Published on July 2nd, 2014 | by Oliver Pelling
OLD MEETS NEW: AN EPIC INSTAGRAM TOUR OF TURKEY
Turkey is the kind of country that you think will be pretty awesome, but then you get there and it’s actually much, much more awesome than you anticipated. And I can speak with some authority on the subject, because I just returned from a two-week Geckos trip round the place.
Starting out in Istanbul – which is hands down one of the most exciting cities I’ve ever been to – our Ottoman is Not Just a Footstool trip worked its way over to Gallipoli to get a solid dose of military history before heading to the coastal town of Ayvalik.
We then pressed on the Selcuk (base camp for Ephesus), Pamukkale (think otherworldly-looking rock pools), Fethiye and Kas before spending two nights on a boat on the Mediterranean (#toughlife). Then there was Antalya (an awesome city on the coast) and, of course, Cappadocia. So, here’s what it all looked like through the lens of Instagram (as previously seen on the @geckosadventures Instagram account):
Istanbul is an incredible place. On one side of the Galata bridge, the old world still exists in more backstreets, bazaars and markets than you could imagine. On the other side, you’ve got more modern shopping, eating and drinking choices than you can shake a stick (of Turkish Delight) at. This shot is taken from the Galata Bridge looking back towards the old town. The fishermen are always there en masse. Looking for fish ‘n’ that.
This one features Geckos chief photographer Drew getting his fill of Istanbul from behind his perfectly positioned lens. Good on you, Drew.
The Spice Market is fulla flavours. It’s also full of Turkish geezers trying to sell you herbs and spices. Don’t get the “natural Viagra”. It doesn’t work.
The First World War site of the Gallipoli peninsula is harrowing and fascinating all at once. The first beach has a load of hammocks where visitors can put their feet up, look out to sea and just stop and think about the enormity of everything that went down there. I like that.
In Ayvalik, we stayed in this incredible pension in the town’s backstreets. It was a beautiful, old Greco-Ottoman place and it had an awesome view from the balcony – the perfect place for some sundowners. Here’s the view from it.
We took a boat over to the island of Cunda to indulge in a delicious seafood meal. En route, we made a toast to this delicious sunset. No complaints here.
Ephesus is a mighty, mighty set of ruins to visit. The history spans back some serious centuries, but having a leader like Emir on hand (pictured) made it all super easy to digest. And he threw in some jokes for good measure too. Top bloke.
Pamukkale is insane. It’s home to these crazy limestone-caked hot pools, as well as the ancient city of Hierapolis. Here’s a picture of Phil, a Geckos Traveller, making the most of the water ‘n’ that.
After frolicking in the hot pools for a few hours, we trekked up (it’s not far) to the ancient theatre, had a bit of beer and wine, and watched the sunset. Here’s a shot of Geckos traveller Rahoul doing his best to capture the majesty of aforementioned sunset. Tough gig.
We made a beeline for the Turquoise Coast and jumped aboard this boat for two days of swimming, sea turtle spotting, eating, drinking and relaxing. This woman, Sabahat, was our host. She catered for around 15 of us in a kitchen no bigger than a large cupboard. Amazing. I got sunburn because I spent too trying to swim with sea turtles. Eventually I did, and it was worth the pain. “Waterproof” sunscreen is not a thing.
Antalya was a cool town. It’s a coastal spot and sits in the shadow of some absolutely enormous mountains, giving it a little bit of a Rio de Janeiro vibe. I haven’t been to Rio, but someone said it reminded them of Rio, so I’m taking their word for it. The streets of the old town here were beautiful, rustic and all that stuff the streets of an old town should be. This snap was taken just as we rolled in. I like it because it reminds me of the ‘flying V’ formation made famous in the Mighty Ducks films.
This place needs no introduction. Arriving in Cappadocia, the final stop of the trip before we returned to Istanbul, kinda felt like entering Narnia or Middle Earth or some other-wordly equivalent. There’s something of a spooky vibe to the place, which might have something to do with the history or the idea that people lived in these hand-carved cave houses many moons ago. And yes, you absolutely have to take a hot air balloon ride here.
We climbed to the top of the castle to have a ganders at the view (which was pretty epic) and Phil the lens-hog decided to go and look all pensive on the edge. So I figured I should take a photo of him. Cheers Phil.
Turkish tea is delicious. It’s like regular tea, but stronger and a bit more bitter. The locals just drink it black, and I recommend you drink it the entire time you’re travelling through Turkey. Apple tea is tasty, but is pretty much just for tourists because many find the regular tea too strong. I have it on good authority that no locals drink apple tea.
Of course, this is only a snapshot of all that action from Turkey. But you can take it all in yourself on Geckos Ottoman is Not Just a Footstool trip. There’ll be sights, there’ll be kebabs, there’ll be history and there’ll even be WIFI – so you can work on your own Instagram diary.