Week 2 in Turkey

Trip Start Dec 10, 2005
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Trip End Ongoing


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Sunday, April 1, 2007

Day 396 -Wednesday 28th March - Pamukkale - Antalya
This morning we got to walk through more ruins of Hierapolis (bit ruined out now) and then onto the amazing pools of blinding white crystal spilling down the mountainside...this is Pamukkale which we have been looking forward to. These pools receive their water from the nearby warm springs and the minerals have gradually been encrusted along the limestone slopes forming spectacular sloped terraced pools. We could walk on them but only in bare feet which was fine as we were also walking through the thermal pools. They say that because of the hordes of enthusiastic tourists it is no longer as spectacular as it once was but it was still very pretty. Next we had a big drive to the coastal town of Antalya where we got to relax a bit by the Mediterranean cost.
 
Day 397 -Thursday 29th March - Perge & Aspendos - Antalya
This morning we went to the ancient city of Perge where our guide showed how the ancient Roman baths worked...however given they were just ruins they were no where near as impressive as the working ones we saw in Bath in England. Hence, Gem went shopping as the streets of this ancient city were filled with ladies who had their goods out for sale on blankets...Wayne had a business meeting on the phone. Later we went to Aspendos which has a very impressive and well preserved ancient amphitheater ...which even wowed us. Later the tour operator took the bus to a diamond and jewelry factory...however the prices were just ridiculous and Wayne and I just laughed at the prices...his watch he bought in Geneva was here for sale for twice the price...nevertheless there are always some gullible American tourists who think they are getting a bargain!! Turkey is really not cheap anymore...stuff is pretty much the same price as in Australia if not, more expensive.
 
Day 398 -Friday 30th March - Antalya - Konya - Cappadocia
After breakfast we departed for the long drive to Konya where we visited Mevlana Mausoleum and Karatay Koran School where one of the prophets from the Muslim faith is buried. It was interesting to see the Muslim tombs and they are very pretty. There were a lot of people around the area and some young girls came up and wanted to practice their English. They gave us sweets and said that it was the prophet Mohamed's birthday today which is why so many people were around. The young people here are so lovely and friendly and very keen to talk to Australians. Next we did the huge drive to Cappaddocia where we got to the hotel and crashed. Gem went swimming tonight and Wayne got fleeced by 3 of the Golden girls on our tour playing poker!!
 
 
 
Day 399 -Saturday 31st  March - Cappadocia
What an amazing day!! Well it did not start too well as we had decided to do the balloon flight over Cappadocia and we had to get up at 5am only to find out that it was cancelled due to the weather being to windy. Back to bed!! First visit was to the underground city of Kaymaki which was amazing. Just like out of a scene from Star Wars which incidentally was filmed here!! We saw all the rooms and tiny tunnels that were carved through this underground city. People lived here for up to 2 years in order to escape their enemies which were the Arabs. There are up to about 6 underground cities in this area and the one we were in housed up to 5 thousand people. Eventually it ended up getting turned into the underground insane asylum as so many people went nuts from living underground...everyone was laughing saying that now I could write off my trip on tax as I had visited a psychiatric institution for work!!! We went 5 levels underground and about 47 meters down. Lucky we had a guide as it would be very easy to get lost here. Ext it was off to magical Cappadocia to see the volcanic valleys, the fairy chimneys and caves. This place was magical and like nothing we have ever seen before. We visited the Open Air Museam at Goreme and saw all of the amazing churches built into the fairy chimneys...they were stunning and reminded us a little of the ones we visited in Matera in Italy. We finished the day with a visit to what they call "Lovers Valley" which is probably called that because all of the structures are rather phallic. We simply loved this place and it was awesome to see it. Tonight Gem went to see the Whirling Dervishes performance in a 13th century Caravan inn which was also really interesting and a unique experience. Wayne spent the night getting fleeced again by the Golden girls at Poker.
 
Day 400 -Sunday 1st April - APRIl FOOLS DAY!! Cappadocia - Ankara
Up again at 5am to try and do our balloon ride but bugger it was raining so it was cancelled again. Unfortunately, Gem is really sick with asthma and is suffering so bad she has had to go on the steroids again...something is going on with the air here as quite a few people on our tour are having major allergies or breathing problems...it also does not help when the Turks smoke everywhere!! Nevermind hopefully she won't cark it!! Today we left for Ankara (the Capital City).On the way we drove along the famous "Silk Road" where they used to use "camel trains" to bring silk and other valuable items into Europe. We learnt that it used to take them 500 days to get the silk from China into Europe. A camel could carry 50 kilos and only walk 45 kilometers a day so they had to have places to sleep and hence every 45 kms along this road at ancient  13th century Agzikarahan caravansary where the people and animals could rest. This is perhaps where the English word for "caravan" comes from...meaning a home when traveling!!. You learn something new everyday!! Today we visited the Ataturk Mausoleum where the Turkish leader is buried and the Anatolian Civilizations Museum.
 
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