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Turkish Delights

TURKEY | Thursday, 14 August 2008 | Views [792]

My new favourite destination for adventure is Turkey..... I stumbled across this place back in April this year when I set off for 10 days on an ANZAC day mission, tracing the steps of the Aussie diggers during WW1. 

Started in Istanbul - a breathtaking city - fabulous mix of east meets west. Gazing across the city skyline you catch glimpses of the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar, Turkish flags waving proudly in the wind and the turrets of nearby mosques. A must do is a wander in the Palace Gardens and a spot of Turkish tea overlooking the Bosphorous. I now understand why there is ALWAYS time for Turkish tea, in the sunshine, relaxing in the park!

Next stop was a journey to Gallipoli (Gelibolu) further south. Amongst the thousands of Aussies and Kiwi's there - the most hospitable and welcoming Turks in the world. We camped out overnight, the coldest I have ever felt in my life (under 10 layers and a sleeping bag, mind). The only thing that kept me going was the constant supply of sweet apple tea from charming Turkish grandma's for 1 lira (about 50p). Delightful.

The dawn remembrance service was spine tingling and the frozen night in open air was worth it. As the sun rose, the heat of the day defrosted us all and then before I knew it, we were trekking around the bay area - visiting the Australian, New Zealand and Turkish memorials before hitting the bus onto the next stop.

A quick night by the ocean before a day traveling to Cannakale ruins which takes our breath away. I've never seen so many poppies in full bloom, and such a rich history before. NEVER. 

By this stage, my patience for being part of a 'pre-arranged' tour group had worn out, so I said adieu to the 30 others on the bus and jumped out on the side of the road (at Soke) to make my way somewhere off the beaten track.....no dorky tourist Turkish baths and organised walks for me thanks!

Found paradise (otherwise known as Didem, Altinkum) where the sun is always shining, the beach is always nice, the people are always smiling and you can have a Turkish shave, Turkish bath, Turkish dinner, Turkish drink or Turkish whatever for a decent price!

Whilst my fellow tour-goers spent days aboard the coach, I enjoyed the hospitality of some new friends, was invited (and attended) a Turkish wedding, spent some time with a traditional Turkish family, drank too much Turkish tea, tried the simple delights of Raki (local brew), homestyle cooking and fresh turkish delight!

How could I ask for any more?

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