A Travellerspoint blog

May 2009

Pammukale to Fethiye

sunny 28 °C
View My Intrepid adventure around Turkey on JanelleK.Woods's travel map.

7am start today and I really felt it. But being determined to never be last on the bus I sped through my morning routine. I think I read the book Ping too many times as a kid!

Breakfast was bought at the bus depot. A cha (tea), ayran (yoghurt drink) and a bready chocolate thing that did not deliver on flavour and almost dehydrated me when I ate it.

Now wait to be impressed... As we stopped along the way for a 'cha on the house' at a concrete slab, I said thank you in Turkish and it was so good that they guy thought I spoke fluent Turkish! Now that's a compliment. Especially after I accidentally said goodbye instead of thank you at my breakfast. Oops.

I was again surprised at the richness of the scenery. We moved from fields to forests of pine trees and as we were in a local bus we had the roof open and the smell of pines filled the bus.
The entertainment for the trip was an elderly Turkish couple. But the real entertainment was the wife. She was practically screaming instead of talking. We worked out that her husband was mostly deaf and she obviously no longer knew how to talk at a volume suitable outside of a stadium.

We drove through a very touristy Fethiye to our village near by where we are staying in a very cold room. However, the weather has been glorious so I can handle wearing a few more clothes to bed.

We had not had lunch by this stage and I was starting to lose my usual charm. A bunch of us decided to join Yusuf (our leader) at Salkikent Gorge. Well I don't think I would have said yes if I had known it was a 50 minute drive. By the time we arrived I was ready to eat the bus seats. 2.30pm and we finally sat down in a beautiful spot on the milky blue water. Chicken Shish and a cheery juice (way to sweet for me!) But the highlight...A puppy!!! I started to get pangs for a Savvy cuddle but I refrained from doing more than just offering the little black puppy my lunch scraps.

Then can the excitement. Yusuf took one look at my target thongs (sorry, flip flops) and said there was no chance I would be able to hold onto those if I was going to do the walk up the Gorge in fast running water. So we (Rachel and I) were convinced we could do the walk barefoot. So shoes came off, bag left with the remainder of the group who just shook their heads at the sight of the fast running water the colour of a weak latte. I secured my camera in a zip lock bag (are you proud of me Amma?) and stuffed it down my bra (a habit picked up from my workplace!)

In a nutshell. It was wet (I got drenched up to my waist). The water was FREEZING. Coming directly from those snow capped mountains I was admiring so much. And it was fast fast water. The rocks we coudln't see underfoot were not sharp but they were loose and all different sizes. But I loved it. We survived and we have pictorial proof.
Now for the real challenge. Drying off. Why oh why had I not brought a change of clothes. Back in Fethiye I really did look like I'd wet my pants. Not the best of looks. So I tied my newly acquired pashmere (or at least a genuine fake) around my waist. After a stint at the internet cafe (where I left my sunnies!) I bought a Kadiyre which is basically as super super sweet treat of honey and I think some sort of shredded wheat.

Back at the hotel for an early night (whatever that is) and a freezing cold night at that.

I'm tired. No doubt about that. But I'm deliciously tired.


Posted by JanelleK.Woods 08:10 Archived in Turkey Comments (3)

Hiking the Lycian trail and paragliding in Ölüdeniz

sunny 30 °C
View My Intrepid adventure around Turkey on JanelleK.Woods's travel map.

I think the title of this next entry says it all!

'Günaydin' say several roosters this morning. But I was already awake in the freezing cold room. More like an extended bathroom. Which I wouldn't have minded if the bathroom provided me with hot water. But in keeping with the theme of experiencing new things I had a cold shower pretty much pressed up against the wall. How is it that a shower head that points directly at the wall can get water EVERYWHERE except on the person wanting to rinse off the soap?

I kept telling myself that this was as good (almost) as a strong coffee in the morning. I'm not quite acclimatised to the idea of nescafe in the morning. Each time we reach a new destination I hopefully ask them 'karveh lütfen?' The answer is always the same...an enthusiastic nod and smile followed by the disappointing word...'nescafe'.

Anyway, enough about my coffee sob story. Today we took the very eerily spectacular walk through the ghost village in Kayoköy accompanied by the two dogs from our hotel. The ghost village is just over 2000 deserted houses, churches and roads during World War I. Walking through the streets of this village it easy to understand why they called it the ghost village. A beautiful tapestry of ruins bathed in gorgeous sunshine and threaded with delicate flowers has the magical effect of tranquillity. Another opportunity to snap, snap, snap.
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We climbed a hill where I got a photo of a two tailed dragonfly! We continued on through forest, over rocks, down hills, up hills, and on we went for about 2 hours. I loved it. For those interested (which I'm sure it may be only two of you) my new shoes have been well worn and most importantly have not given me any issues at all. The hike lead us to stunning views of the aptly named Turquoise coast that promised us a prize swim at the end.
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By the time we got to Ölüdeniz however, I was way too tired to find a dressing room and change into my bathers. Instead I chilled out with a soda water and a bit of relief from the hot sun. We did try to commander an umbrella on the beach but it cost 16.50 TYL! For shade! Ölüdeniz is very touristy as I discovered as I went in search of a new pair of sunnies to replace the ones I lost. Dolce & Cabana - Genuine Fake that is.

We had quite a bit of time to spend here so what better time spendage than booking myself in to do paragliding? I didn't require much convincing as I watched person after person glide onto the beach with huge grins on their faces.

A 45 minute truck drive took us (Rachel, Brian, Jean and I) up and up and up a winding road where we passed a bunch of horses, some goats, a few dogs and a cat or two. To be honest, the ride up was proving to be the most terrifying part and yet I waiting for the nerves to kick in. Waited and waited. The guys who did this jump over and over again were showing off a little on the bus and I watched carefully those stuffing corn chips into their mouths hoping that I wouldn't get that as my olfactory sensory trigger for this memory of this experience.
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Once up the top I put on the very large nappy and accepted the cracked helmet as the guy I was flying with jammed it on my head. Still the nerves did not surface. I was the second last to go of eight people. I was told how important it was for me to 'run like a horse' when he told me to run. Easier said than done. I guess running like a horse pulling a carriage maybe! Finally we started to move and we were speeding down a gravelly hill then suddenly my feet were no longer touching the ground and I was flying! Gliding! Floating! Whatever the right word is.
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Words can't really say how it felt. Nor will photos. But of course I will give it a go.

There were no feelings but that of awe and excitement as we soared over the mountains, flying so high there were eagles flying below us. I felt as though I were sitting in an armchair - like the silver chair from those children's books. You know the chair with the wings? I was comfortable and able to take photos. My guy started to hum some song as we meandered through the sky. I say I felt nothing but awe and excitement but there did come a time that I felt my stomach depart from where it should be when my guy decided to do some tricks. Corkscrew seems the most appropriate name for it. Kind of reminded me of the gravitron.

Landing I knew I was grinning from ear to ear even if my tummy was feeling a little displaced. But what better way to ease a freaked out tummy than soda water followed by the most amazing boysenberry ice cream? Well it worked for me.

The rest of the night paled in comparison to that experience. Except for the part where İ found my sunnies at the internet cafe. After dinner (where I almost fell asleep in my lentil soup) I pretty much passed out and didn't even notice the cold temperature of the room. İt ıs a beautiful thing being too tired to notice discomfort.


Posted by JanelleK.Woods 22:37 Archived in Turkey Comments (0)

Selçuk to Pammukale

sunny 29 °C
View My Intrepid adventure around Turkey on JanelleK.Woods's travel map.


I was soooo sorry to leave Selçuk but more wonders awaited....after a very long trip.

The bus ride was not the most comfortable but again, it was worth it. The scenery is like nothing I expected (I guess I thought it would be barren). Green, lush, with snow capped mountains in the back ground and herds of goats milling around the road. Olive groves, fruit groves, lots of tractors and craggy mountains. We tried some local delicacy of Alicaz which looked like a bucket of lard but infact tasted like incredibly sweet rice pudding. I've taken to the yoghurt drink here. It's not to everyone's taste as it is like having runny jalna. A bit tart for those with a sweet tooth in the group which appears to be most of them.
My first glimpse of Pammukale Travertines was breathtaking. Reaching up into the sky were these white cliffs blindingly bright in the midday sun. We arrived at our hotel (Melrose Place!) and walked back into town in the heat and then up the white cliff until we were standing in the cool aqua water of the calcium rich water.
Once we reached the top the idea of swimming in hot thermal springs was not as inviting as they had been when we were travelling here. Too hot to imagine getting warmer I decided to visit the Hieropolis museum. I know it can get a bit boring seeing ruin after ruin but I'm not there yet. Looking at these remains I imagine what it was like for the archaeolist who discovered it. I imagine who it was who carved it. I image how many people admired these things however many year ago. Oh, and the museum was nice and cool.
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After this I sat in the shade enjoying a rather expensive but well earned Fistik Magnum and just enjoyed the site of the Travertines. I'm sorry I don't have photos to put up yet but I would suggest doing a google search in pictures and you will see why I can't really put it into words.
But the real magic for me was when I wandered away from the group and explored Hieropolis. I walked along roads that were overgrown but still existed after all these years. I found myself up at a church where I shared the view with a tortoise, a dragonfly, a lizard and a few million poppies and daisies. Oh and the soundtrack was the breeze moving through fields of green wheat like things and a chorus of birds.
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After that I explored more and ended the evening watching the sun set over the Travertines.

Posted by JanelleK.Woods 08:27 Archived in Turkey Comments (0)

Bursa to Selçuk

sunny 27 °C
View My Intrepid adventure around Turkey on JanelleK.Woods's travel map.

Now we are getting somewhere!

I won't go into the details of the bus ride but İ will tell you of the special treat that has become a favourite. Magnum Fistik. That is a pistachio Magnum!!

Arrival in Selçuk was a beautiful thing after such a long night in the rather rustic hotel in Bursa. However, Bursa had its charms in silk scarves and whirling dervishes. The later was miraculous to witness but even more so when we were welcomed with such enthusiasm by the women in the Mosque who pulled up forward and gave up their seats in order for us to see. These guys in a trance like state whirled for about half an hour non-stop. Mostly with their eyes closed and they never hit a wall or anything. They looked truly serene. It was worth the accommodation (which was tiny rooms with one shower and squat toilet to share between all 13 of us)
But back to Selçuk.
A clean room with an en suite was likely to make any experience there a pleasure but what an incredible place! My first visit was to the Basilica of St John. It was late afternoon when we got there - an hour before it closed. Perfect time to go as the sun was less strong and there was no one but me and two of my travelling companions. The stillness went straight to my core. After the hustle and bustle of travelling from here to there it was a hiatus I was ready for. Jean and Rachel left but I stayed on realising it was the first time I had been alone since the tour began. The sun continued to descend as I sat in the ruins of the Basilica dressed in the spring flowers of daisies, poppies and some other yellow flowers I don't know. And the roses! I marvelled (and truthfully found it hard to grasp) that St John the Baptist actually lived there and baptised people in the font that was still intact.
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I figured not much could top that. I was wrong,
After watching the sunset from our rooftop restaurant for dinner and then enjoyıng a breakfast of fetta, egg, olives, tomato, cucumber and nescafe we headed off early to Ephesus.

I don't know what to say about this place. The civilisation was incredibly advanced and I couldn't quite work out how they lost the toilet seat over time, Why squat when you can sit? We had a guided tour of the site which I'm so glad for. And me and the Pink Lady took a few photos....that would be about 150! But it was hot, hot, hot!
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When we got to the amphitheatre I was so tempted to break out in song but shy me won over and I just stood opened mouthed as I stared at the enormity of it.
In the afternoon we headed to a little village where they specialise in fruit wine. The perfect place for Alicia! Peach, pomegranate, kiwi, quince, strawberry, blackberry, raspberry and more. Sweet, sweet, sweet.

Dinner was a chance for me to try the Turkish Raki. Well, try is the word. It's much like cough medicine. A couple of sips was enough for me. Even when I shared it with the whole group it was hardly touched. Well, these things need to by tried :) And it was Pam's birthday so we got cake as well!

It was so sad to leave Selçuk but so much more awaits.

Posted by JanelleK.Woods 08:04 Archived in Turkey Comments (0)

İstanbul, apple tea, ice-cream & lots of walking

sunny 20 °C
View My Intrepid adventure around Turkey on JanelleK.Woods's travel map.

Okay this will be my attempt at writing with a Turkish keyboard. Note that where there is an İ I might type a ı and İ have no İdea what that looks like when İ'm on a Turkish computer.

İ can hardly believe it has been only three days! İ don't know where to begin. Typing is very slow so İ should be able to think of everything.

My arrival in İstanbul was eventful as my transfer to the hotel did not arrive. İ was kind of over the whole travel thing by then so just wanted to get to a bed before İ fell over. A great introduction to the Turkish hospitality when a man kindly saw I was looking for help and offered me his phone to call the Intrepid office...no transfer booked!

Same man offered to take me into town (of course) for 50 Euros. Thankfully, Kate at İntrepid told me that İ should only pay 30 Turkish Lira (about 28 AUS).

İ got to the hotel safe and sound and contemplated going out to the nearby Blue Mosque but...feel into bed instead.

İn my first day I covered quite a bit. I headed out early to just walk the city. İstanbul is a beautiful city and it has lived up to my expectations. The people are lovely (if a little persistent) and there is so much to see İ'm glad İ have 6 more days at the end of this tour.

First day I went to Topkapi Palace. İ confess that İ enjoyed the park next door better. İn fact my first day was mostly spent taking photos of the amazing tulips everywhere! All colours and HUGE. I also visited the Basilica Cistern deep under Istanbul.
That night İ met my tour group. İt is always nerve racking meeting a group as you really don't know what you might get. Well, İ am pleased to report that İ got a jackpot group. A fantastic range of ages and everyone is lovely. We had dinner together on the rooftop of a restaurant where we looked out on the Blue Mosque as the sun set.

Afterwards we went to a waterpipe bar for a Turkish beer and a try of a waterpipe. Tasted like vanilla. İ have a rather hideous photo of myself smoking it.
Next day after an early morning breakfast on the rooftop of the hotel over looking both the Blue Mosque and Aya Sofya, we went on a long walking tour. My feet were already sore from the day before but there is SOOOO much to see. We saw the Grand Bazaar which was pretty amazing. I refrained from spending...for now. We had fish sandwiches down by the water, enjoyed the smells and colours of the spice market, and visited some more mosques.
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After lunch some of us took some of the other sites like the Blue Mosque & Aya Sofya Museum. We then went in search of cinnamon tea....which we found ın a small tucked away garden next to another mosque. The perfect spot to rest our weary feet and watch yet another street cat stretch out in the sun. Next stop was stretchy ice-cream. İ can't remember the proper name for it. They stretch it out like dough! İ daren't ask what they put in it.
Yikes, if you have read this far you are doing pretty well.

Today after a breakfast with stunning views we travelled by ferry and bus to Bursa. İ am taking a break before going to spend some money at the silk market.
Work seems a long way away and İ am thoroughly enjoying every moment. İ get updates about Savvy which keeps me from worrying. Tomorrow we head off to Selçuk (6.5 hours of travel!!!!)

We have been blessed with weather so far..İ even managed to get a bit sunburnt. The evenings are cool though. To me that is the perfect combo.

I've taken a ridiculous number of photos but then that isn't unusual for me. I'm practising my Turkish daily with the help of Yusuf our tour guide.

Well, I better get off so my roomy Jean can email her family. Hopefully next time İ will be able to attach some photos. Can't really say İ'm missing you all but can say - İ LOVE it here. Off to find myself some apple tea...

Posted by JanelleK.Woods 07:05 Archived in Turkey Comments (3)

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