, secret caves that housed and served as church for persecuted 6thcentury Christians, perfectly preserved cuniform writing carved over 3,000 years ... read more
Dancing in history
150 Balloons
Photo bombing the solemnity




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