Blogs from Turkey, Middle East - page 25


Middle East » Turkey October 6th 2014

Our hotel has a longer tub than I've ever soaked in but no soaking today. A slow bus ride to Topkapi palace built by Mehmet I I and home to sultans. The sultanate lasted 700 years and there were 36 sultans. We spent most of the day here with a break for lunch in the museum cafeteria. Everyone's favorite is the harem (hareem) with blue Iznik tiles, river stone cobbled paths, divans and stained glass designs that mirror those of the tiles. Here is Maury at the entrance to every man's fantasy. The horse was central to the expanse of the Ottoman empire. As Suleiman the magnificent said: "Night and day our horse is saddled and our saber is girt." This photo of golden armour for the horse's face is called a chanfron. Amazing ceremonial weapons...wicker ... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul October 5th 2014

We finally have arrived! Is it Istanbul or Paris? Having been in India for divali, it seems that we are in Turkey for Kurban, a 4 day Muslim holiday of sacrifice and charity and lots of people and traffic. Light dinner of Turkish mezzah (like tapas) and sleep!... read more

Middle East » Turkey October 3rd 2014

Finally, after 4 years we were going back to Turkey!! I don't know how I can describe why I love this country so much, I just do. We left Samos and took the 1.5 hr ferry to Kuşadası, Turkey. We were greeted at the port by Anne-Maree. Anne-Maree used to work in the same department as me, and after an Intrepid trip (like me) she decided to go back and teach English. She then worked as a hotel manager for a few years in Pammukale (we also visted in our last trip) and now in Kuşadası, working in tourism. So we set up base in her gorgeous apartment overlooking the town and the port. After beers on the balcony, we went to dinner and met the charming Fadl (spelling?) at her favourite restaurant. The next day ... read more
Me overlooking lovely Şirince
Jenga and Efes
Library of Celsus, Ephesus

Middle East » Turkey » Black Sea September 28th 2014

On marshrutka to Tiblisi September 27, 2014 Imagine your favourite Uncle or Grandpa and you have Uncle Idris. He is 83 years young and has been running Otel Doga, 5km outside Camlihemsin in NE Turkey in the Firtina Valley since 1994. First it was amasing how we met. We had taken a bus from Trabzon to Ardesen and had been dropped by the dolmus stop on the Camlihemsin road. The mini bus when it came was almost full (apparently it was market day in nearby Pazar). We clambered on with our packs in the gangway in between the chain saws and bags of shopping. I sat near the back and this elderly gentleman asked me where I was going. I said Camlihemsin and he then asked which guidebook I used. I said Lonely Planet and said ... read more
Otel Doga
Emine, Pakize and Jane
After lunch in Elevit

Middle East » Turkey » Black Sea September 27th 2014

On marshrutka to Tbilisi September 27, 2014 I guess I have been smitten. Yesterday we walked up the Hala (Ayder) valley and caught sight of Mount Kackar at 3900m standing like a cathedral in the clouds above the ridge. It was majestic and shear. The Kackar mountains (actually pronounced Cach-car) form the Eastern part of the Pontic Alps that run along the North coast of Turkey. They continue to rise as the EurAsian plate slams into the African Teutonic plate to the South. They form an major barrier with 'proper' roads only going round either end. There are traversable passes which were trade routes in the summer in the distant past and which are now the domain of the keenest hikers. We stayed at the Otel Doga in the Firtina valley, the middle of the three ... read more
A house mansion in Idris's village, Yolkiyi
A classic foot bridge
A cheese and dairy shop in Camlihemsin

Middle East » Turkey September 26th 2014

Each entry of this trip to Turkey will be headed with haiku. I love connecting tissue, a common thread, a simple but thoughtful theme, and the challenge of poetry. But why start blogging a week before the adventure begins? The details of departure are exhausting...the mail, the bills, the luggage, the luggage tags, the newspapers, the prescriptions, the dog, the garden, the cell phone international plan, the volunteer responsibilities put on hold, and the right shoes...It's not easy packing light for three weeks and knowing that your feet will be appropriately shod for the Grand Bazaar, a night on the town in Istanbul, the decks of the gulet, or a hike to the baths of Cleopatra. Chartreuse Toms will be perfect for the gulet! Detail only starts with packing. It includes context: In the past 8 ... read more
Garden Oct 2014

Middle East » Turkey » Black Sea » Trabzon September 22nd 2014

On the bus to Camlihemsin September 22 2014 10am We arrived in Trabzon surprisingly fresh after a 14 hour night bus from Goreme. At the start it looked bleak: the two people in front of us had their seats tilted back and I had no room for my knees. They luckily got off at the first stop, Kaysari, and from then on Jane played 'seat cuckoo' and we had a double seat each for the rest of the journey. We had elected to come to Trabzon, Turkey's fourth largest city on the Black Sea coast, as a stop off between Cappadocia and the Kackar mountains and also to find Jane some new sandals as her Merrells had broken at the big toe thong. Trabzon is close to the famous Sumela monastery high up in a local ... read more
Getting my trousers repaired
Sumela monestery

Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Cappadocia September 19th 2014

On the night bus to Trabzon 9pm September 19, 2014 During this year of travel I am trying to become more computer/smart phone savvy. At work you know the basics to do your job and the rest tends to get left behind. Unless of course you are under 26 when it is almost innate. So my latest toy is a GPS app for my Samsung phone, Gaia GPS. It was recommended by a blogger who had hiked the Kackers, where we are heading after this. They noted that getting used to the GPS before you start hiking with them is important. Most people have used GPS in the car and I have used it many times at sea as well. In fact, that is where I started. I downloaded the Fethiye area from 'OpenCycleMap' and it ... read more
Rose valley
37 of the 56 balloons we saw that morning
The road dug up so they could boil up the grape juice

Middle East » Turkey » Mediterranean September 19th 2014

Cappadocia Sept 18, 2014 Our visit to the Turkish Turquoise coast has very much been a holiday and we are now getting back into travel mode. It was very great while it lasted and was enjoyable to have the company of Jayne and Paul. Fethiye is a great place to start a holiday. It is actually quiet a big city. Bigger than I thought when I said to Jane we could walk to the pension from the Otogar (bus station). The walk turned out to be 3km which is a long way with a big pack in 35+C. Jane stuck at it and was not amused unsurprisingly. Just to finish things off we were on the third floor of the Tan Pension (no email text him using number in LP) behind the marina......but then what a ... read more
All scrubbed up
Lycian tombs above old Fethiye
Mandraki anchorage on Kastellorizo

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul » Beyoglu September 12th 2014

Istanbul September 11th 2014 “The more things change, the more they remain the same” Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr I have just spent 3 months in Turkey and I am on my way back to India, a country that seems to have me returning to again and again. It was my first time in Turkey however, and being so full of India, I could not seem to avoid the tendency to see things that reminded me of India. This so-called 'blog' is really a short pictorial essay and is intended for those who have travelled in India and who therefore will appreciate the similarities found between certain sights and practices I found in Turkey. There is no serious thesis involved here, just an attempt to share the smile on my face as I came across these things whilst ... read more
Less than inviting public toilet
Making a living out of simplicity
Men sitting around doing not much

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