A Travellerspoint blog

Turkey

Turkey: VIDEO: Hot Air Ballooning in Cappadocia

September 2, 2014

sunny 95 °F

Turkey was one of our FAVE destinations on our last Around the World Trip! The landscapes and beaches are stunning! Check out this short video from our trip :)

IF THE LINKED WINDOW BELOW DOESN'T WORK- COPY AND PASTE THIS INTO YOUR BROWSER- IT WILL GO DIRECTLY TO OUR VIDEO ON YOUTUBE :)

https://youtu.be/njZvOXJdV3g

Posted by Tony.Ruby 09:13 Archived in Turkey Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises beaches balloon air hot Comments (0)

Turkey: Pammukale: Cleopatra Swam in These Thermal Waters

September 5, 2014

sunny 93 °F

This night bus from Nevsehir to Pammukale on the Nevsehir bus (has been our favorite in Turkey so far) it was $25 pp, took about 8-9 hours total with fewer stops.

Cris Sneider our Italian friend that we met in Istanbul, highly recommended visiting these Roman ruins and ancient mineral water spas. She had Ruby convinced when she said “imagine Cleopatra and Marc Antony bathing in these same thermal heated waters so many years ago”.

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This place is definitely worth the side trip. WOW, there are so many insane ruins of the old city Hierapolis. and the coliseum ruins rival any other we’ve seen before!

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We stayed at Hotel Goreme, a really awesome budget option at 29 Euros/nt with a great breakfast and sparklingly clean swimming pool (which we definitely took advantage of in the summer heat). They picked us up from the bus station and let us check in super early. The owner recommend we wait until 3 pm in the summertime to visit the terraces and he was right because otherwise it is too blindingly white and hot! You can easily catch a shuttle to the North Gate of the Hieropolis from the hotel.

We had another incredible sunset overlooking the bright white travertine terraced pools filled with aqua blue thermal water.

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We enjoyed soaking our feet in the warm waters.

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Little did we know. . . we would soon be carefully walking down these steep, slippery terraces in the dark to get back to town. (We figured out that this is apparently the only way to get down after searching for another option). We are glad that we had a flashlight with us and that we are doing this when we are young and healthy because we could see how easy it would be to slip and break a hip on this otherwise! At least we did enjoy the fireworks in the sky from our high viewpoint on the walk down.

Posted by Tony.Ruby 04:27 Archived in Turkey Comments (0)

Turkey: Cappadocchia: Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride to Caves

September 1-4, 2014

sunny 90 °F

We were so excited to get off that horrible night bus (fly if you can) and arrived in Cappadochia in the morning. Goreme is a small town with tons of options of place to sleep including inside cave hotels. Given Ruby’s tendency towards claustrophobia we opted for a stone walled room at the awesome Karadut Cave Hotel for 45 Euros a night including an amazing breakfast on the gorgeous patio with a views of the town below. It’s just a short walk from the bus station (uphill of course). The room was large and pristine with a nice sitting area. This time of the year is pretty hot so we definitely recommend an A/C. The owner Alican Faydali was super nice and helped us arrange everything we could possibly want to do in the area.
That night we walked up to Sunset Point and were treated to a phenomenal sunset overlooking the town of Goreme. You can see the tan colored cave structures . . .

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Dinner was great at Koy Evi just a short walk down the hill from sunset point and we loved watching the women in the kitchen make delicious turkish bread in the stone fired oven.

That night Ruby got word from home that she had passed her Dermatology Board Exam!!! We decided to celebrate with a sunrise hot air balloon ride over Cappadocchia. Definitely a must-do while here! This was our first hot air balloon ride so we didn't know what to expect. We used Rainbow balloons and the cost was about $145 USD pp. We were picked up at the hotel at 4:30am and taken to the office to get some breakfast. Our balloon had a total of 16 people in it but the basket is larger than it looks so it didn’t feel too crowded. We did bring light jackets but it wasn’t super cold up there on this morning. Our pilot Ferhat was super professional and we were up in the air, first in the dark but then it got slowly brighter as the sun came up. The ride was about an hour of gently soaring high and low over Love Valley with it’s strange naturally formed phallic and fairy chimney rock formations below.

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We watched the sunrise over the mountains and the best part was definitely seeing all the other colorful balloons up in the air with us!

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The pilot made a perfect landing directly onto the truck bed that was waiting on the ground WOW!! We touched the ground and celebrated with a glass of sparkling wine.
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This was definitely an unforgettable experience that we recommend to anyone who isn’t afraid of heights of course! :)

We loved the balloons so much that we got up super early again the next morning just to watch them take off and see them in the air just one more time! Hiking through Love Valley was also pretty impressive :)

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Feeling adventurous and after having seen this area from above we decided to rent a car and explore on own own (approx $50 USD/per day). It’s easy to drive in Cappadocchia with good roads and signs posted. . as long as you can read a map! We visited Derinkuyu, one of the famous underground cities which are a collection of tight underground tunnels and rooms going down 7 or 8 stories deep!! Mind your head when walking (see how tall Tony is compared to the doorway) and if doing a self-guided driving tour don’t bother paying for an extra guide, there are signs explaining the different underground rooms! Obviously we don't recommend this if you're claustrophobic :)

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We drove through Ilhara Valley and found some of the the Rock Churches hidden inside little caves just along the road with some of the oldest frescos of Christianity in the world. It was amazing that there wasn’t a single other person there- anywhere else you would see a line out the door to see these things and they’d be roped off!?!?

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We are suckers for a good sunset so we headed back to Sunset Point again where we enjoyed some beer and wine with some new friends, Brazilians Hugo and his girl who live in Cerrado Barra do Garcas! The best part of travel is meeting new friends for sure! We hope to visit them in Brazil or have them come for a visit to the US :)

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Somehow Ruby convinced me onto another night bus and we were off to Pammukale. . .

Posted by Tony.Ruby 15:13 Archived in Turkey Comments (4)

Turkey: Istanbul: Even the New Mosque is Old!--FOODIE ALERT

August 29-31, 2014

sunny 88 °F

  • ****Sorry guys, we are sad to report that our back up hard drive crashed when we came back to Orlando in Sept/October and have lost a lot of photos from the rest of Germany, as well as Dubai and Nepal so we are posting any photos that we could recover from our iPhone and/or GoPro :) *****

Au Feiderschein Germany! Hello Turkey! The minute we arrived in Istanbul I knew we were in for a treat. The sounds, the smells, the colors and of course the friendly people! We immediately felt the fast moving energy of the city and couldn’t wait to explore. . . the only downside was all the crowds on the trains because of peak tourist season.

We hopped on the train into town and decided to stay in Sirkeci “the tourist quarter” walking distance to most of the famous historical sites and after circling a few blocks we arrived at the Yeni Hotel. The location is great, they have a working A/C and internet but there’s only one shower on each floor!?!? Can you believe that, ten rooms one shower?

We were happy to get some local recommendations and headed out. First stop: Kebabs! Hocoposa street is lined with kebab shops but we must say that by the end of our time in Istanbul the best place was still the first one we tried! Kardesler kebab . . . . pure deliciousness, fresh bread and veggies and the most flavorful meats. While eating we met a lovely family from Turkey now living in Florence Italy. Murat Guezzler, his wife Cris and their adorable daughter Vitorria. Murat’s uncle owns the shop which has been around since—— so he helped us pick out some deliciousness. . their white bean stew is famous and runs out quick and the kebab with yogurt was to die for! We had fun talking with them and hope to meet again on their trip to California and Hollywood!

Ruby is a sucker for massages and tries to get one in every country we visit. . . so we went in search of a hamam (Turkish bathhouse). There are two famous ones in the Sultanhamet area but they are very expensive ($70+ for use of the facilities and a 30 min oil massage) we were looking for something with a little more local flare and of course affordable. The receptionist at Yeni recommended Mihrimah Sultan Hamam and we were off on another mission. This time we took the local bus to the Edinnekapi area and on the way we discovered the remains of an old city wall.
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We also found the local hamam she had recommended . . . oh boy, first Ruby and I accidentally walked into the wrong entrance (the mens side) and got all kinds of stares and then when we finally made it to the women’s side Ruby could hear blaringly loud Turkish music and went in to find women smoking cigarettes in their bras and panties while dancing in circles. . . uh not exactly the relaxing experience she had imagined so we gave up on the local bathhouse idea!

Instead Ruby opted for Cemberlitas bathhouse, a bit expensive at $70+ for the bathhouse and massage experience. . . the brochure makes it look amazing! It’s not quite as polished as it looks in their ads but it is still quite impressive. It’s hundreds of years old and it’s easy to imagine why a sultan would come up with the idea of a bathhouse for his harem of women. . . just picture a huge room filled with scantily clad women being washed down with soapy bubbles by other scantily clad women . . yup that’s right straight out of any man’s fantasy. Of course due to past experiences I opted to skip the men’s version. . .and after that description from Ruby I have absolutely no regrets about that decision!

In the evening we enjoyed the stunning views of fireworks over the city from the panoramic deck over the Bosphorous River at the rooftop Golden Horn Sirkeci Hotel. The only thing that would have made it more perfect is if they served alcohol! We settled for a delicious glass of turkish tea and baklava instead.

We spent the next couple of days exploring the beautiful Sultanahmet area. This city is one of the oldest in history and it's hard to believe that some of these buildings are still standing after all these thousands of years. We visited the Hagia Sophia which is incredible. . can’t believe it has been rebuilt at least 3 times already?! The Blue Mosque is a site to behold (sorry we don’t have any recovered photos of it)! Bascially we drank Turkish tea and sat in cafes enjoying the scenery passing us by.

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On our last day in Istanbul we headed over to the Taksim area via tram and walked down the cable car street of Istikal Caddesi. At the end of it, we went up to the Galata tower for the panoramic views of old Istanbul from across the water. . WOW! Quite an impressive city, never have I seen so many gorgeous mosques in such a small space.

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We wanted to visit Cappadochia next and while sitting in traffic I just keep thinking “how did Ruby talk me into another night bus (Suha bus $37 pp)?” There was a crying baby most of the night (AKA Ruby birth control) that wasn’t too helpful with our desire to sleep, but we did manage to get some good rest anyway. 


Posted by Tony.Ruby 22:01 Archived in Turkey Comments (4)

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