TURKEY - A long getaway

It was a long time  planned holiday this year to Turkey. We tried to visit this country the previous year but due to the high cost of the air ticket, we dropped the plan. We booked our flight tickets and got our visa. We got a tour booked through land of Civilization Travel, the famous Mr. Mustafa Ceviz. We arrived at the airport at Istanbul after a loooonnnggg queue for immigration and we were picked by a person and driven to the Askhoc Hotel. Since we reached the hotel early, we had to wait for more than an hour to check in. After refreshing, we left outside to eat some food. We ate vegetable casserole with big puffed bread and returned to hotel to sleep. In the hotel, we met Mr.Mustafa Ceviz, paid him the rest of the amount for the package tour .We slept for some hours as we didn’t sleep the previous night. Later we woke up and went for a walk and discovered the Bhosphorous River and walked all over the Galata Bridge. We had the roasted corn, Pretzel, Chestnuts, Pomegranate juice that are typical Istanbul street foods and returned to the hotel.

Next day we left for Istanbul city tour after breakfast. We headed to the Blue mosque, Hagia Sophia, Small Hagia Sophia, the Constantinople, the Cistern, Grand Bazaar, and Topkapi Palace. Hagia Sophia was initially a church, which was converted to mosque during the Ottomans. Hence we can see both Jesus photos and paintings and the Arabic Calligraphy here.Its quite large and has the biggest dome. Topkapi Palace has many small sections to visit.-2 halls with the treasured gifts of the Ottomans from different countries, 1 hall with all the historical relics like the prophet Mohammed’s tooth, hair, Moses’s stick. There is a beautiful view of the Bosphorous. Their parliamentary buildings, weapons were on display. After the tour we returned to the hotel and refreshed ourselves and left for the Topkapi Area again by walk. This time, we clicked photos and entered the Blue mosque again but this time the compound area and not the prayer hall. Then we had dinner at an Indian Restaurant Dubb. The price was quite high compared to other restaurants, but it was really worth it for the Indian food. We saw the colorful fountain in the complex and returned to the hotel.

On the second day we left for Gallipoli tour. Gallipoli is the place where the Turkish army fought the ANZAC ARMY i.e. Australia, New Zealand , Britain, India, Ceylone.This place talks high about Mustafa Kamal, the chief of the Turkish ARMY. The cemeteries for all the soldiers of the different countries are kept separately. The place just reminds of the struggle, death, pain of the soldiers. Worth every second spent here.After visiting all the different places nearby, we left for Chanakkale crossing the ferry.

Next day we left chanakkale and left for TROY.TROY Civilization is a city built one above the other. Also there is the famous horse wooden statue. After a thorough tour of the city, we left for Bergama tour. Bergama is the place of Acropolis Civilization. The whole city with its huge Theatre, the temple, the water system, huge rooms all built on top of the hill was so astonishing. In the Acropolis, the remains that you see on the left hand side while going in, are the monumental tombs or heroons built for the kings of Pergamon during the Hellenistic period. Shops are situated at their side. When you enter the Acropolis, the remains seen at your left side, are the foundations of Propylon (monumental gates) which were constructed by Eumenes II. When you pass to the square surrounded with three stoas of the Doric order you will notice the ruins of the temple of Athena, built during the time of Eumenes II in the 3rd century BC. It's just above the theater. The famous Library of Pergamon which contained 200,000 books, was situated north of the square. Antonius gave all the books of the library to Cleopatra as a wedding gift. The remains near the library, are some houses from the Hellenistic period. If you go up the stairs, you will see the remains of the palaces of Eumenes II and Attalos II. Inside the Acropolis there are houses, military barracks and military warehouses called "Arsenals". The building that has been restored at present, is the Temple of Trajan. It is completely marble.

The Theater of Pergamon, one of the steepest theaters in the world, has a capacity of 10,000 people and was constructed in the 3rd century BC. The Statue of Galen in Bergama.The famous Altar of Zeus in Pergamon is on the south of the theater. This Altar has the shape of a horseshoe. The Altar which was taken away from Pergamon in 1871 and carried to Germany by the German engineer Carl Humann, is exhibited at the Museum of Pergamum in Berlin, in a manner conforming to its original. On the south of the Altar, the Agora (market place) is situated. In the middle of the Agora there is a small altar. Downwards in the Acropolis, the central city is placed. Inside Pergamon, there is the Temple of Serapis, built for the Egyptian Gods and called the Red Courtyard by locals. This is a basilica shaped building constructed under the reign of Hadrian, it was converted into a church dedicated to St. John and became one of the Seven Churches of Christianity.

From there we left to Kusadasi for almost 4 hours journey.

Next day from Kusadasi, we left for the Ephesus city. IN Ephesus city, again the Romans never fail to impress us. The largest library, temple of Medussa, Temple of Arthemis, the bath area, the toilets, the theatre(1 big and 1 small) were tooo much to believe. We then left for the Virgin Mary house. It’s believed she lived there once upon a time. Then we left for the hotel. Next day we checked out and left for Pammukale tour. We reached Hierapolis city. The city is very very big. After going through the city we reached at the calcium deposits place .We spent most of the time at this place walking and gliding through the waters. We then visited the Cleopatra pool, other scenic locations, the theatre and a big walk through the city. We then returned by bus to Antalya.

At Antalya, after few hassles where the guy who came to pick us up, had a wrong name on his board, we left  to the Sea Side hotel. Then next day we left for Antalya tour. We first visited the  Waterfalls. It was awesome. Then we visited the SIDE-this was again a Roman city with theatre, market place, temples, and all the necessary buildings. We were later stopped at a place  to see the water channels that were so huge. Later we left for the Aspendos theatre.This was really huge with seating capacity of 20000 people. Then we went to Necropolis. This was a very large city with a very large market area, another market area too with the stone boards that  symbolize the shop. The city had separate thermal pools and bathing area for men and women. We had lunch at a sea side restaurant with the view of the lake. We didn’t have very good food options there. After lunch, we left to the hotel and took rest for some time. Then we left the hotel searching for an Indian Restaturant.We waited for a bus and didn’t find any, so went in a taxi. The Taxi driver was also searching for the hotel on his smartphone and was asking  his colleagues over the wireless about the route. We then got down from the taxi and thought we will find it by walk as we reached near the hotel. But after few walks we didn’t find the hotel, we ended up eating potato wedges and vegetarian pizza in a restaurant nearby. Then we left in a taxi to the hotel. Next day morning we had airport pick up at 15:00 hrs. So we decided to go to the nearby Antalya Aquarium. We bought the package tour with Aquarium,4D Movie Show, Reptiles zoo, Ice World. After visiting all the places , we finished our lunch with French fries and potato  wedges at McDonalds as we had no vegetarian options. Then we had a banana split sundae at Mado café. When we returned to the hotel at sharp 15:00 hrs., the pick-up driver was already waiting for us. We left to the Antalya Airport to go to Cappodocia.We went to Istanbul and then left for Cappodocia.Both the flights were delayed, but we still reached on time.In Cappodocia, we were dropped at the Saksagen Cave hotel. We rested and next day we left for the tour. We visited the viewpoint first to see the fairy chimneys, then we visited the Delinque Underground city. City was built so many foot underground by the Christians to hide from the rulers. They have prison, place to tie the animals, ventilation and its 3 storeyed.From here we visited the Pigeons Valley where there were many pigeons on the valley also a very good viewpoint.

We then visited the castle from a very far distance as the entry inside was prohibited due to a recent accident. We had lunch at a nice place and left  for Trekking at the Rose valley. Trekking was just super awesome experience especially when you trek with a group. Superb fun.

Then we left for the hotel. We refreshed and left for Dinner at Rasoi near the hotel. It was  quite costly, and we had to pack food as we couldn’t finish them..Next day we went to Monk’s or Mushroom valley. Here we saw the chimneys in the form of Mushrooms. Then we also left for valley, did some trekking again  and then left for another place where the oldest homes were built in cappodocia.After lunch we left for the viewpoint to see the different chimney formations: Dancing girls, kissing couple, Mother Mary,Camel,Dog and many more. We also went to a place to see a family of chimneys: Mother, father, Children, Grandparents. We were then finally taken to the Goreme Open Air Museum in Cappodocia.The city has many old and original paintings made by the Christians who lived there. We then left for the hotel. We booked the night show for Whirling Dervishes in one of the Tourist places near our hotel and left for the show. The show was really good , with the usual Turkish dinner. I was pulled to dance with the girls at some point. We had a nice time. We then left for hotel and slept. The Next day we had to go for the Balloon ride. So woke up early, and went for the balloon ride. Initially was a little scared, but when you see another 1000 people doing it, you don’t feel scared anymore. Hence we had a lifetime experience. After the descent we were presented with medals and dropped at the hotel. As we didn’t have anything to do, we had a slow breakfast and went for a stroll nearby. We came back and waited for a long time for the pick up to the airport. We went to Istanbul Airport. Due to rain and also after some confusion with the name communicated to the person who was supposed to pick us up, we reached hotel late. Then we left for the Dubb restaurant by walk with raincoats, umbrellas as it was pouring. Next day we left for the Bhosphorous cruise,Dolmabache palace, the park. We had lunch near the Dubb Restaurant. After lunch, we went to the top to see the whole of Istanbul and the golden horn. Then we left for the hotel. That day we had gozleme, sut misr, kestane for dinner. Next day we left for the Bursa tour. We had to go on a ferry  along with the bus. The first stop when we reached Bursa was a store, where we bought the Turkish delight and teas. Then we went up the hill. There we stopped at the tree which was very huge and very old. Then we left for lunch in a restaurant. The climate was just super cold and raining so the travel itself was supergood.Then we left for the place to use  the chair car. But most of us didn’t go out as it was freezing. We then were taken to the Green Mosque in Bursa. This place had a green mosque with green tiles and cemeteries. There was a hamam bath that was  turned to s exhibition come shopping area. Next day we were free at our leisure. So we went to the Bhosphorous area, visited the Grey Mosque. Then we left for the other mosque on the hill. This mosque had cemeteries. Then we strolled through Grand Bazaar and Egyptian souq.We rode the metro and strolled the Istiklal Street and the Tasken square. We walked to the hotel on the way back. Next day was our last day in Turkey, We had an evening flight. So we checked out the hotel and left for Grand Bazaar shopping. We bought few bracelets, magnets, few takeaway gifts for friends and had lunch at Dominos. When we reached the hotel, our pick-up driver to the airport was awaiting for us. We returned to Bahrain in the evening flight.

Our turkey tour was super awesome with superb experience and many Historical places  that stun you with the ability of  Romans and Greeks. Our realization about the Wonders that the great painter called GOD can create.