October 09, 2002
on departure from turkiye
i can't believe that tomorrow i'll be leaving turkey! it's been just under four weeks since i arrived here, but the time has gone by so quickly.
i think that it's been because of the great company i've had: jonathon, silke, andrew, sandrine, françois and most importantly for the last two weeks, simon, jon, rick and tish.
and i've actually been doing things in the time i've been here.
i can afford to eat in turkey, so i've been having 3 healthy, wonderfully tasty meals a day and having baklava, pistachios and turkish delight regularly. and i've never been desparate for tea at all.
i have climbed to the tops of mountains, forded streams, seen a couple of rainbows and had the types of experiences that only happen in dreams.
and i have been able to take some pretty cool photos, which you are just going to have to wait the next 5 months for. sorry.
i still don't know how to use depth of field or anything, but i am back in practice (i wasn't too happy with my shots from spain, i hadn't used my camera for a while).
so, in about an hour i take a bus back to istanbul (i arrive at about 1am, erck.)and tomorrow i pack up the piles of stuff that i have accumulated over the last 4 weeks... about 7kg minimum (uh oh) and then i'll fly out to croatia to meet up with karen!
so goodbye turkey, i've loved my time here and i'm going to have to come back to revisit the places i love already and to visit the places that i've missed out on this trip through.
and bring on croatia!
going to gallipoli was weird. as with all touristic places which are about history, it's really hard to get a grasp of the history because there are so many damn people around. but i ended up trying to picture people like aidan and james and nick h and nick b all preparing to arrive on the shore. not a happy thought, but it helped me to understand a little bit.
we had a really good tour guide whose grandfather (turkish) was killed on the peninsula (i think at lone pine) and left behind his 19 year old wife and 9 month old son. it was valuable hearing the turkish perspective.
October 08, 2002
today i visited gallipoli and celebrated my 23rd birthday by nursing a mild hangover which resulted from a fun night out with rick, tish, simon and jon.
October 06, 2002
congratulations are now being sent out from istanbul all the way to melbourne, australia to claire and big p on the birth of little amelia joan!
well done guys!
October 03, 2002
i [heart] ayder
this place is beautiful.
September 29, 2002
i am feeling so much better (in general) now that i'm in turkey.
a) i'm with a bunch of great people for the next week (and i'll probably be able to hang out with them for at least the evening before and the morning of my birthday). the fact that i've been able to hang out with them for the last week has been brilliant!
thanks to simon, jon, rick and tish for making the last week so much fun for me. there'd have been no way that i'd have ventured this far off the traditional aussie backpacker route through turkey if it hadn't been for you guys.
b) everything is so cheap here! as we get further east it has become cheaper and cheaper, but even in istanbul i was loving life.
September 25, 2002
it looks like i won't be getting to butterfly valley on this trip to turkey. simon, jon (who i met in istanbul), tish and rick (who we met on the bus to sanliurfa) and i have left sanliurfa and kept on heading east.
in the past four days i have been stared at in bazaars, looked at old stuff, climbed nemrut daği and been innapropriately handled by smelly turkish men, been stuck over a squat toilet when a blackout has struck, eaten fish on the tigris river in the heart of ancient mesopotamia and eaten a hell of a lot of kebabs.
yesterday we left sanliurfa and went to mardin, stopping at a couple of syrian christian monasteries along the way (syrian christians speak aramaic, the language that jesus spoke - these are old school christians... their monasteries also have the best toilets in turkey!) and spent the night in hasankeyf, one of the beautiful old towns under threat by the eastern turkey GAP dam plans.
tonight we're in tatvan, on the coast of lake van (van golu), the biggest lake in turkey, tomorrow we go to another nemrut daği (mt nemrut) which is an old volcano, then the day after we cross lake van and check out a monastery on an island and then spend the night in van (on the other side of the island). the next day we'll head up to doğubayazıt on our way to mt ararat!
i should be back in istanbul on october 1st and then i'll head to gallipoli the next day and then up to italy and croatia a couple of days later.
sorry, i won't be able to email anyone for a while (and sorry if i owe you an email - aidan, mum, nadia, katie, catherine, pete, karah etc) but the internet is filthfully slow here.
September 20, 2002
the internet cafe i'm using at the moment has a van kitten, an unusual turkish breed of cat which is white with one blue and one yellow eye.
this aint any normal cat, it's behaving as if it's a dog!
goreme > urfa
tonight simon and i get on a bus headed for sanli urfa, a traditional pilgrimage town (apparently the prophet abraham was born there).
urfa is much further to the east than i thought that i would go on this trip, but already sandrine has taken a bus there, and jon may also be joining simon and i on this evening's bus trip.
we'll be using urfa as a base to head north to mount nemrut, a mountain which has a peak covered with statues - a kind of mt rushmore of pre roman times (allegedly the egomaniacal king who ordered the statues to be placed there actually has his tomb within the mountain).
and then we'll probably go south towards the syrian border to harran, the town which has the best examples of beehive houses.
i think i may come back to goreme after the trip east and then i'll head south to antalya and the coast before selçuk for my trip to gallipoli on october 2nd.
i'm not expecting that there'll be any cheap internet access for the next couple of days, so don't be worried if i don't post for a while.
we went to pigeon valley which used to house hundreds of pigeons in dovecotes in the cliffs and then to one of the 30 underground cities which used to hide the christian residents of cappadocia during times of invasion. the eight level city could house up to 5000 people at any one time and were used as recently as world war 1.
many of the underground cities are still undiscovered, as the christian orthodox residents of turkey were swapped with greek muslims in 1924 and many of the secrets of the region went with them.
after an hour spent bent double crawling through the tunnels of the city we went to ilhara gorge, a rocky valley which once housed many monks in rooms carved out of the rock faces of the gorge. after a 3.5km hike we ate lunch and had a wander around the village of belisırma, a mixture of the traditional (cow dung being dried for fuel) and the modern (satellite dishes on almost every building).
we then went to take photos of a region allegedly used as background in the original star wars film and then climbed through the remains of another monastery carved into solid rock.
another stop at a caravanaseri (a hostel used by camel caravans along the silk road for hundreds of years) and then on to a pottery display in avanos.
we just made it to rose valley in time to see the sunset, and then we got back to goreme in time to meet up with sandrine and jon before sandrine caught a bus to sanliurfa (urfa).
for the first time since aidan, james and i went our separate ways, i had a "proper night out" (i.e. i drank more than one drink. incidentally, i was drinking the local cappadocian wine.)
francois and jon both swapped stories about getting lost in prague after a big night out, and i occasionally dropped in a sentence in very poor french!
at one point jon revealed that he had travelled through hungary with a dj from RRR who always mentioned obscure bands. on a whim i asked - was his name anthony carew? and yes, jon had travelled with anthony carew for two weeks. it's taken six weeks, but finally i have a random connection with someone on the other side of the world story. (i think i've possibly spoken to anthony once - but i know luella, and she's spoken to him on more than one occasion! therefore 4 degrees of separation.)
after listening to the great range of music that the fatboy bar had on offer (i hadn't realised how much i missed hearing something for kate! i may have brought 40 cds, but i still miss the music you unconsciouly hear on JJJ) simon walked me back to my hostel.
i think that a 12.30 bedtime was a good idea. at about 4.30 jon came into the room, obviously distressed, but at the same time extremely relieved.
he wouldn't go into details aside from the fact that he got lost and that it was very cold outside - but i suspect that because he was drunk when i left the fatboy bar - he was probably very drunk when he left the bar, which could mean that any number of things have happened to him.
earlier today i was invited by the wife of man who owns my pension (keles cave hotel) for tea (çay). i took photos of her family and found out how to correctly put on a headscarf. over the next three days their house is going to be mad as the only daughter in the family is getting married. this evening is the first party of the wedding celebration when the women get together to apply henna.
September 18, 2002
i still recognise the reality of my world back in australia, but away from television and newspapers, the only other reality i recognise is the immediate environment around me.
at the moment the environment that surrounds me is goreme, bizarre rock scapes, churches and houses carved into the stone.
but occasionally news arrives from the rest of reality through electronic media - the democrats split - which reminds me of my adelaide reality or mother kills self and three daughters to escape dowry violence - which reminds me of a reality other than australia and my present environment
we (a french girl sandrine, a british boy jonathon and myself) arrived in goreme, cappadocia at about 8.30 this morning.
we've found a nice pension where the owner is currently in turmoil as his only daughter is getting married in the next week!
not only are we staying in a cool cave room, the cool cave room has an attached bathroom with the hottest water i've experienced so far on this trip! ace.
jonathon and i walked up the road towards the open air museum, but we ended up wandering around some rocks and historically insignificant cave houses (they weren't part of the museum).
and then i narrowly avoided losing my atm card in the cash machine when there was a blackout and i went back read some more anna karenina and went to bed for a post bustrip nap.
September 17, 2002
istanbul > goreme
tonight i'll be leaving istanbul on a night bus for goreme in cappodocia.
i'm definitely looking forward to getting away from the continuing hassling that tourists receive here...
"excuse me i have cut my finger do you want to eat here nice cafe"
"did i hear you say you want to buy a carpet?"
actually i didn't say anything of the sort, but i said that i wanted to travel to america - so we ended up getting in a discussion about america...
"america is stupid! don't go there!"
"ok. i won't. but i still don't want to buy [another] carpet!"
at the same time, i'm still expecting to get hassled. but at least i'll get hassled in the sun.
for the last four days it's been overcast and raining, but finally today, on my last day in istanbul, the sky has cleared and there are bits of beautiful blue sky.
i've just been to the aya sofia, the church (and later, mosque) which was the model for many of the 2000 mosques which dot the landscape of istanbul. it was a very beautiful building, but it was crowded in the same way that damaged my enjoyment of our visit to the alhambra in granada.
September 16, 2002
magic carpet ride
i'd given myself a limit of us$150 on a rug (i saw quite a few beautiful dark red carpets), and i've managed to keep to that limit! but i ended up getting two p?eces.
i bought myself a pretty small embroidered kilim from the eastern turkish border, the selling point for that one was the pattern in it which represented life stages. (us$100) and i also got a small?sh kilim w?th very nice light colours for us$45 and a cushion cover thrown into the price.
my bag is now pretty full, luckily it's not too heavy, so i th?nk that i'll be send?ng back another package soon!
September 15, 2002
glee level - 95%
rather than risk losing a post via the slowest internet connection ever, i'm going to notepad this one out.
last night i ended up saying goodbye to three people, matthew, who i met on the plane to heathrow, and racquel and angie, the two girls who were in my dorm room.
i don't think i'll ever get used to these two day travel friendships. you end up having in-jokes which last for a day and you hear about interesting aspects of a person's life which you'd like to hear more about. and then those interesting people head off to their next destination, and you head off to yours.
though it's good to hear about people who meet up on holiday and who then hang out with each other again later on.
racquel is from sydney and angie is from the united states, and two years ago they hung out with each other in the greek islands for a day. angie said to racquel... "expect me on your doorstep, i will be coming to sydney!"
within a year, angie had come to visit racquel in sydney, and this year they met up with each other, and are now travelling through turkey and are then going on to do volunteer work in the czech republic.
it makes me hopeful that i'm going to be able to hang out again with people i've met so far. i was able to visit nadia and katie the other day when i went through london, and i'm already planning on meeting up with matthew, jonathon and christie and staying with them in italy in a couple of weeks.
what i'm hoping is that eventually i'll be able to meet up with everyone again, and hopefully they'll eventually be able to come down and visit me...
September 14, 2002
spice bazaar power
today i went with matthew and billy to the egyptian [or spice] market. we walked through the new mosque which is 400 years old, and then got lost amongst the many everyday shops of the market.
there was a big difference between the spice market and the grand bazaar. every store in the grand bazaar seems to be selling items for tourists, but in the spice bazaar you could buy anything.
i tried a chewy turkish delight type candy with walnuts in the middle, and bought some henna which turned out to be clear, and not particularly useful as a dye for my hair. but that's ok, as i only had to pay 1000000 lira (just over $1) for 200g.
we also took a walk around the wall which surrounds the topkapi palace and returned to our hostel just in time to avoid a heavy rainstorm.
so far i've only walked around in the company of guys i've made friends with at the hostel. i haven't had to walk around by myself or just with other women yet, so i've only really had to deal with odd stares from young boys and older men when i've been walking around less touristy areas.
it will be interesting to watch people's attitudes and reactions over the next couple of weeks.
i've booked my ticket to goreme in cappodocia for september 17th, it's a night bus, so i'll arrive there to meet up with simon, who i organised to meet up with through the lonely planet website (newly redesigned).
i figure that it will be a good way to stop in at all of the smaller towns along the coast that i might miss out on. it would also be a great way to meet up with other travellers.
and i'm definitely going to take a trip to gallipoli. my current plan is to go on the anzac house tour from selcuk or kusadasi which will return me to the coast, and i'll be able to get to greece (and then italy and croatia) via ferry.
i decided that not only do i want to buy a small carpet, but i probably need to buy a sleeping bag. and i asked the guys at the travel agency downstairs and they said that in turkey there probably aren't such items for sale.
hmmm. i might have to do what another girl did here and buy a sleeping bag from a traveller about to leave, or just grin and bear it to greece and then buy one in athens.
my pack is going to seem so full again!
September 13, 2002
nice weather. a bed on arrival. a 'husband' in paris and a 'husband's frend' accompianing me throughout istanbul.
the grand bazaar is scary. you bargain for an item, not knowıng how cheaply you could get it elsewhere.
on sunday i plan to look at small carpets and haggle the price down to us$130. one of the salespeople i spoke to today told me that the small ones would not be worth shipping home, but showed me how small i could fold my chosen size rug down to. i'm so glad that i just spent $102 shipping a couple of kilos back from the uk, i suppose that it will save me $100 + shipping a rug back.
i went to the blue mosque today wıth matthew, my 'husband' aidan's 'frıend'. we also went by bus to some place starting with b (i wıll put in the correct name later) but we couldn't find what we were meant to be looking at, so we ended up getting lost in a residential suburb. cool.
i wish i had a mini disk recorder II
the sound of the call to prayer at 5am
May 25, 2002
spain to turkey???
within 12 hours of booking my trip i'm already beginning to worry.
how am i going to get from spain to turkey?
by bus, train and ferry? or do i fly from spain to another european city and then out to turkey?
April 15, 2002
i might just be getting ready for ANZAC day, but one thing that i'll definitely do when i get to turkey is to travel out to gallipoli.