To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries
- Aldous Huxley

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Final days in Istanbul and final thoughts on Turkey

After we said our goodbyes to our tour group we moved on from our decent hotel to our half-decent hotel
I can summarise the next 4 days in a single sentence: We didn’t do much.

We were exhausted and so tired we spent the first day pretty much sleeping and eating kebabs. We did explore the area a little as well but it was mostly just catching up on much needed rest.

The next day we did go to the Archeological Museum and the Blue Mosque. I wasn’t a big fan of the Blue Mosque but that could be because I am a bit over them. I’ve seen enormous ones in Dubai and Gold Plated ones in Turkey. I’ve been woken up by their 5am prayer over the loudspeakers, making me think, in my half dazed state, that the Germans were coming.
The reason for it being called the Blue Mosque is the tiles inside the mosque are blue. Simple.

The Archeological Museum was pretty cool though. It had artifacts from Ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome and pre-Christ days. Also had statues of Greek Gods and tools from the Byzantine period as well as giant Sarcophaguses from many different periods. It’s really hard to explain Museums in length, they’re museums and you’ve all been to one before. This one didn’t have anything major in it, like Tutankhamen’s coffin, but it had some pretty cool stuff.

As for Turkey, I was impressed. Firstly, they make some pretty damn good kebabs and every second shop is a kebab shop in Istanbul. Although they do put some weird stuff in them, such as eggplant, chips and capsicum, I stuck to the good ole chicken, lettuce and tomato kebab.
Istanbul started it all with a good impression. We stayed on the European side, so it is also my first foray into Europe. I’m not sure if the Asian side is any different but Istanbul-Europe has a lot to do. They have some great restaurants, great dessert places, traditional bazaars, and amazing history. From the Mosques that were churches, the Hippodrome, it’s all such astonishing things to see.
Pamukkale and Troy and Ephesus were also rich in history. Ephesus was probably my favourite place due to the ancient cities still waiting to tell us their story.
The coast is Turkey is beautiful as well, the Mediterranean Sea great to swim in and Cappadocia thrilling to explore the caves built into mountains.

There isn’t much to complain about in terms of Turkey. The smoking is annoying and it is pretty much everywhere so lungs are getting a good work out there. They are also big water-wasters. I don’t think they have issues with water but they let go with no worries about waste. After what we go through in Melbourne, seeing such waste just rubs me the wrong way.
There are also a lot of stray cats. Everywhere we went there were strays.

None of this is a big deal and wouldn’t be a reason not to visit, I would (and am) definitely come back here and see more of it. Istanbul I think I have done a lot of, I would like to see the Asia side of it but I am keen to visit more of the coast and dive some of the War wrecks they have laying around.

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