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Turkey Diary

Imagine this: 24 degrees. Lovely sunshine. Cool breeze coming from the sea. Driving along the coast. Into the countryside. On top of a hill. Silence except for sound of wind blowing and birds chirping. Green, green and more green. Lungs full of fresh air. No network on cellphone.

That’s Turkey for you in a nutshell (err…no mobile network was only on top of hills. Otherwise, Turkey is very well connected :p)

Yes, I am back from my short trip to Istanbul. It was breathtaking. Perfect getaway from the summer heat & work stress of Dubai.

Day 1: On the first day, we went to Princess Islands. These are a group of 4 islands around 2 hours boat ride from Istanbul. Decent place. Very scenic. Famous for seafood, bike rides and horse carts.

Princess Islands

Day 2: The countryside. This was the best part of our trip. Rented a car and off we went to this place called Yalova. To get to Yalova, we had to take a ferry from outside Istanbul. The one on which you can take your car as well. Once we got to Yalova, we drove to Termal which is known for its hot natural springs. Spent some time in the thermal pools. And after lunch, we started towards Bursa. But never made it there. Coz to get to Bursa, we had to drive through the hills. And once on the hills, we never really wanted to come down. We eventually decided to head back to Istanbul but this time I decided I wanted to drive back. It was a 180 km drive along the sea coast, hills, lakes and through the country side. The best drive of my life. Period. On top of the hill

Another shot from the top

Three musketeers

On the ferry

Imagine owning a house there in the middle

Day 3: Istanbul City – We spent the last day in the city. Visited the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia Museum, Topkapi Palace and the Grand Bazaar. All world famous tourist attractions.Blue Mosque

Istanbul City

Inside Hagia Sophia Museum

All in all, it was a memorable trip.

Updated: One thing I particularly did not like about Turkey was the Turkish hospitality. Like if we go to certain places, we talk about how kind, helpful and generous the people of that place are. I had gone to Dublin and loved the locals there. But in Istanbul, I was in for a shock. These guys were so rude and arrogant. Not at all helpful. Always trying to dupe you. No one seemed to know how to smile. From the air hostess in Turkish Airways to the hotel staff to the cab drivers to the shop keepers, the airport staff – not one person greeted us with a smile! Infact in the entire trip, I saw only 2 people smile: a 9 year old girl selling us hand wipes at Princess Islands and other person was an old man at Avis rent a car. Is it that difficult to smile?


10 thoughts on “Turkey Diary

  1. Lovely pics!

    When you spoke about the hospitality, I thought you were going to talk about good stuff – quite surprising to hear that they were rude!

    We had been thinking of going to Turkey – now I’m not so sure 😦

    • yes, i was surprised as well. Really hadn’t expected such hostility. and not just me, the entire team felt the same.

      but i don’t think you should be put off by that. the country otherwise is very beautiful. several places to visit, lots of history, good food, lovely weather.

  2. “From the air hostess in Turkish Airways to the hotel staff to the cab drivers to the shop keepers, the airport staff – not one person greeted us with a smile”

    Oh! reminds me of our Air India/Indian Airlines.

    Still as long as it is beautiful and there is yum food, who cares about smile. 😀

    • Yes, Chowla ji. Local food is quite good. But their diet is predominately non-vegetarian. Grills, kebabs – the works. Infact I think the only veg stuff I saw there were the salads!!

  3. Nice pics!!

    Really no one smiles??!! How weird is that!!
    I heard such is the atmosphere in Egypt too!!

    How lucky, 25 degrees 😦 its bloody 45 degrees here:( 😦 😦

    • yes, exactly. it was almost like they are doing a favor just by accepting you in their country. get the feeling you are not welcome there at all. it was the only negative of an otherwise very memorable trip.

      true. i hear egypt is very hostile too.

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