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round-the-world in 2005

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June 8 - June 17, 2005

As part of our 'Europe' tour we visit this link between the west and the east.

Blue mosque not so blue

08 Jun 2005 Istanbul, Turkey

We had an early start to catch the underground to the Airport in time. Unfortunately our flight to Istanbul was delayed, but after a little waiting we were on our way. We arrived in the late afternoon, and went for a walk around the streets to discover the ‘old town’ where we are staying. We also experienced some real Turkish pide pizza. It was petty good, definitely living up to our expectations.

Interior of a mosque

09 Jun 2005 Istanbul, Turkey

Turkish Delight
We joined the throngs, with Clare covering her head, and walked through the huge Blue Mosque with its pretty impressive 45m dome. Next door was the equally impressive Aya Sofya ex-church and ex-mosque, now a museum. Outside these they used to race chariots, but it but it is hard to image that now. In the afternoon we visited the Grand Bazaar markets, and got lost among the myriad of lane ways. We tried some Turkish Delight, which was delightful of course. We visited another mosque near here, Suleymaniye, which was much more enjoyable as it was equally beautiful but without the crowds. We walked the long way home along the foreshore, and had a nice turkish meal on a rooftop with ocean and mosque views.

Boats in the harbour

10 Jun 2005 Canakkale, Turkey

Ali Baba
We caught a six-hour bus down the coast, in preparation for our Gallipoli landing tomorrow. As we arrived we realised our enemies had struck early as our camera was nowhere to be found. We determined that it must have gone missing on the bus. The bus company called ahead to the bus which had continued on, and they found a camera, which we did not think was ours. Meanwhile we made preparations for our insurance claim, including a difficult visit to the police station. After this stress, we shouted ourselves a beer, while watching the sunset over the Gallipoli peninsula across the water. Our hostel shows the movie ‘Gallipoli’ every night.

Turkey flag

11 Jun 2005 Gallipoli, Turkey

ANZAC landing
We started early on our campaign. First we had a ferry crossing the Dardanelles, the strait that was the objective of the first ANZAC campaign. We had decided to tour the area ourselves - not as part of a tour group. It would require a lot of walking and we would not get as much history and information about each site, but it would be much cheaper and we could take our time to appreciate the area. We had to wait a while for a bus which dropped us off at the museum, the start of our walk. We headed along the coast, past a couple of cemeteries to ANZAC cove, the site the ANZAC's first landed. From there we tried to hike along a rough track inland, a short cut. It gave us a feel of what it may have been like in 1915 scrambling through the bush. And like the diggers before us, we had to turn back before we reached our objective. We started walking the long way round, and were picked up by a helpful Turkish man who took us part of the way. Then a bus load of school kids picked us up and took us the rest of the way up the hill. No one in the bus really spoke any English, but they enjoyed having a couple of Aussies on their tour. So much so they gave us food and drink, took our photos, and kissed us goodbye. They are a friendly lot these Turkish. We walked back down the hill seeing more cemeteries, trenches, and the Lone Pine memorial. Back in Canakkale, we met the bus driver from yesterday as he returned back through town, and to our surprise and relief he had our camera. After such a long day, Clare enjoyed a traditional Turkish bath, including massage, whole body scrub and shampoo. It was a sensational experience and she has never felt so clean.

Three lonely pillars in Assoss, Turkey

12 Jun 2005 Assos, Turkey

Mediterranean View
We caught a minibus to Assos - once a thriving ancient town where Aristotle once taught - now a sleepy seaside village of stone houses. On arriving we walked down the hill to a fourth century Ottoman bridge, then further down the steep hill to the beach. It was a pebble beach, but they had comfy chairs on piers, and we enjoyed our first swim in the Mediterranean. We started the tough walk back up to the village and not long into it, a friendly local stopped and gave us a lift. Later we ventured to the top of the hill where there are some Roman ruins, and a spectacular view all along the Turkish coast and one of the Greek Islands, beautiful especially at sunset.

Nesting birds in Selchuk

13 Jun 2005 Selçuk, Turkey

Outback Turkey
Taking another minibus back to the main highway, we shared the ride with some locals off to market with their produce, and passed through many small villages. Then it was back onto the luxury buses further down the coast to Selçuk. There we visited the tomb of St John (from the Gospel) among the ruins of a church on the hill. A friendly Muslim took us into a small Mosque and explained in broken English practices of his religion, then we visited an older 14th century Mosque. Back in the centre of town, atop some aqueduct ruins, we saw nesting stalks and their chicks. Back at the ‘Outback Hostel’, we had a couple of Efes Pilsners. We chose this hostel over the ‘All Blacks’, 'Australia and NZ', ‘Victoria Wallabies’ and ‘Canberra’ Hostels. They must get a few Aussies passing through here! For dinner we shared a couple of Mezze plates with a selection of fantastic Turkish dishes. On our walk back to our hostel we were invited to join a group of Turkish men and women, for a drink of wine and and some authentic live Turkish music and singing. The friendliness of the people here has been overwhelming.

Pillar shadows

14 Jun 2005 Selçuk, Turkey

Wonder of the World
We stacked up on food supplies then walked 3 km out of town to Epheses, a huge well preserved Roman city. You could get a real feel for what it may have been like to live in this Roman city a couple of thousand years ago. We had to dodge the tour groups flocking in though. On the way back to town we only just spotted a single marble column, all that is left of what was once one of the seven wonders of the ancient world - the Temple of Artemis. Late afternoon, we are back onto an overnight bus - yippee!

Inside our fairy chimney

15 Jun 2005 Goreme, Turkey

Fairy good
After our 14 hour epic bus ride we were dropped off at 4.30am in a town about 10km away from our destination, as warned by our guide book. We felt stranded - there was no one around in this quiet town and the first local bus to Goreme was not until 8am. So we waited... Finally arriving where we wanted to, we booked into a ‘fairy chimney’ room - a room carved out of rock that is shaped like a massive upside down cone. We had a majestic view over the village, which was full of similar weirdly shaped rock formations. After resting we visited an outdoor museum of churches with painted frescoes, which have been carved from these amazing soft rocks in the 11th century. From there we walked through one of the nearby valleys to the next small town. On the way enjoying a mediterranean lunch of cheese, olives and bread.

Turkish breakfast

16 Jun 2005 Goreme, Turkey

Lost with the pigeons
Our fairy bed provided a much needed comfortable night’s sleep. Breakfast was included in our accommodation, so we enjoyed a typical Turkish meal of cucumber, tomato, olives, cheese, bread with jam and honey, and a boiled egg. Today we caught a bus to Derinkuyu, one of the few underground cities around this area. Absolutely amazing! There was 7 levels of rooms and corridors carved underground with wine cellars and churches included. We made up our own stories as to what everything was, as we were not able to tack onto the end of a tour group as we often try to. Moving on we caught a bus back towards our place, getting off just short in Ushicar, so we could enjoy another pleasant walk through pigeon valley to home. It took a little longer than expected because the path wasn’t well marked. Back at our fairy chimney to get ready for another overnight bus to Istanbul. Yippee again!

Turkish homewares

17 Jun 2005 Istanbul, Turkey

No beds
Arriving in Istanbul early in the morning we ventured back to the same hostel we stayed at previously. We were lucky they were able to squeeze us in to their ‘emergency room’ for the night. After a small nap we pretty much spent most of the day searching for accommodation in Spain. There is a festival on in Barcelona and everywhere is fully booked. This serves us right for not being more organised and booking ahead - a lesson learned, hopefully! We eventually had to book into a hotel at over $150 a night, which is our daily budget! Ouch. Looks like it will be bread and water for tomorrow.

next we fly across Europe to Spain.

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