A Travellerspoint blog

Kusadaci / Pamukkale, Turkey - Friday, 19 August 2011

sunny 35 °C

Left Kusadaci after an interesting and very memorable breakfast in the courtyard of the castle. The chef brought little dishes of everything to our table - yoghurt and honey (yum), tomatoes, olives, cheese, jam, bread and freshly cooked warm croissants. Very nice. It was one of those breakfasts that you will never forget.

On the road at 9.10 am and had a pretty good trip to Pamukkale - arrived at 11.30 am ish.

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As we say, "you can never go back" and Phil has found this is true with Pamukkale. 40 years ago all the hotels were up on top of the cliffs with swimming pools that overlooked the calcuim pools and the valley.

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Today, all the hotels are gone and a few three and four star hotels are down in the town. Nowadays, you can walk up and down the mountain and the pools. Our hotel, the Grand Svegi is not very grand any more. It has about 100 rooms and no one staying here - just us and a German family. The huge pool is lovely.

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The rest of the hotel needs a lot of TLC. No bathmat, no toiletries, no plugs. Phil asked for two plugs - "what do you want two plugs for?" they ask. I did some washing and put it on the balcony and it dried in no time at all, so I did some tee shirts and they dried almost straight away. We walked to the town for lunch and I had a nice cheese and spinach pancake. Went next door and had a honey pancake. Met an Aussie girl travelling on her own - Danielle Ireland from Caulfield in Melbourne. Didn't have much of a travel plan and seemed to be going places on a whim and back tracking over a lot of ground.

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Came back to the hotel and had a swim. Phil met some Germans in the pool and had a long chat to them. After our swim, we walked up the mountain to the calcium pools. Quite lovely and amazing. We had to take our shoes off when we were at the pools and it was a bit painful sometimes - tiny sharp stones. I'm glad we made the effort to walk up there. It was so unique.

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Some signs just need to be photographed!

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We went to the antique pool which has stone relics lying all over the bottom of the pool. We didn't swim there because they were closing in 20 minutes.

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Apparently the hotels were closed down and pulled down in 1988 because they were using all the water and polluting it. We saw evidence of this still - black pools. Bill Wells told me about this years and years ago.

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I had a dip in the calcium pools. It was a bit hard and sharp on my backside!

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We took photos at sunset and walked back down; feet a bit tender but a wonderful experience. I'm sorry I didn't see it 40 years ago, but 40 years ago you couldn't walk on it, so that was a plus.

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Freshened up and went into the town for dinner. Walked further down the street from where we had lunch and found a very nicely appointed restaurant - Konak Sade Restaurant - with a swimming pool in the middle of it and the water from the Pamukkale terraces flowing through it. We sat on the terrace and even though it has been very hot for the past few days, there is always a breeze blowing. Danielle Ireland was having dinner there too, so we chatted to her some more. Finally I got to have some lamb chops - very nice and Phil had meat balls and asked for a tomato, cucumber, onion and olive salad and they made it up for him. At the end of our dinner they gave us a complimentary apple tea, which tasted like green apple tea.

On the way back to the hotel, we bumped into the German man and his wife and he showed Phil on his map the best way to drive from Pamukkale to Canakale. Of course, the plug didn't fit the bath and the water was cool and there was no soap or bath gel, but I splashed around and went to bed. My nose has been playing up since the first week on the boat. None of my medication seems to be working. I am at my wits end!!

Posted by gaddingabout 02:58 Archived in Turkey Tagged and hot dry Comments (0)

Izmir / Kusadaci, Turkey - Thursday, 18 August 2011

sunny 40 °C

Left Izmir at about 10.50 am with some confused directions from the reception staff about buying a card to get through the toll ways on the autobarn. We couldn't find the place, so when we saw the toll gate approaching, we left the autobarn and ended up in a small town. We asked the police about the toll etc and they said you could pay cash at it. What would they know!!

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We headed off again and came to the toll gates and of course, there was no one there to take our money. So Phil got out of the car and went to have a look and a lovely Turkish man told us to drive through and he would swipe his card for us. How nice.

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Eventually we turned off the autobarn to go to Kusadaci and came to another toll way. This time there was a man in there and we purchased a card to swipe at future toll gates. Hurrah!!

We drove along the coast; very hilly and windy, but very picturesque and very hot.

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Finally got to Ephepeus (Efes) and went to see the ruins of Artemis' Temple which was one of the wonders of the world. It is over 2 1/2 thousand years old and excavation of an entire city is underway. It was so hot, I thought I would die. I have never been so hot in my life. It must have been 45 degrees plus!! The ruins were quite amazing and we stayed a couple of hours, walking and walking.

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Drove to Kusadaci and found our hotel - a 17th century castle down near the harbour. It has a courtyard where we have breakfast and on the second floor all the rooms open on to a lovely wide verandah. It is very atmospheric.

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Two huge ocean liners are in port, so the bazaars are full of yanks and pommies and all the prices are in Euros, not Turkish Lira.

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The huge one was called Navigator of the Sea. I bought a turquoise braclet to go with my ring from Istanbul.

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The heat at Efes made us sick so after a late snack for lunch we came back to our cool room and had a rest, then got dressed and went down to the port for dinner.

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Sat in the open air, right on the water - just lovely.

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I ordered a lemonade and they brought me a squash! I ordered stuffed vine leaves for entree and they didn't have any left. I ordered lamb chops for main and they didn't have any either!! Our hotel is having a turkish dance and music night in the courtyard tonight and we watched a bit of it when we came back from dinner. Lots of tourist busses here. We are now in bed and it is still going at 10.45 pm. It is so loud, we can't hear ourselves think. I hope it stops soon.

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12 midnight - it stopped!!

Posted by gaddingabout 20:41 Archived in Turkey Tagged and hot quite very humid Comments (0)

Ankara / Izmir, Turkey - Wednesday, 17 August 2011

sunny 36 °C

What a day! Today was our most trying day yet! Set the alarm for 5.15am, showered and dressed and were down in reception at 6.00 am ready to go to the airport. Couldn't get to sleep last night and woke up early, worrying we wouldn't get up in time. Reception gave us a breakfast box - a can of juice, a granny smith apple and a huge roll with sausage and cheese on it. Not quite the breakfast we were used to, but it was better than nothing.

Our taxi ride to the airport was a record - 20 minutes. The trip is supposed to take 45 minutes. I guess the time of day and lack of traffic helped, so did the 150 kms an hour that we were doing and I was in the front seat! Checked in at Pegasus Airlines and as it was a low cost carrier, we were only allowed 15 kgs each. Our combined luggage was 44 kilos, so we tried the "we are international passengers" bit, but to no avail. The cost was 5 Turkish Lira per extra kilo, so we had to pay 70 TL which wasn't very much. It was okay. The plane was full and I slept all the way - flight 1 1/4 hours.

On arrival at Izmir at 9.50 am, our hire car was nowhere to be seen, so Phil asked another company and they phoned them and they said they'd be there in 15 minutes. We waited and waited - no car. 10.50 am we phoned again. They said it wouldn't be very long - still no car. At 11.30 am we started to put our bags in a taxi and Fahti arrived - couldn't speak much English, mumbled something and kept using his mobile - but still no car. The taxi drivers found all this going on quite entertaining and Phil finally told Fahti that we were going to the hotel in a taxi and he could drop the car off there later. When we arrived at the hotel, the receptionist spoke very good English and phoned the company and told them what had happened and they agreed to drop the car off at 2.00 pm. We had just started lunch at 1.00 pm when Fahti arrived with the car and wanted passport details etc so Phil told him to come back at 2.00 pm! When he did, he wanted 70 Euros more because we were dropping the car off at Istanbul. Several phone calls later (one to the UK!) And it was agreed we would take the car for 7 days, not 6 and we would only be charged an extra 2 Euros. The car is a white Hyundai, automatic, diesel. The rules are they give you the car empty and we return it empty! Crazy. In Australia, it is the exact opposite - you receive the car full and hand it back full. Makes much more sense to me.

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We went for a huge long walk into the city and it was very hot and humid.

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Went to the Buyuk Efes and booked in for a night of luxury when we come back to Izmir on 20 August.

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Went for a drive in the car, left hand drive, scary to fill it up. Drove for miles before we found a petrol station. We have combined our Turkey clothes into one bag, so we are only dragging one bag around. Walked down town and had a donor wrap and donor atom and a beer and walked home and into bed.

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It was a huge day!

Posted by gaddingabout 20:02 Archived in Turkey Tagged and hot humid Comments (0)

Ankara, Turkey - Tuesday, 16 August 2011

sunny 36 °C

Slept in and had breakfast at about 8.30 am. Caught a taxi to the old Australian Embassy where Phil used to work. It is now a derelict building.

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Continued on to the current Australian Embassy. It is located on a floor in a high rise office block, not what you imagine an embassy should look like. We went in and met the locally engaged Immigration staff and the PMO Stephen Weeks. Pembe was away due to the death of her mother. We were very sorry we didn't get to see her as we had such a fun time with her when she came to Australia, ages ago. Then she looked like Cher and turned heads wherever she went.

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We caught a taxi to a big tall tower and went up to the observation deck and had a 360 degree view of Ankara. Phil is simply amazed at how much it has grown but what do you expect in 35 years! Wherever we are in the world, we always go up the top of the highest building or tower. It's just a thing that we do.

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While we were at the Australian Embassy, they phoned Pegasus Airlines to check our flight to Izmir tomorrow and discovered it had been cancelled, so we went back to the hotel to phone the airline and work something out. We were offered 8.35 am or 8.30 pm so we chose 8.35 am but unfortunately it will mean an early rise at 5.15 am to get to the airport. We had tried not to have any more early flights. Oh well, at least we have a flight!

We then caught a taxi to Ulus, an ancient part of Ankara and walked through the steep cobblestone streets.

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We climbed up the top of the Citadel, the old city fortress,

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then caught a taxi to Attaturk's mausoleum. What a fabulous huge thing. It is enormous. We saw the changing of the guard - goose stepping and Attaturk's marble coffin. We went through the museum which was also huge, but very well laid out and interesting.

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The weather is warm, but not humid and there is always a breeze. It is lovely. We missed out on lunch, so when we came back to the hotel, we went to the cafe over the road and had a toasted cheese sandwich that Phil had been raving about ever since we got to Turkey. Well, it was exactly that - a toasted cheese sandwich and pretty bland at that. It's amazing how the memory exaggerates things over 35 years.

Had a rest for an hour or so and then got dressed and went down for Happy Hour - buy one, get one free, then went to the hotel dining room for dinner. We sat outside on the terrace - very nice. Not many local restaurants around this area - like Istanbul.

The taxis here are plentiful and everywhere. It's very easy to get one. They drive like maniacs and don't speak English. There are no road rules. Not many seat belts in the taxis either. Whenever I find one that works, I put it on.

Posted by gaddingabout 19:02 Archived in Turkey Comments (0)

Istanbul /Ankara, Turkey - Monday, 15 August 2011

sunny 31 °C

Up early and had breakfast on the terrace with the lovely view of the water and the mosques. Taxi to the ferry, no waiting, straight on and off to the other side to the railway station. Everything went so smoothly that we were on the train to Eskishir at 9.00 am and it wasn't leaving until 10.30 am!! Best to be early as you can never know what holdups you may encounter.

Our carriage was 90% full and the seats were large and comfortable with plenty of room. The train was supposed to arrive at Eskishir at 2.30 pm, where we were to connect with the very fast train to Ankara, leaving at 3.00 pm. We were told that our train was running 30 minutes late, so the conductor phoned ahead and got them to hold the train for us. Our train arrived at 3.03 pm and luckily our train was waiting on the same platform and left at 3.09 pm! It was a nice train too and got to 254 km an hour. We arrived in Ankara at 4.36 pm and got a taxi to our hotel. The Dedeman Hotel. The hotel is very nice and up to our standards. They even said the turkish bath was free, so we'll have to check that out tomorrow.

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Phil was posted to Ankara in the early seventies with the Department of Immigration, hence our visit now. We went for a walk and found the old Buke Ankara had been renovated into a magnificent hotel. This was a favourite haunt of the Aussies in the seventies. Caught a taxi and found Phil's old apartment. The driver couldn't speak English but a man in the street told him where we wanted to do, but he took us to the wrong place, so we came back to the hotel.

Got some Voltaran for Phil's sore leg and went into a restaurant for a pizza. It was thick crust and they had modern music blaring out so loud. I was glad to get out of there! None of the waiters spoke English but we finally found one who did and he helped us with the menu. Not very impressed with Ankara yet. It could be a city anywhere. Very hilly!

Posted by gaddingabout 18:59 Archived in Turkey Comments (0)

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