The glittering city of Istanbul has two major international airports and flights from important cities around the world arrive into the same. Taxis, trams, buses and the metro will then take you to the town centre.
Day 3: Post breakfast we checked out of Sophia Studio Apartment and left luggage in the luggage room. We then visited Grand Bazaar and walked to the Spice Market and explored the market between the two. Post that we had lunch and then chilled at Eminonu. In the evenings, we headed back to the apartment to collect our luggage. We took the overnight bus by Metro Turizm to Selcuk which departed at 09:30 pm from Istanbul.
Day 1: Took an early morning Qatar Airways flight at 04:10 am from Mumbai which arrived in Istanbul at 12:30 pm and checked into Sophia Studio Apartments in Sultanahmet. We visited Grand Bazaar to exchange currency (you get the best exchange rates there) and then headed to Galata Tower for the Sunset.
Day 2: After breakfast, we headed out to visit Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Basilica Cistern. Post lunch we relaxed in the gardens outside Topkapi Palace and then headed to Istiklal Street to spend the evening.
There was a knot in my stomach as I walked past clothing shops displaying life-jackets for sale. Inflatable rafts, most designed to carry two people, three at most. Diesel motors lined-up on the street outside shops that sell tourist souvenirs inside. While the rest of the world debates the migrant/refugee lexicon, in Izmir the inflow of Syrians has decisively created a multi-million dollar "raft economy" that supplies provisions for their sometimes fatal exit across the border into the European Union.Read More
There was a knot in my stomach as I walked past clothing shops displaying life-jackets for sale. Inflatable rafts, most designed to carry two people, three at most. Diesel motors lined-up on the street outside shops that sell tourist souvenirs inside. While the rest of the world debates the migrant/refugee lexicon, in Izmir the inflow of Syrians has decisively created a multi-million dollar "raft economy" that supplies provisions for their sometimes fatal exit across the border into the European Union.
Day 4 – Izmir
Somya and I had booked a low cost flight from Istanbul to Izmir because the distance between the two places is around 564 kilometres and a bus would cost us approximately 1600 INR. The flight cost us 2100 INR and it was more convenient for us to pay 500 Rupees more and save some time. Our flight arrived in Izmir at 2 pm and from there till our BNB we had been suggested to take a local bus straight from the airport. After collecting our baggage and completing all formalities, we reached the bus stop (called otobus duragi in Turkish) at 3 pm and were finally able to catch a 4 ‘o’ clock bus. Our house was at walking distance from the bus stop. In the bus, I made friends with a German man who was going to Iraq. He could hardly speak English but was trying his best to talk to me. Somya and I talked to an American girl who was on a solo trip to Turkey. After Turkey, she was going to Greece for rafting. On such trips do we realize how important it is for us to meet people from across the globe to know and be inspired by their stories. I could have never really thought of taking a solo trip but listening to such adventurous stories I am planning my next trip alone. So, we got down at our bus stop and walked towards our house. Our host Ozlem, who was living in another house, was already waiting for us there. Ozlem was a very friendly man and when we entered the house, we were pleasantly surprised to see how pretty it was. We were overjoyed when we discovered that we were the only people who would be occupying that 2 BHK for the next two days. We had chosen the room with bunk beds and it was just amazing. The kitchen, the drawing room and the balcony were remarkable. And guess what, we were the first guests in that BNB! So we were treated in the best way possible. There were chocolates waiting for us on our beds. Fresh fruits, juices and other eatables were kept for us in the fridge. We were so excited that we started thanking Ozlem hysterically. Ozlem also had maps ready for us and gave us an idea of what spots to visit in the city. We were not very keen on exploring Izmir as it had nothing much to offer but still we went out to spend the evening. We had planned to visit Ephesus the next day. By now we were extremely hungry so first we found a place to eat. I can confidently say that food in Turkey is very cheap. We luckily found a place where I had a whole pizza meal including a personal meat pizza, two chicken pieces, a large plate of fries, and unlimited soft drink for 350 INR. Yes, you read it right! 350 INR (including taxes, if they have any). Full and happy, we walked towards the main road, which was on side of the sea. We walked a few kilometers on the road adjoining the sea. We enjoyed the sun beautifully setting at the horizon and then decided to go to the nearby market. When we asked a man the way to that market pointing towards the map, he literally took us there and offered us street food and cigarettes on the way. We were initially skeptical about his intentions, but when we reached the destination, he simply shook our hands and left. Such are the people of Turkey! I bought a denim jacket, which is the trendiest cloth there and boarded a bus back to our bus stand. After the bus driver gestured to us that there were many stops by the name of the stop we were taking, we realized we were lost. But then again the hospitality of the people didn’t betray us and we were back home safely, eating and dancing all on our own.
Next we took the ferry from Gallipoli to Izmir. We got down and drove to the city of Izmir. We reached at 3 in the morning and hence got a really horrible hotel named Ankara for 80 lira. Please don't go in this hotel as it has bed bugs, the toilets stink.
Instead reach earlier and find a decent hotel to stay in. Much better places can be found online and booked in advance to avoid inconvenience
Next day, we went to the beach side which is Aegean Sea. You can walk or rent bicycles and go around the beach. The place also has good clubs and pubs to offer. And apparently a good night life and good food! In the market there is a shop to buy local perfumes. Even though they are local and cheap, they are totally worth buying as they are good and long lasting, atleast to my taste of perfumes.
The castles are believed to have been created by giants, who left heaps of solidified cotton (Turkey's principal crop) out to dry.Salar de Uyuni - The only place in Bolivia where you can see objects flyRead More
The castles are believed to have been created by giants, who left heaps of solidified cotton (Turkey's principal crop) out to dry.Salar de Uyuni - The only place in Bolivia where you can see objects fly
In Turkish, Pamukkale literally translates to cotton castles. Located in southwest Turkey, its is known for its thermal pools, formed by the shimmering white travertine terraces (terraces of carbonate mineral). The ancient Greek-Roman spa city of Hierapolis was built on top of this calcite city, the ruins of which can still be seen from the town of Denizli.
The BathtubPamukkale in Turkey contains hot springs and travertines, terraces of carbonate minerals left by the flowing water. The underground volcanic activity which causes the hot springs. The terraces of Pamukkale are like nature'e bathtub.
Take a ten hour bus from a reliable local company in order to get to the magical village of Pamukkale from Istanbul. While a lot of people hire a car of their own, it an be an extremely expensive option.
Visited some civilisations in Konya on the way to Pamukkale. This was one of my favourite sites in Turkey. It is an enchanting cotton fortress. Hot mineral waters burst from the earth and cascade over cliffs forming pools.
Day 7 (April 29): Pamukkale (includes breakfast and dinner)*Breakfast*After breakfast, drive to Pamukkale*En route, stop at Aphrodisias, which was the city dedicated to the cult of Aphrodite. Visit the Sculptor’s Museum*Lunch*Visit Hierapolis in the afternoon, then stroll over the calcareous terraces of Pamukkale*Overnight stay in Pamukkale
Pamukkale, is Turkey's foremost mineral-bath spa because of its natural beauty: Hot calcium-laden waters spring from the earth and cascade over a cliff. As they cool they form dramatic travertines of hard, brilliantly white calcium that form pools.
Named the Cotton Fortress, it has been a spa since the Romans built the spa city of Hierapolis around a sacred warm-water spring. The Antique Pool is still there, littered with marble columns from the Roman Temple of Apollo. You can swim in it for a fee.
We opted for a one day tour from Bodrum but frankly it was way too crowded than what the pictures look like on the internet. Nevertheless, it is something which one shouldn't miss.
Day 6 – Pamukkale
We relaxed a little the next day and only boarded the 3 pm train from the same station to Denizli, which was supposed to reach in 3 and half hours. There I realized we unnecessarily curse the Indian railways to be the most unpunctual. The public train there was the same, taking around five hours to complete the journey. It was already dark when we reached the province and was drizzling too. We were supposed to take a bus from Denizli to Pamukkale. When we reached Pamukkale, it was dark, deserted and raining. We had a lot of luggage and we didn’t know the way to our hotel. We were scared and hungry but somehow stuck together and reached our hotel. I would call that place a lodge rather than a hotel. The rooms were small and claustrophobic and the bathroom door wouldn’t shut. The place looked more like a backpacker’s stop. After living in two very comfortable houses, we were disappointed here but had no option also. I was hungry and cold. Even though it was raining and dark, I asked some guests at the lodge for nearby eating joints. After they assured us that it was safe to go out, we went looking for the restaurants. We found one, a small one, and it was almost closed. The owner was playing a board game with an old man. He received us warmly and commented that I looked Turkish. I was flattered, knowing how pretty Turkish girls are. I ordered a meat pita, another Turkish cuisine. It is like Turkish Pizza. I did not like it, though.
Day 7 – Pamukkale
Pamukkale had been my dream destination since I watched the song ‘tu jaane na’ from the Bollywood movie ‘Ajab Prem ki Gajab Kahani’. Although, back then I didn’t know the location the song was shot in, but I knew I had to go the place once in my life. I was lucky enough to fulfill my dream in about five years. Pammukale is famous for its calcite-laden warm waters creating a cotton-like terrace. It is beautiful to look at and a feast to the eyes. In the morning, we made friends with a Columbian mother and daughter and decided to go sight-seeing together. The daughter was our age and was studying in Germany. The owner of our lodge was kind enough to drop us to the site of the springs. We started by going to see an ancient theatre, and then moved on to see a natural hot water swimming pool or the Cleopatra pool where Cleopatra is said to have bathed. It was a huge pool, but citing the expensive ticket to bathe in it, we chose not to go inside it. The pool even had ancient rocks and at one small side, we could see stairs inside the pool leading to an underground structure closed by fallen pillars. After drinking the medicinal water from the pool, we went on to see the marvelous calcite terraces. Although, they were not as beautiful as captured in the song, yet they were beautiful. The whiteness of the entire area was blinding. It looked like a sheet of snow spread to welcome its visitors with a lot of warmth. We walked through the hot water terraces, and trust me, it was a long walk down. The mountains on the opposite side looked splendid. However, there was not as much water in the terrace-like structures due to the arrival of winters. After our hectic day at the springs, we had a hearty meal and went back to our lodge. There the owner met us, who offered to take us to a nearby village. We went to a house in the village, which had a small plantation and cows. The owner of the house took us to a carpet factory. A lady was weaving the famous Turkish carpets. I felt full with the adventures of the day and after a hearty Ramen for dinner, felt really glad that we had chosen to come to Pamukkale and stay at the lodge we stayed at. There even was a small stray kitten in the lodge which was so affectionate that I decided I would take a cat as a pet someday.
Next we left for Pammucale. Here we reached in the evening by 8ish and took a dorm named kale for 20 lira each with breakfast After freshening up we left for dinner this was the most expensive dinner of 115 lira but the food was very tasty and the local wine was also smooth. You have multiple options for food in this city.
Next day morning, after about a 10 minutes’ walk we reached to the cotton castle. The mountain is made of calcite formations or traventines as they call it. The water was hot and cold at some places. Though it was written in lonely planet, that bathing is restricted, we saw few couples taking a plunge in nice warm water. And as I say that you can, I also say you must and so don't forget to carry your swim suit :).This place also offers para gliding for 120 lira and hot air ballooning for 90€... As I wanted to do hot air ballooning in Cappedocia so I didn't do here but I m sure paragliding here is worth it as you can get the top view of cotton castle.
At the entrance you are given polythene to keep your shoes as you have to walk barefoot on the calcites. After 2km walk over calcites we reached on top which further connects to Hierapolis. The same ticket can be used to see Hierapolis but as we had already seen Efes, Hierapolis didn't ve much to offer except a deadly gas zone told by lonely planet. To see the same, we went to the theatre in Hieraplois but couldn’t find it. The theatre here was similar to the one in Efes but the stage here was more beautiful with many statues from the old time. We returned via calcites to the dorm room picked our luggage and left for Lycian path.
Many thought that I was on a snow mountain when I posted a photo of myself on Instagram. Even though it was freezing cold at that moment, it wasn't due to the "snow" because the mountain is actually covered in carbonate minerals a.k.a salt without any trace of snow. - See more at: http://princesshours91.blogspot.jp/2014/04/turkey-day-4-pamukkale.html#sthash.b0i8zKG5.dpuf