After a long journey from Brisbane, Maral and I finally landed in Istanbul, Turkey. Fortunate for us, we met a couple of legends as we were leaving the airport. Legend no. 1- Kubilay (aka KK, an Istanbul local) and legend no. 2- Nikki (aka Melbourne babe). We shared a taxi and decided to explore together the next day. We met them in Taksim city and successfully demolished enough Turkish delight free samples to feed a small army. We visited the incredibly intricate structure-that is the Blue Mosque. The attention to detail inside the Mosque was nothing short of breathtaking. No one does Turkish tile design quite like the Turkish.
We visited the Grand Bazaar Markets in the city- characterized by endless herbs and spices, teas, dried fruits along with rugs among rugs (Turkish Kilim). If you love rugs- Turkey is your destination.
After a long day Maral and I jumped on a bus to the airport, where we ran into a bit of a dilemma. Our apparent half an hour trip turned into an hour and a half and sure enough missed our flight to Dalaman. Great start. Fortunately we caught a flight 5 hours later to Dalaman, where we met Tonguc (Maral’s dad) and his friend moella. I feel in love with Maral’s dad from get –go when he offered me a glass of red wine at 3am in the morning on the car ride to Kabak Koyu. Waking up in Kabak Koyu was amazing! A small, lazy and empty beach destination encapsulated by beautiful Rocky Mountains and hidden caves. The water was as blue as the sky. A perfect escape from the Australian winter.
After a wonderful two days in Kabak Koyu we road tripped through the mountains toward our next destination, Adrassan. Reaching a peak of 1900ft above sea level, we saw mountain goats and incredible rocks- a geologists dream. With little food stores on the way we were able to pull off to the side of the road and pick the most exceptionally juicy apricots, cherries and peaches. This was a huge highlight of mine. Finally we reach Adrassan, welcomed with a buffet Turkish dinner- fresh fish, olives, pickled vegetables, rocket, eggplant on eggplant- it was great!
We woke up early and ventured out on a boat tour along the coast. This involved caves, empty beaches, fresh wild lavender gardens, crystal waters, Turkish music and dancing and most importantly great company. The Turkish are some of the most warm and kind people I have ever met, there generosity was above and beyond.
Next destination- Pamukkale. I was so so excited to venture to this sleepy little town. I highly recommend you all put Pamukkale on your must see bucket lists. One of nature’s greatest spectacles, a white mountain of thermal bathes. To top off this incredible experiential destination the top of the mountain is full of ancient ruins. Something I will never forget.
We were devastated to hear about the unrest and deaths in Istanbul airport. We had left that airport three hours prior to the bombing, which was rather surreal. It was such a shame to hear of the awful pain inflicted on the beautiful Turkish people. Very unfair. All my love is sent to the families of those affected.
After spending a few days in Pamukkale we ventured to our next and final destination, Cappadocia Again, I highly recommend putting this anachronistic town of caves on your must see bucket list. The whole town is made up of little caves and friendly faces. We woke up at 4am to climb to the top of the Mountain and watch the numerous hot air balloons float through the sky toward the rising sun. I am not even going to try to describe this spectacle, it is something you must experience. Nothing short of magic. We drank red wine and ate cheese and dried fruits- my favourite things. Our final night, we slept in a cave, it was pretty cool.
Turkey has been one of my favourite destinations. It is full of history, kind people, delicious fresh foods, beautiful sea, caves and just magical spectacles at every corner. I will most definitely be back. Next stop Morocco!
Hope you enjoy the pictures!