|Overlooking Sunset Valley in Cappadoccia|
Tara and I just returned from an amazing spring break in Turkey! In order to avoid a boring retell of our entire trip, I'll attempt to hit some of the highlights.
Tyrik - Tyrik was our first couchsurfer in Ankara and made our first day in Turkey much less stressful! On this trip, we did a mix of couchsurfing and staying in hostels. We love couchsurfing and had great experiences being guided around several cities, but we also found that we loved staying in hostels on this trip and meeting fellow backpackers/travelers along the way. However, our coolest form of housing on this trip was most likely the tree houses that we stayed at in Olympos, a beach city along the southern coast of Turkey.
Transportation - we ended up utilizing MANY forms of transportation on this trip with the exception of a train. We managed to entertain ourselves for the 18 hour bus ride from Georgia to Ankara at the beginning and master the art of sleeping in cramped up places. We also took an amazing ferry ride at sunset across the Bosphorus Sea from the European side to the Asian side in Istanbul. In Cappadoccia, we rented bikes and rode around the beautiful valleys filled with fairy chimneys and caves. We took advantage of dolumus's (Turkey's version of a marshutka) as we skirted from city to city. We were also pros at riding the Metro in Istanbul and unfortunately we had to pay for a very expensive cab ride to the airport to fly back across the country on our last day. Oh, and we were driven around
on scooters for a whole day. That was fun. :) Antalya
|Tara and I getting ready for our long bus adventure!|
|Biking through Love Valley in Cappadoccia|
|My quad driver, Odem (we're about to go down a really big hill!!|
|We made it to the top!|
Tea - Tara and I quickly discovered that it certainly pays to have tea with Turkish people. As I mentioned earlier, we rented bikes from this company and when we got back, they offered us their famous Apple Tea (which ironically they only serve to tourists - Turkish people don't like it). As we were chatting and drinking away, they offered to take us quadding to watch the sunset later that evening. Of course, we accepted and we had the best time quadding around from valley to valley, taking tons of pictures and learning how to drive ourselves. As the evening wore on, we discovered one of the guys with us was a balloon pilot and he offered to take us up the next morning for free since there was space in his group. We had originally been planning to take a night bus that evening to our next destination, but we were of course unable to pass up this incredible opportunity!! So, the next morning, Tara and I had the time of our lives oooing and ahhhing over the 50 some balloons that were flying above one of the most beautiful lands I've ever been in. I think the best part was the fact that we joined this retired Finnish group, so we clearly looked out of place. But that didn't make us think twice about coming along! After our amazing experience in Cappadoccia, whenever someone asked us if we wanted tea, we said YES!
|I do love Starbucks.|
|Tara and I in front of the Blue Mosque|
Trena - Remember my friend Trena from Luther who has been volunteering in Israel for the year and who I spent Christmas with in Bethlehem? Well, I realized how small the world has become when we were sitting under a tree outside of Topkapi Palace in Istanbul. As Tara was frantically deleting pictures from her memory card to create space for more, I looked up and I saw Trena walking with several of her friends toward me. I called out her name in disbelief and we both just laughed for several minutes at the irony of everything. Neither of us had any idea that the other was traveling in Turkey now and it was completely random that we ran into one another. Such a fun coincidence!!
|Tara and I with some adorable children in Antalya|
|Giggling after putting our feet in the freezing cold water!|
Turkey was such a wonderful country to explore. There were so many places I would have loved to see, but there was just simply no time. I highly recommend it to anyone who's looking for a great vacation! It was a much needed break from Georgia. However, now that I'm back here and it's already May 4th, I'm in disbelief that I'll be going home in just 6 short weeks! We have lots to look forward to in that time period, but I'm filled with such strange feelings of being so incredibly excited to go home and see family and friends that I miss dearly, and being so incredibly sad that I'll be leaving Cici, Lela, Mishiko and other good friends I've made here. I've once again realized the importance of balancing my thoughts and feelings about the future with enjoying my present life in the here and now. Let's hope I can keep that balance up and enjoy the rest of my time here!