May 10, 2012 - Selçuk, Turkey

So I know I had promised better updates, and that I have failed (so far).

I made it to Isanbul is the first piece of news I guess! Had some flight issues and got in later than planned but the point is that I got there! My first bit of time in the city was great! I did a lot of the touristy things... Visiting the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern.... For me, Hagia Sophia was the best. I had 'a moment' there. I cant wait go share photos!

I also went (twice) to the grand bazaar and the spice bazaar. It's pretty overwhelming at first but you get used to it.  It is for sure a new experience being in a Muslim country (I love hearing the call to prayer throughout the day though... Even at 4:30 am) and being a solo female traveller. It is different from anything I've experienced before, but nothing like the bad stories some people might have heard. It's a safe country with good people!

Istanbul also provided me with my first Turkish bath experience. That was certainly a new experience! It involves lying on a huge marble platform in a big room that feels like a sauna. If you get the whole experience, an attendant will come and scrub you so well you think your skin will come off! Then you get the bubble scrub! That was my favorite part. They wash nearly every inch of you and rinse you off by dumping buckets of water on you. Then you get your hair washed. I took the 'luxury package' so I had a massage too. Then you're free to spend as long as you want back on the marble platform and in the pool and jacuzzi. It was good fun haha.

I also did a tour that involved a boat cruise in the Golden Horn and up the Bosphorus. We also had a view of he city from the tip of the Golden Horn and rode a cable car back down the hill, visited Dolmabahce palace (best palace interior I've seen, I think) and a trip over the Bosphorus bridge (the first connecting 2 continents) and made my debut in Asia!

I had a great time in Istanbul (I'm excited to go back). I'll save the stories from the nights out for later, and the photos just for another time!

My next stop was Goreme in Cappadocia. Most of you probably know I was dying to go there. And it was even better than I'd hoped! Being there for me was like being in heaven. Everywhere I looked I was nearly overwhelmed by the place! I took an overnight bus in and an overnight bus out and slept 3 nights there... And I could have used more time! The landscape was just so incredible! And I guess it didn't hurt that I had a great place to stay and met some of the best people! I visited the Goreme open air museum, which was nice, but I was more into the look of the place rather than the fact that they were rock cut churches... Didn't make a difference when it came to how much I enjoyed it though. I did a tour as well, taking us to the Selime monastery (way better than I was expecting! That place was wild) and Derinkuyu underground city (one of a few in the region, but it's the biggest). I took a hot air balloon ride at sunrise over some valleys (amazing even though it was a cloudy day), rented. Bike and went to a nearby village and climbed some rocks to the most spectacular view (better than the sunset I caught from a hilltop) and took a nice long walk in Love Valley to visit the legendary phallic rocks. Cappadocia overall might be my favorite place I've ever been - if you ever are able, GO THERE!

I was so sad to leave, but Pamukkale was calling! A friend from Goreme and I went to spend a day and a night. We got in and visited the Hierapolis and the travertines right away. We spent so much time around the travertines- it was just so cool! The water was warm and running everywhere, the detail in the rocks was so neat, and we couldnt get over how not-slippery it was haha. It was the best! It was also a beautiful day, meaning taking photos was really hard. Between the sun and white rock, you couldn't see what you were photographing, so apologies in advance for poor quality photos! But it was awesome. The ruins were actually quite good, but more of a bonus than anything... I wouldn't have gone just to see them, but I would have made the trip just for the travertines.

Pamukkald is really tiny so we just stayed the one night and moved on to Fethiye the next day. We arrived and met up with another friend there and booked our paragliding for the next morning! Our first night was relaxing, enjoyed a wander along the harbour and a BBQ at the hostel, followed by delivery baklava!

Paragliding the next day was the best thing I've done! I can't express myself with words, especially not one that I'm writing and not saying, so I won't even try. You can bet you'll all be hearing about it in person when I get back! But it felt soooooo cool and the view is like nothing I've ever seen before. Absolutely breathtaking (literally!). The three of us spent the rest of the day on the beach where I got a nasty sunburn (my second of the trip) and the worst sunglasses tan you might ever have the fortune of not seeing.

I took a day cruise the next day to a few really beautiful spots around Oludeniz and to Butterfly Valley (don't get excited, there aren't actually any butterflies). A few issues with the day but it was actually pretty enjoyable. Yesterday I took a tour to Dalyan. I was originally going to go there and stay for a night or two but I decided instead to do the tour. first we went to the mud baths! it was totally not what I was expecting - it was way better! It was hot (which made it a challenge for me and my sunburn) but I made it in to the gooey slimey mess and sat for a bit before covering myself everywhere but my hair and eyeballs with mud and sitting in the sun to dry. It felt so weird! First I felt like a monster from a movie or something then as it dries it's like you're in a body cast. When I figure I was dry enough, I jumped off the dock into the lake to wash myself off. The thermal bath was too hot for my sunburn but I was fine with that. We took our riverboat to a lunch stop then continued on to Iztuzu beach! That was cool- it stretches between 2 chunks of land and on one side of the beach it's a lake and on the other it's the Mediterranean! It was beautiful. I layer around on the beach for an hour then we went to see where a guy on a boat selling crab was trying to lure some loggerhead turtles! It's not quite their season for breeding so there weren't too many around, but I caught some good glimpses and got a photo or two! That really made my day!!!

That finally brings us to today... I bussed today from Fethiye to Selcuk, where i am now. I'm just here for a night, tomorrow I'll do a tour of Ephesus and explore a bit before taking an overnight bus back to Istanbul. I'll spend a few nights there before catching a flight to Sarajevo!

Leaving Turkey will be terrible, I think. Actually, I can't think about it. The country and the people have been awesome and I've met some fantastic people. Tonight, a friend I've been sorts traveling with since Goreme will come and we'll head to Istanbul together and probably meet up with another friend again. I'll spend about Half my time in Istanbul with them before they leave. It's cool to be going back, over the past week or so Ive acquired a whole new list of things to do and see there!

Anyway, now that I've gotten this big and not very good update done with, I'll be better at keeping up wih shorter and hopefully more interesting updates!

Keeping everyone in my thoughts, hope you're keeping me in yours!


P.S. merhaba means hello!


Erin Mc:
May 10, 2012
I'm so glad you're having an awesome time and seeing some really amazing places!!! Paragliding sounds SICK! And the landscapes sound gorgeous! Can't wait to see your pictures :)
May 11, 2012
Ahhh look at you, having another architectural moment at the Hagia Sophia!! Haha. I'm thoroughly convinced now that I should have Turkey at the top of my someday travel list! So glad you're enjoying it as much or more than you expected, sounds like you've found way too many amazing things to do there :) Can't wait for the pictures!
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