A Travellerspoint blog

September 2011

We just found the "Most Bizarre Place on the Planet"

sunny 38 °C

And it is called Cappadocia!! We arrived early yesterday morning and have managed to get in two big hikes covering at least 20 kilometers. The history and geography are equally amazing, tomorrow we take the guided tour so for now we are just wandering wherever the trails take us. The pictures don't do any justice to the ancient architecture of cave dwellings and churches that have been carved into the crazy landscape that erosion and time have created.
We are staying in the town of Goreme which is carved into a similar landscape making for an interesting mix between the old and the new. Our hotel is made up of part caves and part new construction and is just amazing. We are basically living in a very comfortable cave....with wifi, a killer restaurant and a spectacular view.
We have too many pictures so check our www.flickr.com/whereintheworldarecolinandnat as we will keep adding more to that as well. Time to run for dinner, the local speciality is a clay pot kebab, we'll get pictures!

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Posted by colincampbell 12:31 Archived in Turkey Comments (1)

A Hectic Couple of Days...

sunny 27 °C

The three pictures we are posting today are all airplane rides apart and all have been taken in less than the last three days. Our favourite chef and friend in Bodrum, the freestyle wrestling world championships in Istanbul and the third was taken this morning. Needless to say, Natalie is taking a little siesta.
The neighbourhood we stay in Istanbul is called Sultanahmet and is the oldest part of the city, our room is above our friend Hasan's bar, aptly named, "Just Bar." Conveniently located in the shadow of the Blue Mosque and the Four Season's Hotel...and yes, I often second guess our choice of accommodations all the time, but if we are going to make it for six months, I guess we better not upgrade everywhere. This area is great, but the rest of the city is just too much...the same two lane highways that are empty in the country are used by 17 million people in the city, most of which I am pretty sure do not need to pass a test to operate any of the vehicles.
So we played some backgammon and relaxed a bit until yesterday afternoon when we went to the tournament. Unfortunately, not a banner day for Canada, but it was an event I have always wanted to see, so it was great. Natalie had chosen not to use the ladies room as it was just a hole in the floor and clearly it was rarely cleaned, any of her close friends will know that holding it for 7 hours is quiet a feat. I didn't have the heart to tell her until later that the men's room was state of the art and spotless...this country does have some things to work on.
The last picture needs more pictures and another page for itself....stay tuned, we are living in a cave hotel!!

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Posted by colincampbell 06:01 Archived in Turkey Comments (0)

Things that make you go hmmm....

sunny 30 °C

We are back in Istanbul tonight and it was a bit of a slow travel day so we thought we would make a list of the things we have found funny or interesting about the places we have been so far.
- queuing is an extremely foreign concept to the Turks. Even if a line is formed for a ticket window, cash register or bathroom means NOTHING! You snooze, you lose...even the little old ladies get pretty spry when you leave a window of opportunity.
- on the roads of Istanbul, it is the same thing. Even the shoulder is fair game for a high speed passing situation and as long as you miss the other cars by a hair, you still missed them and should carry on at a radical rate of speed.
- roads in the country side are impressive and well ahead of their time as they are rarely driven on and usually by tractors, horses or scooters. and it is okay to park your tractor (and wagon) downtown if that's what you drove home from work.
- traffic lights flash green before they go red (if they are turned on at all). And they turn yellow before they turn green...almost as if to warn you that "Caution - you are about to be moving again, WATCH OUT!!"
- smoking is a national pass time whether it be the water pipe or chain smoking cigarettes, but when it comes to cigarettes on television it is proper to censor the image by covering the offending actors cig with a an upside down line drawing of a pretty little flower.
- in a restaurant, it is okay to order from the place next door. the staff does it, there is a tea waiter that brings tea from some magical and supplies it to all the staff in a group of cafe's. and if there isn't what you are looking for on the menu, I am sure someone down the street makes it, so it will be found and delivered.
- to-go food is served on china with silverware and comes with a waiter that will deliver it to your apartment and come back later to pick up the tray.

There are so many more, but just too hard to describe. It has been two weeks now and it just keeps getting better. Tomorrow we are at the Sinan Erdem Spor Salonu, a 20,000 seat stadium for the Freestyle Wrestling World Championships. Good luck to Ohenewa Akuffo, Canada's best at 72kg.

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Posted by colincampbell 13:06 Archived in Turkey Comments (0)

Google Pamukkale if you have never heard of it!

sunny 39 °C

The second half of the road trip has taken us inland (after learning about Turkish toll roads,) to the ruins of Heirapolis at the town of Pamukkale. The Romans built Heirapolis as a resort town around calcium and sodium rich hot springs at the top of a pretty good sized hill. From the roadside it looks like a ski resort because the waters have been flowing for thousands of years and spreading the minerals in the water across the hillside. The ruins and the natural formations are equally breath taking. This time we waited until late in the day, until the buses were loading up, before we started our hike.

450 kms and two amazing ruins, we are wiped out....time for a nap before we head back to Bodrum in the morning. This weekend we are headed back to Istanbul to see some of Colin's friends from university compete in the world senior freestyle wrestling championships. It is an Olympic qualifying event and the national sport of Turkey, so it should be a pretty good show.

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Posted by colincampbell 13:01 Archived in Turkey Comments (2)

Road Trip to Ephesus and Beyond...

sunny 39 °C

Yesterday morning we were in Kos, Greece. Now we are a boat trip and 500kms away in Pumakkale, Turkey....how did we get here? After the ferry trip to Bodrum we avoided the herds of tourists and rented a car with a half a tank of gas, put on our dark sunglasses and headed for the hills. The car rental guy wasn't prompt by any stretch of the imagination so we had time in Bodrum for some fresh juice and a straight razor shave for Colin before we caught a lift to our car. Finally, the open road was ours...we aren't sure if it is the price of gas or rumours of the worst driving records in Europe, but the roads here are all but empty. A nice change from New York and St.Maarten. The roadsides are littered with kiosks that we couldn't figure out what they were selling without pulling over...so 15 minutes, and 3 kiosks later, we were back on our way with bags full of dried figs and almonds and fresh grapes. Snack tip: shove as many almonds as you can into a dried fig and eat! Delicious!
Our travel book warns us to avoid the attractions in the hours when the big tour buses are there, so for Ephesus it is either 8-8:30am or 6:30-7pm. We opted for food and a nap first and Ephesus in the morning. Natalie had her heart set on a restaurant she had a recommendation for so off we went to find it with directions from our hostel. 8 new sets of directions later and one phone call to the restaurant from a cousin of the owner we met along the way and we were met in the street the owners children. This is a small town, but surprisingly tricky...
Dinner was great, we are learning that we don't need to order the entire menu every meal.

Early was the right time to see Ephesus. We managed to get half way around these amazing ancient ruins before it was over run with the hordes. The pictures don't do it justice, check www.flickr.com/whereintheworldarecolinandnat for more pictures. Back on the road to Pumakkale, stay tuned...

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Posted by colincampbell 12:16 Archived in Turkey Comments (0)

A Weekend in Kos, Greece

sunny 34 °C

We came to Kos as it is an hour ferry ride from Bodrum and Natalie has a friend here...that runs a bar, many good incentives. Anywhere we have local tour guides make it to the top of our list for places to visit. The three days have been food and beach filled adventures. After lunch yesterday with Laura and some friends we were Chloe's plaything for as long as we could manage (top picture). Today we rented a car and went for the full island tour. Bubble beach with bubbles from a volcanic vent, Kefalos beach for some serious sailing, a wine farm for some more amazing food, volcanic hot springs at Thermas and sunset at Zia town. Now a few pints at the Stone Rose's Pub to finish off a great weekend. Tomorrow we are back to Bodrum to hire a car and head north for a few days...Ephesus and Pummakale here we come.

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Posted by colincampbell 13:16 Archived in Greece Comments (2)

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