Tag Archives: travel

Getting out of a funk

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The last couple of days I have been feeling a bit low. I’m not sure why. I’m not sure it is ever just one thing when I get like this. I think it is probably a combination of things – being tired, being hormonal, holiday almost over, being frustrated with my failings etc. Any one of which on its own I could probably cope with, but when they all come at once it gets a bit much. However, sitting in a hotel in Istanbul feeling sorry for myself is not going to accomplish much, and there are things I want to do. Not so much touristy things, but so far I have only achieved one of my goals for the year and I am way behind on all the others. So I set myself a deadline for wallowing (the end of yesterday) and then wrote myself a to do list. I still feel like crap, but at least I am not lying on the bed watching Spongebob Squarepants in Turkish (and don’t get me started on the thing about the cows that had a cow with udders and a man’s voice). I know if I keep working my way through the list eventually I will start to feel much better.

Anyway, this morning I sorted through my photos and I decided the easiest way to provide an update on the last few days of my trip was through a photo diary of sorts – see below.

So that’s it really. Arrived back in Istanbul yesterday afternoon. There was a quick trip to the Grand Bazaar, which is pretty boring unless you are into shopping. My flight back to Australia is tomorrow afternoon, so now I have to find some small things to do until then.

I think I have done it

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I think I have just completed my first goal for the year. I have been 100 places I have never been before. Can I go home now? Only two and a half more days till I get on a plane back home and I have to say I am really looking forward to home and my own bed. Not that I’m not enjoying Turkey, it’s a fabulous place, but I haven’t had a decent nights sleep in longer than I can count. I can barely string a coherent sentence together at the best of times but right now my brain is mush. Though I suppose the good thing about travel is that it doesn’t really matter if everyone thinks you are a moron because you’re unlikely to ever see them again anyway.

No photos today. I have tons but I made the mistake of leaving them a couple of days before I saved them to my computer and sorted them. I think now they will have to wait till I get back to Australia to sort them out.

Reading, writing and getting very wet

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Yesterday I was in Fethiye. It was beautiful. The way the light caught the water outside our hotel every morning made me want to stand there for hours and take pictures as it changed. I had a very lazy day in Fethiye. I got up late, had breakfast and then with one of the other ladies from my tour I caught a mini-bus into town. We climbed up to have a look at the rock tombs, then meandered round the town looking at shops and the waterfront. Thanks are due to the very helpful man in the car rental place who gave us a map, and assured us that it was perfectly okay that he had a gun because he was really, actually a police officer (but he had been an english teacher and tour guide) and was only looking after the place for the day for his friend who was getting married.

Lunch was at a restaurant in the fish market. You can buy a fish at the markets and one of the adjacent restaurants will cook it for you. They did a beautiful vegetable casserole for the non-fish eaters.

After lunch I retired to the hotel and read my book. Which was nice in a way, but depressing in others. I have just started reading ‘My Name is Red’ by Orhan Pamuk. It is incredibly beautiful writing. Elegant almost lyrical. It flows, drawing you in deeper and deeper until you can’t put it down. Which is good, but when I read a book like that it makes me realise how badly I actually write. I wonder what his first draft looked like. Could it possibly have been anywhere near as bad as mine?

I don’t really know how to compare yesterday with today. In some ways they are complete opposites, but both enjoyable. Today I went to Saklikent Gorge. To get into the gorge you have to wade across this fast flowing river that came up almost to my waist. Once you get past that the water is never as high again, but it is still knee-high in places. A few of us from my tour group walked a fair way into the gorge until we got to a waterfall. It was a lot of fun, and I’m glad I went, because my first thought when I saw the river I had to cross was ‘no way in hell’.

I ended up very wet, but consider it a major achievement that I managed to avoid falling face first into the water. Afterwards, I slathered myself in sun screen and sat in the sun by the river while I was having my lunch. I was mostly dry by the time I got back on the bus for the drive to a hotel in Antalya.

Ancient monuments and shopping

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It has been a long couple of days. Early starts and late finishes and I am starting to feel very weary. However, since I am unlikely to visit Turkey again anytime soon I figure I might as well cram in as much as I can.

So itinerary yesterday was Channakale to Troy, Troy to Pergamon, Pergamon to Kusadesi (apologies for any misspellings). Today we went to Ephesus, then to a carpet weaving place, lunch at a traditional restaurant, then Sirence and a leather goods place. Troy, Pergamon and Ephesus are all ancient ruined cities. Sirence is a village established by Greek people, so the architecture is supposed to be completely different from the rest of Turkey. However, like the weaving place and the leather place it mostly seems to be an excuse for shopping.

Been all over

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It has been a couple of days since I have had internet access, so I warn you this will probably be quite long as I have been all over, and seen lots of amazing things. I will try to stick to the highlights though.

Friday, after a brief look round the old citadel in Amman, I went north to a place called Jerash. It was quite incredible. It is a huge site. Has two large roman theatre’s which are almost completely intact, and a tangle of other ruins that were in use from roman times, to the Byzantine period.

This is the arched gateway at the site which was built to celebrate the visit of the emperor Hadrian to the region.

The next day I went south to the dead sea.

I have to admit that I chickened out of going for a swim. It is kind of muddy looking. I did dip my fingers in though. I can’t say it felt too much different from any other sea I have put my fingers in. I did see some people floating though.

From there it was up into the mountains to my new hotel for the night. The mountain range was spectacular and it would really be worth a visit to Jordan just for the scenery, even if there wasn’t also loads of historic stuff to see.

The next morning I had a full day at Petra. I have to admit I was a little apprehensive about the visit because I wasn’t sure whether it was going to live up to expectations. Not many things look as good in real life as they do all lit and edited in film. However, I wasn’t disappointed. The site is spectacular. You walk through a long canyon and then all of a sudden you round a corner and catch site of the treasury building through a gap in the stone.

If you go in the morning it catches the light in the most incredible way. They must have known when they built it that spot would catch the light just like that. The whole thing was designed to make a statement.

However, Petra is not just about the treasury. There are hundreds of other smaller tombs, spectacular natural sandstone features, a roman street and temple. Most impressive though is this.

It’s called the monastery. It apparently predates the treasury by 100 years, and while the treasury combines influences from about 4 or 5 different cultures the monastery is purely the local Nabataean architecture. In some ways I actually think it is more beautiful. It is simpler, has a kind of elegance to it. However I could just think that because I had to climb 800 steps in 40 degree heat in order to get there. It’s times like that I realise how unfit I actually am.

The sad thing is that as we were going round my guide told me that tourism numbers in Jordan are really dropping off. People are being scared off by the political situation in neighbouring countries. Unfortunately the less visitors they have going through the less money available to preserve the site and do more archeological research. Apparently less than 30% of the site has been excavated.

This morning was a brief trip even further south to the desert of Wadi Rum and then back to Amman.

I have seen a lot of touristy type shops run by women’s cooperatives over the last couple of days. They have some of the most incredible embroidered rugs and throws I have ever seen. I am trying to resist, because my suitcase is already groaning. I don’t know how it got so full because I haven’t bought an awful lot but I really can’t fit much more in.

Amman

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I arrived in Amman yesterday, but since I got in at 2am I spent most of yesterday catching up on sleep. My tour doesn’t start till tomorrow so this morning I went out and had a wander around and got some local currency. Hot and dusty pretty much describes it, and white. Everything is made of this white stone. I did find a mall, but not a lot was open. I’m not sure whether that’s just because everything opens later here or because it is the final few days of Ramadan.

It’s been nice though, to have no schedule for a few days. I am happy just to sit by the window and read, and admire the view.

In England

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Well, I have arrived in England safe and sound, though much worn out after the flight. People keep asking me if I am jet lagged, and I don’t think I am. I keep waking up at 4.30 in the morning, but that is fairly normal for me.

I have been very rapidly adding new places to my list. I think I have managed 10 or 11 in four days. Mostly because most places round here are places I have never been before.

I got into Birmingham on Friday, and got my hire car and drove up to Yorkshire. Still getting used to driving on the very narrow roads, with so much traffic. And of course everything is in miles per hour, and speed limits are different. I hadn’t realised how much you judge your speed being right while driving just from experience.

Saturday was a family wedding, which was lovely. Sunday was family lunch (see photo of possibly the biggest chocolate eclair in the world below, four of us were having a crack at it and we still couldn’t finish it) and then that evening a 60th birthday party.

Yesterday we made a trip out to a place called Temple Newsam. It is an enormous Tudor era house. Unfortunately we couldn’t get into the house, but we were able to have a wander round the grounds and visit the home farm (they had lots of cute little piglets).  We also stopped and looked at a new footbridge they have built over the River Aire, near the Castleford Weir, which was quite picturesque.

I am staying put today I think, and then tomorrow I drive down to Northampton to visit my other Nana, then on to Birmingham for the quilt fair.

Big thank you to Uncle Alan for letting me borrow his wi-fi.