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Published: June 24th 2006
In the undergrounds of Istanbul
Finally we had better deal at the border than the world-master-super-duper-travelers Australians. We didn't need visas and they did!!!! With the taste of victory in the mouth we arrived in Istanbul.Was going to be our first Muslim country. But instead of seeing muslin womens covered we met only Aussies and Kiwis everywhere. On the streets the sellers would scream to us "Hey Aussie!" We didn't know what was happening, how come half of the Turkish population was from Oceania (Cheers Bek!). Was a week before ANZAC day, the guys explained us. But what is ANZAC day? According to them is a battle they lost against the Turks in Gallipoli. Every year thousands of Australians and New Zealanders come here to pay their respect. In the reality, as we found out soon, they come here to party and drink beers.
In Istanbul just behind the main tourist attractions (Blue Mosque and Saint Sofia) there is a street full of backpackers hostels and bars. A backpacker ghetto, the first we have seen of this kind. For to to be mistaken by Australian or NZ, Fernando had wrapped around him the Brazilian flag, but even that didn't work very well. Staying in the same
Delight for the Turkish families.
hostel was Ralf, the Dutch guy from Sofia hostel in Bulgaria. One of the few non ANZAC related.
Istanbul has an amazing number of sites, one of them is the Topkapi palace. Who has never heard the stories about the sultans and hundreds of wifes in his harems? The best part is that this stories where true and it was possible to visit the Sultan Harem in the Palace. After the visit, our imagine of the Sultan being a incredible man was ruined. Guess who used to sleep next door to him? His mammy!! Such a big baby.
From Istanbul we went to the ruins of Troy. There is lots of history there but barely anything to see. After just two hour we hitch-hiked to Assos. We had to take a taxi for the last stretch, but luckily our taxi driver was also the former curator of the ruins. He showed us around explaining each bit of the old constructions. Was cool to see where Aristotle gave lessons.
To be able to visit Turkey without hordes of Aussies everywhere we had to run before they left Gallipoli.
We made a short break in Pamukkale (Cotton Palace). An
unreal cliff, made up of petrified waterfalls and a series of terraced basins. Enormous amounts of calcium dissolved in the water form this bright white pools full of sky blue waters.
From there we went to visit Ephesus. One of the best preserved ruins of turkey, just near where still stands the last column of the Temple of Artemis, one of the ancient 7 wonders of the world.
Following recommendations we went to Olympos, famous for the tree houses. Supposed to be a great backpacker hangout. On the way there we met Vincent, a iconic Irish guy with a half a meter long beard (). As everywhere in Turkey, historic sites are always near by. In this case is the burning mountain of Olympos. The legend (by Homerus)tells that the first Olympic games were held around here to commemorate the imprisonment of the monster/dragon Chimera inside the mountain (in reality the chemical composition of the mountain produce a gas that burns nonstop). The athletes burn their torches with Chimera sacred fire and run down to Olympos City.
Cappadocia was our last stop in Turkey. Whole underground cities built into easily carved rock has offered shelter to people creating
Fernando playing Aristotle
cave homes from prehistoric times. Just like ants making their house you your backyard. The heart of this area is the little tourist town of Göreme, where we stayed. Our "cave hostel" have been carved into the rock too.
Since Olympos Vincent was traveling with us, also with plans to go to Syria. In the hostel in Göreme, we met Jeremy and Sam and by coincidence they were also wanting to go to Syria. At last we convinced Rebbekka (we met her in the hostel too), that had just arrived from Syria to go back there.
This way was founded the syriainvasion.com!!!
Times when many backpackers join together are the best!!!
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