Turkey in My Heart
Turkey is a special place for me simply because it is the place my husband and I decided to go for our honeymoon, but I have to say it is not easy rocking your honeymoon while you were struggling with morning sickness.
I was 3 months pregnant at that time and our honeymoon was just a short period, 9 days in total because we were only allowed to have 5 days on leave. Due to time constraint, we have to be choosy about places that we should visit and we have chosen the exciting and beautiful Cappadocia and Istanbul.
Cappadocia, The Wonderland
We chose Cappadocia because there are many activities you can do in like ATV ride, Safari jeep ride, paragliding, horse riding and the top of my list; the hot air balloon ride. We took the hot air balloon ride with Royal Balloon, which cost us USD175, or EURO150 per person (this might be tad expensive, but we enjoyed their good services such as, the luxury MPV for pick up and drop off, breakfast buffet at their lounges and instead of getting a certificate, we get boarding passes and medal that claimed we took our hot air balloon ride with the Royal Balloon).
However, if you want a cheaper option, you can get about a similar hot air balloon experience with the slightly lower price of EURO110. The difference is just that you have to arrive in Cappadocia first and shopping for hot air balloon ride companies. You also do not need to book in advance for their services because there are plenty of companies that offering hot air balloon ride and due to tight competition, they will certainly give you good prices. The hot air balloon ride, however, can only be conducted in the morning so make sure you ask the hotel receptionist to give you a wake up call in case you are experiencing jet lag.
In Cappadocia, we also tried the ATV ride. This type of activity is suitable in Cappadocia because of its landscape, which is mostly covered with rocks and less flora. The ATV can fit two persons depending on your preferences and since there are only two of us so we only need to hire for one ATV. For 40 dollars, you will get to drive the ATV for a good two-hour and you will be guided by a tour guide the entire time. The departure point begins in Goreme (the biggest towns in Cappadocia) passing through Cavusin and then Rose Valley, Girls Monastery, Red Valley, Swords Valley, and lastly, Love Valley before returning to Goreme.
Another activity that we have done in Cappadocia was the safari jeep ride. It was sort of a private ride, and we chose to do an early morning session ride because we want to chase the hot air balloons. We were thinking that, since we have enjoyed Cappadocia scenery from the sky then we should also see how was the scenery of Cappadocia looks like from outside of the hot air balloon. From Goreme, we made a trip to Cavusin where the hot air balloons are scheduled to take off. Cavusin is an empty rock land, which makes it suitable for launching the hot air balloon. Every day, more than 200 balloons have been launched to the sky of Cappadocia. The winds blow all the hot air balloons to Love Valley, which has a beautiful scenery of the rock mountain. Many wedding couples have their photo shoot here, which made me wonder whether that is the story behind the name of the place.
The Enchanted City of Istanbul
If you ever been to Turkey, visiting the Museum of Haqia Sophia should be in your must-to-do list. I find it very interesting and worth visiting, but bear in mind, it is always packed with visitors so, it is best to hit the road early if you want to escape the peak hour. We went there so early that we became the first two visitors to enter the building and since there were fewer people, we had the chance to take more photos without having visitors photobombed your pictures.
Touring the museum can leave you feeling mesmerized with the richness of its interior, which shows a blend of influence from two religions: Christianity and Islam. In some area, you can see huge frames of scripture of writings of Allah and Muhammad on the wall and at the same time, there are also paintings of Mary and Jesus. The unique interior of Hagia Sophia is mainly because it used to be a place of worship for first, Christians in the around 6th century and later, for Muslims in the 15th century.
If you are someone who appreciates history, I would suggest the Great Topkapi Palace. The Topkapi Palace is situated at a top of a hill overlooking the Sea of Marmara, the Strait of Bosphorus and the cities. According to the history, Sultan Mehmet II has ordered for a palace to be built on top of the ruins of Byzantine after his Conquest of Constantinople. This palace, later on, became the administrative centre for the Ottoman empire and has served as the main residence of the Ottoman rulers.
Last but not least, the charms of Istanbul are not limited to its eventful histories, as of now it is also famous for shopping – the Grand Bazaar. In here, you can find anything from jewellery to fabrics and household items, scarves and even, praying mats. I don’t really get to visit every aspect of this Bazaar due to my sickness, but from the look at it, I know if you will have fun here.
Topkapi Palace. Istanbul. Available at http://www.greatistanbul.com/topkapi_palace.html
Currently working as a manager for pharmaceutical logistics distributor of Pharmaniaga in Malaysia, Bella is an electrical engineering graduate from the Australian National University. She is also a true lover of cats and beaches.
Contact info: email@example.com