314 Kms from Afyon
Istanbul, Turkey. Since I spent considerable time in Istanbul, I didn't have to ask someone random for a pic. She is a very good friend of mine. :)Read More
Istanbul, Turkey. Since I spent considerable time in Istanbul, I didn't have to ask someone random for a pic. She is a very good friend of mine. :)
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.
Breathtaking views from every location!
As you stroll down the cobbled streets of Istanbul, history greets you at every step and culture is a constant companion. The palaces, mosques and churches of the city are artistic goldmines in their own right and the bazaars exude this infectious energy. The mezes are unending, the kebaps are always tender and the coffee is the most addictive of the lot. Entrenched in its prosperous heritage, Istanbul defines vibrance in a way no other place does.
381 Kms from Afyon
There was a knot in my stomach as I walked past clothing shops displaying life-jackets for sale. Inflatable rafts, some 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, some 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.
185 Kms from Afyon
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.Read More
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
High in the mountains in Southwestern Turkey you can find the "Cotton Castle", also know as Pamukkale. The city contains hot springs and travertines, which is why the rocks and all the pools of water are white colored, it's the terraces of carbonate minerals left behind. People have been bathing in these pools for over thousands of years! Which makes me glad it's all running water...just imagine sharing the same bath with, who knows how many people! The ancient Greco-Roman and Ryzantine city of Hierapolis was built on top of the "cotton castle", and during the many years of tourism in the 20th century, there was a lot of hotels built up on the hill ruining it's beauty and destroying it, but when it was declared a World Heritage Site, the buildings were torn down, and now you can only enter the hot spring area with barefoot, no shoes are allowed. In the area there are 17 hot spring areas
Even though it has been 4 months since I came back from Turkey, I still get bewitched by the beauty of that magical place when I flip back the photos.The same goes to this place, which took my breath away watching sunrise while soaking my feet in the flowing hot spring water. Pamukkale has been one of the top attraction of Turkey even before it is declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tourists and locals visit Pamukkale and Hierapolis frequently not only for its extraordinary look and its ancient history but also for wellness as the water is scientifically proven to cure many diseases. However, access to terraces are not allowed lately due to the new regulations on protecting and preventing further damage to the historical site. According to our guide, layers of carbonate minerals are scrapping off and getting thinner day by day. This place might restrict any visitors in the near future as an effort to preserve this extraordinary site of Hierapolis. On our last visit, only small pools are allowed to be used and we were asked to follow the main pathway. We really had a great time soaking our legs in the hot spring water. We had a hard time walking bare feet from the entrance to the hot spring because the ground was freezing cold! But our effort paid off the moment we dipped our feet inside the spring water. It feels like heaven and you will not believe how beautiful was the sunrise that day.
Day 7: Konya - Antioch of Pisidia - Pamukkale. After breakfast drive to Antioch of Pisidia. Paul and Barnabas visited Antioch on their first missionary journey, going to the synagogue on the Sabbath (the Jewish day of worship), and Paul was asked to speak to the congregation. In the Bible this is Paul's first recorded sermon. Visit the Church of St. Paul, the Roman Bath, Temple of Augustus, and museum. Continue to Pamukkale for overnight. Includes: (Breakfast, Dinner).
Pamukkale is famous for its hot springs with their milky water. This unique water is made from the limestone and calcium white stone that is in the region. The ground is like snake skin and even though the water is warm the stone themselves are very cold to the touch. I have never been anywhere else in the world which matches this. One of my favorite parts about the area is that it is visited by tons of locals. I always love when native appreciate their own country’s wonders.
208 Kms from Afyon
Antalya – Situated on the coast, provides one of the most breathtaking views – the turquoise waters with mountains in the background.Read More
I can without a blink say that a vacation in Antalya would be my favourite beach trip in my life. I had planned my summer vacation in Antalya with my cousin, who is a year younger to me. We wanted to spend our holidays in a beautiful beach destination and to our parents surprise we had chose the Turkish beach destination. First of all, we had planned a budget trip to Antalya and did not buy any tour packages instead took a 4 days all-by-alone trip to explore incredible resorts in Antalya.After some web research, I had booked a flight ticket with Rehlat from New Delhi to Antalya with Turkish Airlines 717 (Boeing 777). After 8-hours long journey from Indira Gandhi International Airport (New Delhi), we were landed in Istanbul Atatürk Airport (Istanbul) with a little bit nervousness and taken another flight (Turkish 216) from Istanbul to Antalya, which was a 3 hours journey.
Day 9: We checked out of Lazer Pension post breakfast and headed for a Gulet cruise to explore Duden Waterfalls. We returned to the hotel in the evening to collect out luggage and to take the overnight bus to Cappadocia. We travelled by a Metro Turizm bus that departed from Antalya at 07:30 pm.
Antalya is a Mediterranean delight and a wonderful combination of vintage and modern. The mountains are close enough to feast your eyes on while the blue waters flow peacefully. The city is home to some glorious Ottoman architecture and Kaleici, its historic centre only helps in amplifying Antalya's charm.
The city is really good I was staying near the old city, it’s good to walk around, most of the things to do and see are in the old city. Antalya Archaeological Museum is one of the amazing museum’s I have seen.
Day 8 – Antalya I had a fight with Somya next morning because she was being annoying. We had an early morning bus and she was taking all her time to get dressed and have her breakfast. We boarded a minivan to Denizli and took a bus to Antalya thereon. We reached Antalya around 2 pm, after completing a five-hour long journey. We had booked a luxurious beach-side hotel in Antalya, because we had decided we would spend money in Antalya if we were saving elsewhere. The local bus from the bus station in Antalya to our hotel took around one hour to reach. We finally reached the bus stand next to the beach, exhausted. But the beautiful side of a sea stretching out to touch the hills was enough to help me relax. Our hotel was nice, not as luxurious as we had thought, but we got a beach-facing two-room suite with a huge balcony so we were quite pleased. Oh! The site was awe-inspiring. I have shared a photo for you to see. Till the time we had checked-in, it was getting dark so we decided to go to a nearby mall and see if there are any shacks at the beach for dinner later. The mall was around 2 kilometres and we walked all the way. It was dark when we decided to leave the mall. Antalya was one unsafe city, I must say. Every now and then a car would stop near us, as if we were to get onto it and would leave when we ignored. Somya even saw a man jerking off on the pedestrian. And adding to our list of horrors, we heard a car pass-by and we swear by all the gods of all religions ever created, we heard a girl screaming from the car. We were shaking with fear. We hurried towards the beach and except for darkness, there was nothing at the beach. We ate at a nearby restaurant and rushed back to our hotel. We were extremely put-off as we had heard that Antalya is one city where restaurants are open till 3 in the morning. Where was all of it? We couldn’t find anything. All we saw was a prostitute going away with a truck driver at 10 in the evening. Day 9 – Antalya Our second day in Antalya was not as disappointing as our first day. We went to the beach, had a nice swim in the sea and sun-bathed. I even slept on the beach and woke up to see myself utterly tanned. In the afternoon, Somya forced me to go grab a bite as the scorching sun was burning her skin. We ate at a really, really nice café, ‘Big Yellow Taxi’, recommended by a friend. The location of the café made sense to us now. So, our hotel was a little off the main tourist spot. The party was here! After resting the entire evening in our room, we again went for dinner to BYT and were quite happy with Antalya by now. But, we had realized that Antalya was not a place that we couldn’t give a miss. And we had one full day still left in Antalya and we had no idea what to do with it. Ohh, I forgot to mention about the alteration in our plan. By the end of Antalya I was quite tired and was missing Istanbul terribly. So, I talked Somya into cancelling Cappadocia and going back to Istanbul for the last three days. She agreed because Cappadocia is far from both Antalya and Istanbul and we had to anyways go to Istanbul on our last day to catch our flight. We realized it would become very hectic. Moreover, Cappadocia is famous for its hot air ballooning, which is quite expensive. Now, as backpackers, we weren’t really looking forward to spending over 11,000 INR per person over a hot air balloon session. So, we decided to give it a skip and head back to Istanbul by a night bus. Day 10- Antalya We were clueless about what we would do in Antalya that day. So, keeping in line with our random acts, we boarded a local bus to the city and got off at a travel agency to book a bus back to Istanbul. Then we started walking towards a mall, which Somya had seen on the first day in the beach city while we were going to our hotel. On our way to the mall, we stopped at a small restaurant hidden away in some corner of a street for some cheap Turkish food. We had some mouth-watering meat with the best salad and were hosted by the most polite gentleman. The best thing about Turkish people is they do not understand your language but they will go out of their way to help you and make you feel comfortable. So after the Turkish food, which I miss terribly, we went to the mall. Basically we were just killing our time. We did some window shopping and went back to the travel agency’s office to catch the mini-bus to the bus station. And in no time we were headed back to our favourite city, Istanbul.
Anyalya is the Turkish Riviera and on the Mediterranean coast. It’s a thriving up to date city with a historic focus. A percentage of the Ottoman manors are being restored and there are new boutique inns appearing, adding more class to the city. Autos are not permitted in the downtown area, which makes for a charming environment. There is awesome mountain landscape, offering incredible perspectives of the coast. There truly is plenty to see and do in this district.
236 Kms from Afyon
Selcuk – A quaint little town which houses the Ephesus, the Temple of Artemis (one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world) and the house of Virgin Mary (it is believed that Mother Mary spent her last few days here when St John brought her to Turkey after the death of Jesus). It’s also just a few hours away from Pammukale (the cotton castle with the hot springs and travertine) and few minutes away from Kusadasi which is one of the biggest ports in Turkey where most of the cruise ships halt.Read More
Selcuk – A quaint little town which houses the Ephesus, the Temple of Artemis (one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world) and the house of Virgin Mary (it is believed that Mother Mary spent her last few days here when St John brought her to Turkey after the death of Jesus). It’s also just a few hours away from Pammukale (the cotton castle with the hot springs and travertine) and few minutes away from Kusadasi which is one of the biggest ports in Turkey where most of the cruise ships halt.
Konya is more developed place and little bit crowded as compared to Cappadocia. Main reason to visit Konya is to watch “Darvish Dance”. This is the only place where traditional Darvish dance happens, everywhere else it’s really commercial. Hostels here are very less, mostly the stay will be hotels.
Day 6: Cappadocia - Konya. Visit the underground city of Kaymakli, created for defensive purposes by the early Christians. Drive to Konya. Paul preached here on his first missionary journey. Konya, today, is famous for its Mevlevi Dervishes (Whirling Dervishes). Visit the Mevlana Mausoleum and museum. Overnight in Konya. Includes: (Breakfast, Dinner).