anyways, i was very fortunate to be able to visit this beautiful country back in November last year.
went with a couple of girlfriends.
hubby didnt come with.
he's still not fond of flying.
plus, by going with my girlfriends, it's easier to save on money, because we could divide everything equaly between us including our accommodation.
we took emirates to fly to istanbul via dubai.
spent overnight in dubai so we can see the city. arrived at dubai airport around 9pm and took a cab for a drive around the city. our cab driver was a filipino woman who could speak english well, (most of the people there can speak english fairly well) and she took us around the city, and then to the architectural wonders like the burj khalifa and burj al-arab, drove past the famous palm jumeirah resort, and then dropped us off at jumeirah beach. this beach was described to be THE place to hangout and stay for tourists, because it is lined with many hotels and restaurants. so we did. stay at the beach. literally. like, on the beach. we slept on the beach that night. after a long stroll looking at other people hanging out at the cafes and restaurants, we had falafel at a place called operation:falafel and around 3 am were just too tired to do anything else and so we parked ourselves on the beach and slept.
the next morning we had a simple breakfast at one of the many cafes, walked along the dubai canal (i think that's what it's called) and wandered some more (and got lost for awhile) before taking the train back to the airport.
and then we reached istanbul.
we stayed at a small family-owned hotel near the sultanahmet square called the piport hotel. stayed for 4 nights there. visited the blue mosque, the hagia sofia, the topkapi museum and a couple other museums by the square. visited the grand bazar as well. went on the bosphorus cruise.
tasted and experienced the turkish ice-cream, you know, there the ice-cream vendors not only sell the ice-cream but they also tease and joke with you when they are handing you the ice-cream. the ice-cream themselves are yummy too, kinda "chewy". my only regret was not having more of them.
the highlight of the istanbul, for my friends at least, was the istanbul marathon. they ran the 10k, and although i didnt run, i was extremely proud of them. it was their 1st run outside of malaysia too.
after istanbul we travelled to cappadocia by bus. it was a 12-hour ride at night, which helped save money on accomodation. the bus was comfortable too..they give you light snacks with coffee/tea soon after you get on and later as the day breaks and you approach your destination.
cappadocia has amazing one-of-a-kind landscapes. we took guided tours there, went hiking and up a hot air balloon at sunrise. we also went for a turkish bath or hamam, just to see what it was like. it was fun, you sit in a sauna and then have someone lather you up with soap and scrub your whole body. sounds like something you'd find in a nice spa here right? well, not really. 'cause all this are done in groups and you sit in a circle, while other people sit on the side waiting for their turn. we then opted for a massage afterwards. i think the hamams in cappadocia cost cheaper than those in istanbul, but there are not that many to choose from especially if you want one that separates the men from the women.
we stayed for only 1 night in cappadocia, but the hotel was the best one out of the 3 that we stayed in in turkey. that's because it was a cave hotel, which is one of the attractions in cappadocia too.
next we travelled to kusadasi and pamukkale. again, we travelled by bus, and again it was a 12-hour ride at night. we stayed for 2 nights in kusadasi at a hotel called akman hotel, and took guided tours around kusadasi and pamukkale. main attractions include the ancient greek city ephesus and roman ruins hierapolis where you can also bathe in the ancient pool and walk at the beautiful and scenic travertines. we also went to a carpet factory, and totally fell in love with the silky hand woven carpets, and i was almost taken aback as to how very expensive these carpets can be!
finally on the last day, we went to izmir airport, which was about 1-hour away from kusadasi, to fly back to istanbul. we flew on turkish airways, and just like on emirates, we totally liked the food they served us. speaking of food, before going for the trip i read on many people's blogs that seem to say that many people got bored with their "dry" kebabs and missed malaysian foods instead. well i'm glad we managed to try so many different types of food there, and have to disagree on that. i totally love turkish dishes, and i'm sure my friends did too, because every time we eat we would google the dish up to find the recipe and see if we can recreate it when we are back home. hahaha. who am i kidding? i know i'd better google up where i can find good turkish restaurants in kl/jb if i ever want to taste turkish foods again. that or travel back to turkey. ooo, that sounds awesome!
it was in turkey too that i got to taste fresh figs for the first time, and after telling hubby about it and how much i love it much more than the dried ones, he actually planted a few fig samplings behind my mom-in-law's house in muar, so soon i can have as much fresh figs as i want. yay!
so all in all it was a great trip. there are still a lot more places we didnt get to see. we also didnt get to see the whirling dervish dance which we planned to. it's unfortunate that right after we left there were news about the bombings in istanbul and ankara. ugh..why do people want to bomb other people? why cant we just respect each other and live peacefully ever after?? i want world peeaaceee! *read in whining tone*. my thoughts and prayers to the people in turkey and everywhere else in the world. may we get world peace. and more travels.