A Travellerspoint blog

Istanbul /Kuala Lumpur - Wednesday, 24 August 2011

sunny 28 °C

Had a relaxed breakfast, packed and were down in reception by 10.10 am, ready to catch the airport shuttle. It only took 5 minutes to get there from the hotel. That is the beauty of staying at an airport hotel when you are flying out the next day. Checked in without any problems and they checked the bags all the way through to Langkawi. My bag weighs 19.5 kgs and Phil's is 24 kgs. Malaysian Airlines flight took off on time (2 pm) and immediately we put our watches 5 hours ahead to KL time - 7 pm. At 8 pm they served dinner and then a couple of hours later they turned off the cabin lights and expected us to go to sleep, even though our bodies were still on Istanbul time which was 5 pm.

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Bye bye Turkey. A most amazing and fascinating country. Can hardly wait to come back.

No one could sleep because we weren't tired so everyone was watching movies. I watched "Water for Elephants", "The Joneses" and "Across the Distance". All good. Only had a small doze and was then served breakfast at 3 am. The plane landed at KL airport at 5.15 am and we then proceeded to our departure gate for our flight to Langkawi. We were the only ones in the airport, which is huge. It was very weird.

The flight left at 8.30 am and after 40 minutes we were landing in Kuah, Langkawi. It's humid and raining - puddles everywhere and it's supposed to be the dry season. Big surprise when we checked into our hotel. We are in the Executive Suite which is two rooms - one very large bed room and bathroom and one room with a toilet and a basin and a huge lounge suite and a coffee table!! We have decided to stay in a hotel in the centre of the town as opposed to one of the resorts which are a long way from civilization. We made contact with Judy and Graeme - our friends from New Zealand who have been travelling in Malaysia and we all decided to meet up in Langkawi for a week on our way home. Their room is next door to ours and we are the only ones on the 13th floor.

Went for a taxi ride to the shops and Phil bought some shorts and found his "Denim" after shave lotion. Langkawi is the only place in the world that has it! We walked to "Kenny Rogers" restaurant and had a nice sandwich and came back to the hotel and had a sleep for a couple of hours. Had happy hour in our suite with Judy and Graeme with nibbles supplied by the hotel. We went for a walk around the block, in the rain and came back to the hotel for a buffet dinner - 58 Malaysian Ringets. Very nice - now into bed and hope we sleep through.

Istanbul - warn and windy - 28 degrees
Langkawi - overcast and raining - 30 degrees

Posted by gaddingabout 22:38 Archived in Turkey Tagged and warm windy Comments (0)

Gelibolu / Istanbul, Turkey - Tuesday, 23 August 2011

sunny 30 °C

Had a sleep in and went down for breakfast. Not much to choose from. The guy at the restaurant last night said that the Ozturk was the best hotel in town. I'd hate to see the worst one!! Two choices of boring cereal - plates of ham, cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers and olives and cold hard boiled eggs. Sachets of jam and honey - no butter (had to ask for that and it came out frozen) and very strong tea - no coffee. But, very nice fresh bread. So breakfast was quick and we were on the road by 10 am. The road was fantastic - double lane all the way except for a few two way traffic sections due to road work, but there was hardly any traffic on the road. As we approached Istanbul, we had the choice of staying on this road or the autobarn. We chose the autobarn to use up our KGS card, but it was very, very busy and due to a lot of road works, very slow at times.

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We arrived at the WOW Istanbul Airport Hotel at 1.15 pm and spent some time reorganising our cases.

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Got changed into our swimmers and went up to the pool for a swim, only to be told that we would have to wear a bathing cap and that they were 5 euros each. We told them "no thanks" and came back to our room and ordered room service. Have contacted the hire car guy and he'll be here at 5.30 pm to pick it up. Handed over the car okay and had a lazy afternoon reading, snoozing and watching TV then dressed for dinner and had a very nice meal in the hotel restaurant - mains, dessert and wine. Splurged on our last night in Turkey.

Got chatting to Martin Laurie from Atlanta, Georgia who travels to Europe all the time on business - industrial water filtration - South African born. Very nice. We talked for ages and poor him - he has to get up early for a 5.50 am flight to Amsterdam. We can sleep in. It's now 11.00 pm.

Posted by gaddingabout 22:31 Archived in Turkey Tagged and warm windy Comments (0)

Canakkale / Gallipoli / Gelibolu, Turkey - Mon, 22 Aug 2011

sunny 30 °C

Up at 7am and had a quick breakfast.

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Chatted with a couple of Aussie blokes at breakfast from Melbourne who were military historians and going to Gallipoli today as well. Loaded up the car and caught the ferry to Ecibat.

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Aussie tee shirt day!

Arrived at about 9.20 am. Drove around the peninsula a couple of times and went to Lone Pine, Chanuk Bair, the Nek and several Turkish memorials.

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The road to Anzac Cove was under construction and blocked off but the workers let us through and at least we got to Beach Cemetery and the Anzac Cove sign. The road to the memorial was blocked off by piles of dirt but at least we got to beach cemetery and found Phil's relation Brady and I found Viv Searle from "Crack Hardy" by Stephen Dando Collins. "Crack Hardy" is the true story of three brothers who went to World War One and only one returned. Viv is buried at Beach Cemetery and the other brother is buried on the Western Front somewhere. I put a poppy and an Aussie flag on both graves. It was a shame we didn't get to Anzac Cove. There weren't very many people on the peninsula today and we virtually had it to ourselves. I found it very spread out and not at all emotional. I was much more moved by the Western Front Battlefields in France and Belgium.

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We then drove down to Cape Heles, looked at memorials there and then onto Ecibat for a bite of lunch and then onto Gelibolu.

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Lunch was disgusting. Sitting at a table in the street, gale force winds blowing. Phil was okay with his tomato, onion and cucumber salad, but there was nothing much for me so I ordered a plate of chips which were only half cooked and greasy. I had bread for lunch instead. They promised Phil their beer was cold - it was - they put ice blocks in it!!

We drove 35 kms to Gelibolu. The hotel is very basic and reception has no sense of humour at all.

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I cleaned out my hand luggage as it had chocolate sprinkles spilt in the bottom. Had a rest, got changed and went to the "centrum" for dinner. The centre of Gelibolu is down near the wharf where the ferry comes in. We wandered around for a while but there weren't too many restaurants to choose from. One guy "hawked" us and we went in and chose our dinner from his display cabinet. He didn't have a printed menu because they cook different stuff each day. I had lentil soup and borek (cheese pastry things) and it was nice to finally eat something that tasted half decent. The restaurant guys came and chatted to us for ages and they were lovely. Home to bed. Not too flash driving on Turkish streets after dark.

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In other towns, at about 9pm when Ramadan is over and they can eat, the Imam shouts out a chant. In Gelibolu, they let off a huge canon. We thought we were under attack!!

Posted by gaddingabout 21:54 Archived in Turkey Tagged and a warm wind blowing gale Comments (0)

Izmir /Canakkale, Turkey - Sunday, 21 August 2011

sunny 30 °C

Our longest drive today. Left Izmir at 9.10 am but by the time we fiddled around buying diesel and finding a garage where the air pump worked, it was more like 9.40 am. We thought we would find a turn off to the autobarn but we never did, however the road to Canakkale was double lane all the way, except for about 30 kms of single lane over the mountains. Not much traffic on the road at all and we made really good time.

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25 kms from Canakkale we turned off and drove 5 kms to Troy. Single lane road in very bad condition. Hardly anyone there and we had a good look around and just as we were leaving, the busses started arriving. It was warm but very, very windy.

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Arrived in Canakkale and had trouble finding our hotel. They are doing roadwork out the front so the road is closed. Quite by accident we asked directions to the Akol Hotel and we were right at the back door! The hotel is lovely. The foyer is huge and has lovely furnishings and our room is huge and overlooks the sea. It is probably the biggest room we have been in all trip.

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Went for a walk along the sea front and had a light snack. This Trojan horse was used in the Brad Pitt movie, "Troy".

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Phil had a tomato and cucumber salad and asked for humus for me. It never came. Finally an English speaking waitress came and said that they don't have humus so I ordered chips. Am eating very badly. Still fat. Had a rest and then went out for dinner at 8.30 am.

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We ordered fried zucchini and it was just that - cold black strips with yoghurt. Yuk!! We couldn't eat it. Had cheese spring rolls. Nice. Phil ordered a stew dish and I ordered cheese meat balls. They were pink inside and tasted awful. I wrapped them in a serviette and put them in my bag to dispose of later. Very disappointing dinner in a very nice location - outdoor restaurant next to our hotel.

Posted by gaddingabout 21:33 Archived in Turkey Tagged and warm windy very Comments (0)

Pamukkale / Izmir, Turkey - Saturday, 20 August 2011

sunny 30 °C

Had a good sleep in the 'ghost hotel' and thought breakfast would be funny and it was. First surprise - two other couples which means there are 10 of us staying in a hotel with 100 plus rooms. The dining room was huge and just a meagre breakfast of three cereals, hard boiled eggs and a hot pastry roll, plus tomatoes, olives etc and lots of lovely fresh bread.

We were on the road by 9.05 am and stuck to the main roads and autobarns and had a pretty good trip - 250 kms -

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arrived in the outer suburbs of Izmir at about 11.50 am and then blindly headed for where we thought our hotel was and all of a sudden we turned a corner and there it was, the Swissotel (formerly the Buyuk Efes). They took our car and parked it and we went to check in. No record of our booking!! We then discovered they had spelt our name BUDDON instead of BUTTON. That overcome, we asked for a room with a view of the pool. Our first room didn't have this so we moved to another one. The hotel is 5 star and very nice.

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I think I have solved the problem with my nose. I remembered I had some "Fess" in my bag and have been squirting it up my nose all morning and it seems to have done the trick. Fingers crossed!!

Went out for a walk and had sushi for lunch.

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It was a bit expensive but very nice. Came back to our room and made a dinner reservation at Asansor Restaurant - on a terrace at the top of a tower, overlooking Izmir. Had a swim and a relax by the pool,

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got dressed and went to dinner. The restaurant was amazing. Position, position, position. We watched the sunset and had dinner. A set menu for 60TL per head which included water; a cold starter; a hot starter; main; dessert; chi and two drinks per person. Very good value and nice food.

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We broke all the rules tonight. We ate salad and watermelon and my nose has started to run again! Going to read my new book for a while, "Sisters" by Danielle Steels as I feel quite full and want to digest my dinner.

Posted by gaddingabout 03:32 Archived in Turkey Tagged and warm windy Comments (0)

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