Turkey Trip Report

May 2014
Copyright Henry Richardson

I finally found my chance to visit Turkey! I had been thinking about going for years, but always for various reasons I had found myself going somewhere else that I also wanted to go to. On this trip though I was there for about 4 weeks of travel and it was excellent. I spent half with a small, good group of 9 people from Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Canada that I met in Istanbul and the other half on my own. I went in a big loop through much of Turkey going to Istanbul, Bursa, Selcuk/Ephesus/Sirince, Pamukkale/Hierapolis, Kayakoy/Oludeniz, Kas, Konya, Goreme/Cappadocia, and then back to Istanbul. I have some trip photos in the Turkey gallery:


Whirling dervishes in Bursa, hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia, the beautiful Travertine Terraces and Hieropolis at Pemukkale, and much more. A very good trip.

I flew from Tokyo non-stop to Istanbul on Turkish Airlines. I arrived at night and was able to get a taxi from the Ataturk airport to my hotel located in the old, historic Sultanahmet part of central Istanbul. Tired, I just wanted to take a shower and sleep. I did.

photo In Bursa

I woke up on my first morning in Istanbul and was surprised to find my camera on the bed with me. I had left it on a table in the room. What's up with that? :-} Then it started vibrating and emitting a sort of electronic chirping sound. Sometimes these darn electronic gizmos can be so cryptic and hard to understand. Not this time though. She had jumped on the bed at first light and was excited and anxious for me to take her on a wander in Sultanahmet! I hate to disappoint an excited female so that is what we did!

The Istanbul cell phone system is lousy. I don't have one, but I know it sucks. How do I know? Well, I walked around Sultanahmet my first day and several times I saw men on the street yelling very loudly into their cell phones. Also, the other arm was waving around wildly, probably trying to use their flailing arm as an auxiliary antenna and searching for a signal. I know that not everyone has the chance to travel around the world so I feel a duty, a responsibility to give you the straight scoop on what is happening wherever I am.

Ephesus, near the city of Selcuk, was an ancient Greek and then Roman city and the magnificent ruins are reminiscent of Pompeii in Italy and Volubilis in Morocco. Both Saint Paul and Saint John spent time here in the early days of Christianity. It is where John wrote the Gospel of John. It was an important city and seaport in those days.

One of the trip highlights was an early morning hot air balloon ride at Cappadocia. It was my first time to ride in one, but I had heard that Cappadocia was a wonderful place to do it. It was like a balloon festival with many balloons above, below, and all around.

photo Early morning hot air balloon ride, Cappadocia

I had an all-night bus ride from Cappadocia to Istanbul. Arrived early in the morning, tired, wanting a shower and sleep. Hotel check-in was at 3:00 pm. All-night buses are the reason I travel. :-} They are one of the things that test your love for travel. :-) Sadly it is difficult to order and arrange one's trip so that every night is spent on a cramped bus with your backpack.

photo 16 years old high school students, Istanbul

After the 11 hours on the bus it was 30 minutes in a very crowded mini-bus (van) standing with backpack and trying to keep from falling. Then almost 30 minutes on a ferry across the Bosphorus -- which was very good!

Here is an Istanbul panorama from atop the Galata Tower with view of the Golden Horn and Bosphorus Strait (click to see larger version):


Copyright Henry Richardson