Turkey was a blast. I never really thought about coming here until Noël said. Noël has planned and organised everything so far and I basically gave her money, yay for friends like that.
The more I started looking into Turkey the more hyped I became about going. We went to 3 places: Istanbul, Cappadoccia and Pamukkale.
Istanbul is a lovely enough place, more so in the sunshine (it rained our first day!) I wouldn’t say you need more than a few days there though.
The night we arrived we were starving and all I wanted to do was dump our bags and go eat but the guy on reception insisted we have an apple tea while he explains things and then will show us to our room. Reluctantly I drink the tea, to be fair it was really nice, but I was hungry and once I think about food, well, I don’t stop. Anyone who knows me knows I like my food, I mean who doesn’t?
Our first official day of exploring we went to the grand bazaar, which as you can imagine is a very big market. It’s quite nice inside, lots of shops but once you’ve walked along one side you’ve seen it all. As it always is with markets I suppose. When we left we were hoping it would have stopped raining as it said on the weather app it would stop around 2, but iPhone always lies.
After the grand bazaar we walked to the Blue Mosque, the mosque that would call for prayer 5 times a day and wake us up at 6 in the morning. I’ve never been inside a mosque that was still being used so it was interesting. We got given a head scarf to wrap round our hair (they give you a grey one for free at a cabin outside the mosque which Is really good, it saves buying one). We walk up to the mosque, take our shoes off and head inside, expecting some kind of grand ceiling and columns but we’re met with construction which was disappointing (soon to become the thing of our travels). The little that wasn’t under construction was beautiful though so you can imagine how nice it would be otherwise.
Afterwards we went to the Hagia Sophia museum, payed £10 to get in and really not worth paying tbh. It’s beautiful inside, but it’s just a big empty space that once was a church. Unless you go with a guide I wouldn’t recommend. Saying all this, both the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia are amazing from the outside, and the square that connects them is my favourite place in Instanbul.
The spice bazaar was the last place we went that day and bought a ton of Turkish delight that I still haven’t eaten yet. It’s just so sickly and sweet I can only seem to eat one at a time.
We chose places based inside this day because it was raining so much and thank god we saved the palace till the next day when the sunshine came out.
The Palace is massive and we spent the entire day there. This was my favourite looking room. Located in the Harem which is a separate ticket but still inside the palace.
Afterwards we went and got some fish bread, well Noël did. Fish bread, yes you read right. Down on the river they have boats where they catch the fish and then they grill it there and then and stick it in some bread. Apparently it’s a thing to do in Istanbul, so we did it.
That night we got our first night bus. The buses, if you get the suit where its 2 seats and then a single seat, are real spacious. We had a single seat each and I slept really well, BUT Turkish buses don’t have toilets. I know! Anyone that knows me knows I have the smallest bladder known to man so what did I do? Well 1- luckily it stopped, but only like once and then you have to pay for the toilet in the services and 2- I dehydrated myself, yay.
We made it to Cappadocia and to the hotel around 9. We dumped our bags and headed on a tour at around 9:30. Good job we did the tour because we had no idea how big Goreme/Cappadocia actually was, so we did a tour again the next day as well with the same company. The first day we did the red tour and second the green tour.
Red tour included the Uçhisar Castle, the valleys and the open air museum. The green tour took us out to the underground city (a bunch of caves), pigeon valley, Selima monastery and Ihlara valley. We got food with the tours as well, my favourite was the red tours food, it was a buffet.
Woke up for sunrise in Cappadocia the next morning at 5:45, of course a mosque woke me up. We then walked to the top of this mountain to watch the sunrise and the hot air balloons go up. It was one of the most magical sights I have experienced yet. Well worth the early wake up.
And we’re off to Pamukkale. So we head for our second overnight bus. The receptionist from the hotel even came to the bus stop to say bye to us which I thought was really sweet. The bus left at 8:15pm and was meant to get to Pamukkale at around 6am. We got there about 4:30am, yep, too early and the hotel was closed. Luckily when I went to see if I could find the Wifi password through the window the receptionist had woke up and said for a slight fee we can be checked in early. The fee was like 2 pounds so we said yes obviously.
Pamukkale was nice to just sit and chill. We went out for some food most of the time and then just sat around the pool reading or watching TV. We did go to the travertines, museums and ruins one day. A lot of the pools had dried up which was really sad and then ones that were full and looked stunning were roped off. We were only aloud in the ones leading up to the park which is kind of annoying, but they were still cool. Apparently, they have healing powers or some bullshit like that.
We saw one of the biggest ancient theatres I’ve ever seen, that was still really well put together, Cleopatras pool which looks nice but is smaller than I imagined it to be and you had to pay extra to swim. We walked around some of the most in tacked ruins I’ve seen, the place was huge.
After Pamukkale we got our last overnight bus in Turkey back to Istanbul. The hostel we stayed at the second time round was more social which was nice. We went to the Basilica Cistern, underground columns basically where water was meant to be. We also walked to the Galata Tower and yes, it’s just a big tower in the middle of the town.
We then got our flight to Athens the next day and said bye to Turkey and the noise of the mosques and hello to Europe again.
Link to my video of the place.