Blogs from Turkey, Middle East


Middle East » Turkey » Aegean » Ephesus April 25th 2015

I'm making good on my promise to write more blogs after I returned home on April 23. Actual date in Ephesus was April 7th, a beautiful warm day so welcomed after some chilly days in Istanbul. It was my second visit, the last being in November, 2000. Doesn't matter. I was still gobsmacked by the history, the casual ruins of ruins rolled over to one side of the main agora now, a walkway, but in ancient times marketplace. Some history, I know boring, but it helps to put things into perspective. Ancient Ephesus was founded by the Athenians about 1000 B.C., it lay at the confluence of empire, trade, and religion. It was a major banking and merchant metropolis with a population of around 300,000. At that time the city had a good harbor with land ... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Gallipoli April 25th 2015

We have not long arrived in Istanbul, very weary but very fulfilled. Much more to come! And about why we were really there :)... read more
Double ummmmmmm!

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul April 24th 2015

Friday morning we walked back to the Blue Mosque and Aya Sofya in order to get pictures of both with a clear blue sky as the backdrop. We wandered around admiring the mosaics on the fountain between the two, we took more pictures of the carpet of tulips, and were amazed at the multitude of people milling around. Unfortunately for many of them, the Blue Mosque was closed.. Fun Fact: There are 16 million people living in Istanbul!! 7 million live on the Europe side while 9 million reside on the Asian side. We knew this city was big, I even compared it to Toronto but you do not get a true appreciation or understanding of its vast size until you have seen it from the highest point and then while cruising down the Bosphorus. Fun ... read more
Topkapi Palace
Macky Sall

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Canakkale April 23rd 2015

A change of pace was planned into the itinerary for today and was greatly appreciated. Breakfast was leisurely, as our departure for the ancient city of Troy was 10:00am. The half hour drive enabled us to see a different area of this lovely country. The sun shone brightly and warmed our spirits. There were moments of hilarity on the bus with wonderful banter between our guide, Okan, and historian, Peter. Peter (who reminds us of Wallace from ‘Wallace and Grommit fame) was with us for the experience of Troy. Okan recounted the history, mixing truth with legend in a delightful way. It was a fun and lighthearted journey. The Trojan Horse towered above us. It’s a replica of course! I was looking at the horse and, when I turned around, whom should I see but my ... read more
Mabel and Ray Martin

Middle East » Turkey April 22nd 2015

Well early start at 5.30am. On the road at 6.30. Our tour guide is a stickler for time but I don't blame him.people and buses everywhere! Off to the cascades and thermal pools in Pumakkale, and it is simply exceptional. Breathtaking! They have a thermal pool here that is believed to make you look 10 years later after swimming in it! Due to our time we only got to dip or feet in it but spent lots of time soaking on the sights. Finally got some gifts for my girlfriends :) Off to the ancient Roman ruins. Seriously! Wholey crap this place is old! Over 2000 years old to be precise! Soo much history I can't barely stay to write it. But I recommend doing a wki lookup! Standing where gladiators fought till the death, where ... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Canakkale April 22nd 2015

Rugged up against the elements this morning, we entered our bus for the drive to the battlefield at Cape Helles on the southern toe of the Gallipoli peninsula. The road took us along the coastline of the Dardanelles and the Narrows. Battleships have entered the waters (our historian told us that was organized just for us!) We stopped and paid our respects to the Turks at their impressive Martyrs’ Memorial overlooking Morto Bay. It is an incredible and powerful structure situated on top of a hill. The views are spectacular and we could link up battlefield areas from here. The rain eased off by the time we arrived at Cape Helles. My grandfather’s words from Thursday 6th May 1915: We left Gallipoli at 2 o’clock this morning & landed at the Dardinelles at 9, & we ... read more
Lest We Forget
The Helles Memorial
The Helles Memorial

Middle East » Turkey » Aegean » Pamukkale April 22nd 2015

Today was too much travel. We were up at 6 and on the road by 7 ish. We traveled 620 km thrift to Pumakkale. The country side is simply beautiful...but I'm getting a bit sick of being in a bus to be honest. We could have flown here. None the less stopped for a couple meals. Got some gifts for my sister too. Got to the hotel, very relieved it was a nice big bed and a very clean room. The first thing Kaine did in the room was call for the day spa for massages for us both. What a treat. Off to the thermal pools at the Collasse spa hotel (where we stayed) until my 7pm massage. What an interesting massage, she had sharp nails and it was bare all up top. Dinner time ... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul April 22nd 2015

After eating up the leftovers in our fridge and packing our bags once again, we headed down to The Riva to have a nightcap in order to use up most of our Croatian Kunas. After enjoying the nightlife on the promenade, we made our way back and prepared for our early morning departure. A shuttle was to pick us up at a corner near our place at 4:30AM to take us to the Split Airport. While reading before settling in, I thought I would just check a couple of things regarding the shuttle and hotel when we reached Istanbul. While scanning through my emails from the hotel, I came across a tidbit I had missed before leaving home. They wanted to be paid in Euros of which I only had enough to cover our shuttle in ... read more
Obelisk of Theodosius
Serpent Column
Aya Sofya at Night

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Gallipoli April 21st 2015

A significant moment was experienced as we stepped off the bus and onto the soil of Ari Burnu…ANZAC Cove. Nick McCallum and his cameraman, Paul, from the Channel 7 news team greeted us. They led us onto the beach and away from the main group. We stood on the exact place of the landing, picking up the stones that those adventurous, charging, mostly inexperienced young men would have scrambled over…including Mum’s father, my grandfather. I was more emotional than Mum! She was incredibly calm and told the journalists so as she was interviewed. (Not sure when it will be aired!) To look out across the sea and imagine the boats filled with these young soldiers who had no idea what lay ahead; to visualize them entering the water and crunching the stones of this foreign land; ... read more
Sharing a significant moment
View from near Plugge's Plateau

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Bosporus April 20th 2015

A pictorial overview of the beautiful Topkapi Palace...... read more
Ceiling detail
Model of the Palace
Second entrance

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