Apr 102013
 

Today was the last of our tour-type activities.

We had the same start as yesterday including the bus ride over the sea and back again to first visit the Spice Bazaar, which was quite interesting and colorful to see. There wasn’t just spices there,but souvenir items, scarves, jewelry, etc.

Istanbul - Spice Bazaar
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Istanbul - Spice Bazaar08-Apr-2013 11:08, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.7, 11.0mm, 0.02 sec, ISO 160
Istanbul - Spice Bazaar
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Istanbul - Spice Bazaar08-Apr-2013 11:11, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 125
Istanbul - Spice Bazaar
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Istanbul - Spice Bazaar08-Apr-2013 11:16, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.4, 7.9mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 160
 

After that, we got on a boat for our half-day Bosphorus cruise, which means about 1.5 hours on the boat. Sadly, the weather was not great – in fact, the worst we have had since we arrived that we had to be out in. So, although the cruise could have been quite beautiful, it was just okay.

Istanbul - Bosophorus Cruise
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Istanbul - Bosophorus Cruise08-Apr-2013 12:44, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.6, 9.4mm, 0.008 sec, ISO 100
Istanbul - Bosophorus Cruise (Bosphorus Bridge)
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Istanbul - Bosophorus Cruise (Bosphorus Bridge)08-Apr-2013 12:48, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 100
Istanbul - Bosophorus Cruise (forts on both sides of the sea)
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Istanbul - Bosophorus Cruise (forts on both sides of the sea)08-Apr-2013 13:07, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 100
 
Istanbul - Bosophorus Cruise (most expensive house in the world...)
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Istanbul - Bosophorus Cruise (most expensive house in the world...)08-Apr-2013 13:10, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 4.1, 15.7mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 125
Istanbul - Bosophorus Cruise (2nd bridge)
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Istanbul - Bosophorus Cruise (2nd bridge)08-Apr-2013 13:09, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.8, 12.6mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 100
 

Our tour ended with a drop off near the Grand Bazaar since it was closed yesterday.So, after a quick warm-up coffee at Starbucks, we explored the bazaar. For some reason,I expected it to be very chaotic and with stalls everywhere, but in fact, there are lots of small shops and it was fairly organized. People weren’t even that aggressive to try to sell us things, so that was a surprise.

Istanbul - Grand Bazaar
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Istanbul - Grand Bazaar08-Apr-2013 14:48, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.01 sec, ISO 100
Istanbul - Grand Bazaar
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Istanbul - Grand Bazaar08-Apr-2013 14:55, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.077 sec, ISO 200
Istanbul - Grand Bazaar
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Istanbul - Grand Bazaar08-Apr-2013 14:56, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 160
 
Istanbul - Grand Bazaar
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Istanbul - Grand Bazaar08-Apr-2013 15:12, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.4, 7.9mm, 0.04 sec, ISO 200
Istanbul - Grand Bazaar (snack time)
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Istanbul - Grand Bazaar (snack time)08-Apr-2013 16:01, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 125
Istanbul - Grand Bazaar (happy  with our snacks)
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Istanbul - Grand Bazaar (happy with our snacks)08-Apr-2013 16:04, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.125 sec, ISO 200
 

After a few quick purchases, we had lunch at one of the shops and then meandered our way back to the hotel.

I had a Turkish hammam treatment and massage, which I had been dying to have since we got here. It was rather expensive for what it was, but it was still relaxing and a nice change. I need to have another one when I get back….

Istanbul - Turkish Hammam in the Prince Hotel (massage area)
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Istanbul - Turkish Hammam in the Prince Hotel (massage area)08-Apr-2013 17:43, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.5 sec, ISO 400
Istanbul - Turkish Hammam in the Prince Hotel (cooling off area after sauna)
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Istanbul - Turkish Hammam in the Prince Hotel (cooling off area after sauna)08-Apr-2013 17:43, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.625 sec, ISO 400
Istanbul - Turkish Hammam in the Prince Hotel
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Istanbul - Turkish Hammam in the Prince Hotel08-Apr-2013 17:44, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 1 sec, ISO 800
 
Istanbul - Turkish Hammam in the Prince Hotel (bath area)
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Istanbul - Turkish Hammam in the Prince Hotel (bath area)08-Apr-2013 17:44, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 1 sec, ISO 800
Istanbul - Turkish Hammam in the Prince Hotel (bath area with nice warm stone marble)
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Istanbul - Turkish Hammam in the Prince Hotel (bath area with nice warm stone marble)08-Apr-2013 17:44, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 1 sec, ISO 640
Istanbul - Turkish Hammam in the Prince Hotel (resting area)
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Istanbul - Turkish Hammam in the Prince Hotel (resting area)08-Apr-2013 17:45, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 1 sec, ISO 500
 

We went back to Istiklal Street for dinner at The House Cafe. We road the tram again and then got on the second oldest and shortest ‘subway’ ever.It was quite fun for an experience. πŸ˜€

Istanbul - Second oldest subway and the shortest "Tunel"
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Istanbul - Second oldest subway and the shortest "Tunel"08-Apr-2013 20:25, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.2 sec, ISO 400
Istanbul - Second oldest subway and the shortest "Tunel"
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Istanbul - Second oldest subway and the shortest "Tunel"08-Apr-2013 20:24, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.25 sec, ISO 400
Istanbul - Second oldest subway and the shortest "Tunel"
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Istanbul - Second oldest subway and the shortest "Tunel"08-Apr-2013 20:24, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.167 sec, ISO 400
 
Istanbul - The House Cafe
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Istanbul - The House Cafe08-Apr-2013 18:54, Apple iPad mini, 2.4, 2.18mm, 0.067 sec, ISO 1000
Istanbul - Lovely dinner at the House Cafe started with a tradtional soup (yogurt, mint and cumin)
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Istanbul - Lovely dinner at the House Cafe started with a tradtional soup (yogurt, mint and cumin)08-Apr-2013 21:04, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.167 sec, ISO 400
Istanbul - Lovely dinner at the House Cafe followed by a delicious salad with quinoa, walnuts and more! YUM!
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Istanbul - Lovely dinner at the House Cafe followed by a delicious salad with quinoa, walnuts and more! YUM!08-Apr-2013 21:18, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.2 sec, ISO 400
 

Now, we are back for an early night in to relax. Tomorrow is a free day, so we will relax and return to explore Istiklal street more in the daytime. πŸ˜‰

I am actually looking forward to going home in a day as the weather is starting to get to me and I need to just relax in my own space….

– T πŸ˜€

Apr 082013
 

We had a very early rise again (5am) to be ready to leave on a ferry across the Marmara sea to Gallipoli.

Gallipoli is famous from the war for the Australian and New Zealand forces coming to the aid of the British in an attempt to control the waterways and ultimately Istanbul. It was a rather brutal fighting ground where many, including Turks, lost their lives.There is an Australian film about this, I think. So, it was interesting and both sad and sweet to read the tombstones of both young and older men who sacrificed their lives in war.

Gallipoli - ANZAC
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Gallipoli - ANZAC06-Apr-2013 09:46, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.005 sec, ISO 100
Gallipoli - ANZAC
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Gallipoli - ANZAC06-Apr-2013 09:41, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 4.1, 15.7mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 100
Gallipoli - ANZAC
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Gallipoli - ANZAC06-Apr-2013 09:53, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.7, 11.0mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 100
 
Gallipoli - cemetary for fallen Australians (Lone Pine)
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Gallipoli - cemetary for fallen Australians (Lone Pine)06-Apr-2013 10:09, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.6, 9.4mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 100
Gallipoli - cemetary for fallen Australians
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Gallipoli - cemetary for fallen Australians06-Apr-2013 10:10, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 7.2, 9.4mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 100
Gallipoli - cemetary for fallen Australians
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Gallipoli - cemetary for fallen Australians06-Apr-2013 10:08, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 100
 
Gallipoli - cemetary for fallen New Zealanders
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Gallipoli - cemetary for fallen New Zealanders06-Apr-2013 10:23, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 6.6, 6.3mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 100
Gallipoli - cemetary for fallen New Zealanders with Ataturk
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Gallipoli - cemetary for fallen New Zealanders with Ataturk06-Apr-2013 10:24, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 6.6, 6.3mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 100
Gallipoli - trenches from the war
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Gallipoli - trenches from the war06-Apr-2013 10:25, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 100
 

From Gallipoli, we stopped for lunch on our way to Istanbul. We got a bit of a taste of the horrible traffic that is well-known in the city. Luckily, we still got to our hotel early enough in the evening to go out and explore Sultanhamet more.

Traffic back into Istanbul
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Traffic back into Istanbul06-Apr-2013 16:52, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 4.2, 37.8mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 100
Istanbul traffic - center roads for commuting buses (very smart!)
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Istanbul traffic - center roads for commuting buses (very smart!)06-Apr-2013 16:53, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.4, 7.9mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 100
 

We walked around after finding a decent restaurant to eat dinner at. It was nice to finally have some real food. I think that my stomach has revolted from all of the crappy food we have been eating the past week and very little exercise. So, after dinner, we walked up near the Topkapi castle, which also faces Hagia (Haya) Sophia. It was lovely. The area is very touristy as R had warned me and so many store workers were trying to get our attention –

Our first nice dinner in Istanbul Old City near our hotel
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Our first nice dinner in Istanbul Old City near our hotel06-Apr-2013 20:41, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.125 sec, ISO 400
Our first nice dinner in Istanbul Old City near our hotel (Meze - appetizer)
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Our first nice dinner in Istanbul Old City near our hotel (Meze - appetizer)06-Apr-2013 20:46, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.125 sec, ISO 400
Our first nice dinner in Istanbul Old City near our hotel (stuffed chicken with spinach = delish!)
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Our first nice dinner in Istanbul Old City near our hotel (stuffed chicken with spinach = delish!)06-Apr-2013 21:05, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.125 sec, ISO 250
 
Istanbul - Me and Hagia Sophia again
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Istanbul - Me and Hagia Sophia again06-Apr-2013 22:27, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.167 sec, ISO 400
Istanbul - The Sultan Ahmet Mosque (aka Blue Mosque) at night
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Istanbul - The Sultan Ahmet Mosque (aka Blue Mosque) at night06-Apr-2013 22:27, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.7, 11.0mm, 0.5 sec, ISO 400
Istanbul - Me and Hagia Sophia
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Istanbul - Me and Hagia Sophia06-Apr-2013 22:26, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.4 sec, ISO 400
 

“Ladies, may I ask you a question?” “Can I talk to you just for a minute? – No? – Why not?” “You’re so beautiful and sexy.” “Don’t talk this guy because he’s very horny.” (This is my favorite one). “Excuse me, I am not dangerous. I own that store over there…” “Girls, you dropped something…”

The tactics are creative and persistent. Some more annoying than others…. πŸ˜‰

So passed our first night back in Istanbul’s Old City area. We will be touring it more tomorrow at a more decent hour of the morning!

-T πŸ˜€

Apr 072013
 

So, I had started to post on my days in Turkey, but then I decided to postpone them until I can put up pictures, otherwise, it isn’t as good to just read about it. Besides that, I need to have an abbreviated version of my pics since there are going to hundreds of photos to get through and most will be bored by them all without some explanation or shortened version of my travels. πŸ˜€

Anyway, the tour has been both good and less than good. The food has sucked in general except when we can go out on our own. The bus was horrendous and I am still sore from it – searching for a decent place to get a massage…. However, the sites were fairly interesting, though not that awe-inspiring compared to Egypt, Jordan or Peru. Still, it has been nice to see a variety of aspects to the country.

Being in Istanbul now is great and although I do not think I could ever live here, I do see how people love it.

Just another couple of days left, then I will work on updating with pics as soon as I can. πŸ˜‰

-T πŸ˜€

Apr 062013
 

Our last big archaeological tour stops were rather disappointing….

We headed first to Pergamum, which is one of the seven churches in Revelations, but there was not much of that aspect at the site. Mostly, it was a lot of rocks and ruins showing where buildings might have been. The most restored were the columns and theatre, but even that was not all that impressive.

Pergamum
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Pergamum05-Apr-2013 13:23, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 7.2, 9.4mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 100
Pergamum
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Pergamum05-Apr-2013 13:19, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 4.2, 18.9mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 100
Pergamum
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Pergamum05-Apr-2013 13:00, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.4, 7.9mm, 0.067 sec, ISO 200
 
Pergamum
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Pergamum05-Apr-2013 12:59, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 4.2, 18.9mm, 0.125 sec, ISO 400
Pergamum
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Pergamum05-Apr-2013 11:03, Apple iPad mini, 2.4, 3.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 32
Pergamum
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Pergamum05-Apr-2013 11:03, Apple iPad mini, 2.4, 2.18mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 32
 

From there, we headed to Troia or Troy. On the way, we got to watch the film starring Brad Pitt, which was nice just for the main reason of passing the time on the pass. Like Pergamon, the ruins for Troy were very unimpressive. Even the legendary Trojan horse was under construction, so we were not able to see that. Luckily, the one used in the movie was on the waterfront, so we got some pics of that.

Troy
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Troy05-Apr-2013 19:02, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 4.2, 26.4mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 100
Troy
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Troy05-Apr-2013 18:49, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 6.6, 6.3mm, 0.004 sec, ISO 100
Troy
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Troy05-Apr-2013 18:38, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.005 sec, ISO 100
 
Troia or Troy
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Troia or Troy05-Apr-2013 18:23, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 100
Troy - the most beautiful thing in the entire site...
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Troy - the most beautiful thing in the entire site...05-Apr-2013 18:44, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 4.2, 56.7mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 100
Trojan horse used in the film "Troy" parked on the waterfront in Canakkale
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Trojan horse used in the film "Troy" parked on the waterfront in Canakkale05-Apr-2013 20:53, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.4, 7.9mm, 0.008 sec, ISO 100
 
Model of Troy in Canakkale - more interesting than the real site
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Model of Troy in Canakkale - more interesting than the real site05-Apr-2013 22:34, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.7, 11.0mm, 0.167 sec, ISO 400
Model of Troy in Canakkale - more interesting than the real site
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Model of Troy in Canakkale - more interesting than the real site05-Apr-2013 22:33, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.167 sec, ISO 400
Canakkale - Trojan horse at night
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Canakkale - Trojan horse at night05-Apr-2013 22:31, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 1 sec, ISO 500
 

We got to our hotels in Canakkale (chanakale) and then went out to explore the small city a bit. It was nice to have another evening free to walk around and see the city. We had dinner at a place on the main road and tried Izkender Doner, which was meat over bread pieces drizzled with tomato sauce with a side of two dallops of yogurt. It was tasty and definitely better than what we have been eating.

First Izkendar kebap in Canakkale and first real food in ages!
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First Izkendar kebap in Canakkale and first real food in ages!05-Apr-2013 21:53, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.167 sec, ISO 400
Canakkale - Where we had our Izkender Kebap
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Canakkale - Where we had our Izkender Kebap05-Apr-2013 22:20, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.077 sec, ISO 200
Canakkale - waterfront
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Canakkale - waterfront05-Apr-2013 22:32, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 4.0, 14.1mm, 0.769 sec, ISO 400
 
Canakkale
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Canakkale05-Apr-2013 20:50, Apple iPhone 4S, 2.4, 4.28mm, 0.063 sec, ISO 800
Canakkale - mosques are blue here...not green
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Canakkale - mosques are blue here...not green05-Apr-2013 22:46, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 4.0, 14.1mm, 0.625 sec, ISO 400
Canakkale - random dwarves on waterfront
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Canakkale - random dwarves on waterfront05-Apr-2013 22:38, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.4, 7.9mm, 0.4 sec, ISO 400
 

So, it was a good ending to the day after another long bus ride and disappointing sites. We are up early tomorrow, so….

-T πŸ˜€

Apr 052013
 

We had a little bit of a later start this morning, which was nice. It also meant that we were finished sooner, but don’t let me get ahead of myself.

Our first stop was to the Basilica of St. John. Apparently, the body of John is buried still under the ruins, but they have yet to excavate it says our guide…. I’m not sure how much I believe him. The more interesting part was to consider the various locations of Ephesus.

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04-Apr-2013 10:43, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 100
Basilica of St. John (the Baptist)
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Basilica of St. John (the Baptist)04-Apr-2013 10:58, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.8, 12.6mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 100
Basilica of St. John (the Baptist)
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Basilica of St. John (the Baptist)04-Apr-2013 11:05, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 7.4, 11.0mm, 0.004 sec, ISO 100
 

From the basilica, we headed up the mountain to the supposed house of the Virgin Mary. The story is something like since Jesus told John to take care of his mother John built her a house up on the mountain. It was a simple and small house. Then, some nun seemed to have a vision confirming this was Mary’s house. So, not sure but it was a nice visit.

House of the Virgin Mary
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House of the Virgin Mary04-Apr-2013 11:44, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.01 sec, ISO 100
House of the Virgin Mary
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House of the Virgin Mary04-Apr-2013 11:53, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.005 sec, ISO 100
House of the Virgin Mary
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House of the Virgin Mary04-Apr-2013 11:55, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.008 sec, ISO 100
 

After that, we headed to the ruins of Ephesus Antique City where there were a number of amazing sites. The largest outdoor theater was impressive. Also, the temples, library and terrace houses with mosaics of ancient times were quite a sight.

Ephesus - Library
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Ephesus - Library04-Apr-2013 12:43, Apple iPad mini, 2.4, 3.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 32
Ephesus Antique City - Terrace Houses under excavation
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Ephesus Antique City - Terrace Houses under excavation04-Apr-2013 14:17, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.008 sec, ISO 100
Ephesus - Colisseum
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Ephesus - Colisseum04-Apr-2013 12:55, Apple iPad mini, 2.4, 3.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 32
 
Ephesus Antique City - Artemis Temple
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Ephesus Antique City - Artemis Temple04-Apr-2013 13:40, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 8.4, 37.8mm, 0.004 sec, ISO 100
Ephesus Antique City
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Ephesus Antique City04-Apr-2013 13:58, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 8.4, 18.9mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 100
Ephesus - Colisseum
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Ephesus - Colisseum04-Apr-2013 13:30, Apple iPad mini, 2.4, 2.18mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 32
 

At first, I wasn’t wholly impressed with the city ruins given my travels elsewhere, but upon hitting the main road to the library I was duly impressed. So, I had to take back my doubting.

After almost missing our tour bus to lunch, we headed to a carpet center for our lunch and a showing of carpets. That wasn’t great, but it is part of the tour.

Ephesus - Carpet center
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Ephesus - Carpet center04-Apr-2013 14:34, Apple iPad mini, 2.4, 3.3mm, 0.042 sec, ISO 125
Ephesus - Carpet center
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Ephesus - Carpet center04-Apr-2013 14:38, Apple iPad mini, 2.4, 3.3mm, 0.042 sec, ISO 200
Ephesus - Carpet center
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Ephesus - Carpet center04-Apr-2013 15:06, Apple iPad mini, 2.4, 3.3mm, 0.042 sec, ISO 100
 

Thankfully, we were given the afternoon to relax and be on our own. So after a rest in the hotel, we headed out to explore the city. We walked along the waterfront, stopped in a few stores, had dinner in town to avoid another poor buffet meal, and saw the sunset. Overall, it was a nice change of pace.

Kusadasi - Starbucks at last!
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Kusadasi - Starbucks at last!04-Apr-2013 17:34, Apple iPad mini, 2.4, 3.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 32
Kusadasi
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Kusadasi04-Apr-2013 18:29, Apple iPad mini, 2.4, 3.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 32
Kusadasi - non buffet dinner = drinks and...
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Kusadasi - non buffet dinner = drinks and...04-Apr-2013 18:45, Apple iPad mini, 2.4, 3.3mm, 0.004 sec, ISO 32
 
Kusadasi - ...pizza!
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Kusadasi - ...pizza!04-Apr-2013 18:55, Apple iPad mini, 2.4, 3.3mm, 0.008 sec, ISO 40
Kusadasi - sunset
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Kusadasi - sunset04-Apr-2013 19:19, Apple iPad mini, 2.4, 3.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 32
Kusadasi - sunset
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Kusadasi - sunset04-Apr-2013 19:22, Apple iPad mini, 2.4, 3.3mm, 0.008 sec, ISO 32
 

Sadly, we have another long day in the bus tomorrow, but it is our past big stretch on our way back to Istanbul. πŸ™‚

-T πŸ˜€

Apr 042013
 

After our first-off morning dip and such, we were back on the ‘most uncomfortable bus’ for another long day of fun.

Our first stop was still in Pamukkale at the Hierapolis Antique City and Pamukkale’s limestone pools. The city was very impressive in terms of wide spread space with ruins from days of old. In fact, there was a recent article about archaeologists finding the mythical ‘gate of hell’ in this area. We tried to find it, but considering it brings death, we didn’t try too hard. πŸ˜‰

Hierapolis Antique City
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Hierapolis Antique City03-Apr-2013 09:26, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 100
Hierapolis Antique City - Temple of Apollo
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Hierapolis Antique City - Temple of Apollo03-Apr-2013 09:36, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 4.2, 34.0mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 200
Hierapolis Antique City - not exactly the Gates of Hell, but it is somewhere on this land...
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Hierapolis Antique City - not exactly the Gates of Hell, but it is somewhere on this land...03-Apr-2013 10:22, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 4.2, 18.9mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 200
 
Hierapolis Antique City
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Hierapolis Antique City03-Apr-2013 10:07, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.4, 7.9mm, 0.01 sec, ISO 100
Hierapolis Antique City
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Hierapolis Antique City03-Apr-2013 10:02, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 100
Pamukkale - sitting on the tombs
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Pamukkale - sitting on the tombs03-Apr-2013 10:31, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.8, 12.6mm, 0.008 sec, ISO 100
 

There are a ton of pics from here as the ruins were nice. Sadly, the weather wasn’t as nice as it has been. I still sort of expected more from the ruins after seeing Jerash in Jordan and the temples in Egypt. Turkey is supposed to be older and more impressive I think, but I haven’t yet had that feeling. Maybe I’m too spoiled from my travels….

Anyway, we also walked a bit on the limestone with pools from the hot springs. They call Pamukkale the cotton castle due to the limestone formations. It is pretty impressive, though rather unsafe to walk around barefoot and no guard rails.

Pamukkale - with pools
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Pamukkale - with pools03-Apr-2013 11:02, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.005 sec, ISO 100
Hierapolis
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Hierapolis03-Apr-2013 09:50, Apple iPad mini, 2.4, 3.3mm, 0.005 sec, ISO 32
Pamukkale
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Pamukkale03-Apr-2013 11:02, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.7, 11.0mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 100
 
Hierapolis
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Hierapolis03-Apr-2013 09:59, Apple iPad mini, 2.4, 2.18mm, 0.008 sec, ISO 40
 

From there, we drove a good distance before stopping for lunch at a nice place. It was probably the best meal we have had on the entire tour so far. After lunch, we walked around Aphrodisias, which is a city named after Aphrodite. The ruins here were more impressive perhaps because of the architecture or a full and happy stomach. πŸ˜‰

Aphrodisias Antique City
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Aphrodisias Antique City03-Apr-2013 15:29, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 6.6, 6.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 100
Aphrodisias Antique City - Temple to Aphrodite
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Aphrodisias Antique City - Temple to Aphrodite03-Apr-2013 15:11, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 6.9, 7.9mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 100
Aphrodisias Antique City - theatre
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Aphrodisias Antique City - theatre03-Apr-2013 15:22, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 6.6, 6.3mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 100
 
Aphrodosia
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Aphrodosia03-Apr-2013 14:52, Apple iPad mini, 2.4, 3.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 32
Aphrodosia
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Aphrodosia03-Apr-2013 14:49, Apple iPad mini, 2.4, 2.18mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 32
Aphrodosia
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Aphrodosia03-Apr-2013 14:22, Apple iPad mini, 2.4, 2.18mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 32
 
video Lunch here was the best meal of the tour!
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video Lunch here was the best meal of the tour!03-Apr-2013 14:25
Lunch here was the best meal of the tour! (my mushroom and cheese grill)
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Lunch here was the best meal of the tour! (my mushroom and cheese grill)03-Apr-2013 14:05, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 125
Lunch here was the best meal of the tour! (dessert - yogurt & honey)
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Lunch here was the best meal of the tour! (dessert - yogurt & honey)03-Apr-2013 14:25, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.02 sec, ISO 100
 

Our final highlight of the day was an amateur leather fashion show. It could have been an amazing parody on a SATC episode where the ladies attend Fashion Week shows. It was a mix of comedy and entertainment as a creative sales pitch to get us to buy their leather goods. If I lived in a cooler climate I might have considered, but instead I am saving my money for jewelry purchase. Haha πŸ˜€

video Kusadasi - leather fashion show
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video Kusadasi - leather fashion show03-Apr-2013 19:37
Kusadasi - leather fashion show
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Kusadasi - leather fashion show03-Apr-2013 19:36, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 4.0, 14.1mm, 0.067 sec, ISO 200
Kusadasi - leather fashion show
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Kusadasi - leather fashion show03-Apr-2013 19:30, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.125 sec, ISO 320
 
Kusadasi - leather store
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Kusadasi - leather store03-Apr-2013 20:05, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.167 sec, ISO 400
video Kusadasi - leather fashion show
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video Kusadasi - leather fashion show03-Apr-2013 19:31
video Kusadasi - leather fashion show
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video Kusadasi - leather fashion show03-Apr-2013 19:31
 

We ended our day with our arrival at our hotel in Kusadasi (kushadasee) where we will stay for two nights. Phew…

Ephesus - View of Aegean Sea from Efe Boutique Hotel
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Ephesus - View of Aegean Sea from Efe Boutique Hotel04-Apr-2013 07:16, Apple iPad mini, 2.4, 3.3mm, 0.004 sec, ISO 32
Kusadasi - view from our hotel room sunrise
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Kusadasi - view from our hotel room sunrise04-Apr-2013 08:21, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.4, 7.9mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 100
 

-T πŸ˜€

Apr 032013
 

We had a very long day in the bus on the fourth day of our trip. From Kapidokya to Pamukkale, it takes about 12 very long hours.

Along the way we made a few stops to see a few things. For example, we stopped in Konya for a visit to the Turkish whirling dervish temple. The whirling dervish is a type of Muslim sect where the whirling causes a meditative state. Nowadays no one formally trains but it used to be a formal religious activity like joining a nunnery or something like that.

Konya - Temple for whirling dervish
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Konya - Temple for whirling dervish02-Apr-2013 14:47, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 6.6, 6.3mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 100
Konya - Temple for whirling dervish
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Konya - Temple for whirling dervish02-Apr-2013 14:58, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 6.6, 6.3mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 100
video Konya - Temple for whirling dervish
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video Konya - Temple for whirling dervish02-Apr-2013 14:59
 
Konya - Temple for whirling dervish (no pics allowed)
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Konya - Temple for whirling dervish (no pics allowed)02-Apr-2013 15:06, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.125 sec, ISO 320
Konya - Temple for whirling dervish
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Konya - Temple for whirling dervish02-Apr-2013 15:14, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.013 sec, ISO 100
Konya - whirling dervishes
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Konya - whirling dervishes02-Apr-2013 15:28, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 100
 

After that we stopped every two hours for a leg stretch and lunch at a crazy wedding hall place. I bought potato chips to survive the rest of the day. πŸ˜‰

Feeding Center 2 - one of the worst stops we made for food...
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Feeding Center 2 - one of the worst stops we made for food...02-Apr-2013 13:50, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 200
Feeding Center 2
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Feeding Center 202-Apr-2013 13:51, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.125 sec, ISO 200
Feeding Center 2
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Feeding Center 202-Apr-2013 13:53, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.077 sec, ISO 200
 
Feeding Center 2
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Feeding Center 202-Apr-2013 13:54, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.077 sec, ISO 200
Feeding Center 2
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Feeding Center 202-Apr-2013 13:57, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.125 sec, ISO 250
Feeding Center 2
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Feeding Center 202-Apr-2013 14:32, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.004 sec, ISO 100
 

We finally made it to Pamukkale and our hotel. There was a thermal bath there, which helped to wash away some of the soreness of the bus ride. Unfortunately, all 23 of us from the tour group were in the same hotel and all of the other tour buses arrived at the same time so the bath quickly filled up! Still, it was a nice refresher and made me miss Japan’s onsens!

In the morning, we got up for another quick dip before Day 5 began in full.

-T πŸ˜€

Apr 022013
 

Our third day of our Turkey tour started a little later, which was a nice relief after the long bus ride the day before.

We had our less than delicious breakfast at the hotel with me barely caffeinated with the coffee. There’s no kettle in the room so I had to make do.

Later, we met the rest of our group and went off to see the sights.

We started at the Goreme Open Air Museum, where we could see the church frescoes and dwellings of the Greek Orthodox in the rock caves. It was interesting, but full of people lining up to enter very small spaces. It actually reminded me of the tombs in Egypt.

Cappadoccia
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Cappadoccia01-Apr-2013 09:36, Apple iPad mini, 2.4, 3.3mm, ISO 32
 

From there, we made a few sightseeing stops to see the fairy chimneys or come-shaped rock formations that many people in the area have made homes.

Cappadocia - Goreme Open Air Museum
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Cappadocia - Goreme Open Air Museum01-Apr-2013 10:33, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 100
Cappadocia
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Cappadocia01-Apr-2013 12:06, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 6.6, 6.3mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 100
Cappadocia
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Cappadocia01-Apr-2013 12:08, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 6.9, 7.9mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 100
 
Cappadocia
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Cappadocia01-Apr-2013 14:11, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 6.6, 6.3mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 100
Cappadocia
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Cappadocia01-Apr-2013 14:34, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 7.2, 9.4mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 100
Cappadocia
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Cappadocia01-Apr-2013 14:15, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 6.6, 6.3mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 100
 

We also stopped at a jewelry shop where I ended up buying more items that I don’t need, but liked. πŸ˜‰ Then, we had another less than appetizing buffet lunch.

Cappadocia - buffet food 1
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Cappadocia - buffet food 101-Apr-2013 13:39, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.1 sec, ISO 200
Cappadocia - cute decorations on the buffet table
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Cappadocia - cute decorations on the buffet table01-Apr-2013 13:39, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.077 sec, ISO 200
Cappadocia - buffet salad bar
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Cappadocia - buffet salad bar01-Apr-2013 13:41, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.1 sec, ISO 200
 
Cappadocia - jewelers (my impulse purchases...)
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Cappadocia - jewelers (my impulse purchases...)01-Apr-2013 13:49, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.7, 11.0mm, 0.077 sec, ISO 320
 

After that we went to an interesting pottery and ceramics shop where they demonstrated their methods for creating and painting their pots. I found some ideas for some future projects.

video Avanos - pottery wheel for making plates
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video Avanos - pottery wheel for making plates01-Apr-2013 15:01
Avanos - pottery painting of designs
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Avanos - pottery painting of designs01-Apr-2013 15:07, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.4, 7.9mm, 0.125 sec, ISO 320
Avanos - pottery painting of designs
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Avanos - pottery painting of designs01-Apr-2013 15:09, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.4, 7.9mm, 0.167 sec, ISO 400
 
Avanos - pottery painted designs
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Avanos - pottery painted designs01-Apr-2013 15:09, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.4, 7.9mm, 0.125 sec, ISO 200
Avanos - pottery
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Avanos - pottery01-Apr-2013 15:19, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.125 sec, ISO 320
Avanos - pottery cup
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Avanos - pottery cup01-Apr-2013 15:31, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.7, 11.0mm, 0.25 sec, ISO 400
 
Avanos - pottery kick wheel
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Avanos - pottery kick wheel01-Apr-2013 15:20, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.167 sec, ISO 400
Avanos - pottery kick wheel made jug
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Avanos - pottery kick wheel made jug01-Apr-2013 15:26, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 4.2, 18.9mm, 0.25 sec, ISO 400
Avanos - pottery pieces in special store (no pics allowed)
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Avanos - pottery pieces in special store (no pics allowed)01-Apr-2013 15:35, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.1 sec, ISO 200
 
Avanos - pottery pieces
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Avanos - pottery pieces01-Apr-2013 15:46, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.1 sec, ISO 200
Avanos - pottery pieces of kaftan design
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Avanos - pottery pieces of kaftan design01-Apr-2013 15:48, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.125 sec, ISO 250
Avanos - pottery pieces
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Avanos - pottery pieces01-Apr-2013 15:55, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.25 sec, ISO 400
 

Our final stop for the day was at an underground city where people used to live in hiding from their enemies. It was cool to see, but not for the claustrophobics!

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01-Apr-2013 16:27, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 100
Kaymakli Underground City - very short and narrow passageways between rooms
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Kaymakli Underground City - very short and narrow passageways between rooms01-Apr-2013 16:56, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.333 sec, ISO 400
Kaymakli Underground City - stone door just like Indiana Jones
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Kaymakli Underground City - stone door just like Indiana Jones01-Apr-2013 16:52, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.25 sec, ISO 400
 

The day was quite a lovely one and I really enjoying seeing some scenery that has colors and shapes.

Kapidokya
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Kapidokya
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01-Apr-2013 18:14, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.7, 11.0mm, 0.004 sec, ISO 100
Devrent Valley or Monks Valley (Pasabagi)
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Devrent Valley or Monks Valley (Pasabagi)01-Apr-2013 18:03, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 100
 

Tomorrow will not be nearly as pleasant…

-T πŸ˜€

Apr 012013
 

It was a very early start as we headed to the Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen airport or the domestic airport. We joined a few more people on the same tour.

Once we arrived at the airport we were left to our own devices to figure out how to check in and on the plane. Luckily, we had enough time and experience to sort it out. Still, that is one strike against the company….

Arrived in Ankara
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Arrived in Ankara31-Mar-2013 09:41, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 4.2, 18.9mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 100
 

The flight was a short 40 minutes and after arriving in Ankara, our group got bigger. We headed into the city of Ankara. Our first stop was at the Anatolian Civilizations Museum.

Ankara - Anandolu musuem
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Ankara - Anandolu musuem31-Mar-2013 11:26, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.125 sec, ISO 250
Ankara - Anandolu musuem (another ivory jeweled carving)
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Ankara - Anandolu musuem (another ivory jeweled carving)31-Mar-2013 11:17, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.7, 11.0mm, 0.077 sec, ISO 320
Ankara - Anandolu musuem (amazing amethyst carved with the busts of the emperor and emperoress)
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Ankara - Anandolu musuem (amazing amethyst carved with the busts of the emperor and emperoress)31-Mar-2013 11:11, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 4.2, 37.8mm, 0.167 sec, ISO 400
 

Then, we headed to the Mausoleum of Mustafa Kemul Ataturk or Anitkabir. It was such a lovely day to walk around and enjoy the sights.

Ankara - Anitkabir (Mustafa Kemal Ataturk mausoleum)
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Ankara - Anitkabir (Mustafa Kemal Ataturk mausoleum)31-Mar-2013 12:08, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 6.6, 6.3mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 100
Ankara - Anitkabir (Mustafa Kemal Ataturk mausoleum)
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Ankara - Anitkabir (Mustafa Kemal Ataturk mausoleum)31-Mar-2013 12:13, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 7.9, 14.1mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 100
Ankara - Anitkabir (Mustafa Kemal Ataturk mausoleum)
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Ankara - Anitkabir (Mustafa Kemal Ataturk mausoleum)31-Mar-2013 12:28, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.8, 12.6mm, 0.067 sec, ISO 200
 
Ankara - Anitkabir (Mustafa Kemal Ataturk mausoleum)
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Ankara - Anitkabir (Mustafa Kemal Ataturk mausoleum)31-Mar-2013 12:37, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 6.6, 6.3mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 100
Ankara - Anitkabir (Mustafa Kemal Ataturk mausoleum)
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Ankara - Anitkabir (Mustafa Kemal Ataturk mausoleum)31-Mar-2013 12:43, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 3.3, 6.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 100
Ankara - Anitkabir (Mustafa Kemal Ataturk mausoleum)
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Ankara - Anitkabir (Mustafa Kemal Ataturk mausoleum)31-Mar-2013 12:44, NIKON COOLPIX S51, 6.6, 6.3mm, 0.004 sec, ISO 100
 

From there, we headed to lunch on the way to Kapidokya. It was an okay meal – nothing spectacular. The rest of the afternoon was spent in the bus…4 long hours later we arrived in Kapidokya. After dropping everyone off at their various hotels, we finally settled into our room.

Lunch from Ankara to Cappadocia - spicy lentil soup
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Lunch from Ankara to Cappadocia - spicy lentil soup31-Mar-2013 13:30, Apple iPhone 4S, 2.4, 4.28mm, 0.05 sec, ISO 160
Lunch from Ankara to Cappadocia - tomato and cucumber salad
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Lunch from Ankara to Cappadocia - tomato and cucumber salad31-Mar-2013 13:35, Apple iPhone 4S, 2.4, 4.28mm, 0.05 sec, ISO 160
 
Lunch from Ankara to Cappadocia - beef with peppers and tomatoes
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Lunch from Ankara to Cappadocia - beef with peppers and tomatoes31-Mar-2013 13:42, Apple iPhone 4S, 2.4, 4.28mm, 0.05 sec, ISO 250
Lunch from Ankara to Cappadocia
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Lunch from Ankara to Cappadocia31-Mar-2013 14:14, Apple iPhone 4S, 2.4, 4.28mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 50
 

We tried the Turkish bath, which is a huge stone slab in the middle of a room much like a Japanese onsen. The slab is heated. Usually you might get a scrub or something like that, but we didn’t pay for that.

So, it was a good end to Day 2.

-T πŸ˜€