Happy Turkish people in İstanbul, Turkey

Yeah it’s been a few months but I’m still squeezing some time posting. Missed all the beautiful things way back before the epidemic.

I can’t think of another city in the world like İstanbul. Important location with abundant history. Rather low price levels. Cute and kind people.

If you’ve ever googled “10 must see in İstanbul” you’ll get about seven times the amount you wished. However, if you’re not a real history or architecture fan, just go through the repeated mentioned ones will be enough. Also goods sold in bazaars are mostly the same, so visit them in your own priority order may be a wise choice.

Don’t know whether it’s because of the dead season, some sites in the old town area are partially under construction in February, including Sultanahmet (Blue Mosque), Hagia Sophia, Topkapı palace, Yeni Camii. Still it’s open to visitors though. It’s just the sense of incomplete that bothers.

Somewhat contradicting to see both Christian and Islamic style in the same architecture – Hagia Sophia.

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I pretty like mosques. The architectures are so big and with beautiful arabic calligraphy and chandelier inside. No portraits makes everything a bit more mysterious. Such a pity Sultanahmet is partially under maintenance. Still magnificent a building on the outside anyway.

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Be prepared to spend more time in Topkapı palace if you like to take photos. The delicate tiles with beautiful patterns amazed me the most. Also appreciate the Bosphorus and Marmara sea view in the innest corner.

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Süleymaniye mosque is also one of the most magnificent ones, yet not so famous as Sultanahmet or Hagia Sophia. Some volunteers are there to introduce Islamic cultures to visitors, and we had a great time having short conversations and enjoyed tea and baklava with them.

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And then is the Dolmabaçhe palace. It takes about three hours with the audio guide to walk through all the rooms.

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Actually there is just too many to see in this incredible city, so as a starter, we take the Bosphorus cruise for some general views, and had the exaggerating Turkish breakfast which is densely located in Beşiktaş.

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A worth-mentioning incident during my trip

Leaving for İstanbul is the very time when coronavirus ‘news’ (not the virus itself yet) started to spread out in Turkey. Before that I always feel the warmth and welcoming Turkish people, but since that day everyone started to look at me in a strange way. Some passed by with their hands covering their nose, some just made an awkward U-turn.

(I’m not blaming Turkish people though because most of the time even we ourselves can’t tell upon Asian faces lol.) So here’s the sign:

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Out of surprise I got lots of positive feedbacks. Most of them just told their friends what they’ve seen secretly (but apparently, still enough for me to aware). Others laugh out loud on the street and asked me for photos.

Most Turkish people showed their optimistic to the world. They are happy. They laugh often. I’m also amused with their reactions. Also they really help visitors a lot (especially after seeing my sign, though getting special treats isn’t what I originally expected).

All in all I’m so glad to have everyone, everything in the right place during this trip. At the airport I miss their wonderful Tavuk şiş (chicken kebab) and Künefe and Baklava (sweeet snacks) already.

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Before this trip I spent a few hours to familiarize their language system. I also like the way they reacted when I speak little Turkish (surprised and then speak a long sentence by Turkish which is beyond my understanding).

Now I sincerely hope they still hold their optimism. We’ll come through eventually.

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Go back to the good old days: Ankara & Safranbolu, Turkey

(I’m trying to keep posting on time but apparently I’m just procrastinating… so the posts are now about two months lagging lol)

Most tourists with tight time budget skip Ankara. Really there’s not much to see compared to Istanbul or Kapadokya, but still there are things amazed us.

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And the first to mention is our hotel. Quite late at night the time we arrived, and at first it’s weird to pass the safety check before getting to the reception, but then everything’s clear enough. There are so many collections on the wall — most of them are animal specimen, sculptures, and drawings — just like a museum.

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There was a Chiang-Kai-Shek memorial hall in my country, and I have totally no idea why visitors are going there (even I’ve never wanted to pay a visit). Then the question was solved as soon as we decide to make Anıtkabir as our first stop in Ankara. The architecture was rather simple, but with the big square in front of it, and the guards standing in front of them altogether made it “the other kind” of magnificent. (I mean, I would say Hagia Sophia was also magnificent but they’re very different kinds of buildings.)

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The whole Safranbolu city was listed as an UNESCO world heritage site since 1994. We stayed in Dadibra Konak Hotel, which is a boutique hotel with the house built almost 300 years ago. And in order to maintain good condition we were asked to have food only at the first floor, which makes us having more interaction with the host family. Host mama is very good at art and crafts. She designed the tables and key rings. Host papa showed his great hospitality. Though he can’t speak English, he made a excellent use of Google translation and we played poker cards with him.

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People said they have more local Turkish bath here than in Istanbul, so we did one here in Cinci Hammam. For the women they said it was wonderful, but we men think the staffs are doing it carelessly with the price of 82 Turkish Liras. So I’ll leave the decision to you when mentioning this part.

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There are also some spots to see several kilometers away. Spend some time at the crystal glass terrace and walk down canyon of Tokatlı.

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Also at Karanfil cafe-restaurant we got the most delicious non-Turkish style food of the trip, I would say, in the new town area.

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(I’m now at home already. Had halted my travels because of the severe epidemic. Hope everyone’s doing well.)

Join me with my travel vlog here!

Adventure on the Mars: Kapadokya, Turkey

It looks like a totally independent, different world than the other places in Turkey. Surrounded by special geology formations, this place is a very popular tourism spot. Compared to the previous towns I’ve visited, English is much more commonly heard and spoken in Kapadokya. Sometimes they also speak little Chinese!

Continue reading “Adventure on the Mars: Kapadokya, Turkey”

On the go: Denizli & Konya, Turkey

Pamukkale is one of the most famous sites in Turkey for the cotton-like geographic formation. After arriving Denizli we take bus 76 to Pamukkale. There were no bus stops and we had no way to figure out when to get off the bus, but the driver is kind and showed us upon arrival.

Continue reading “On the go: Denizli & Konya, Turkey”

Me as the East Asia delegate: Bursa, Turkey

(Sorry for the bad joke)

Haven’t made a post for a while, after all traveling is not a small hobby. Most of the time I search for information online, make route plans and reservations, and study the culture and history. All of these formed some kind of images in my mind, and now I’m ready to realize it.

Continue reading “Me as the East Asia delegate: Bursa, Turkey”

Maldives: Day2~4 – Maafushi (2) In the Ocean

“Pearl necklace in the Indian Ocean”

You haven’t been to Maldives without joining one of their amazing packages!

The incredible underwater beauty is what makes Maldives so special. In Kaani Village and Spa the hotel staff introduced us some of their package tours. We also got a fair discount by joining multiple tours. And here are the most popular ones.

Continue reading “Maldives: Day2~4 – Maafushi (2) In the Ocean”