12 Apr 2010, 11:45pm
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Turkey – Istanbul Part 3

Rounding up my stay in Turkey… the Bosphorus Cruise. This cruise trip takes you from the Sirkeci Station at Istanbul out to the black sea. We didn’t exactly dwell in the black sea per se, but we went far enough to see for ourselves how the black sea looks like.

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Waving goodbye to the port at Istanbul.

Up next is the Ottoman Imperial Palace – Ciragan Palace Hotel Kempinsk. It looks pretty grand… You can also stay here at a premium.

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Now, this building is known as the Dolmabahçe Palace. This is the final place where Ataturk resided in before he passed on.

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Chugging up the river, we come across the famous Bosphorus Bridge. istanbul41

With the Ortakoy Mosque seated beside it.

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Looks gorgeous under the noon sun. This scene strangely reminds me of Sydney harbour. (I shall get around to blogging my trip to down under)

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Moving along, from afar we spy the Rumeli Hisari, a huge fortress guarding Turkey.

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I can imagine the number of soldiers who spent days at this fortress.

Soon, we passed by an Albanian Village, Arnavutkoy. The pretty water houses that we see here are known as yalis.

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Please indulge me as I show you the many pictures that I took of this photogenic water village.

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Not too far away, a hill side covered with clusters of housing. What a stark contrast to the water city.

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The last stop at the end of the Bosphorus river… Anadolu Kavagi.

We took yet another steep climb to the top – it could rival climbing up to Tokapi Palace.

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I had quite a lot of fun snapping shots at this site.

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This was not some random hole that we found. This is the hole to get through if you want to explore the fort.

And look… I did see the Black Sea in person!!!

We were very lucky to have such great weather.

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On cloudy days you can’t see that far into the horizon. Yes, we were very very lucky indeed.

Now you can’t exactly see how nervous I was taking this shot, but trust me… If the wind was any stronger, I would have fallen down the cliff.

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And I just had to make my friend take this shot for me.

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By lunch time, I was famished. We ate seafood at a restaurant near the port.

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All vegans pardon Ganny’s shirt.

Lunch was sumptuous. My tummy was happy and so was I.

On the way back, we saw more sites.

This is Beylerbeyi Palace.

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And this is the Maiden’s Tower.

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When we docked, we explored the nearby market.

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Leeches for sale. Said to help people with blood clots. I’m serious.

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Duckies for sale…

And last but not least, we made one final stop to the spice market to grab some tea.

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This place sold more than just spices and tea. They sold non-perishable items as well.

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Well that pretty much sums up my trip and stay in Turkey. See you at the next destination! =)

6 Apr 2010, 7:20pm
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Turkey – Istanbul Part 2

On day two of our stay in Istanbul, we explored Istanbul’s most famous palace – Tokapi Palace. This place once hosted state banquets and royal entertainment. It is not difficult to figure out why…

This place is glittering with gold all over the place!

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It is not difficult to reach this palace. You can reach it by taking a street car, but you have to walk up a steep slope to reach the entrance of the palace. After exploring countless of ruins and sites, I was definitely not keen on climbing up this slope.

But the sight of Tokapi palace sure made up for the efforts.

Yay we finally reached the entrance!

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The first sight we saw was this pretty courtyard.

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The first room we went to was gold plated!

Oh-my-gosh.

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Okay, maybe not the entire room… But this was glitzy enough to make me go wow.

Check out the intricate details of the door frame.

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By the way… we haven’t even stepped into the inner courts of the palace. Can you imagine the grandeur inside?

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A friendly guard stands in front of the entrance to the inner court.

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Inside the inner courts, we found the library.

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And this building (I can’t remember what it was)…

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And pretty flowers…

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I know you are probably wondering when I would stop raving about Tokapi Palace… But I am genuinely amazed. So here are more pictures… Lol. Check out the details of the tiled wall…

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Love the colour and the design. True blue effort.

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I believe this looked prettier in its glorious past. I imagine little fishes swimming about.

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Living here is definitely royal treatment.

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I realise I have a gazillion more photos on Tokapi Palace. But it is grossly disproportionate to the other parts of the trip… So I shall end my Tokapi Palace visit with this one last photo… =)

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I can forgo having a chandelier in my bedroom, but if only my room was even half the size of this…

Up next, Turkey day 3!

2 Apr 2010, 2:13pm
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Turkey – Assos

Assos also known as Behramkale, is a town where Aristotle lived for a period of time. This place that was once a  thriving civilisation, now lies in ruins.

I can’t remember the real reason why my friends and I decided to make this stop before heading to Istanbul. It could be because this was a half day trip and it fitted nicely in our itinerary.

What remains of Assos is surprisingly little. There are two main attractions. The Athena temple and the port.

This was the view from the top. A little patchy, but imagination does wonders. I bet it looks luscious during spring.

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You have to take a bus to the site of the Athena temple. Do be aware of which stop you want to get off at for my friends and I missed a stop and had to be in the bus for another 10 minutes for it to make a loop.

There were strange sharp plants at the temple. It was rather painful when pricked.

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The view from the top was cool… Very Athens.

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Whilst my friend Limin was trying to get her cool jumping shots. I got Ganny to take this for me.

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It’s the sun, the sea and the mountains.

We took the same bus down to the village. This place is touristy…

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We soaked our aching and sun burnt feet into the inviting waters. Ahhh… after such a long time…

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Ganny took the time to even her tan.

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No those ain’t her shoes. She’ll rather die than to ever wear them.

I had my ice-cream break too. My two must haves when I got travelling. Ice-cream and corn. They make me very very happy. Really.

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C’est La Vie.

I know you’ll be wondering why some of my photos have watermark and some doesn’t. My 3rd hard disk and my lappy was threatening to crash on me when I was doing the watermark for these 2 photos… I don’t know what’s with me and my anti-electronic karma. But it’s definitely driving me nuts. My 3rd hard disk is only 2 weeks old… T.h.e… a.g.o..n…y……..

27 Mar 2010, 1:28am
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Turkey – Canakkale and Troy

Food!!!

The air in Turkey sure took a toll on my skin. I was breaking out in pimples! But I was loving my tan. And my corn on the cob of course…

An 8 hour ride took us from Kusadasi to Canakkale. By the time we reached, it was night fall.

By this time, I missed the food at home terribly. This was also the time I told myself I’m never going to eat kebabs for a long long long time to come.

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Canakkale

We took our dinner at this kebab stall. It was inexpensive and probably the only food shop that was open at that unearthly hour.

There was a dessert stall open though…

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I didn’t feel safe walking on the streets of Canakkale. I’m used to walking down streets alone, but the vibe in Canakkale… was strangely eerie and uneasy. So we headed back to the student hostel after we were done with walking the two main streets.

The next day, I woke up in a way much better mood.

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We made it to the famous land of Troy!

I finally ditched my tees for a spaghetti top. Which I later regretted because I incurred a very bad burn.

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3 of us made it to the top of the horse. We were 3 extremes. My friend Ganny (far right) was ridiculously burned by this time of the trip. My other friend Limin (centre) was avoiding the sun like a plague. She wore this cardigan everywhere she went. And I mean everywhere regardless of the temperature. I on the other hand, liked the sun but totally regretted being burned.

This was probably the saddest part of the trip.

Despite the glorious story of the battle at Troy. Whether it was a myth or not…

This land called Troy was…

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Flat land.

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Flat land.

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Flat land.

You get my drift…

It was so boring, the sight of purple flowers made me smile.

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Where are the ferocious men of Troy!?!?!?

So if you are tight for time in Turkey, skip Troy totally. It is not worth the time or effort.

Thereafter, having sometime to spare we headed to Galipoli.

We visited this fort museum.

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But we couldn’t snap pictures indoors. And it wasn’t interesting. So we left soon enough.

I had more fun by the seaside.

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We managed to convince some kids to take pictures with us!

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Er… and here is the head of the horse.

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Dinner was delightful. I had grilled fish and muscles. YUM!

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See you at the next stop! Istanbul…

23 Mar 2010, 10:17pm
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Turkey – Kusadasi & Ephesus

I’m deeply embarrassed. But I’ve finally gotten around to blog about Turkey – after reviving 2 external hard disks!

Travelling through Turkey was a breeze compared to the blazing weather in Egypt. Do wear sleeved tops out of respect of the Turks.

After docking at Kusadasi, we took some time to explore the city. Even though the city is really small, the tourist area is rather colourful.

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Kusadasi

When you are in Turkey, you need to try some of their local “sweets”. Try it with their turkish tea or apple tea. Be warned, they taste really really sweet.

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Looks yummy right? I loved this flavour!

And of course, you have to eat the Turkish ice-cream! Cheeky ice-cream sellers – if you know what I mean.

Kusadasi

Kusadasi

Is it just me or the names of the tea are just queer. Rose hip tea and sex tea?!

Kusadasi is the transit point for most visitors travelling from and to Greece. It will be worthwhile to make a day trip to  Ephesus whilst you are in Kusadasi. My friends and I were exhausted by this point in the trip, so we chose to make a half-day tour around the main sites of Kusadasi. On hindsight, I would have loved to spend another half of the afternoon visiting the Mother Mary site.

Ephesus is also the place where the book of Ephesians was written. I mean it does make sense doesn’t it?

Anyway, in Ephesus the place to visit is the library of Celsus.

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After visiting countless of sites with rocks and pillars. I say this library stands out. I like it.

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I can imagine it in its grandeur. Imagine the number of books stored here!

Hail to civilisation.

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(One of those rare photos of me without make-up)

And I had to take a picture with a statue. There was this insider joke throughout the entire trip of me being fascinated with statues and I had to take a picture with all that I saw.

No. I ain’t kidding. I really did take picture with all the pretty statues I saw.

This is the place where I took this picture as well!

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Washroom for the modern man and woman. I like.

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Even the cat likes it.

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These are evidences of the thriving civilisation in Ephesus – just like how they were written in my history texts.

Oh and Ephesus is famous for being the first in the world to have advertisement.

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Unfortunately, it is advertising about the world’s oldest trade. That is a heart next to the hole. That is indeed a depiction of a foot. And the hole is really meant to be there. I shall not elaborate more. Let’s just leave it as it is.

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What a way to end my trip in Kusadasi and Ephesus. =D

Next up, Canakkle and Troy!

 
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