04. 06. 2013 Istanbul (TURKEY)

[Stefy]: "Just landed in Istanbul! We withdraw the Turkish lira and take the last two seats available on the HAVATAS bus, direction: Taksim (the center of the rebellion of these days)!
As soon as we approach the center we begin to feel the strong smell of tear gas, chants praising the revolution against the dictatorship. Everywhere flags and banners, bus and car are destroyed and on fire! At the beginning we felt like two war correspondents but shortly after everything was beginning to seem normal, we quickly adapt to new situations!

We spend the evening around Istiklal Caddesi enjoying the first Turkish delight: first a simit (soft sesame tarallo), then a large kebab and finally a delicious baklava (sweet honey and pistachio)."

05. 06. 2013 Istanbul (TURKEY)

Istanbul 13 years later... The last time I've been here I was a scared kid by the majesty of this fascinating oriental city.

Now it’s so normal to stroll through its streets aimlessly; take its bus instead of taxis; drink a cup of apple tea among the old men playing tavla and chat with students of their discontent and the desire to change things.

Istanbul. The name is magic... it makes you imagine the stories of Pasha from 1000 Nights, Adventures of Ottoman sultans or Oriental warriors ...

5 city names by magical charm:
1. Timbuktu
2. Istanbul
3. Bombay
4. Bali
5. Baghdad

We spend the whole day in the area of ​​Galata, we live it our way: we close the Lonely Planet, we throw the map away and we let the flow guide us...
We stop at antique selling stamps, we drink freshly squeezed orange juice or we are amazed by listening to the story of the dervishes...

Stefy, from the top of Galata Tower, admires the hectic life of this wonderful city of ancient Anatolia. Barges ply the waters of the Bosphorus, fishmongers shout, "taksi" trumpet to make their way...

Turks are great people; it surprises you when, sitting in the waiting room of the bus station, another traveler, without asking you anything bring you two hot tea, almost as if it was a sacrilege for him to drink it alone.

06. 06. 2013 Goreme (TURKEY)

After eleven hours by bus where it seemed to me to wander forever in Istanbul, we arrive at Nevsehir: we are in the magical region of Cappadocia.

Its pinnacles of another era are bristling like the quills of an immense porcupine...
We are so tired but the desire to immerse and lose ourselves in it is too much... We leave our backpacks in the storage of our hotel carved into the rock, it is too early to check in,  our trekking day starts...

We walk to reach the open air museum of Goreme, UNESCO World Heritage Site and we admire the frescoes found inside the caves, ruined by Muslims vandals, I think that UNESCO should have "protected" them a little bit before...

While hanging around we get enchanted among the wonders created by Mother Nature, we feel small in the presence of these majestic and severe giants...
The day is long and still full of surprises....
We decide to follow a ten kilometers path that will take us near the "Red Valley", the "Rose" one and so-called "Fairy Chimneys".
I get excited several times when, like two young explorers, we enter steep trails, sometimes dusty, other muddy and other surmounted by those majestic mushrooms stone...

After several hours of walking we reach the outskirts of Cavusin, a small village... by very modest meager huts; we travel alongside the white tombstones of the cemetery just while the muezzim sings his song from the only minaret of the village...

[Stefy]: "Despite the tiredness we decide to continue up to the Kalelar (Fairy Chimneys), these artistic creations of nature were formed when erosion swept away the layer of lava that covered the tuff leaving behind isolated pinnacles. Everything seemed to assume magical forms, everything around us seemed enchanted!

In the evening, after a hitchhiking, we get lost in the narrow streets of Goreme and end up at the home of an old lady who shows us the inside of a real house carved into the rock! "

07. 06. 2013 Goreme (TURKEY)

[Stefy]: "On  our scooter... First stop: Uchisar Castle, between the "Roses Valley" and "Pigeons" one.  

An impressive cluster of volcanic rock scattered with rocks and small windows.


25 km over Kaymakli. We visit the underground city which consists of a series of tunnels in eight sunken floors; here the Christians fled and hid when, during the VI and VII century, Persian armies hunted them.
Time flies and we must reach Mustafapasa.
It was great to enjoy a little of the Cappadocia so far away from tourism.

In Mustafapasa we are welcomed by its lovely little square; we enjoy a romantic apple tea among its people. We stop to observe the life that slowly flows, small groups of nice old men sat and chatted in the bar in the square, children chasing each other, bakers who churn out every gift of God, and we obviously cannot reject their invitation and eat a delicious Turkish "pida"!

It is time to return. We reach Urgup, we pass through the beautiful and elegant streets of the town up to a wonderful view point.

This evening we set off to Pamukkale, we will travel throughout the night. We need to relax a bit, we listen to music and drink a cup of tea while our eyes are gratified by the beautiful sunset over the fairy chimneys."

 

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