A Travellerspoint blog

Turkey

Selçuk to Pammukale

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

Merhaba

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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Sigh!!!!

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)
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But back to Selçuk.
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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,
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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.
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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!
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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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