A magical world is where we are off to on another gorgeous day in Turkey. Located in central Turkey, there is a place, a place with fairy-tale-like rock formations, these formations have been carved over centuries and centuries by erosion, and these days the rocks are called 'fairy chimneys' or hoodoos. Turkey is not the only place in the world with these rock formations, you can also see them in Utah, or South Dakota. But only here in Turkey have the people made the amazing 'fairy chimneys' into homes and churches.
Pasabag or as the crude translation would have it 'General's Vineyard', is a collection of fairy chimneys located in a vineyard. Fairy chimneys are spire like rock structures that rise from the ground and often may have a large rock or cone right on top. Though the science behind it is confusing, the spectacle is not. These pillars crowned by large conical rocks are a sight that often fills one with trepidation, especially if one is walking around them! Nevertheless, seeing the fairy chimneys on Pasabag, some of which are double or triple capped cones, that is a structure of 3 conjoined pillars instead of a solitary one. Apart from these rock structures, there is also a chapel dedicated to St. Simon here, a reason for which is given in a story that speaks of him coming here to live in seclusion.
First we reached to Oludenez which is a pebble beach but with clear turquoise blue color water. We didn’t find many people but being a biking enthusiast what caught my attention was this lovely couple in leather jacket with their food packed, on their BMW bike. Next we left for Kabak The road was mountainous with steep roads and sharp hair bends... In an hour we reached to the dead end. For Kabak beach the car can't go any further from here and you ve to walk down to reach Kabak beach. In lieu of time we didn’t walk down and instead left for patara beach. To go to Patara, one has to go to Fethiye again and then take diversion for Patara. We reached by 9-10 p.m. to Patara and stayed in rose pension for 110 lira. As they didn't have pension, we took an apartment for 110 lira where 5 people could ve stayed. Next morning after sumptuous breakfast we left for the beach The ticket to the beach is 5 lira. This is a sandy beach with calm blue turquoise greenish all different tinges of color reflecting .The bath near the parking area is available for 2 lira where you can change also.
Istanbul Bosphorus Cruise
If you don't have a history of sea sickness, after lunch get on the cruise Eminönü at 14.30. Popularly known as the Istanbul Strait, Bosphorus forms part of the boundary between Europe and Asia. It is recommended that you opt for Şehir Hatları which is Istanbul’s official ferry company. It offers the best Bosphorus tours and unlike some private ferries, won't exploit you. The Short Circle Bosphorus tour is tailor cut for anyone pressed for time. The ferry arrives at Ortaköy around 14:50 and then continue with a two hour non-stop amazing tour. The tour covers Kuleli- Military school in Istanbul, Ortaköy mosques and some medieval fortifications. This tour is to sit back, relax and appreciate the beauty that Istanbul is synonymous with. Travel tip- The price per person is 12 TL. This tour is available every day in summer time (April 1st until October 31st).
TurYol - Bosphorus Cruise
There are many cruise tours available for the travellers. It is best to avoid private tours. Official ferry companies are far more reliable. There are plenty of historical sights to explore in Istanbul but that is not an excuse for ignoring this cruise. Try it, you won't regret it.
Bosphorus Cruise Day Trips
Of course being in a city on two continents, a trip in between the continent shouldn’t be missed. You can do a two hours Bosporus Cruise for 10 TL plus 7.5 TL for a guide. If you are very much into history, please get the guide but if not it is not necessary in my opinion cause we were overstrained with finding out what the guide is talking about (which building) and actually it’s more important to enjoy the cruise and enjoy the areas you’re passing.
Day 8: Pamukkale Laodicea Philadelphia - Sardis Izmir. Wake up to the sounds of birds and don't miss a morning swim in the hotel's thermal pool before visiting the ancient city of Hierapolis, an ancient Roman city, where St. Philip was martyred during the persecutions ordered by Domitian. Hierapolis is located on the top of a hill where you can see the famous natural wonder, the White Cotton Fortress. Your next stop is Laodicea, one of the Seven Churches of Asia Minor [Rev. 1:11; 3:14; Col. 2:1; 4:13-16]. When you see the city of Hierapolis from a distance, you may have an idea why the Laodicians were "neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm" as it reads in the Bible. Following this nice little isolated old town, visit Philadelphia and Sardis. Philadelphia "the perfect church," was the only church which John had no real criticism (Rev. 3: 7-13). After a short drive, we reach Sardis-the dead church. Remember 'you seem alive, but you are actually dead'. Overnight in Izmir. Includes: (Breakfast, Dinner. Day 9: Izmir - Ephesus - Izmir. St Polycarp Church will be the first to host you this morning. In an hour's time you will be ready, after a short visit to traditional house of the Virgin Mary, to visit the ancient city of Ephesus where St. Paul lived and preached for more than two and a half years and to where he subsequently sent his letter to the Ephesians. We see the Baths of Scholastica, the Library of Celsus, the Temple of Hadrian, the theater, the Double Church (The Church of Mary) where the third ecumenical council was convened in A. D. 431. Then, we visit the Basilica of St. John where St. John was buried, the ruins of the Temple of Artemis, which was once one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Overnight in Izmir. Includes: (Breakfast, Dinner).
Derinkuyu Underground City
Speaking of Dwarves and Tolkien, the Derinkuyu Underground City just might fool you into thinking you are in Middle Earth or at least in the middle of the earth. This city built possible between the 8th - 7th century BC is an underground settlement roughly 60-70 meters in depth. This city would have been home to roughly 20,000 people. It has 5 levels which are connected with a vertical stair case and it has a single ventilation shaft. The city has everything from stables, wineries to chapels. Moreover, this is not the only underground city, there are more, one of them, Kayamikli, is connected to this via an 8 KM tunnel. Even the best fantasy writers and their imagination can't beat this place.
Goreme National Park
On our fifth day of our trip in the magical land, we visited Göreme National Park in Cappadocia, an open air museum and another popular UNESCO World Heritage in Turkey with volcanic landscape sculpted by erosion forming a succession of mountain ridges, valleys and pinnacles known as “fairy chimneys”. The location of Göreme was first settled back in the Roman period. Christianity was then the prevailing religion in the region, which is evident from many rock churches that can still be seen today. There are eleven refectories within the Museum, with rock-cut churches tables and benches. Each is associated with a church. Most of the churches in Göreme Open Air Museum belong to the 10th, 11th and 12th centuries where Christians lived, worked and worshipped. What surprise me is the fact that no stone-craved cross is spotted even though cave churches are concentrated in this area. Interior of these caves are covered with beautiful frescoes whose colours still retain all their original freshness. No photo of the fresco was taken because apparently it was strictly prohibited. Sun rays making the ash and lava look like huge gold nuggets. If you think the photos are awesome, wait till you see it with your naked eyes. It was pretty gloomy and cloudy on December. Not forgetting the cold breeze too. We were pretty lucky that it was not raining or else it would be slippery climbing up these caves and we would not be able to have clear view from of the scenery at all.