Sunday, 20 August 2017

Day 6: On the return leg to Ankara

We started on our return leg from the central Anatolia region back to Istanbul with an overnight stay in Ankara at somewhat midway point.



On the onset of the journey, we made another shopping stop at a jewellery shop, obligatory toilet breaks in between and short visit to a very large salt plain.


On the salt plains in hot afternoon sun



Upon reaching Ankara, the capital of Turkey, we were taken to the national mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, leader of the Turkish War of Independence and the founder and first President of the Republic of modern Turkey,.

I'm tall he's taller still..lol





Accommodation for the night was at the comfortable 4 star Bera hotel. After a set dinner at the hotel, evening was free for us to walk the streets nearby the hotel.


The restaurant staff beckoning us

Local delicacy of fresh mussels drizzle with lemon

The locals love their breads

Ankara street life


You guess right. KFC in Turkey. Not bad but not as good as our local KFC.

Plenty of restaurants along the streets. People are openly drinking liquor.





Thursday, 3 August 2017

Part 3: Day 4 & 5, Cappadocia

Day 4 had to be the most arduous part of journey in the entire Turkey trip. A 613km, 7 hours road backside numbing journey to Cappadocia. Thank god for Wifi!


Turkish dessert of yogurt, honey and poppy seed
From the look on her face, Alicia is high on poppy seeds



Encounter of a cherry kind


Situated next to the highway, Sultanhami is the largest caravanserai of the seljuks. It was built in 1229.


Kaymakli Underground City. Christians lived in caves built into the soft volcanic rocks to escape the persecutions by the Ottomans.



That is how cramp it can be.


Part of the passage way.



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We arrived at Uchisar Kaya Hotel in the evening just in time for buffet dinner. It is a cave themed hotel  and one of the better hotels during our stay. A rustic hotel room with a balcony overlooking the picturesque town of Goreme, famous for the fairy chimneys.  
Our luggage in the corridor for collection..lol


Great views from the balcony
Dwellings carved from molten lava rocks



Hotel verandah overlooks the valley beneath





Day 5: Memorable Hot Air Balloon ride in Cappadocia.

The topography in the region is famous for its unique terrain of fairy chimneys, subterranean churches, chiselled out dwellings abd rock formations in shades of red, orange, grey, brown and black giving it an ethereal and surreal allure.

What more better way to take in the magical sights than a gentle and breathtaking ride on a hot air balloon over Cappadocia. It has always been mentioned in many websites for best hot air balloon rides in the world.

We were initially put off by the expensive price quoted of USD200 which was equivalent to RM853 per personfor an hour ride. The going rate on the internet was from USD100 to USD150. Do take note, all the rides are more or less the same, all starting from the same general vicinity and the route very much dependent on the winds. Ours was with the company Atmosfe Balloons. They were very professional, taking good care of their passengers comfort and safety.

Our group of 12 were taken by van at 4am from the hotel to the launch site just off town. While we ate on a breakfast of biscuits, cakes and hot coffee, the crew were filling up the balloons with hot air from propane gas burners. Before long, we were all loaded into the gondola and then slowly and gradually climb up into the air. We passed close by rock formations before we caught wind and rose higher. The reason for the ride to start so early in the morning was to catch the morning sunrise as it appears over the horizon throwing an orange glow over the entire area. The sight and experience was indeed awesome and memorable.

Bucket list: Hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia, checked.


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Ready for lift off!

Up up and away


Awesome sight, balloons rising up in the air


The gondola filled with passengers




Breathtaking sunrise


I was so engrossed with the experience that I forgot about my fear of heights!!




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Safe touchdown

Conclusion to a memorable experience with champaign/wine and certificate



After the exhilarating balloon ride, it was back to the hotel to freshen up and joined the rest of the tour group to visit more places of interest in the town of Goreme, Cappadocia. We visited Mushroom Valley, the Fairy Chimneys, Gerome Open Air Museum with cave churches and frescoes from the 10th to 12th centuries and a shopping stop at  a factory producing hand crafted and hand painted crockery.

With buffet dinner in the hotel over, we were treated to cultural show in a town nearby. Highlights from the show was the whirling dervishes and a belly dance. Overall, the show was just average.











Believe it or not, this is a long dining table with a line of seats around it.