Trekking round Turkey
Trip Start Sep 04, 2004
27Trip End Jun 30, 2005
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This 'bounce' took on a decidedly Middle Eastern shuffle when we met the stunning and costly bureacracy that is the Syrian visa application process
Jim then sent us away for a couple of hours so he could pen his magnus opus in peace. Two hours, and three sentences per letter, later we had our fawning letter from the consulate which extended 'felicitations, greetings, eternal respect and a humble request for our passage to the Arab Republic of Syria', all for 10 euro. (For free the Americans get a letter which says 'we don't introduce our citizens, but you better let them in and if they get so much as a scratch, we'll hold you personally responsible'). The Irish always are very friendly.
Anyway, back to Jim
The rest of our time in Istanbul was spent touring mosques, souks (shopping arcades) and bath houses but above all else spending 40% of our waking hours haggling over 50p (more bargaining stories are sure to follow in future Middle Eastern entries).
From Istanbul we headed south along the coast to Canakkale to visit the battle fields of Gallipoli and the ancient city of Troy. This experience was complimented with the visual version kindly provided by our hostel of Mel Gibson's "Gallipoli' and Brad Pitt's 'Troy' to get the full story.
Onto Selcuk and the ancient ruins of Ephesus - Greco/Roman ruined cities are fast replacing Medieval town squares as our touristing bread and butter. Just outside Selcuk we resumed our religious focus with a visit to Mary's house (the same Mary of virgin fame)
Our final destination in Turkey was Cappadocia, with its famed rock formations and cave houses (check out our Flintstone-style cave room above). The area is littered with 5th/6th century rock churches and some great 'Grand Canyon' style hiking opportunities. More importantly, they have a great Turkish bath where one of the locals was so taken by either Combie's or Sarah's presence that he took his towel off and began 'pleasing himself' in the corner - must be some form of Turkish welcome ceremony that the Lonely Planet had left out.
All in all we've loved it. Turkey provided a great intro to the Middle East, but we've really got to move on to Syria now. Otherwise, we'll get stranded here under the weight of our six kebab and rice pudding a day diet.
Speak to you all from Syria.