Istanbul was fantastic, but it was time to head out into the rest of Turkey and see the real draw cards. It’s a big country spread across two continents and faced with the choice of an overnight bus or a quick one hour flight we chose the latter and arrived in the town of Göreme to see the one of a kind, Cappadocia.
First night we climbed up to a hill overlooking the town and got this view of the area and a pretty decent sunset. A lot of the houses and buildings are either built using stone or just carved straight into the cliffs.
The landscape is full of fair chimneys (the pointy things bottom left) and other incredible rock formations formed by lava millions of years ago. The hiking through the valleys is fun provided you don’t get lost, which is pretty easy to do in the maze-like trails.
The thing to do in Cappadocia is to get a morning with the right weather and get up in a hot air balloon. We got the right mix of no clouds and light wind…up, up and away.
The glorious sight of hundreds of balloons floating over the clear morning sky.
Next up was an overnight bus to Pamukkale, which means cotton castle in Turkish and is very similar to what the Pink and White terraces in New Zealand would have looked like had they not being destroyed. Like a river of icing on a cake.
The weirdest pool I’ve ever tried to swim in.
Pamukkale also has some amazingly well preserved Roman ruins including this glorious amphitheatre.
And this gate and main street.
On to Gallipoli shortly before ANZAC day. It’s a bit of a right of passage as New Zealanders to come here being the site of the first major war we fought as a country and where so many of our young men died in WW1. This is the New Zealand memorial and a statue of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk is in the background, he not only defeated the ANZAC troops but also lead Turkey to its revolution and subsequent independence a decade later. He’s kind of a big deal.
The beautiful and peaceful Australian memorial at Lone Pine. From where I took this photo, the Turkish soldiers entered the stalemate of trench warfare against the Australian forces over where the guy in the red shirt is. Hard to imagine the carnage that went on here.
Back to Istanbul for a few days to celebrate my 30th Birthday at the amazing Zuma restaurant (thanks Christine). Looking forward to a kick ass 31st year.