Wednesday, June 27, 2012
First Few Days in Turkey!
I've been in Turkey for a few days now, but only spent one night in Istanbul so far. We flew into Istanbul of course, but flew out to the middle of Turkey the day after. Apparently I like my vacations harder than work so I've been running all over Turkey having a full itinerary. And it is very hot here! But I am flying back to Istanbul tonight and will have a couple days there to enjoy the city!
So far I have seen some pretty cool sights though. I think other than Istanbul, the party city, there are mainly a lot of historic and cultural sites in the parts of Turkey I have been. We started in Ephesus which was an important Roman city and the ruins there are amazing to see. Of course, I am really a nerd and into this kind of stuff. So I really enjoyed it. It's a very touristy spot though. You can see how many people there are:
That is what used to be a library. All the Corinthian columns and statues are in pretty good shape. There is also a huge amphitheater where they used to have gladiator fights! It holds 24,000 people!
And this was my personal favorite: the open air toilets that the rich Romans used, and then they would get sponged off by their slaves before entering into a spa in the middle of this area. Hehe.
A very cool natural site we saw was in Pamukkale where it is famous for natural thermal springs. Over the years the calcium turned these springs white and formed this amazing site. I soaked in it for about an hour and came out with white calcium residue all over my skin! I guess back in the day, all the spas were filled. But nowadays not so much. Too bad... Would be super cool to see them all filled!
Yesterday we took about an hour flight to Cappodocia where you can see a lot of natural rock formations and cave dwellings people used to live in. It's very different and interesting to see. There are actually many many churches that were carved out of the caves but when the Turks came, they turned them into pigeon houses. They were seriously obsessed with pigeon houses, we saw so many!
There are lots of underground cities too that people used to hide from enemies and live for months at a time. You can walk through the tiny tunnels (easier to defend against enemies) and see all the different rooms they used as kitchens, dormitories, etc. I seriously love this stuff.
But of course one of the most popular things to do here is to take a hot air balloon ride before sunrise! You can see all the landscape as the sun comes up. There can be up to 120 balloons in the air at the same time. But today when we went, there were about 50. Still pretty crazy to see! And it was my first time in a hot air balloon!
Anyway, so I will be flying to Istanbul shortly and will post updates later on!