Friday, 23 May 2014

Cappadocia Valley of Penises - and a cave house

Walking through the valleys of Cappadocia one of the first things you notice is the shapes of the valley rocks. 
Here's a bit of a photo collage of the sights.


Turkey is full of picturesque scenery and I was fortunate to see some of the most exceptional sights I have ever seen.

Cappadocia is a region in central Anatolia in Turkey approximately about 400km. Back in the day a lot of the locals used to live in caves built into the walls of the valleys.

inside a traditional cave house

Thursday, 22 May 2014

ANZAC Day at Gallipoli

Over the last few weeks I have been able to strike a few things off my Bucket List

Turkey is an amazing country, relatively new in itself, but the every part of the big country is full of history. 

A friend and I decided to embark upon a Busabout Tour in time for the 99th ANZAC Day Commemorations on the peninsula where it originated.

For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about (I will forgive you, as long as you're not an Aussie or Kiwi), ANZAC Day takes place on April 25 every year to remember all Australians and New Zealanders who have served and died in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping missions. 

The date is the anniversary of the landing of Australian and New Zealand Army Corps at Gallipoli in the Ottoman Empire. it is the first campaign that led to major casualties.

"Those heroes that shed their blood 
and lost their lives...
You are now living in the soil of a friendly country
Therefore rest in peace.
There is no difference between the Johnnies
And teh Mhmets to us where they lie side by side
Here in this country of ours...
You, the mother,
Who sent their sons from far away countries
Wipe away your tears.
Your sons are now lying in our bosom
And are in peace.
After having lost their lives on this land they have
Become our sons as well."
Ataturk, 1934     

We arrived about 8pm the night before and made ourselves comfortable in the grandstand. All of the grass space had been taken by tour groups such as Fanatics and Topdeck laying out in their sleeping bags or sitting in groups shrouded in Australian and New Zealand flags. 

Throughout the night, there was entertainment, ranging from the Australian Air Force band to a Maori tribe dance to clips on the big screen about the history of the day - from both the ANZAC perspective, and the Turk perspective. 


Us up in the grandstand had a bit of room, and I laid out my sleeping bag on the ground to get a bit of shut eye before the Dawn Service.
After a broken sleep of around 5 hours (thankyou to that can of Coke I had), it was 4am and the MC was back on the mic waking everyone up for the 5am Dawn Service start. 

We stood for the Turkish, New Zealand and Australian national anthems and then for the Ode and the Last Post. 

The Ode is a verse from the poem "For the Fallen' by a British poet and author Laurence Binyon.

They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, or the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning, 
We will remember them.

The Last Post is a bugle call that signals the end of the days activities. It is also played at the funerals of soldiers to indicate that he is in his final resting place. As well as ANZAC Day, it is also played at Remembrance Day services. 

To be able to stand on the hallowed grounds where many of our ancestors fought and died for our way of life is an amazing experience and one I would urge all Antipodeans to make the pilgrimage to the battlefields of Gallipoli. 

After the Dawn Service it was time to make the 3km hike up to Lone Pine for the Australian service. 

I broke my leg about 6 weeks before, so I took advantage of the free Shuttle Bus (a service very well organised by the volunteers). Unfortunately this meant that I missed out on seeing the cemeteries that are scattered throughout the peninsula - I did get a free lanyard though! 


The Australian service didn't start until 10am, so we were entertained by the Master of Ceremonies till the start of the service. 

Thursday, 15 May 2014

How To Get A Free Feed in Istanbul

Step 1:   Be Australian

Step 2:   Pretend your from which ever state they love the most

Step 3:   Be Female

Step 4:   Stress the fact that you are extremely poor

Step 5:   Be confident enough to go somewhere with a stranger

*Make sure you are an excellent judge of character before going anywhere with a stranger, or that there are two of you and you could easily overpower your host.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Tubing in Saklikent Gorge (and some muddy fun)

It was about 17 degrees on a semi sunny day of Turkey's Mulga province. 
Standing around in our bathers, oversized PFD (life jacket) and sexy 'water' shoes on, holding our paddles and tubes, we listened to our Turkish guide explain to us in heavily accented English the guidelines for taking on Saklikent Gorge. 

A few minutes later we were heading towards the stream. There was a few minutes hesitation after the instructor asked 'who's going first?'
Out of the group of 59 people, with about 30 - 40% males, no one volunteered. 

Step forward me:

Stepping into the water was an instant body freeze. That clear blue stream was arctic!
The tubes themselves are pretty self-explanatory - a rubber ring with a hole in the middle (you were lucky if you got one with handles) that you sit in with your legs dangling out in front of you. Direction is determined by the rush of the water and how good you are with the paddle. 

Being the first out was probably not the best idea I've ever had. The water carries you away from the starting point before anyone else has a chance to board their vessel. This includes the instructors.

I was lucky enough to 'find' a few of the hidden rocks - I became an expert at lifting my bum out of the water. 

It took about 20 minutes to get down to our final destination. We were lucky enough to have only a few mishaps on the way down. One or two people fell overboard and one poor girl was hurdled into a tree and lost both her paddle and her tube. 

Side note**** For those of you who are familiar with the banks of the mighty Murray River (Australia's main water supply river) and the overhanging branches of the trees on the bank, it was pretty much like that. 

Luckily she did get saved and wasn't lost to the wild Turkish countryside. 

Our tubing destination was a massive mud pit. Some of the more outgoing people got straight into it, diving headfirst into the mud. 
I was a wee bit more dainty as the mud can suck you in and it's a right bugger trying to free yourself from it's clutches. 

After a good cleanse with the mud, as well as a bit of flinging and throwing, we were ordered back into the arctic waters of the river to clean off for the van ride home. 


Fun Facts
Saklikent Gorge is located about a 40 minute drive from Fethiye.
The canyon is one of the deepest in the world.
The tubing was part of my Turkey ANZAC Adventure with Busabout and was in conjunction with our accomodation of the day: click here
There is a high possibility of a bruised behind. 

Monday, 12 May 2014

Turkey Highlights

I have just gotten back from an amazing 3 week adventure travelling around the sites of Turkey.
I will be doing in depth posts on the different aspects of my trip, but for now some photo highlights:

Balloon flight over Cappadoccia

Fairy Chimneys of Cappadoccia

Lone Pine Memorial, ANZAC Day 2014