Istanbul, Türkiye. One City, Two Continents.

How do you follow a blog on a place as unique and exciting as Cappadocia? Well, in short, with great difficulty. Well, if your next stop is Istanbul anyway. We rounded off our tour of Turkey with a visit to the vast metroplis, official population 15,190,000, though unofficially some say up to 24,000,000. We took a night bus from Cappadocia with Metro Bus, and with stops it was a 12-hour trip, arriving at 7.30am. As bus trips go it was ok and we managed to get some sleep and there were a few comfort breaks on the way. It cost 100 Turkish lira or £10.

The weather was normal for November, but with every passing day and with every mile we moved northwards, the climate grew colder, and wetter. In 4 of the 5 days we were there, it rained pretty much non-stop. This did, as you can imagine put some limitations on what we could do, however we were lucky in the first couple of days to have some sunshine and to see a few of the must-see tourist highlights, each of them sadly a little disappointing in their own way.

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Cappadocia / Kapadokya, Türkiye.

WOW! Just wow!

Of course we’re all different, we have our own likes and dislikes, but I think if you were to add visiting this place to your bucket list, especially having a trip in a hot air balloon, and made it happen, we don’t think anyone would be disappointed!

This could make many a person’s Top Ten, and as overused as the word may be, we think it’s awesome! A 7-hour bus ride from our previous destination, Eğirdir, for a fiver each (50tl), we found the long journey to be totally worth it. A unique landscape, and I don’t think I have the vocabulary to do it justice; so I’ll let the pictures do the talking. Below however is a summary of our experiences here.

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Eğirdir, Türkiye.

A bit of Turkish we have learned; the symbol above the g makes it a silent letter, so this place is pronounced something like Ay-a-deer, and not Agadoo as Carol was fond of saying. We reached Eğirdir from Antalya using a bus which cost a grand total of £2.50 each and took around 3 hours to reach via Isparta. We had never heard of the place before; however, we headed for Eğirdir on John and Sharon’s recommendation as a place for just pure relaxation; some calm away from the Antalya storm! oh and because it is somewhat cooler than Antalya.

There is very little to do here, there is no nightlife, no entertainment, and I highly recommend it. What there is in abundance here is natural beauty. If like we did, you stay in Yeşilada you are surrounded by it, literally in every direction. Yeşilada is an island promontory, connected to the mainland by a manmade causeway, but essentially you are situated in the middle of a huge lake surrounded by beautiful mountains.

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Pamukkale – From Antalya, Türkiye.

We spent 3 hours at Pamukkale through an organised tour but as it is unique we decided it deserved a page of its own.

Due to tectonic, rather than volcanic activity there are many hot springs in this area. The water is calcium rich and as it trickles down the mountain side it forms calcium ridges filled with azure blue water. As a tourist attraction it doubles up with Hierapolis; a world UNESCO heritage site which is adjacent to Pamukkale and includes the Tomb of the Apostle. If ancient history is your thing you would definitely be in your element here!

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Antalya, Türkiye.

Our trip was never going to be a hundred mile an hour dash across the globe. It was always intended to include some downtime, a little r&r as we wound down from the stresses of modern life.

Antalya provided the perfect spot for this. We had a couple of days where we chose to just sit and read a book, and another couple where we had plans, but rain stopped play. And boy when it does rain here, it doesn’t half rain!

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48 Hours in Fethiye, Türkiye.

We found ourselves in Fethiye for a couple of days as the bus route back to Antalya seemed to stop here. As the bus journey was going to be 5/6 hours to Antalya and the fact we had no set schedule (which is taking a little getting used to!) we decided why not. It broke up the journey and it looked lovely. From speaking with others it appears to be well known for boat cruises and is a popular destination for English tourists. Always keen to check out another destination here we were!

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Kalkan, Turkiye.

From our previous posts you are aware that we had not even heard of Kalkan before coming here. It was a kind recommendation from a friend Ginny, who had been here previously and really enjoyed it and so with a last minute change of plans here we are :). It is located approximately 123k (an hour and 3/4 by transfer) from Dalaman airport and is in the Antalya province. Located on the mediterranean coast, it boasts 300 days of sunshine and an average October temperature of 27 degrees!

The first thing to note about Kalkan is that it is on a hill; if hills aren’t for you then you may want to consider a different place; for me with a gammy knee this has been challenging and has taken longer than it should to get places (and plenty of bar stops for a rest… what a shame ;)) It does however add to the charm and the lovely views.

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Türkiye – First Impressions

I’ve been feeling a bit like a spoiled brat.

A little sullen because we are not yet in any of the countries I had my heart set on. Our plans were so grand, then along came COVID and everything changed. We were, no are, determined not to let it stop us though. Not that we had a great deal of choice given that a 1 year career break had been arranged, notice had been given to our landlord to quit our rented property, and the contract on our leased cars had expired.

We did however have to concede we just can’t go everywhere we originally wanted to, though as the eternal optimist, I remain hopeful that many of the countries we wish to visit will re-open their borders before the year’s out.

In years of talks whilst planning for our travels, Turkey had not been mentioned. Not even once.

And yet here we are.

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Visiting the The Great Wall of China on a Beijing Stopover

If you want to head for somewhere in South East Asia, there’s a good chance your cheapest route will take you through Beijing, or to be more precise Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK). For some reason, our experience here is that arrival isn’t very well coordinated with your onward flight. We’ve been through this airport a number of times, with delays before the next flight of between 5 and 15 hours.  So what to do in these circumstances? Just wait it out, or make time to squeeze in another adventure in your limited travel opportunities?

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Spending 72 hours in Bangkok

We had travelled through Bangkok a few times en route to other places including Cambodia and Phuket but never actually spent any time there.  Our schedule did allow for a few days on our return leg so we thought why not! We left Ho Chi Minh City and travelled with Air Asia back to DMK Airport (Don Mueang).  This was the most uncomfortable journey thus far with a very cramped plane.  Upon arrival, we were unable to book a transfer to the accommodation with them directly and therefore used the Taxify App to book a transfer from the airport.

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