Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Turkey Travel (part 2)

Day 3: We reached Kayseri airport and were picked up by the minibus arranged by the hotel. It was about 2 hours to Goreme through vast, beautiful, and lonely landscapes. The weather was beautiful, pleasant and even cold (about 10 deg C in July). We stayed at Cappadoccia Cave Suites which is located at a vantage point overlooking the small town. We walked around the quaint little town in the evening and went up to El Nazar Church. For 5 TL, we were let inside and shown the beautifully preserved frescoes in this tiny church. We tried out the local eateries, and had the testi kebab served in a clay pot.

Day 4: We walked up to the Goreme Open Air Museum. Cave dwellings with nicely preserved frescoes of this Christian settlement from a long, long time ago. It rained a bit, but thankfully we could shelter in the caves. The rest of the evening we spent relaxing and sipping coffee and lentil soup in the local cafes.

We even made some furry friends here:

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Turkey Travels (Part 1)

The minute we decided on going to Turkey for our vacation, we were just so thankful our US visa got rejected. Stepping into Turkey just reiterated that thought. It is just beautiful and very friendly, in fact, one of the friendliest places you will ever travel to. The visa itself took a total of 10 minutes - 5 minutes to submit, and 5 to pick it up after 2 days.

We were glad to have invested in extra batteries and a 35GB SD card for our camera, because we just couldn't stop taking pictures. Blogger has limited allowance for pictures so the rest are on my Tumblr page if you keep scrolling.

This is what we did:

Day 1: Reached Istanbul early afternoon. Immigration was a breeze. Checked-in at Armada Hotel in the old city. Walked to Spice Bazaar and met friendly locals enjoying their weekend. Visited New Mosque. Took tram to Blue Mosque. Sauntered around the Sultan Ahmet square till late night. Sun sets around 9pm and even after dark we didn't feel threatened to be walking alone in the lanes.

Day 2: Brilliant breakfast spread with spectacular view of the Marmara Sea at Armada rooftop. Walked to Hagia Sophia, Bascillica Cistern, Hippodrome, Topkapi Palace, Whirling Dervishes show, and the Bosphorus Cruise (bring great walking shoes - because good ones just won't do).

And OMG! The cats! Turks love cats and they are seen roaming free everywhere. These are not the shy kinds. They will come to you to check if you have anything interesting to eat or just for a scratch behind the ear.