After waving goodbye to J at Istanbul airport, the final four of us flew out to Santorini, via Athens. The trip was uneventful apart from a pretty heavy landing in Santorini – so much so that a few of us were checking the back of the plane as we disembarked to see if we’d had tail strike, but it appeared not.
After wending our way around the countryside, we flew back to Istanbul (after a few of the girls did a quick trip to the post office to make sure their bags weighed the regulation 20kg!)
Our last few days were just as frenetic as the previous ones, although we did manage to fit in the occasional hammam and massage. Continue reading
We moved the short distance from Kusadasi to Selcuk because A is great friends with Harry, who runs the ANZ Guesthouse in Selcuk. It’s like staying with family there. Mehmet who we met last time is also still there, but instead of he and his brother Ali having the carpet shop and another shop next door with other souvenirs, they’ve transformed the second shop into a restaurant, and have plans to close the carpet shop entirely to expand.
While we were in Selcuk we did a few short trips out of town, like catching the local dolmus around hair-raising bends on hills to Sirince, a small village about 20 mins away. The village was interesting, but had an influx of other tourists that day, plus a local wedding, so the streets were clogged. The markets were nice, and they had a few things we hadn’t seen elsewhere.
We were pretty happy to leave Bodrum for our trip around Afrodesias and Pammukale, but we were all very tired from our big night out the night before, and an early start again. The minibus was a bit cramped for our long driving legs, but we managed to fit all the luggage into it as well as ourselves. Continue reading
To get from Goreme to Bodrum was quite an effort, including Victor driving us to the Konya train station for our night train to Izmir, then a taxi to the bus station, then a public bus to Bodrum, then a taxi to the hotel. Phew!
I certainly don’t recommend a 4.30am wakeup call for anyone! The flight was quite quick though, and although everyone was very tired, we had a full day of sightseeing to do. We girded our loins with caffeine and hit the road with our fabulous Rock Valley guide Öman and wonderful driver Victor.
First up was Derinkuyu Underground City, a series of manmade interconnected tunnels where people hid in various wars. We went seven storeys down, and our legs and backs were soon aching from crouching down to walk up the narrow and low, steep stairways. There are some great sights!
The next stop was a brief photo opportunity at a lake situated in a dormant volcano crater. It was so beautiful that we all craved going for a swim, but unfortunately there wasn’t enough time, as we had to move onto the next stop, the Ilhara Valley.
I haven’t posted for a few days as I’ve been so incredibly busy! The flight to Istanbul was pretty uneventful, apart from me being told off by Customs people in Dublin Airport because I took a picture of the Customs dog. Whoops.
Turkish Air business class is nice – they have an unidentified “champagne” which does all the right things, and they give a bowl of hazelnuts and dried fruit with their drinks. The meal was great too – some lovely appetisers and then a lamb and eggplant dish, just right to get in the Turkish mood!
After finishing the convention, we hired a car (a teeny weeny 2-door Skoda that barely fit our luggage) and hightailed it out of the city to visit my great aunt J in Plymouth. It was certainly a different experience driving from the East End than last time driving from Gatwick airport, not least because the unhinged GPS decided on a route which took us straight through the middle of London at 4pm in the afternoon, instead of using the Ring Road, which might have saved us some time, and definitely would have saved me grey hairs!
We did end up doing a great sightseeing “tour” on the way the GPS took – past the V&A, around Trafalgar Square, along the Thames… eek!
My last day in Brussels was quiet as I was pretty exhausted from my big day in Amsterdam the day before! I wandered around the centre of town a bit more and found the Galeries Royales where there are heaps of amazing chocolate shops. Woah. I picked out a few choccies for people at home in one of them (they might get home) and meandered my way back to the hotel through the malls. The Flower Carpet was due to open the next day, but there wasn’t anything to see there yet.