Days 07 – 10: Turkey [Fethiye, Kayaköy, & land ahoy in Kaş]

Ok so our Turkey adventure has almost come to a close and the last week or so has been absolutely action packed [with some remote locations lacking internet connections] meaning that it has been a bit of a challenge to keep up to date with posting.
We have finished the main part of the tour and are back in Istanbul for tonight [with some pretty decent internet] before our last night in Gallipoli, tomorrow, so I’ll do my best to remember everything that has happened. I think it’s mostly going to be a photo journey as there has been so much to take in. Burak, our fantastic guide, is chock-full of info on all aspects of Turkey and I did my best to remember it all, but afternoons sipping on local wines and Efes bira’s has made that a bit of a challenge haha. So here goes:

Day 07 – Wednesday 27 June

Today was another day spent mostly in transit. Our bus came quite early and departed from the front of the hotel. So far, we have been quite lucky like that – mostly it has been door to door service and we haven’t had to lug our packs on any massive walks, which suits us, being Intrepid travellers.
From Pamukkale the bus took us via Fethiye to Kayaköy, taking approximately five hours.
After checking in and our orientation walk, we wandered around Turkey’s “Ghost Village” to find some lunch and I was nearly drawn in to Casper’s restaurant, after the name made me laugh out loud, but we wanted to avoid any tourist eateries and wandered around finding some Gözleme.

Caspers restaurant in Ghost Town

Helping us recharge our batteries and then cooling off with a swim in a neighbouring hotels pool, in the evening our group went by minibus in to Fethiye to dine at the local fish markets. Along the windy roads we had a quick stop off for a photo op to admire the magnificent Mediterannean as well as some Lycean tombs that were fashioned in to the stone of the mountain side.

Tombs carved in stone

Day 08 – Thursday 28 June

The morning after our fishy dining experience, and by that I mean, we ate some delicious fresh fish, where we got to pick the fish from the vendor and then took it to one of the restaurants that fried it up, this was absolutely delcious and no complaints [!], the weather had taken a bit of a cooler change.

Jenny and I

It was a welcome change as today was to be an adventure day, starting on foot we made our way through the remains of Kayaköy village, the ghost town, now preserved as a museum village, consists of hundreds of rundown but still mostly intact Greek-style houses and churches which cover a small mountainside [wiki.].

Kayaköy village

After trekking our way from the village, 6km’s around the rugged coastline of the Lycian way, of course this was filled with some amazing views, we stopped in town for a quick dip in the beautiful Oludeniz lagoon.

View atop a mountain

As I said, today was an adventure day and after our massive trek most of us then went on for a paddle around in a kayak. Being that it was in the water no one took a camera along and any words won’t really do this magnificent scenery any justice.

Day 09 & 10 – Friday 29 & Saturday 30 June

Tucked away in a curved bay, Kaş (pronounced ‘Kash’) is a small fishing, diving, yachting and tourist town. The name Kaş translates to ‘something curved’ similar to an eyebrow, and has a Greek island, Kastelórizo, located about 2 km offshore.
We first arrived in Kaş mid morning with a bit of time for an orientation walk around town and a quick bite to eat before jumping on board a small boat and setting sail for the next 24 hours.

Pirate Nick…well, more of a lad than a pirate

It was nice to watch the land drift away as we sat up on deck and soaked in the sun. After an hour or so the captain dropped the anchor and our crew swam around for a half hour or so. The rest of the afternoon involved a similar pattern of anchor down, swim around the stunning turquoise waters, back on board, and move on to the next location around the coast.
The evening seemed to be a lot quieter than what the captain had planned. I was ready for bed around 10 [weak, I know], but the captain had dropped the anchor close to a “Pirate bar”. Apparently in the past he had taken his guests to this bar that other tourists loved. Our crew had no such plans as most of us were tuckered out and pretty happy to relax and have a quiet night on board. Everyone had agreed to go to bed and just as we were nodding off the music began pumping out across the bay from the bloody pirate bar! It started around 11pm and continued on to the wee hours of the morning. It was almost torture! Trying to sleep on the deck of a ship with the tunes belting out across the waters. Maybe we should have got up and decided to go over, but El Capitán, had taken the life boat to the bar and gotten ship-faced on his own.
Needless to say, most of us were pretty crusty eyed in the morning, but not as tired as the cap’n.
He got us back to land safely and we spent the night back on land in a hotel.

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Days 04 – 06: Turkey [Selçuk & Pamukkale]

Day 04 – Sunday 24 June

After a very busy and musical time in Bursa, our tour group finished off with one last walk around the city and a visit to Turkey’s oldest Mosque, Ulu Cami (The Great Mosque). It is quite a big and beautiful building, yet also intimate, which was erected by Sultan Bayezid who had originally planned to build 20 separate mosques after winning a battle in 1396, but instead built just one mosque consisting of 20 domes.

 

Ulu Cami

Inside The Great Mosque

The rest of the day was spent in transit. We caught a coach that took 6 or so hours to get to Selçuk, our third destination. Our journey was made more bearable with the friendly on board attendants handing out free ice-cream and drinks. A pleasant way to cool down from the 30-something degree day. It was late in the afternoon once we arrived in Selçuk so we took a small orientation walk around the town and got to see the remains of the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World..
“Selçuk is one of the most visited touristic destinations within Turkey, known for its closeness to the ancient city of Ephesus, House of the Virgin Mary and Seljuk works of art.”[wiki.]

Day 05 – Monday 25 June

Every morning seems to be off to an early start with our Intrepid tour which has been excellent for fitting in so many activities each day. Today we started with a tour of some of Turkeys best preserved ruins, Ephesus, initially an ancient Greek city that later became a major Roman city. I definitely started feeling the heat today after spending several hours wandering around and pondering how the heck these ancient sites were ever constructed. It is especially hard to imagine how they looked considering it’s mostly foundations and fragments of the original structures that still remain.

 

Efes

Intrepid tour group in front of The Library of Celsus in Ephesus

After that, Burak guided us on a twenty minute walk to a small village nearby where some local ladies taught us how to make gözleme, a savoury traditional Turkish hand made and hand rolled pastry. Burak told us that we must eat anything we make, and shouldn’t make too much. I made mine with spinach, potatoes, meat and cheese, then cooked on a hotplate in a fire. It was pretty bloody tasty! I even helped some of the others when they couldn’t eat all of theirs.

Rolling up some gözleme

We caught a bus back to our hotel after that then changed in to some bathers and a few of us went to a pool in a villa that was owned by the same people as the hotel we were staying in. The villa overlooked the entire region and was absolutely stunning.

For dinner we went for some wine tasting in Şirince, a beautiful hill town only 8 km (5 miles) east of Selçuk, Another absolutely stunning view.

Day 06 – Tuesday 26 June

Tuesday was a bit of a struggle after spending most of yesterday in the sun and enjoying the local beer and fruit wines. It was another early start as we caught a very crowded train from Selçuk to Pamukkale, meaning “cotton castle” in Turkish. The city contains hot springs and travertines, terraces of carbonate minerals left by the flowing water. [wiki.]
The instant we arrived at our hotel I was definitely a little more than excited to take advantage of the pool and go for a relaxing dip to shake off the shady hangover after lunch. Later in the afternoon, once things had cooled down a bit, our group made our way to the phenomenal natural beauty and famous calcium travertines. From afar it looks like snow covered mountains in the middle of a country village. Before making our way to the peak, several of us went for a quick dip in the thermal pools at Pamukkale. No matter what I say or what photos I post, it won’t do this place any justice. All I can say is that this was definitely one of the best places I’ve been to and won’t be forgetting it any time soon. Sitting at the top of the mountain watching the sun set was such an amazing sight – absolutely beautiful! It’s moments like these that make me want to travel for the rest of my life.

 

Pamukkale

Panoramic view of Travertine Hot Springs at Pamukkale terraces

Sunset over travertines in Pamukkale

Days 01 – 03: Turkey [Istanbul & Bursa]

Day 01 – Thursday 21 June

Annie, Aidan, Adam & Jenny

Farewell Melbourne

Farewell family

Wow, so we are finally here! After 12 months of saving money and counting down, the time has come for our massive adventure. And the wait has definitely been worth it. The flight over with Emirates was quite breezy. No complaints from myself or my fellow travellers [other than the delay between topping up our drinks] we had two short stopovers and made it to Istanbul in about 20 hours.
When we first arrived in Istanbul there was a slight mix up with our rooms. Apparently someone had been checked in to mine and Jenny’s room, but the hotel staff were happy to swap it over. Which we found a bit odd – the staff just went in and took out the current guests luggage and put it in to a new room. Luckily, the guest happened to be a friend of Annie and Aidan’s [our travel buddies] who came over from London to do the same Intrepid tour with us, Nick. Eventually it was all straightened out.
The first night we found a nice little bar for dinner, of course we all decided to eat Kebabs then topped it off with some apple and strawberry shisha. We didn’t stay out to late as it was pretty hard to sleep on the flight over and didn’t want to be too wrecked for our actual first day of our Turkey adventure.

Mosque in Istanbul

Day 02 – Friday 22 June
With an early start to the day, Annie, Aidan, Jenny and I finally got to meet the rest of our tour group, after arriving late on the Thursday, we hadn’t had the chance yet.
We began with a guided tour of Istanbul with our host Burak, a top bloke with tonnes of knowledge of the local culture.
As the day heated up, we made our way around town and got to see:
– The Hippodrome
– Gülhane Park
– The Blue Mosque

Inside the Blue Mosque

– Burnt Column
– Had some Turkish tea in a back alley cafe
– Walked around the Grand Bazaar

Turkish teams: National, Beşiktaş, Fenerbahçe, and the carry over champs, Galatsaray

– Read the Koran at an old book store
-The Süleymaniye Mosque
– Rüstem Pasha Mosque, And finally;
– The Spice Bazaar

Taste the rainbow

After the guided tour, we made our way around and found some interesting shops selling some strange animals you wouldn’t normally find in a market such as parrots, peacocks, and baby turtles, to name a few.
Later on we got accustomed with some more shisha, and tower beers. In between and the beers and flavoured tobacco, Aidan and I went to a local barber for a cutthroat shave and I also got my mop shaved off.

Local Istanbullian

Tower beers and Shisha with friends

Day 03 – Saturday 23 June

With another early start to the day, our tour group departed from Istanbul and caught the ferry to Bursa, taking about 1 and a half hours. Bursa is a very interesting city with a fascinating Ottoman history well off the beaten path. One of the highlights of this city are the natural hot springs which were fashioned in to public baths and were a favourite of the early Byzantine Emperors. With separate sections for males and females, the baths are set inside a beautiful building with a large marble pool inside the hamam, and it is the only one in all of Turley!
Today, Bursa is in the top 5 wealthiest cities in Turkey. Also, the early Christian Emperors introduced silkworm cultivation and so began the famous industry which survives to this day and was once the last stop of the Silk Road Karavans traveling from China and India.
During our tour, we were guided around the local Bazaar by Burak where we got to see some of the famous silk markets, and also some fresh fruit, meat and veggies. According to the locals, if you eat artichokes for 70 days straight, it will restore your lungs completely to full health.

Blowing bubbles – how Bazaar

More locals

Later in the afternoon we got to sit with some locals known as “The Lovers’ – a group of 5 men who get together to rock out with some traditional Turkish musical instruments. Everyone got up for a bit of a dance, too.

The Lovers

To continue on with the traditional Turkish music, we finished the day off with the famous Whirling Dervishes. The first hour or so consisted of sitting around, listening to a sermon, which of course we coudn’t understand. The long wait was definitely worth it in the end. The Dervishes were aged between about 10 and 40 years old, all whirling around for at least half an hour, spinning themselves in to a trance, leaving us all perplexed [and a little dizzy] as to how they managed to stay standing up.

Dervishes

Whirling

Let the countdown begin!

In less than 48 hours [!] I will be boarding the plane to Istanbul, Turkey!
This will be the first exciting leg of a massive adventure to Europe, and then the plan is to hopefully go on to South America in early 2013.
Along the way I will be keeping posts up to date with my “photo a day” challenge. This began at the start of the year and I lost motivation the first time round. Starting again from Day 1 on the first of June, I think this upcoming trip overseas will be an amazing opportunity to take some great photos and what better way to share [and help remember everything] than with a blog.

For now this will be my personal meanderings and snapshots of my journey.