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Tales from the Scrapbook! This journal is mainly to post some photos of my travels.

Turkey

TURKEY | Thursday, 23 April 2009 | Views [471]

After arriving back in England I had about three weeks before taking on the lease at Tooting Bec - that provided the perfect opportunity for another European holiday! I picked up a copy of TNT on the Tuesday and saw a really decent option on a tour to Turkey kicking off at Easter. After a couple of phone calls and a great deal secured with Swiss Air I was all set to fly out on Thursday. I was due to fly out of London City at 8.30am - that morning I received a text at 5.30 to inform me that my flight to Zurich was cancelled. I couldn't believe it but next thing I'm on the phone to Swiss Air and they told me to go to Heathrow! I am transferred on to a Lufthansa flight and go via Frankfurt! Thankfully I didn't miss my connection to Istanbul and I arrived at around 5pm. Customs was really slow and I also had to obtain a visa on arrival which also delayed things. Eventually I got out and jumped on the metro from the airport to Aksaray and then on to a tram to Sultanahmet. I didn't get too lost which was good and it was pretty exciting seeing my first sights of Istanbul.

The hostel I was staying in was in a decent area really close to the Blue Mosque - turned out that one of the guys in my dorm was also doing the tour - was good value so was happy about that and we cruised around the nearby streets and grabbed a bite to eat for dinner (a very ordinary Turkish jacket potato) and corn from a street vendor (very ordinary!!!).

The following day we checked out a few of the sites around the city including the Grand Bazaar, the Bosphorous River and a few of the mosques which are pretty amazing inside and out. It was a pretty cool place. One of the classic things I witnessed was this dognut type from the US who was quite a weird unit being ripped off by this kid who polished his footwear. The funny thing was he was wearing thongs!!

That night we had our tour meeting and got to meet all the punters who were taking part. No shortage of Aussies and kiwis - two families as well which was a bit unexpected and quite a variety of ages! Quite a few of us got on really well which was great. After a few introductory beers we then got set for our tour. Over the next few weeks we checked out some fantastic places and ate some great food. My room-mate was Rod from Brazil who was a great bloke. The tour made its way down the coast to Gallipoli (very good), then we checked out Troy (horse!), the Acropolis (ok), Kusadasi (very average hotel but great night out!), Koycegiz (mud baths!), Ephesus (quite good ruins), Pamukkale (bright white calcium formations), Fetihye (good food!), Kaputas Beach (outstanding), Kas (coastal town - very laid back), Olympos (unique!), Chimera (mythical flames), Cappadocia (awesome, amazing, I could go on!), Ankara, and then back to Istanbul. Had a couple of days to kick back and enjoyed a traditional Turkish Hamam,  a few Shisha, some more shopping and a few more beverages! Flew back to London on Swiss Air via Zurich and smashed plenty of swiss chocolate en route!

This tour was brilliant (even with the obligatory commission visits to the carpet dealers and leather jacket outlets!!), I made some great friends and I really was glad to have chosen Turkey for this trip!! 

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