The land of the Turks

Tripoto
15th Sep 2017
Photo of The land of the Turks by Abhishek Dey

Being in the Middle East and not being to Turkey is not at all possible. You really get the flavor of Europe and Asia both at the same time. The most amazing thing about Turkey is that, although it is not among the top ten largest countries in terms of area, yet it has an amazing variety of landscapes. Busy cities, vast salt deserts, snow-capped mountains, primitive volcanic rock forming a whole city, amazing beaches with turquoise water and what else.

This was presumably my last trip before leaving Dubai. I had attempted the visit in the month of August but didn't get Visa appointment date on time. A visit at that time would have been an added benefit as I was invited to a local Turkish wedding in Istanbul. But not all plans get executed. The itinerary was ready so I had to execute it. A friend of mine joined me and since he had a US visa, he got an e-visa online in 15 minutes.

Finally, the day had arrived. The flight being Pegasus Airlines was not great. But as soon as the aeroplane hovered over the Bosphorous it was as amazing as it could be. The pattern of land on the huge water was naturally artistic.

Photo of The land of the Turks 1/1 by Abhishek Dey
Day 1

From the airport, we took a city bus to the nearest tram station. From there a short tram ride and we were in front of the Sultanahmet Mosque. Our hostel was in an amazing location although in a very small lane but only 600 meters from Sultanahmet Square. Bahaus Hostel booked from Hostelworld.com, charged us only 7 Euro per day per bed. With a terrace bar having an amazing view, it was a great place with a very friendly and helpful host named Tugay.

People having chit chat over a cup of tea

Photo of Istanbul, Turkey by Abhishek Dey

After a quick shower we freshened ourselves up and started our venture into the city, but the first thing we were interested in, was food.

Walking down the streets of Istanbul was amazing, nothing different from how the city was described in the documentaries and excerpts on the internet. Variety of food and plenty of cafes where people spend their time with tea (interestingly called rather pronounced as "Chai" in Turkish) and the famous Turkish coffee. The "Adda" or quick short chats over a cup of coffee or tea seems to be quite prevalent in this country. If you are from India and you love fish and meat your taste buds are also equally enjoy your trip to Turkey.

Off course for 1st two days, we were supposed to go around Istanbul and we decided to start with the famous Hagia Sofia which was at a walking distance from our Hostel and would take some time because of its huge area and vast beautiful garden before one enters the main building.

The Hagia Sophia garden, a cool place to spend time and relax

Photo of Cankurtaran Mahallesi, Bahaus Hostel, Akbıyık Caddesi & Bayram Fırın Sok., Sultanahmet/Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey by Abhishek Dey

Royal horses in the Hagia Sophia Campus

Photo of Cankurtaran Mahallesi, Bahaus Hostel, Akbıyık Caddesi & Bayram Fırın Sok., Sultanahmet/Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey by Abhishek Dey

Blue Mosque from Hagia Sophia

Photo of Cankurtaran Mahallesi, Bahaus Hostel, Akbıyık Caddesi & Bayram Fırın Sok., Sultanahmet/Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey by Abhishek Dey

A Man playing a musical instrument in the garden near Hagia Sophia

Photo of Cankurtaran Mahallesi, Bahaus Hostel, Akbıyık Caddesi & Bayram Fırın Sok., Sultanahmet/Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey by Abhishek Dey

Hagia Sophia was a Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal cathedral before the Ottoman Empire transformed it into an imperial mosque. Now it is turned as a museum and more popularly known as Ayasofya Müzesi. An interesting fact about the Hagia Sophia is that when it was built in the 537 AD, it was the world's largest building and an engineering marvel of its time.

The Interior of the Hagia Sophia

Photo of Sultan Ahmet Mahallesi, Hagia Sophia Museum, Ayasofya Meydanı, Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey by Abhishek Dey

We only had a lamb doner kebab as a late breakfast and hence for a late lunch we headed towards one of the famous restaurant suggested by our host at the Bahaus Hostel, called the Akın Balık, situated just on the other side of the Galata Bridge on the Golden Horn. But, any time you want to taste the delicious balık(fish) in this restaurant you have to get your table booked else you won't be able to get a seat there. We were hungry and disappointed, but we reserved our table for the next day and had some good tawa baked fish at a nearby not so famous restaurant. By this time we were already quite late and our next destination was to walk up to the top of the Galata Tower.

Photo of Bereketzade Mahallesi, Galata Tower, Galata Kulesi Sokak, Beyoğlu/Istanbul, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Bereketzade Mahallesi, Galata Tower, Galata Kulesi Sokak, Beyoğlu/Istanbul, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Bereketzade Mahallesi, Galata Tower, Galata Kulesi Sokak, Beyoğlu/Istanbul, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Bereketzade Mahallesi, Galata Tower, Galata Kulesi Sokak, Beyoğlu/Istanbul, Turkey by Abhishek Dey

In such planned trips I often try my best to reach at a rooftop or some high altitude point from where the day end can be witnessed in golden and all other divine colors of the daylight. Galata and its surroundings are the best part of the city to enjoy the evening. People dance in street music, food, pubs nightlife and before that breathtaking golden hour over the majestic city. One of my Turkish friend who knew I loved beer suggested me to go to a pub called Varuna Gezgin which was interestingly a very multicultural pub and a good place to enjoy the dinner with some really good beer. The Taksim Square and around had really good eateries, pubs and nightclubs and with amazingly hippie streets it's amazing for a night walk.

People enjoying the evening with dance in front of the Galata Tower

Photo of Taksim Square, Gümüşsuyu Mahallesi, Beyoğlu/Istanbul, Turkey by Abhishek Dey

Amazing ambiance of the Varuna Gezgin

Photo of Taksim Square, Gümüşsuyu Mahallesi, Beyoğlu/Istanbul, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Taksim Square, Gümüşsuyu Mahallesi, Beyoğlu/Istanbul, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Taksim Square, Gümüşsuyu Mahallesi, Beyoğlu/Istanbul, Turkey by Abhishek Dey

The next day was also dedicated to Istanbul. We had a nice breakfast on the terrace restaurant of our hostel from which was an amazing view. With the seagulls hovering over you and the distant Bosphorous it is a good way to start the day.

Day 2

The historic Sultan Ahmet Camii, which is more popularly known as the Blue Mosque was our first point of interest for the day. This breath-taking building is one of the most majestic Ottoman mosques in all of Turkey. It has a free entry for people for all religion. For the Muslim devotees, the prayer hall is open. But this mosques is worth a visit because of its astonishing architecture both exterior and Interior. The area in from of the Mosques is an open place, known as the Sultanahmet Square and is the most happening area in the old Istanbul.

Photo of Sultan Ahmet Mahallesi, Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Atmeydanı Caddesi, Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Sultan Ahmet Mahallesi, Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Atmeydanı Caddesi, Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey by Abhishek Dey

Interior of the Sultanahmet Mosque or the Blue Mosque

Photo of Sultan Ahmet Mahallesi, Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Atmeydanı Caddesi, Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey by Abhishek Dey

Fountain at Sultanahmet Square

Photo of Sultan Ahmet Mahallesi, Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Atmeydanı Caddesi, Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey by Abhishek Dey

Since our day started quite early we decided to take a walk towards the Golden Horn(major urban waterway and the primary inlet of the Bosphorus) from where we were to take the boat ride to the Bosphorus strait(the thin water body between Asia and Europe part of Turkey).

The walk was something I usually enjoy whenever I visit such big cities. They always have an older part of the city and trust me walking through it is another attraction. Istanbul being a historic and an ancient city the walk had to be great. The tram lines, the old houses, kebab shops and cafes, innumerable tourists, beautiful small lanes and the list goes on.

Photo of The land of the Turks by Abhishek Dey
Photo of The land of the Turks by Abhishek Dey
Photo of The land of the Turks by Abhishek Dey
Photo of The land of the Turks by Abhishek Dey
Photo of The land of the Turks by Abhishek Dey

Wall Art displaying the attractions of Turkey

Photo of The land of the Turks by Abhishek Dey
Photo of The land of the Turks by Abhishek Dey

After getting a boat ticket we were waiting for the time the boat was scheduled to arrive. There were many boat riding companies. And the area was full of people fishing and even some were for the restaurants selling from the fresh catch. A place where you cannot get bored of waiting for the boat. Tea hawkers, fast food stalls etc. are there for you apart from the beautiful lively ambiance.

Cheers with Çay (Tea in Turkish)

Photo of Bosphorus, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Bosphorus, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Bosphorus, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Bosphorus, Turkey by Abhishek Dey

This 90 minutes tour is one of the most interesting tourist excitement, mostly starts from the Golden Horn and then goes into the Bosphorus Strait. When you look on one side it is Asia and the other side in Europe. Seagulls chasing your boat and the boat passing by the bridges connecting the continents and beautiful mosques e.g. Ortaköy Mosque comprises of this relaxing boat trip.

Photo of Golden Horn, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Golden Horn, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Golden Horn, Turkey by Abhishek Dey

Ortaköy Mosque

Photo of Mecidiye Mahallesi, Ortaköy Mosque, Mecidiye Köprüsü Sokak, Beşiktaş/Istanbul, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Mecidiye Mahallesi, Ortaköy Mosque, Mecidiye Köprüsü Sokak, Beşiktaş/Istanbul, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Mecidiye Mahallesi, Ortaköy Mosque, Mecidiye Köprüsü Sokak, Beşiktaş/Istanbul, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Mecidiye Mahallesi, Ortaköy Mosque, Mecidiye Köprüsü Sokak, Beşiktaş/Istanbul, Turkey by Abhishek Dey

Maiden's Tower (Turkish: Kız Kulesi)

Photo of Mecidiye Mahallesi, Ortaköy Mosque, Mecidiye Köprüsü Sokak, Beşiktaş/Istanbul, Turkey by Abhishek Dey

After the long boat trip we were damn hungry. But today we had Akın Balık booked. Great fish of multiple types, some interesting side dishes, Turkish beer Efes Pilsener and the traditional Turkish drink 'Raki'(damn strong and tasty) made us high and highly satisfied.

Photo of Arap Cami Mahallesi, Akın Balık, Fermeneciler Caddesi, Beyoğlu/Istanbul, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Arap Cami Mahallesi, Akın Balık, Fermeneciler Caddesi, Beyoğlu/Istanbul, Turkey by Abhishek Dey

Cheers with Raki

Photo of Arap Cami Mahallesi, Akın Balık, Fermeneciler Caddesi, Beyoğlu/Istanbul, Turkey by Abhishek Dey

By the time we finished off our late lunch it was already evening and to see the sun setting over the beautiful city of Istanbul was another amazing sight. But next on our plan were the Turkish Dance shows for which we had booked tickets from our hostel itself, so we had to really hurry.

Photo of The land of the Turks by Abhishek Dey
Photo of The land of the Turks by Abhishek Dey
Photo of The land of the Turks by Abhishek Dey

Our tickets for the Turkish dance shows were at the most famous in the city Hodjapasha. The first program was the Sufi whirling dance more popularly known as a Dervish dance and the second one was the entertaining Belly Dance and Pasha Dance. Although the music was very new to us but it was amazing, as they correctly said music and dance knows no boundary, everybody can enjoy them.

Sufi Whirl; Dervish

Photo of The land of the Turks by Abhishek Dey
Photo of The land of the Turks by Abhishek Dey

Belly Dance

Photo of The land of the Turks by Abhishek Dey
Photo of The land of the Turks by Abhishek Dey

Flamboyant Pasha Dance

Photo of The land of the Turks by Abhishek Dey
Photo of The land of the Turks by Abhishek Dey

Pretty faces and expressive dance

Photo of The land of the Turks by Abhishek Dey
Photo of The land of the Turks by Abhishek Dey

I and Anil had also rented a car to drive across Armenia and I did the same alone in Georgia. Maybe a bit tiring but self-driving is always the most flexible option to commute within the country. But Turkey was not Armenia or Georgia, it's a huge country and even fuels costs higher here. I had used www.cizgirentacar.com to book a Fiat Egea and had to pick that up at night to start early the next day. The pickup point was near the Ataturk airport so we took various public transport like metro and buses to reach there and pick up our car. A Fiat Egea Automatic was ready to run all across Turkey. We tweaked our plan a bit and checked out our hostel early to start our drive at night so that the whole next day does not get wasted. Our next destination was Göreme, a town in the Cappadocia region of central Turkey. From Istanbul, the total drive time as per Google was 7 hours and 59 mins provided you drive non-stop.

I took the responsibility of night driving since I had this experience earlier with other friends in Oman and asked Anil to take rest in the back seat. We stopped once for our dinner in a highway restaurant and then with Anil sleeping even I had to stop quite a few times in various petrol pump for some coffee or quick naps. Since the day before we roamed around the whole day, staying awake whole night and driving on the highways wasn't that easy. But the best part of night driving is waking up to divine early morning scenes. Since you have been awake all night you see the sun and the whole world waking up in front of you and believe me these scenes are so fascinating that I had to stop a few times to witness them silently.

Photo of The land of the Turks by Abhishek Dey
Photo of The land of the Turks by Abhishek Dey
Day 3

The next proper stop with both of us coming out of the car was for breakfast in a highway restaurant. Our plan for lunch was at Ankara which is theoretically the mid-point but the fastest route we were traversing if we would enter the Ankara city then we lose more time so we moved on expecting we would get some good food may be somewhere on the way. Ankara is the capital of the country looked quite developed and dense when seen from the highway.

The Capital of Turkey, Ankara

Photo of Ankara, Turkey by Abhishek Dey

Since I was driving the whole night I took some rest on the back seat and had fallen asleep. When I woke up Anil was driving with too much astonishment and question on his eyes. he said, "I was thinking to wake you up but look at that huge lake it's going on since more than half an hour and some black tiny things moving on it". I was shell shocked I had never seen such a thing. I immediately googled to find out that it was a salt desert/lake called Tuz Golu (the second largest lake in Turkey with its 1,665 km² surface area and one of the largest hypersaline lakes in the world).

Distant reflection on Lake Tuz

Photo of Tuz Gölü, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Tuz Gölü, Turkey by Abhishek Dey

The Vast Tuz Golu and the solo me (Captured by my friend Anil)

Photo of Tuz Gölü, Turkey by Abhishek Dey

We didn't have much to eat except some salads and rice from a highway dhaba after Lake Tuz. The endless road towards Goreme continued with varied landscapes; widespread fields, farms, hills and many more.

Photo of The land of the Turks by Abhishek Dey

Pumpkin plantation farm

Photo of The land of the Turks by Abhishek Dey

When Goreme was approaching, all of a sudden the after a hill the landscape changed. You see candle shaped rocks all around and driving through this road is amazing and something really new.

When we enter Kapadokya

Photo of The land of the Turks by Abhishek Dey

On reaching Goreme we boarded the Stay In Peace Cave Hostel, which I had booked from booking.com. It was an amazing hostel and so was the city. We dumped our bag and headed to the center of the town for a restaurant since we were damn hungry and it was already late afternoon. There was this nice restaurant where some lamb kebab and Efes beer helped us. The town was so amazing that a small walk can also impress you. There were many activities around and the most famous was the hot air balloon ride which for us was scheduled for the next day morning.

Photo of Stay In Peace Cave Hostel, Merkez/Nevşehir Merkez/Nevşehir, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Stay In Peace Cave Hostel, Merkez/Nevşehir Merkez/Nevşehir, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Stay In Peace Cave Hostel, Merkez/Nevşehir Merkez/Nevşehir, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Stay In Peace Cave Hostel, Merkez/Nevşehir Merkez/Nevşehir, Turkey by Abhishek Dey

As the evening approached again as my general rule, we trekked up to a high altitude location called sunset viewpoint to experience the sunset. The sun had already set but there was some light and that was enough to define the beauty of the view. We enjoyed the view and spent some time even after the crowd let with a couple of Efes and it was amazing.

Photo of Sunset view point, Göreme Belediyesi/Nevşehir Merkez/Nevşehir, Turkey by Abhishek Dey

Blue Hour in Goreme

Photo of Sunset view point, Göreme Belediyesi/Nevşehir Merkez/Nevşehir, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Sunset view point, Göreme Belediyesi/Nevşehir Merkez/Nevşehir, Turkey by Abhishek Dey

Evenings should be enjoyed exactly like this :)

Photo of Sunset view point, Göreme Belediyesi/Nevşehir Merkez/Nevşehir, Turkey by Abhishek Dey

We had our dinner in our hostel terrace again some kebabs and beer. We were joined by a couple of Korean girls who were our roommates in the mixed dorm. We had cross culture discussions over the food and the drinks, even they shared their experience of the hot air balloon ride they took on that day morning. We left early feeling more excited about our upcoming morning balloon ride.

Day 4

I had booked the balloon ride from the website of Air Kapadokya online and they had promised to pick us up from our hotel at around 4:45 am.

Next morning as they promised the driver had come to pick us up from our hostel. The excitement was giving goosebumps and all the sleep had vanished. We reached their office filled up the necessary forms and were waiting for our turn. After a wait of 15- 20 mins a bus came to pick us up from the office and take us to the valley from which the balloons are supposed to take off. We were almost there when the bus was taking a U-turn. Every passenger on the bus was like "WHAT happened!!!". The ride got canceled due to windy conditions. Now this was nowhere in our calculation or I had missed in my research, else we could have allotted another day or two here. I was sad, very sad. All the energy I was holding due to my excitement got vanished. The company returned the money and even offered if we want we can try our luck the next day. My madness was telling me to stay back and I would have been alone I would have sure stayed a day extra here but Anil had a point that if the same thing happens the next day we shall feel worse so let's stick to the itinerary and move ahead.

We completed our sleep, had our breakfast and decided to roam around Goreme for some time before we leave for Antalya in the afternoon. We went around Goreme Open Air Museum, the Love valley and Pasabag(also known as the monk valley) and all of these had different shapes of volcanic rock formation.

Goreme Open Air Museum from top

Photo of Tekelli Mahallesi, Air Kapadokya, Adnan Menderes Caddesi, Göreme Belediyesi/Nevşehir Merkez/Nevşehir, Turkey by Abhishek Dey

Love Valley(I kept missing the Hot Air Balloon Ride)

Photo of Tekelli Mahallesi, Air Kapadokya, Adnan Menderes Caddesi, Göreme Belediyesi/Nevşehir Merkez/Nevşehir, Turkey by Abhishek Dey

Mushroom shaped rocks in Pasabag

Photo of Tekelli Mahallesi, Air Kapadokya, Adnan Menderes Caddesi, Göreme Belediyesi/Nevşehir Merkez/Nevşehir, Turkey by Abhishek Dey

At Pasabag or the Monk Valley

Photo of Tekelli Mahallesi, Air Kapadokya, Adnan Menderes Caddesi, Göreme Belediyesi/Nevşehir Merkez/Nevşehir, Turkey by Abhishek Dey

After Pasabag the next place we were aiming at was Side in the Antalya region. From Pasabag it was a drive of 6 hours. Our plan was to reach there before sunset but not every calculation Google does apply in such long distance drives.

We had some Turkish Ice cream at Pasabag something you should not miss in Turkey, more because how it is served to you. The guy usually plays around with you and tires you to grab the ice cream before he actually serves it to you.

Turkish Ice Cream

Photo of Paşabağı, Zelve Yolu, Çavuşin Köyü/Avanos/Nevşehir, Turkey by Abhishek Dey

The sunset we witnessed was not a bad one. Anil was driving so I had the privilege to capture some beautiful images of the sun setting as we kept moving.

Photo of The land of the Turks by Abhishek Dey

When we reached Side it was already dark. We took a stroll around the pretty beach town and then reached the famous Apollo Temple which appeared in many movies across culture. For Indians, you can tune in to the Bollywood song "Tu Jaane Na" from Ajab Prem Ki Gajab Kahani and remember this monument.

A resort beach in Side

Photo of Side, Side Mahallesi, Manavgat/Antalya, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Side, Side Mahallesi, Manavgat/Antalya, Turkey by Abhishek Dey

The Apollo Temple of Side, Turkey is believed to be where Anthony met Cleopatra; he presented the Apollo Temple as a token of his love and devotion to her.

Photo of Side, Side Mahallesi, Manavgat/Antalya, Turkey by Abhishek Dey

Our hotel was booked in Antalya but here we thought we made a mistake because Side was way more happening or by the time we reached Antalya it was quite late and the city had gone quiet. The hotel(Ersoy Efe Pansiyon) we stayed in Antalya was a decent one although not as interesting as the hostels we stayed in but it was quite cheap as a hotel with room tariff being only 15 Euros.

Day 5

The next morning was a typical city walk. Like most tourist place Antalya also had an old town and taking a stroll can be really interesting, with tiny lanes, beautiful houses and then everything ends into the sea. The beautiful color of the Mediterranean Sea, a beautiful old boat pier and some very pretty resorts with beaches that can provide you with really refreshing swims. We were not prepared for a swim so decided to sit in a waterfront restaurant and have our breakfast. Having good food in a place with a good view is always a blissful and satisfactory feeling, may it be a costly restaurant or a beach shack.

Photo of Muratpaşa Mahallesi, Old City marina, Tuzkapısı Sk, Muratpaşa/Antalya, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Muratpaşa Mahallesi, Old City marina, Tuzkapısı Sk, Muratpaşa/Antalya, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Muratpaşa Mahallesi, Old City marina, Tuzkapısı Sk, Muratpaşa/Antalya, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Muratpaşa Mahallesi, Old City marina, Tuzkapısı Sk, Muratpaşa/Antalya, Turkey by Abhishek Dey

Our next destination was one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. Oludeniz a small village in the Fethiye region of Turkey. Beautiful beaches and amazing turquoise blue color sea water, the Mediterranean at it's very best. We started by 11:30 am since we wanted to utilize this beautiful place as much as we could. Swim in that water witness the beautiful sunset and then go for some clubbing in the evening. This day I decided to drive and Anil decided not to drink so the choice of driver was easy. The drive from Antalya to Oludeniz was for three hours and I stopped in a supermarket to fill my stock with some beer bottles. yes, Efes and for Anil some Aryan (oh yes for non-alcoholic people out there Aryan is an amazing thick version of buttermilk quite tasty, healthy and refreshing) along with some snacks and bottles of water.

The road was beautiful and Anil was driving well while I was only enjoying my drink. On the way, we found a couple who wanted to take a lift in our car. When we stopped they said that they want to go to Fethiye so maybe before taking the turn for Oludeniz we can drop them on the highway from where they can take some other form of communication. The guy was an Italian settled in Barcelona and his girlfriend was a beautiful Spanish girl. As soon as they entered the car which had the air conditioning on, I could get a strong sweaty smell from which I could easily make out that they were standing in the heat for quite a long time and also must have walked quite a lot before we were there for their help. During our conversation, they said that they were hitchhiking across Turkey. Since it is not very common and I think not very safe as well in India I had to google what it means. And as per Google "Hitchhiking (also known as thumbing or hitching) is a means of transportation that is gained by asking people, usually strangers, for a ride in their automobile or other vehicles. A ride is usually, but not always, free." The guy had come to Turkey twice before and even had hitchhiked then so he knew Turkey was not a bad or unsafe place to do it. As promised we dropped them safe before taking our turn towards Oludeniz and of course, we didn't charge them anything. That's the best part of traveling you get to know how so many people who are so different from you lead their life, may it be daily stable stereotype life or the nomadic or travel life.

Photo of The land of the Turks by Abhishek Dey

We reached our hotel in Oludeniz soon after that. The hotel was a really good one. It was the most expensive hotel we booked and it was only 21 Euros so we paid 10.5 Euros per head. It was a quiet hotel with a small bar at the reception a pretty pool though a bit far from the beach but quite walkable from the city center.

We freshened up quickly had some snacks in the hotel and headed off to the beach. Our plan was to hit the sea so we took our towels and clothes and drove to the beach. The beach was one of the amazing ones I have ever seen in terms of the picturesque, quality and color of the water and of course cleanliness and at the same time liveliness of the beach. We swam in the blue clean water quite a long time and relaxed on the beautiful beach. In the meantime, I saw para-gliders hovering over the beach. Swimming is of course relaxing but flying any day gives more sense of freedom. So I immediately booked my next day morning to fly over the turquoise blue sea from the Gravity Paragliding Head office situated on the beach itself.

Photo of Ölüdeniz Mahallesi, Oludeniz Beach, 4 229. Sokak, Fethiye/Muğla Province, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Ölüdeniz Mahallesi, Oludeniz Beach, 4 229. Sokak, Fethiye/Muğla Province, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Ölüdeniz Mahallesi, Oludeniz Beach, 4 229. Sokak, Fethiye/Muğla Province, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Ölüdeniz Mahallesi, Oludeniz Beach, 4 229. Sokak, Fethiye/Muğla Province, Turkey by Abhishek Dey

By that time the sun had already started to set and the photographer in me said I should be going to some elevated location from which I can see this divine sunset on this beautiful piece of land on the vast and clean sea. While Anil decided to be on the beach and relax and swim I took the car and drove up the hill nearby. I just picked some pints in GPS and rolled my hands on the steering.

It was an even a bit off-road driving so was not very safe with the sedan but when I reached up there I witnessed something out of the world. Everything around is me was orange I think I can't describe the view any further.

Photo of The land of the Turks by Abhishek Dey

The Divine Sunset over Oludeniz town

Photo of The land of the Turks by Abhishek Dey

In the Evening we went for a walk around the center of the town near to our hotel. It was really relaxing with lots of good pubs and eateries and colorful markets.

Photo of The land of the Turks by Abhishek Dey
Photo of The land of the Turks by Abhishek Dey
Day 6

In the morning the bus was again near my hotel to pick me up and this time I was praying that this too does not get canceled like the hot air balloon. The pickup bus picked everyone on the way and took me to their head office near the beach again. We waited there for some time when at last the main bus came to take up along with our respective pilots. Within the bus we had picked up chits with the name of our respective pilots, for me it was 'HIKO'. We could not jump from the top of the mountain since it was a bit windy but from another lower point but even that didn't reduce the experience I believe. The beautiful blue water and amazing artistic landscape looked such fascinating that you won't feel like getting down.

Photo of Ölüdeniz Mahallesi, Gravity Tandem Paragliding, Denizpark Caddesi, Fethiye/Muğla Province, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Ölüdeniz Mahallesi, Gravity Tandem Paragliding, Denizpark Caddesi, Fethiye/Muğla Province, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Ölüdeniz Mahallesi, Gravity Tandem Paragliding, Denizpark Caddesi, Fethiye/Muğla Province, Turkey by Abhishek Dey

Oludeniz was very hard to leave but our next destination was calling so had to move on.

The white wonderland of Pamukkale was drawing us. The town was Denizli but more popularly known for the famous calcium carbonate hill, Pamukkale. The drive was again for 3 hours. We reached there in the afternoon and boarded our hotel at Denizli, It was not a great hotel, a very small one but we anyway had a plan to start as early as we could the next day morning. We freshened up in our room and had some lunch at a hotel nearby before heading towards the main attraction of Denizli.

Pamukkale means cotton castle in Turkish, maybe because of how it looks. The area was formed due to calcium carbonate deposit from flowing water. Geologically, Pamukkale's terraces are made of travertine, a sedimentary rock deposited by water from the hot springs.

Again this place was used in Ajab Prem Ki Gajab Kahaani song. The area looks like snow but is a total illusion. The water accumulated in the stairs forming thermal pools is a great sight. The area is quite slippery so when you enter after paying the entry fees of 5 Euro you are instructed to open your sandals as a precautionary measure. It looks amazing in light and further gorgeous during the sunset. The beauty of this place even attracted many wedding photographers for shooting their pre-wedding assignments.

We were there till it was dark and were never did the place stopped to mesmerize us. In every light, the cotton castle blossomed in different shades. It was beautiful.

Photo of Pamukkale/Denizli, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Pamukkale/Denizli, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Pamukkale/Denizli, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Pamukkale/Denizli, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Pamukkale/Denizli, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Pamukkale/Denizli, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Pamukkale/Denizli, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Pamukkale/Denizli, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Pamukkale/Denizli, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Pamukkale/Denizli, Turkey by Abhishek Dey

Denizli was famous for its roosters and the streets had many toys and statues sold as a memento from the place. The city center was quite lively unlike we expected.

Photo of The land of the Turks by Abhishek Dey

We spent the evening with a very good dinner and Turkish ice cream since our hotel was exactly in the city center. The eateries were quite ethnic; people there were mostly in traditional attire which quite clearly gave a very small town feel.

Photo of The land of the Turks by Abhishek Dey

From the locals, we learned that there was a red hill called Karahayit nearby, quite smaller than the white Pamukkale. It was red because of high iron content and the center of Denizli has a small section of it in the middle of a roundabout where benches are made for people to sit and relax.

Photo of The land of the Turks by Abhishek Dey

We took some rest at our hotel room and as planned started for Istanbul at around 1:30 am. It was a seven-hour drive and again I too the responsibility of the night drive and Anil after the sun is up. We stopped once at night for some food and once for breakfast so we covered the road to Istanbul which was 7 hours as per google in around 9 hours.

Day 7

We again checked in to the Bauhaus Hostel in Istanbul. After driving all across the country, now was the time to relax before we go back to Dubai and restart the 9-6 work life. So, for relaxation, we had booked a Turkish Hamam bath. It is a kind of massage and cleansing, where big fat men give you massage and bathe you with their special hamam soap. You would really feel embarrassed because you are in only a towel and at times during the massage, it almost opens up to expose your naked body. But at the end, it was so very relaxing.

Photo of Mimar Hayrettin Mahallesi, Gedikpasa Hamam, Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Mimar Hayrettin Mahallesi, Gedikpasa Hamam, Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey by Abhishek Dey

After the bath, we were quite hungry and it had started to drizzle a bit. Now, this was the perfect weather for some good street food. Istanbul is amazing in this department. Grilled fish, meat, fries with some good Turkish coffee or tea reminds of a typical evening snack on a rainy day back home in India.

Photo of The land of the Turks by Abhishek Dey
Photo of The land of the Turks by Abhishek Dey
Photo of The land of the Turks by Abhishek Dey
Photo of The land of the Turks by Abhishek Dey

After coming back to the hostel we went upstairs to enjoy the terrace bar. Relaxing in such weather with such a beautiful view with a bottle of chilled Efes was always the best thing that could happen when the holiday is about to conclude.

Photo of Cankurtaran Mahallesi, Bahaus Hostel, Akbıyık Caddesi & Bayram Fırın Sok., Sultanahmet/Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey by Abhishek Dey

At night we again headed back to the Taksim square and Varuna Gezgin to have some drinks and hang out with friends we made in the hostel.

The last morning was booked for the famous Grand Bazaar. But before that, we visited the Basilica Cistern, the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city of Istanbul. The cistern had multiple pillars with either beautiful carvings or some ruined with time and history.

Day 8
Photo of Alemdar Mahallesi, Basilica Cistern, Yerebatan Caddesi, Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey by Abhishek Dey

Istanbul being one of the most visited travel destinations, Grand Bazaar is always flooded with tourists in huge numbers. The colorful shops, the smell of the spices, sweets, colorful gift items and what else. The lanes are narrow but are quite colorful and lively.

Photo of Beyazıt Mahallesi, Grand Bazaar, Kalpakçılar Caddesi, Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Beyazıt Mahallesi, Grand Bazaar, Kalpakçılar Caddesi, Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Beyazıt Mahallesi, Grand Bazaar, Kalpakçılar Caddesi, Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Beyazıt Mahallesi, Grand Bazaar, Kalpakçılar Caddesi, Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Beyazıt Mahallesi, Grand Bazaar, Kalpakçılar Caddesi, Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Beyazıt Mahallesi, Grand Bazaar, Kalpakçılar Caddesi, Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Beyazıt Mahallesi, Grand Bazaar, Kalpakçılar Caddesi, Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Beyazıt Mahallesi, Grand Bazaar, Kalpakçılar Caddesi, Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey by Abhishek Dey

We did some shopping in the Grand Bazaar; some baklava, fruit candy sweets, some Turkish tea and some interesting mementos, but the feeling of the end of vacation is never a good one.

Photo of The land of the Turks by Abhishek Dey

The Sabiha Gokcen International Airport is on the Asia side of Istanbul and by road, it takes a long time. So our taxi took the waterway. The RO-RO vessel carried our taxi to the other side over the Bosphorus. Such Turkey bid us goodbye even on the way to the airport in an equally exciting way.

Photo of Sanayi Mahallesi, Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (SAW), Pendik/Istanbul, Turkey by Abhishek Dey
Photo of Sanayi Mahallesi, Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (SAW), Pendik/Istanbul, Turkey by Abhishek Dey

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**Note that the trip expense is calculated and divided to a single person

*** The copyright of all the images are owned by abhishekdey pixels

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1 Comment(s)
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Every picture tells story. You are an amazing photographer. marvelous
Wed 04 24 19, 15:51 · Reply · Report