A Travellerspoint blog

Turkey: Wrap-Up

by Kevin

What We Did: We spent two full weeks traveling through Turkey. We began in Istanbul (three days there); then took the overnight bus to Goreme in the central Cappadocia region (three more days); took another overnight bus to Olympos, on the Mediterranean coast (two days); sailed on a “blue cruise” gullet boat from Olympos to Fethiye (four days); and then relaxed in Fethiye and Marmaris (three days) before catching a ferry to Rhodes, Greece.

Overall Impression: Turkey was easily one of our favorite destinations. (Of the countries visited so far, Amy ranks it third behind only New Zealand and Vietnam. Definitely a top spot.) There is a ton to see and do in this country, and we could have easily spent another week here.

map_of_Turkey.gif

Food & Drink: The food in Turkey is fantastic, often very simple but expertly spiced and marinated. We frequently had amazing lentil soup, enjoyed delicious kebab sandwiches on pita, and ate ridiculous quantities of bread at every meal. For beverages, we pretty much drank tea, tea, and more Turkish tea (with the occasional beer thrown in). Sorry, no more tea, please. I need a break.

The People: The Turkish people are exceedingly friendly and outgoing. (I’d rank Turkey and Laos as the two friendliest countries we’ve visited.) Shopkeepers routinely invited us in for tea, even when they knew that would not be buying anything. Restaurant owners would come chat with us during our meals and literally shake our hands when we said goodbye. And,on a slightly different note, Amy couldn’t stop talking about how attractive Turkish men are. (Enough already!)

IMG_4078.jpg

Cost: Turkey is by no means cheap (not like Southeast Asia, for example). But good accommodation is reasonably priced, and the food can be very inexpensive---especially if you get slightly away from the tourist centers. For instance, at a small restaurant in Feyithe, Amy and I ordered lentil soup, Turkish pizza, a dip platter with pita, and beer---and our total bill was only 8 liras (about $6). And fantastic kebab sandwiches are widely available for less than $2 each.

Night Buses: We took night buses from Istanbul to Goreme and then, later, from Goreme to Olympos. Both of these buses left late in the evening (usually around 10 or 11 at night) and arrived at 8 or 9 in the morning. The buses are modern, air-conditioned and quite nice---but they are still only as comfortable as buses can possibly get. (Thank goodness for sleeping pills.) The photo below is from a shuttle bus (not a night bus) where the bus was overflowing, and I had to sit on the floor. (Thankfully, it was a relatively short ride.)

IMG_4096.jpg

Istanbul: Turkey’s largest city is as fascinating and memorable as any European city we’ve seen. Our three days here weren’t enough. (We wanted to stay at least four nights, but we couldn’t find accommodation beyond our three nights.) Highlights included the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar, the Spice Bazaar, and just aimlessly wandering the winding, cobblestone streets of Old Town.

IMG_4564-1.jpgIMG_4594-1.jpgIMG_4627.jpg
IMG_4560.jpgIMG_4625.jpg

Cappaddocia: The Cappadoccia region was probably my favorite part of Turkey. The rock formations here look like they are from a different planet; incredibly unique and often flat-out stunning. Much of the town of Goreme is built into these rock formations, and our hotel was actually a “cave hotel” with the rooms dug out of a rock chimney.

IMG_4757.jpgIMG_4765.jpgIMG_4878.jpg
IMG_4906.jpg

For activities in Cappaddocia, we hiked through canyons, toured an ancient underground city, and floated over the rock formations and canyons in a hot air balloon. Very cool place.

450px-Capp..urkey_2.jpgIMG_4031.jpgIMG_4979.jpg
IMG_4892-1.jpg

Olympos: Our next stop was the tiny town on Olympos, a small backpacker hangout located in southern Turkey on the Mediterranean Sea. We hiked the surrounding mountains, wandered through ruins, hung out by the sea, and generally did a whole lot of nothing at our bungalow. Very relaxing. Very nice. We also did a night hike to the Chimera Flames (a natural phenomenon that produces everlasting flames from the ground), where we had a bit of a scare---Amy fell and sprained her ankle. Fortunately, the sprain was slight, and it didn’t restrict it her much. And what better means of recovery then to spend four days relaxing on a boat? (That is exactly what we did next.)

IMG_5041.jpg
IMG_5060.jpgIMG_5071.jpgIMG_4086.jpg

Boat Cruise. From Olympos, we boarded a sailboat and spent four days and three nights cruising the Mediterranean coast until we reached Feyithe. There were 11 guests total on the boat, and--aside from several stops to explore coastal towns or ruins--most of our days were lazily spent sunning, swimming, and playing cards. (Luckily, the weather was fantastic.) The water here is crystal clear, and the mountains rising up out of the sea are extremely scenic.

IMG_5111.jpgIMG_5115.jpgIMG_5133.jpg
IMG_5136.jpgIMG_5172.jpg
IMG_4098.jpg

Feyithe. Our boat cruise ended in the coastal town of Feyithe, where we spent two more nights. Throughout our trip, we had been reluctantly resisting the urge to buy many souvenirs (since we had almost no room in our suitcases and didn’t want to carry heavy souvenirs around for months on end)----but, here in Feyithe, we finally broke down and bought a few items. (For better or worse, we’ve visited 17 countries so far and yet most of our souvenirs and gifts will all come from a single country. Oh well.)

IMG_4120.jpgIMG_5219.jpgIMG_5224.jpg

Marmaris. From Feyithe, we took a three-hour bus to the coastal town of Marmaris, which is a popular destination for Europeans. Very touristy. We had barely an evening in Marmaris before we caught an early morning ferry to the Greek island of Rhodes.

IMG_5227.jpg
IMG_5229.jpgIMG_5230.jpgIMG_5236.jpg

In Rhodes, we met up with Amy’s sister, Jenny, and Jenny’s husband, Rob. (Plus, their baby, Ethan). The plan is to visit the Greek islands of Rhodes, Crete, and Santorini before spending a short time in Athens. Greece is one of the final countries on our trip (only Paris remains), and we are definitely going out with a bang. More soon…

Posted by amyandkev 08:47 Archived in Turkey

Table of contents

Comments

Indy! Indy! It's the temple of the Holy Grail!

Turkey sounds absolutely amazing, guys. You sure picked a great path to travel.

Miss you and stay away from the monkey brains!

by jmccabe

What a great trip, all of it. It has been fun keeping up with you & your visitors through all these places. Looking forward to reading about the rest of the trip & seeing you both after you get home and hearing more details. Aunt Pat

by crusep

Finally caught up on your blog. SO fun! Can't believe it's almost over. Sounds like it's been amazing!! Have fun your last week! And if you buy more stuff...ship it home!

by ljdem

This blog requires you to be a logged in member of Travellerspoint to place comments.

Enter your Travellerspoint login details below

( What's this? )

If you aren't a member of Travellerspoint yet, you can join for free.

Join Travellerspoint