Istanbul to Istanbul in 5 weeks - June 2006
Istanbul Travel Blog› entry 2 of 2 › view all entries
We arrived mid afternoon, and made our way to our hotel in Sultanahmet. After dropping off our bags, we headed out into probably the most diverse city we have encountered. Amazing historical sights, huge crowds of locals and tourists alike, the skyline dominated by minarets, and our ears by the call to prayers.
The Bazaar, as everyone advised, is not to- be missed, but a bit too touristy. Go to the Spice Markets instead and have some fun with the stallholders. The surrounding lanes are a great spot to wander around also. We also enjoyed standing on the Galata Bridge watching the fishermen landing dinner.
The Blue Mosque, Aya Sofia, Bosphorous, all as we thought they would be. The history is overwhelming. And we really enjoyed just sitting and people watching.
Day 4 found us on the way to Gallipoli, a must see for all Aussies, and probably for everyone. A remarkably peacefull place, after what occurred there. The whole area a memorial to the stupidity of war, and the ages shown on the graves reflects on the bravery of the young men from both sides.
From there we headed off to Selcuk and the relics of Ephesus. A few days spent wandering the ruins then off again to Pammukale for a walk in the brilliant whiteness. Very disappointing that a lot of the water has disappeared from overuse, but still overpowering to the eyes. Sunnies are necessary, and we spent a very enjoyable night sampling some local wine with a generous host.
Next days bus took us over the mountains to Fethiye, and we spent 3 days loafing at the beautiful harbour town. A great place to recharge, then off again to Kalkan, overrun with Pommie tourists and too much for us, so we packed our bags and headed to Kas, much more to our liking. It still retains some village lifestyle, but also falling victim to development.
We decided to skip Olympos and headed straight to Lake Egirdir, a very beautiful and quiet stopover on our way to Cappadoccia, which we reached after another long day. It is probably the most surreal landscape I have ever seen. We stayed for 4 days and loved every minute.
Mt Nemrut beckoned so back on the road and off to Malaya, followed by a minibus trip up into the mountains. Sunrise was just as spectacular as sunset, and our hotel, "Faulty Towers", was an experience.
From here, we headed north to Amasya, then to Safronbolou, both more traditional and with few tourists, which was an advantage. People were very interested in us and we had many cups of tea with locals who just wanted to know where we were from.
Our final bus trip took us back to Istanbul for 3 days before departing for home.
We had a fantastic holiday, and would love to go back and fill in the spaces, but, so many places to see, so little time.