September saw us set off for Turkey, a new destination for me, and one I knew little about. The more research I did the more I realised how much there is to this fascinating country. We had just two weeks and wanted to combine sightseeing, relaxation and some city exploration all the while photographing and eating our way across the country. Two weeks gave us time to just scratch the surface – here’s our itinerary…
After flying into Istanbul we took a flight to Kayseri in the centre of the country. We then transferred to Goreme in a region called Cappadocia in central Anatolia and stayed three nights here, the first in a ‘Fairy Chimney’ in the most charming boutique cave hotel. We explored underground cave towns, hiked through some incredible volcanic rock formations, had the best breakfast of my life and took a dawn hot air balloon flight with around 80 other balloons – a memory I’ll always treasure.
From Goreme we took a pretty gruesome 8.5 hour drive by night bus to Pamukkale, Denizli. It was worth every bone crunching, sleep-deprived minute to see Pamukkale’s incredible Cotton Castle. The white terraces are formed from calcium carbonate which eventually hardens and forms travertine pools. People have bathed here for thousands of years. Nearby is the archeological town of Hieropolis with amphitheatre, necropolis, monumental gates and ancient ruins. We had just one night in Pamukkale, in a lovely little family run hotel, in a room that looked like a set from a 70s soft-porn film. (Not that I would know….) The gigantic four-poster bed swathed in burgundy sequinned drapes and bedspread need to be seen to be believed!
From Pamukkale we travelled down to the coast at Bodrum – another bus journey but this time only 4.5 hours and in daylight which meant we could take in some of Turkey’s scenery en-route. We had five nights in Bodrum and a chance to kick back and relax. We also spent time wandering the town searching out little bars, a day on a boat and a day in the hospital. Best laid plans…
From Bodrum we flew back to where we arrived; Istanbul was the destination for our last two nights. We crammed a lot into two days; The Haga Sophia and Blue Mosque, the curiously creepy Basilica Cistern, a boat trip on the Bosphorus, a morning at Topkapi Palace – which wasn’t nearly enough, The hectic Spice Bazaar and the bustling Grand Bazaar as well as general wanderings and explorations.
This is the route we took – straight lines are flights, wiggly lines are road routes.
Do stay posted as I’ll soon be assailing you with travel tales, photos and epicurean Turkish delights.