Blogs from Turkey, Middle East - page 22


Hasankeyf, Southeastern-Anatolia, Turkey 17th June, 2014 “The birds they sing at the break of day Start again I seem to hear them say Don't dwell on what has passed away Or what is yet to be” Leonard Cohen Today I swam in the Tigris river. Refreshing and fast moving. Today wars seem to often revolve around oil. Tomorrow they seem set to revolve around water. The Middle East endures with a multitude of ideological, ethnic, religious and pan-national tensions, conflicts and associations. The politics of water already plays a major role in relations between Iraq, Syria and Turkey. In 1990, Turkey started construction of the Southeastern Anatolia Project (also known as GAP) to dam sections of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers north of the Syrian/Turkey border. Syria and Iraq, otherwise often in dispute themselves, formed an ... read more
Castle citadel
Citadel gate
Caves in Vadi Valley

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Sultanahmet June 19th 2014

Today was a day for new experiences. After getting up on Wednesday at 4:15, 3 flights, the last being 10 hours long, we arrived in Istanbul tired and jet lagged. While it was 9 AM here, it really felt like 1 AM back home. We found ourselves on a crowded TRAM full of frowny people, made it to our hotel, cleaned up and resisted the urge to sleep. We ventured out without much of a clue as to where we were going, but with a sense of adventure and learned some things. Istanbul is a ancient city full of all kinds of people, just like anywhere you might travel. The difference here for us is that not many people speak English, so when exploring we are pretty much on our own. While Turkey is a secular ... read more
Random Minaret
Egyptian Obelisk near Blue Mosque
Chuck exercising his keen eye.

Middle East » Turkey » Aegean » Hisaronu June 19th 2014

So I'm new to this travel blog malarkey, but having a massive passion for all things travel and new I thought I'd give it a shot. I am not sure why I never had any desire to ever visit Turkey, maybe it was tarnished with a cheap image that attracted the wrong crowds and was a popular haunt with those looking for the cheapest of the cheap with tacky bars and low key hotels. But not one to judge a book by it's cover come January I found myself booking a week all inclusive to a hotel In Ovacik. Having moved jobs within travel in the last year and seeing a lot of our customers after various areas and accommodations and hearing a lot about the surrounding areas and attractions, I bit the bullet and gave ... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Southeastern Anatolia » Mardin June 16th 2014

Mardin, South Eastern Anatolya, Turkey 14th June 2014 “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is mystery. Today is a gift. That's why its called the present.” Mardin is one of those places that builds expectation as the dolmus I am in climbs the hill to the old city. The distant hill top is adorned with stone ruins and as we get closer to the old city I site the detail in the ornate stonework of the houses. The place, together with Venice and Jerusalem, is claimed to have the best preserved architecture in the world (but I do wonder if that claim is Europe-centric and if it properly considers all the places in India?). It is over 7,000 years old with a rich history, as part of the silk route and the fertile Mesopotamian Plain, and is a ... read more
In the labyrinth
My pokey little room
My kind of eatery

Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Nevşehir June 12th 2014

Goreme, Kapadokya, Turkey June 8th 2014 “Up in the atmosphere, up where the air is clear....” Mary Poppins “The mother of excess is not joy but joylessness” Frederich Nietzsche Kapadokya is now one of the 'musts' on the very well worn tourist route of Turkey. It is indeed a magic place born of fairytales and sci-fi scenarios. The pointed rocks themselves are known as 'fairy chimneys' and they are in abundance in the Goreme National Park. Thankfully UNESCO has done some work here to preserve them and put a stop on further transformation of them into luxury but funky cave hotels. There are enough of those already. Unfortunately nothing was done to limit the other rampant development of hotels in the valley, which now form eyesores that obcsure the natural and historic landscape. But all is ... read more
Faıry Chımney
Goreme street
Balloon madness 6 am

Gaziantep, Southern Anatolia, Turkey June 9th 2014 “Only the truth of who you are, if realized, will set you free.” Eckhart Tolle I had been struggling with 'being' in Turkey after almost a year in India. This was due to a combination of many things, including the relative jump in living expenses. But I think too it was about not feeling at home with the flood of western tourists in Istanbul and Kapadokya (the places I had so far been in other than a stint on a farm). My arrogance leads me to think I can somehow be above 'tourism' and be an authentic 'traveler' and find the 'real' Turkey. Well, I should laugh at myself (and I do). But in any case, I started to travel eastwards on a quest.... to find places and people ... read more
Old cellar renovation
Market scene
Street near fort

Sanliurfa, Hekim Dede, Turkey 11th June 2014 “Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful a meaningful friend – or a meaningful day.” The Dalai Lama “It is the soul's duty to be loyal to its own desires. It must abandon itself to its master passion.” Dame Rebecca West Abrahim (Abraham of Old Testament fame) is believed to have been born in a cave in Sanliurfa (known as Urfa) about 4,000 years ago. As legend has it, he gave the local king a very hard time about the local king's worship of idols. The upset king had Abrahim strung up to be slowly roasted on a wood fire. God intervened and turned the fire to ... read more
The cave where Abrahim was born
Washing for prayer
Part of acquarium system (fire to water, wood to fish)

Gaziantep, Southern Anatolia, Turkey June 9th 2014 “Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose...” Janice Joplin This story is just not going to have graphic pictures! This story is a tad embarrasing. But this story is hilarious (my only option is to laugh, else I would cry). I had been itching to try an authentic Hamami (a Turkish bathhouse). Those in Istanbul and Kapadokya were pricey due to the tourists (upwards of 70 lira or about $35). I was not going to pay that price. So finding myself in Gaziantep (known as Antep) and seeing a simple looking hamami in the street, I thought my time had come. I had done no research about what exactly was supposed to happen here, and I suspect my very rough fantasies of steam baths, professional and thorough ... read more
Arıf sitting in reception ready to pounce
The Hamami ceilıng....lie back and think of England

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Canakkale June 12th 2014

The remains of dinner littered the white linen tablecloth. Mackerel skeletons, cherry pits, Blackberry stains, crusty bits of bread, glasses filmed with the musty dregs of strong, red, homemade wine and empty bowls spooned clean of Aunt Hatice's rice pudding. We leaned back into our chairs, arms cruciformed over the seat backs. Sated. Contented smiles as big as the night's full moon plastered on our collective face. Out in the darkness, the dim lights of ships plying the Bosphorus levitated along the Gallipoli peninsula. A cool Aegean breeze had sprung up and Uncle Neuzat dug through his closet for thick sweaters to hold us against the chill. We looked at each other and smiled. All of us old enough to know that life rarely gets better than this. When our couchsurfing host, Tolga, learned that we ... read more
Canakkale Night
KJ Looking Cute After A Morning Run Along The Promenade

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Sultanahmet June 11th 2014

Chuck and I are busy finishing our packing and planning for our big trip. In one week, we are leaving for our cruise. We have our passports ready, our Turkish visas printed, hotel reservations secured in Istanbul and Rome, and our texting and data plans set up so we can blog stories and pictures of our trip. Our itinerary will be: June 17 Overnight in St. Louis June 18 Flight to Chicago, Toronto and then Istanbul on AirCanada June 19 9:00 AM Arrive in Istanbul- Check into hotel, sightsee, Topkapi Palace, Bosporus Cruise, Archeaology Museum June 20 More sightseeing: Blue Mosque, Hajia Sophia, Grand Bazaar, Bridge from Europe to Asia, Whirling Dirvishes June 21 More sightseeing, Board the Cruise Ship (Celebrity Equinox). Celebrate Birthday at dinner on board. June 22 Mykonos Island, Greece. Explore the Island, ... read more

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