Well, so far we’ve been having a great time in Istanbul. People are much friendlier than in Greece, and the API Call Errorsights are incredible.
I guess there’s not a whole lot to say. So far we’ve visited the API Call ErrorBlue Mosque and the Aya Sofya (Church of Divine Wisdom), which are both really spectacular, in their own way. The Blue Mosque is incredibly beautiful. The Aya Sofya seems a little dingy, but it’s incredible to think that the building is 1500 years old and would have been quite unlike any of its contemporaries. It’s API Call Errorunder restoration, so part of the interior is blocked off by scaffolding.
The most frustrating thing that’s happened here was yesterday afternoon, when, for no apparent reason, water throughout a sizable chunk of the city centre stopped running. Our hotel was included in the outage, which lasted from around noon until sometime after we’d gone to bed around midnight. It lead to the new experience of using bottled water to flush a toilet, which was necessary to keep our bathroom usable. Luckily the store across the street did have giant 10L jugs for sale which did the trick. We were happy to wake up this morning and find the water running again, since we both definitely needed showers. It’s not all that hot here – high twenties – but it’s very sticky.
So that’s about it. We had big plans for today, but unfortunately my breakfast this morning must have had peanuts or something in it, so I’m not feeling so great, and we haven’t gotten anything done yet. More later.
Throughout our trip to Turkey, we’ve had trouble with activities not taking place due to lack of tourists. In E?irdir, there was absolutely nothing happenning, in Göreme, pensions were close to empty, but at least all the different pensions work together so they can still offer the same activities. Similarly, in Olympos, we booked our cruise with one company, but they couldn’t get any other customer’s, so they put us on another company’s boat.
Well, we found them. They were hiding in Ephesus, unless they were Russian, in which case, they were hiding in API Call ErrorPammukale.
We’ve been a little lazy for blogging of late, our appologies. Since we don’t feel like writing a huge entry about the little that we’ve done since getting off the short cruise, here’s quick story about how much of a sucker I am for cats.
Two nights ago I ordered a really yummy steak for supper at the pension; there were 2 cute cats hanging around, one of which we’d been petting before supper, and I’m a sucker for cats. I gave the little imps a couple of fatty scraps from the steak, and once as I did so, one of them swiped at my hand to get it and left a nice little gash. While in the room cleaning myself up (totally my fault and I accept full responsibility), one of the little buggars jumped on the chair and stole the remaining steak so fast nobody even really saw it happen. So there. That’s the story, there’s even a little warning sign now in my honour.
Well, the few days has very definitely been a holiday for us. We spent a lot of time on the water, as we were slowly making our way from Olympos to Fethiye.
We started on the API Call Errorboats on Tuesday, when we signed up for a day trip out of Olympos, so that I could go API Call Errorscuba diving. The boat was a bit crowded, as there were many day trippers on it, though only three people, including myself, going scuba diving. The diving here wasn’t as great as the Red Sea. There are certainly a few fish around, and these neat anemone things that have a beautiful flower/tendril thing sticking out, and then retract into a tube when there’s movement nearby, which are kind of neat. But there was no corral, and the more tropical fish we saw when we went diving out of Aqaba were quite missing.
We are now in Olympos, on the south coast of the med. It is very sticky here – not really all that hot, but very very humid, and there is very little air flow, hardly a breeze to speak of. I can’t tell you how frustrated I am at not having a pair of shorts. You’d think I would have bought a pair by now, but I haven’t. Silly me.
We did go to the beach yesterday, it wasn’t too crowded, but I’m not used to going to public beaches, so it felt a little crowded to me. Mostly Turks yesterday, as it was Sunday (the weekends in Turkey are oddly enough Saturday and Sunday, despite Friday being their holy day. We have been told, and are noticing, that although Turkey is about 99% Muslim, they are not nearly as strict about it as the Arab countries we’ve come from (and we found them fairly liberal as well)). Even though the med is fairly warm (especially compared to northern Alberta lakes!) I’m still a little chicken to get in all the way – something about it being too cold. I know, I’m weird.
Some things we’ve observed about Turkey:
Turkish pants – in Antakya we saw men wearing funny pants (people of our generation may remember the fashion trend of Hammer-pants?); they are really baggy pants with the crotch hanging down close to the knees, but the waist is at the waist (not like the young hipsters back home these days who wear the waists around their butts to accomplish a similar effect). I think they remind me a little of pants that genies wear in cartoons. Around Egirdir we saw women (but not men) wearing similar pants, but with even lower crotches, almost halfway down the calf. I would compare them to “gypsy-pants” (though we are eventually heading into actual gypsy country, and I may have to revise my Hollywoodized notions).
We decided against going to the Black Sea coast in the Northeast, as much as we’d like to, because it was just too far away, and it looked to be a bit pricey. We told ourselves that we would probably pass through the region if we ever do the Silk Road trip (from China to Turkey) that we’d really like to try someday.
Cappadocia really does have it all. Well, everything except low prices, that is. The landscape here is amazing. When we arrived, we came in during a lightning storm, shortly after sunset, so the lightning was flashing behind all these API Call Errorrock formations. One particularly large formation, which looks a little like a castle, had a flash go off behind it just as we were going by, and looked like something out of a Dracula movie.
What a difference a border makes. It is only 100km from Aleppo to Antakya, but once you cross the (very disorganised) border, all of a sudden, you enter Europe.
While we are technically still in Asia, it is a much more European atmosphere. The streets are wide, traffic is a bit calmer. Headscarves have gone from being worn by a moderately sized majority, to being worn only by a tiny minority of women, mostly older women, at that. Western brand names, which were almost non-existent in Syria, have reappeared. The stores are better stocked than anywhere we’ve been since Malta (excepting the Amman Safeway).
There are still a few things to remind us that this isn’t Europe yet. The call to prayer is still heard 5 times a day, though still soundly ignored by most people; there are still people wandering the streets to shine shoes, sell tea, and, in a new addition, weigh people.