Turkey, where east meets west. Just never a better reason for me and luc to visit this country. I must say I was truly glad to revisit Asia again... (though I really felt I was somewhere in Europe still). It had been a week long trip and we were really visiting the maximum of places in the minimum of time frame. Yeah... 2900 km journey in 7 days, make it an average of 400km per day. Gosh, I doubt I would have gone if I had known that beforehand!
Right, I know I am rather impatient in writing, I ain't going to put thousands words here to elaborate in detail all my encounters. Quick notes:
26 March 2005 Saturday (Sunny)
27 March 2005 Sunday
- I just remember packing and singing the whole morning
- Afternoon train to airport. 2 hours in advance to check in, luc's idea, never know why he always prefers to be so early. I don't
mind the seat, my bums can support the 2 hours journey in any kind of situation anyway...
- Right, 1 hour delay, and the roller coaster flight, kind of thrilling me for an exciting trip...
- We arrived in Izmir only at midnight, plus the bus and the wait for the group, we left the aiprot only at 1am and arrived in hotel
at 2am. Guess what, daylight saving time was over, so we had to advance the clock 1 hour, means it's 3am when we finally went
- And the guide just showed that branded smiling face: "we will leave at 7am for the first visit"
28 March 2005 Monday
- Visited Efesus in the morning， Nécropole qnd Pamukkale in the afternoon, before heading to a 5 stars (must rate it high, cause I have my first turkey bath there, and it's free).
- Efesus, the best-preserved classical city on the Mediterranean, and perhaps the best place in the world to get the feeling for
what life was like in Roman times, simply one word to discribe it: stupéfiant (french, means stunning). I could even see romans'
toilet, and that was dated back 2 thousands years ago, they already had a sewage system! (glad I was born later, I still dont feel
comfortable to go to shit with 10 other people in the same room together...)
- Nécropole, ancien tombstones lied across the mountain site more than 1 km long. People at the time believed that the dead would one day resurrect, and thus they kept the bodies in the huge carved-stone graves.
- Pamukkale, might be the best site we have visited in Turkey, purely white mountain with hot spring water. The scientific explanation is that hot thermal springs pouring down the hillside deposit calcium carbonate, which solidifies as travertine. The so called "cotton castle" really lives up to its reputation as one of the wonder of the world.
- The dinner in the hotel was superb, I couldn't even count how many starters or main dishes or desserts on display! Definately I didnt fail my stomach, felt like a VIP :)
29 March 2005 Tuesday
- 7am and we were off on road again, direction: Cappadoce, distance: 900km!
- Along the journey, we went to a caravanserai for a lunch, superb ambiance, totally Turk, totally authentic!
- At the dusk, we visited a underground castle. 7 floors in total, reminding the world how the christians lived in the hide of wars.
- Finally cappadoce welcomed us at 9pm. Needless to say, a big Turkish buffet and then faire dodo! (faire dodo: sleep)
- 7am and we were already on the bus to visit the amazing landscape of cappadoce. The chimney-looked stones stood up at every corner of the city. We walked in the dessert land and visited some troglodyte castles and churches. We even visited people that actually lives in a troglodyte house!
- We were a bit bourgeois the night to dine in a chic troglodyte restaurant that presented various traditional dances while serving foods. Of course, I was most interested in belly dance, and I was really having fun seeing how the dancer mocked with old men carrying the real big belly....
30 March 2005 Wednesday (mostly grey and rainy)
- The long waiting day - direction: Instabul, left 8am sharp!
- I got a bit sick that day, but in the afternoon, a dalfagon just killed all the germs. A happy me is back :)
- We visited a national museum in Angkara(capital of Turkey) on the way. No much surprise to me, though it was named the european museum of year 2003.
- Lunch in a nice hotel in Angkara, I started to get a bit bored with the same foods everyday.
- I managed to stand 3 hours inhuman wait before finally released myself in a toilet at a freeway stop. Gosh, the dalfagon just
stimulated the peeing process!
- only after 9pm that I grab my first glance on the renown city Istanbul.
- After settling in in the hotel, Luc and I went for a little walk down the town. Gosh, that was freezing cold! Couldn't possibly stay long with my spring jacket. On the street there were people everywhere, the Turks seemed to work late, and it's a lot more animated than Brussels, I just like the shouted bargaining voices here and there, reverberated in the chilly air. And of course, the various food stalls, just embalmed the whole street. I noticed people in Instanbul were a lot more aggresive than those from the rural areas... well, that's logic anyway.
31 March 2005 Thursday (Grey x2 and Cold x 10!)
- At 7 am we were droved to a mega store that manufactured leather clothes. They presented us a fashion show, and I was amazed that they managed to get the models to work that early! I almost bought a jacket, Luc stopped me as he thought leather is useless... I shouldn't have listened to him! Now I missed the nice jacket (I really thought I looked great in it!)
- We went to visit the famous Sultan Palace + Church/Mosque Saint Sofia, and of course, the trademark of Istanbul: The Blue Mosque. The morning was just super cold. Anyway, I managed to survive somehow.
- In the afternoon, we finally visited 'Le grand Bazaar', the biggest market in Istanbul. It was too big and I only had 1 hour to shop, consequence: I bought only one t-shirt. Not enough time for me this slow-decision-maker person at all.
- We took a boat trip to visit the Bosphore strait. Lots of nice buildings along the sides, and regrettably it was too cold to be outside, it would have been a better trip in Istanbul if the sun was kind enough to show some mercy!
- After a dinner in the crappy hotel, I went out with the tour on a town excursion. Luc stayed back in hotel as he was starting to feel sick. Glad he did, cause it was darn cold outside. We visited a hotel, a shopping street and a bar... nice, full of smokers, I should have stayed back too!
1 April 2005 Friday (Grey)
- we left istanbul early at 7 and in an hour we were already on a boat crossing a peninsular to get to Bursa, the third largest city in Turkey. It's a nice city, favorable price for souvenirs, and wonderful snow views. Yeah, still snows in the mountain in April, no wonder it has always been the winter sport city here.
- we visited the Green Mosque before lunch. The Iman even sang the 5 prayers song to us. Now I really know what these songs were, they were just the same lyric with different melody! Shame on me living in Malaysia for 22 years and never ever paid a single slightest attention to any tiny voice coming out from any mosque! Well, the Imam in Malaysia won't sing it to me like that anyway. The Islamic concept in Turkey is a lot of mild and friendly towards other religions and races I would deduce.
- We drove another 800 Km today to arrive at Selcuk at 9pm. Selcuk is totally a touristic city, nice beach, nice hotel, nice holidays building. Nothing turkish at all, glad that we were here just to stay overnight before taking the flight the next day. I definately don't like the town, I have no intention to visit Turkey like visiting Bali.
2 April 2005 Saturday (Sunny again)
- After a quick breakfast, I went for my first professional turkish bath + soap message + oil essential massage. Anyway, I was rather dissapointed, as the venue was too cold, and I was in a rush to catch my flight. Didn't really enjoy it...
- 10 am and we were on our way to airport. 1 hour delay again, but I was glad we arrived safely to Brussels.
- Oh yeah, I managed to take a glance on the mediterranean sea... the turquoise water and astounding rocks just reminded my extraordinary trip in Craotia last summer...
The next day Sunday... I was just playing sleepy pig the whole day....