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Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul September 10th 2014

Istanbul, Turkey August 31st 2014 “I suppose it's really the only reason people travel – to feel more beautiful and exciting than they really are” Lady Penelope in Brendan Shannahan's travel epic 'In Turkey I am Beautiful' "...But if a mirror ever makes you sad, you should know that it does not know you." Kabir In a fit of judgementalness and unfounded superiority (is it ever well founded?), I swear to myself that if I hear just one more backpacker in Istanbul on their way through their hurried trip through Turkey say how they 'did' a country or a tourist attraction, or plan to 'do' same, I will scream. And I had only been back in Istanbul (the beaten trail) for about an hour. “Well, we did Spain and then Greece, and I really want to ... read more
Blue Mosque
Grand Bazaar
Taksim alive

Middle East » Turkey September 7th 2014

After spending one week in Greece, I left for Istanbul from Athens on Sunday, August 24th evening. Arriving in Istanbul, I instantly felt at home and took a cab which had slight difficulty in finding the newly opened hotel, St Sophia Boutique Hotel, located at Sultanahmet Square. Unfortunately, my hotel reservation with booking.com was wrongly dated, so by the time I checked in, I'd forgone one night of hotel room; nevertheless, the front desk staff was very helpful and welcomed me to the cozy hotel (it's part of the Preferred Boutique Hotel chain). With no itinerary on hand, I decided to visit a travel agent, Walkabout Tour, across the street the next morning and explained my wishes of visiting Cappadocia and Pamukale in such a short time frame. My agent, Ozge, was friendly, helpful and efficient ... read more
Reception
Hotel Entrance
The room

Middle East » Turkey » Aegean » Izmir September 3rd 2014

On the bus to Fethiye September 3, 2014 There is no doubt that Ephesus is absolutely stunning. The Turks with support from an Institute in Vienna and US money have been able to reconstruct some spectacular 2000 year old buildings. We could get there via a pleasant 30 minute back country walk from our hostel. With the help an audio guide and guidebook we spent a happy four and half hours touring the ruins. It was an interesting comparison to Teos, a much smaller city with much less excavation and reconstruction. At one point we saw ourselves about to be engulf by a tidal wave of cruise ship groups (nearby Kusadesi is the fourth most popular stop for cruise ships in the Mediterranean). We did just what you do in the sea: we ducked down in ... read more
Ladies at Tire selling their garden produce
Traditional weaving at Tire
Drizzling with olive oil and water soap before pressing the felt

Middle East » Turkey » Aegean September 2nd 2014

Poolside Selcuk Sept 2 2014 With all the hustle and bustle of visa applications and culinary adventures in Istanbul things have now chilled out. I guess we needed a holiday (sic) and Sigacik (pronounced Sur-a-juk) was a good place to start. It turned out to be a charming seaside cum fishing village mostly occupied by Turkish tourists from Izmir and beyond. The authorities have build a nice marina which was full of yachts and power boats. Our pension owner Chetin had a old 28 footer in the marina and he took us out for a sail with his mate, Ismail one afternoon. Chetin was a retired petroleum engineer (I think he is younger than me!) who had spent most of his life in Izmir and moved to Sigacik 5 years ago. As well as his 3 ... read more
Auctioneer selling off bass
Doing the deal
2000 year old cistern at Teos with lovely old olive tree in foreground

Middle East » Turkey » Aegean » Bodrum September 2nd 2014

I can't believe they charge you to use squat loos! 1tl to sit over a smelly hole is very steep in my book! The first coach stop on the way to Bodrum from Goreme was at 2am and I barely woke. Glyn got out to stretch his legs and get an icecream or two. Ice cream and soup is all he could eat, but at least he is eating now and with no bad results. The next stop was around 3am I think. I got out and was annoyed to pay 1tl to use what turned out to be squat loo, really they should be paying me! It turned out that all the service stations cost 1tl, they have you over a barrel really - and that might have been more comfortable. I slept off and ... read more
Glyn on our private boat
Aquarium Beach
Glyn in Bodrum

Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Cappadocia September 1st 2014

Today was another first: riding in a hot air balloon that landed directly on a trailer. I've ridden in two balloons before, once in South Africa and once over the Valley of Queens in Egypt. Both times the landing consisted in all passengers squatting below the basket rim level in crash positions, as the baskets was dragged and bumped along until they ground to a halt, rattling all bones in all bodies - I always enjoy that! But today in Cappadocia we landed gently and upright, on the trailer AND given a ladder to get in and out! (You usually have to scramble up over the wicker with tiny footholes.) I'd treated us to ballooning as it was something Glyn had never done, hoping it would perk up the holiday and although it was expensive, that's ... read more
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Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Cappadocia August 31st 2014

What sounded like extreme weather came bursting through the bedroom window at around 6am this morning. I thought it was a massive wind-storm but it sounded weird and I just couldn't place it. The only solution was to look through the window and what I was confronted with was an invasion of hundreds of hot air balloons. I have never seen so many balloons, the whole town was covered at every angle, it was spectacular to see... and Glyn and I were very envious. I thought at first that Glyn seemed better as he managed to come out and photograph the balloons, but a toilet trip soon made us realise that things were still not good and we asked again if our hotel would let us stay an extra night. Glyn was still too poorly to ... read more
Goreme
Bride at Goreme Ranch.
My lovely horse- Yildiz.

Middle East » Turkey » Aegean » Izmir August 30th 2014

Welcome back to the chronicles of Eric, the Turkish Traveler! If you’ve been following my blog so far then you know that my life here has been pretty upbeat for the most part as I slowly venture through this foreign land. Well, I’m glad to report that my upward spiral continues as I now attempt to describe my newest adventure that has turned out to be both an awesome personal experience and an excellent career path for me in this city that the Turks call Beautiful Izmir! New Beginnings: Joining the EU No, not the European Union – Ege University baby! Since my last post I’ve been fortunate enough to become a member of Ege (Egg-Gay) University’s (EU) diverse and talented teaching staff and I simply couldn’t be happier! I absolutel... read more
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English_Director_Mengu_and_Me
English_Director_Mengu_and_Melih

Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Cappadocia August 30th 2014

When we first arrived in Turkey, we never foresaw us being in the back of a pharmacy with Glyn face-down on the tatty sofa getting an injection. But that's part of the exciting unknown of foreign travel, right? The original plan for today was to hang out in Goreme for the day, take an overnight bus to Fethiye and then on to Olideniz for paragliding. But after another dreadful night, it was clear that Glyn could barely walk down the street, let alone sit on a long distance bus. And looking online, they say the buses have three toilet stops, in other words, no facilities onboard. Our hotel was able to let us stay an extra night, but the guy was vague when I asked about finding a doctor. I googled doctors in the area with ... read more
Glyn's dinner - boiled potatoes and grated cheese.

Middle East » Turkey » Aegean » Ayvalik August 29th 2014

Ayvalik, Turkey August 28th 2014 “Zen teaches vigilant carelessness and detached involvement. In a more high-sounding phrase, it teaches transcendental ordinariness. In a simpler, more sympathetic phrase, it teaches nothing but ordinariness” Yoel Hoffman, The sound of the one hand I was back in Ayvalik again, the port of departure for Lesvos a week earlier, when I had reconnoitred this quaint old town as a place I would not mind spending some down time in. 'Down time' means just lolling around a place, getting a feel for it, getting to know where the best places to hang are (not too many and not too far from where one is staying), and becoming familiar with at least a few locals. That week before I had just spent one night on my way through to Lesvos, and couchsurfed ... read more
Best haulage mode for these streets
Business as usual
Market Day covered street




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