December 11, 2012

More Desert! – Istanbul, Cappadocia

One day Istanbul

It took about 8 hours with time difference to go to Istanbul from London… We flew Easyjet from Luton – 3.5-4 hour flight, 2 hour time difference, 1.5 hrs bus from Sabiha airport to Taksim square (traffic was nuts in town), another 30 min walk through the high street to get to our Airbnb place. It was a bit ridiculous even though we flew the first flight in the morning, half day was already gone.

We walked around the old town Sultanamet at night. When we crossed the bridge (i think it’s called the Golden Horn), we saw a million people fishing on bridge lol, while below the bridge by the shore had all sorts of tourist trap restaurants. The Grand Bazaar was a massive market selling all sorts of randomness (mostly souvenir ish things), we tried some Turkish coffee and apple tea (which could’ve just been apple flavored powder drink), and ate some sweet, sweet Turkish delight. Then stumbled our way into Hippodrome and saw the obelisks, went into Blue Mosque by accident, and had an all flavored turkish ice cream (caramella, chocolate, vanilla, limonella, pistachio) before finishing the night with wandering around the Hagia Sophia. With only about 1/3 day left the next day, we got up early and hit the Topkapi Palace first thing, spent about 1.5 hours there (skipping the Harem), rushed through inside of Hagia Sohpia and Basilica Cistern in an hour, and that was the end of 1 day tour in Istanbul. We met up with Thean and Doris back at Sabiha airport for the flight to Kayseri.

2 days Cappadocia

I thought Cappadocia was going to be in the desert middle of nowhere, but we ended up at what seemed to be a tiny resort town. Cave hotels everywhere and we stayed at one called The Vineyard. The host/owner Osman and his dad Hassan were super nice, and it just so happened that we were the only guests in the whole hotel, we were like the VIPs.

The main event of our trip was the hot air balloon ride. The desert here was known for the funky rock formation and hot air balloon rides, which then you would get this amazing scene of all the balloons in the sky over the desert. This was my first time riding a hot air balloon as well, and the experience was quite amazing. They used this massive flamethrower-like equipment to pump the balloon, and then people would climb into the basket while the workers held it down. We drifted across the sky looking over the valley under the sun, while all these other colorful balloons go up and down in the distance. I don’t really know what to write about it, it was awesome, it was almost like… The feeling of diving, but opposite cause you’re in the sky haha, the pictures speak for itself. After the balloon ride, Hassan took us on a tour through the land of Cappadocia. Saw all these caves people used to live in – giant castle, fallic shaped villages, underground apartments (up to 8 levels!), fancy pottery and onyx stone work, and several look out points. Delicious Turkish lunch included.

Too bad the night didn’t end as well as the day, as we all went to try Turkish bath recommended by Osman. To keep it short, just so happened that the jacuzzi was broken, my massage was cut short for no reason, totally didn’t get our moneys worth. Before the day was over, me and Anthony went to the roof and tried to take some star photos, ended with one awesome photo of Thean and Doris’ faces in the sky. The next day we stopped by the Open Air Museum before we left, which was pretty much a well-preserved village, and then spent the next 8 hours flying amd waiting >.<

(This post feels like it’s just a million fragmented sentences, gg fobby English)

Food highlight

Ekmek – delicious makerel sandwich, we should make this back home. Sesame pretzel thing, mediocre but cheap. Kebap – Istanbul style (meat carved off the stick like in a doner wrap) and Cappadocia style (cooked in a mini clay pot that you break to serve), cheapest and adequate. Roti bread like bakery filled with cheese or potato called gozleyme something – best discovery, soooo tasty. For the rest, also had some freshly squeezed juice, tradition Turkey breakfast and lunch at the hotel, tasty pistachio chocolate from corner stores, “draft beer” – literally a bottle of beer that just said draft beer, and it was pretty good.

Would I come back

Maybe if bunch of my friends want to come, and not in the summer, cause it’d be way too hot and busy. Turkey is massive, I would like to go see the rest of Turkey, like Kiz Kalesi.

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