Goreme (blog)

Trip Start Apr 06, 2007
Trip End Nov 18, 2007

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Flag of Turkey  ,
Friday, May 4, 2007

Turkey has been by far the best country so far but that isn't fair as we have stayed as much time here as we did the whole of Europe. I am sitting in an internet cafe in Goreme this morning, a town surrounded by alien like lava formations, with Nicole. 20 of the group went on a 2 hour balloon ride this morning (and I actually have photos for a change!). But let me start from the beginning (of Turkey)...

Istanbul is a city you have to visit if you haven't already. With half of it in Europe and half of it in Asia it definately falls somewhere inbetween. The culture was distinctively not European or Asian, grand mosques sit next to bill boards of bikini clad models and bustling bazzars lie just a few metres from McDonalds (great culture assets of the West, ay?). The bazzars were pandemonium with people and noise - prayer calls the background to bartering shouts of the merchants. The mosques gave the city pockets of absolute calm where just outside of them could be chaotic marketplaces. I adored the mosques (they are beautiful inside and, unlike churches, don't depict images of Jesus but are covered in intricate patterns and gorgeous Arabic writing). One of my favourite moments of the trip was waking at 5am in the hotel to the echoing of a prayer call across the city. This was so foreign to me, something that told me I am a long way from home...

After Istanbul we headed to Gallipoli for the WW1 commemorations, though this was more for the Aussies and Kiwis on the truck as they lost something like 10% of their overall population to the Turks through Churchill's orders. First beach day of the holiday and I got quite burnt! A few more sandy days followed before Pummukale...

Pummukale was where surreal sodium (I think) depsoits have created white terraces all the way down a hillside. Went for a paddle with Nicole and Jon in the torquoise water of the terraces.

Paraglyding at 'The Blue Lagoon' in Oludeniz was next! I have never been so I found it amazing. The scenery was quite special (see photos!). Though it was too short so after 'discussions' with the dude I managed to get 20 YTL (8 quid) off all 5 of our prices. Turkey is the land of haggling anyway (items usually having no price tag) so no hard feelings were had!

The drive to Kas was the best of the trip so far, winding in and out with the shape of the coast half way up the steep rocky cliffs. We skidded to a halt at the side of the road and Steve (the driver and leader) announced a swim at the deserted beach just below. Fantastic!

Another decent drive to Olympos the next day where a group of us hired scooters and went off exploring the Turkish hills. There was next to no cars as we ventured down dirt tracks and ınto small villages. Having never driven anything other than a bicycle before I was surprised at how easy it was and had a really great day, one of the best next to Istanbul.

Yesterday (woohoo, I am finally up to date after 4 weeks!) I had probably my 2nd favourite day. Was rock climbing up and down the Ilhara Valley in Cappadocia and ran about 10km. Definately the most active of days also!

Thats all for now but I plan to blog a bit more when in Ankara in a few days (we are heading there to pick up Pakistan visas before heading East for Iran by Thursday-ish).

Good day!

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