Dawdling through Turkey
Trip Start Jul 2003
50Trip End May 2005
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My goodness, are we still in Turkey? There's only so much belly dancing and baklava we can indulge in so departure must be imminent. Difficult how to describe Istanbul; we meant to stay for a 'couple of nights' but 2 weeks later departed, burns, colds, baths and all. Everything off and on to a hot plate for an hour and a half. Skin scraped, waxed, foamed, massaged, drowned, beaten and shampooed. And feeling the better for it.
Spent at least three days lost in bazaars, one with 4500 shops (mainly Argos-style jewellery). Saw very peculiar sight involving 3 dogs, but only Tadek and The Swede will know about THAT. Sat and watched Blue Mosque Light Show, and enjoyed more apple tea whilst listening to David Niven tell us about the history.
Accosted by hairy New Zealander in nightclub, who turned out to be the same as the clean-shaven one we met in Sarajevo. This eventually led to a whole day of throwing rice balloons around the backstreets of Istanbul with a gang of Turks and Swedes, all in the name of urban golf
Agia Sophia, once mighty church of the Christian world, complete with Viking graffiti very impressive at a price. Ancient infidel murals, once plastered over by the Ottomans now revealed in their splendour! Round the corner from the infamous Orient Hostel (Please leave your values at the front desk), where we saw Chelsea hammered by the local Besiktas, was the plush Four Seasons Hotel which served as the prison in Midnight Express (somewhat improved now).
Tried another quiet night for the train the next day, but once again, with our host and Turkish chum Murat, we were eating tripe soup at 5am.
Said our farewells and caught wonderful sleeper to Konya. Strange lunar landscape landscape surmounted by crisp star filled night, then we got used to the strange roller coaster bed experience and slept for 12 hours. Konya very calming experience; bumped into a Swede from our Istanbul golfing days who pointed out the only beer shop in town. Tried to order baklava in restaurant, but was served with a leaflet instead. Does anyone know of the poet Mevlana? Entertained on bus to Goreme with aftershave and copious fizzy pop (designed to make you need the paying toilets at the regular stops).
Arrived over the top of a hill to see the ice cream rocks whipped into shape by the years of eroding winds. Landscape looks more like Neopolitan than the ash from errupting volcanoes (millions of years ago). Christians had managed to tunnel into most of it to eke out their pigeon eating lives in fear of the invading empires. Quite incredible landscape. Visited the biggest 8 layer deep underground city for about 2 hours (about 5 percent of it). Tunnels with rolling stone doorways kept out the baddies for hundreds of years. Visited Sileme where Luke's mum lived in Star Wars. Earthquake prone Ilhara Valley also very pleasant.
England v Turkey. Spent this one in our local (a resturant) to keep out of the way of the Aussies. We may have had a different perspective of the game but everyone went away happy. Another 15 hour train journey went by without a bed,
We are now sat waiting in Erzurum for our Iran visas. You know how cats are always attracted to those who try and avoid them? We have been offered jobs working for the local English Land, but as you know we aren't into our employment, so have managed to politely refuse with the special treat of our voluntary services every evening. The current class consists entirely of lawyers!
Courtesy of Charlotte and Phylis, if you're really bored on a very long journey:
While sitting, make clockwise circles with your right foot. While doing this, draw the number "6" in the air with your right hand. Your foot will change direction.
NOW EXPLAIN THAT ONE
Will and Emma
ps make sure your next holiday destination is Turkey.