Karahayit Red Hot Spring, Pamukkale Turkey 

   

 Karahayit is a small village situated just 7 km after Pamukkale. You can easily take a dolmuş there from Pamukkale for ₺2 one way. 

  
The highlight of Karahayit is a natural hot spring. Due to the minerals existing in its structure, the hot spring water spreads reddish color to the environment and it is believed that they provide healing to the visitors for 5000 years. 

  

   

Locally known as ‘Kirmiz Su’, which translates to red water, it is very rich in calcium, magnesium and sulphurs, at about 56 degrees.

Şirince, Turkey 2015 

On Oona’s last day of visit, we decided to go to Şirince, an old Greek village located near the town of Selcuk, in the province of Izmir, Turkey. Once a Greek-populated mountain village, Şirince was settled when Ephesus was abandoned in the 15th century.  Most of what one sees today was built around the 19th century.       There is a story that the village was settled by freed Greek slaves who named the village Çirkince (meaning “Ugly” in Turkish) to deter others from following them. The village’s name was changed to Şirince (meaning “Pleasant”) in 1926 by the governor of Izmir Province.      Şirince has long winemaking tradition with different types of fruits, particularly peaches, blueberries, cherries& pomegranate.  The last dolmus leaves Sirince at 21:00, Hence, you could afford to stay a night at one of the boutique hotels, you could experience true beauty of Sirince and its sunset.   

The ancient Greek city of Ephesus, Selçuk, Turkey

  Ephesus was at its peak during the 1st and 2nd century AD. It was a major Roman city second in importance and size only to Rome. 

   
  After the decline of ancient Ephesus and of the Roman Empire, it was only rediscovered and excavated until the 1860s. Despite the fact only about 15% of the site has been unearthed, it is still the largest excavated area in the world.

 The Library of Celsus was constructed in 123 AD. It was the third largest library in the ancient world, after Alexandria and Pergamon. From Kusadasi, you can take the Dolmuş (minibus in Turkey) for TRY6 one way, in the direction to Selcuk. This dolmus runs frequently, about every 15 minute. The journey itself would take about 30min and the dolmus would leave you at around 1km from the lower gate situated downhill near the Great Theatre.

Ölüdeniz Beach& Lagoon, Turkey 2015

Ölüdeniz, literally means “Dead Sea”, boasts some of the most beautiful beaches and lagoon along the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. Situated just 15km South of Fethiye, Ölüdeniz is an extremely popular tourist destination (especially Northern Europeans) from May to October.

My love & I only had 26 hours to enjoy this little piece of heaven and we could not wait to come back in about 3 weeks time.

We stayed at Seril Hotel in Fethiye, at €35 per night, Seril is certainly one of the most nicely designed budget hotel I had experienced.

An easy 10min journey on the dolmus ($2 Turkish Lira one way) would take us from our hotel to Fethiye Otogar (the main bus station). From there, another dolmus would take you to Ölüdeniz ($5 Turkish Lira one way, 20min approx.)

Blue Lagoon

Once you have arrived, you will be welcomed with breathtaking views of beach,  turquoise water, lush  mountains and endless paragliders in soaring in the sky.

You might be tempted to jump into the sea right in front of you immediately. However, I would strongly urge you to head to the Ölüdeniz Nature Park ($4.50 Turkish Lira per entry). It is a mere 5min walk stroll from where the dolmus drops you off and it would be way less touristy than the beach right in from of where the dolmus drops you off. Once you are inside the park, you can head to the Lagoon immediately for all sorts of water sports. We did kayaking, $12 Turkish Lira for an hour’s rental. It could get a little crowded during summer season but you would care at all with all its beauty right in front of you. Especially if you love people watching, then this is a brilliant place to be.

much less crowded side of the beach once you enter the nature park


kayaking , Blue Lagoon


  

₺7 to Paradise: Dilek Peninsula National Park

image

 

Dilek Peninsula National Park, also locally known as Milli Park, is just 15 miles (30km approx.) south of Kusadasi.

The three main beaches of Milli Park are:

Icmeler, sandy beach (1st stop, closest to the entrance)
Aydinlik Koyu, little stone beach (2nd)
Kavakli Burun, big stone beach (3rd and most beautiful, least crowded)

It’s about 45min drive from Kusadasi city centre to the park entrance or you can simply take a “dolmus”. The dolmus are minibuses that run very frequently and you can take them everywhere along bus routes and you can also get off wherever and whenever you want.
The dolmus system could easily be the most common and affordable form of transportation for Kusadasi and its surrounding area.

   

    
 

Kuşadası, Turkey 2015

Kusadasi is one of Turkey’s most popular holiday resorts, situated on the west coast of Turkey. It is easy to do day trips from Kusadasi to important historical sites including Ephesus, Temple of Artemis, Goddess Artemis, House of Virgin Mary, Seven Sleepers, Didyma, Priene, Miletos.     A beach town with typical Mediterranean climate (hot summers and mild winters), it’s not hard to figure out why Kusadasi is one of the most popular destinations for Northern Europeans.       With 24 hours after arriving Kusadasi, I already had the pleasure to taste two traditional Turkish meals.  Menemen is a traditional Turkish dish which includes eggs, onion, tomato, green peppers, and spices such as ground black pepper, ground red pepper, salt and oregano. Lahmacun is a round, thin piece of dough topped with minced meat (mostly beef/lamb) and minced vegetables and herbs, then baked.      Lady’s Beach is certainly one of the nicer beaches I could walk to. As touristy as it is, I surely enjoyed taking pictures of children playing.


Today I made the smart decision of walking uphill. What a difference it made! Gone are all the touristy shops and you get a view of the actually town/ village. While spotting a few locals walking home with their grocery, I also saw a rooster, a house and a random Ferris wheel.


I really enjoyed watching this mother watching her child play. There is just something moving and beautiful about the way she could enjoy the beach while being comfortable in her traditional clothing.

 

Kadayıflı Muhallebi Tarifi

I am in Turkey during Ramadan season and I had the honour to join a traditional Turkish family for Itfar.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad according to Islamic belief.

Iftar is the evening meal when Muslims end their daily Ramadan fast at sunset. Iftar is often done as a community, with people gathering to break their fast together.

My Iftar with a traditional Turkish family starts with a tomato based soup served with shredded cheese; followed by traditional Turkish Raviolis/dumplings served with yogurt; and grilled vegetables served as the main sharing dish.

  
 

Wine and Dine in Istanbul, Turkey 2015

rooftop view from Balkon restaurant and bar

Best restaurant/bar/cafe with an amazing view and ambience

Balkon Restaurant Bar

🏠Şehbender sk. No:5 Kat 6 Asmalı Mescid Beyoğlu / İstanbul

Places to dance to good electronic/techno/house music

Kiki Istanbul

Katip Çelebi Mh., Sıraselviler Caddesi No:42, Turkey

Best value-for-money place to eat

Dehliz Restaurant 

🏠Vezirhan Cad. No:48 Çemberlitaş/ İstanbul, 34122, Turkey


Tips on bathroom (WC) etiquette

Most bathrooms in Istanbul have sensor-controlled lights. Hence, unless you enjoy having 80% of your peeing/pooping process in complete darkness, it is advised to do elaborated hands dance over your head

Balkon restaurant and bar