Good morning, my dear travellers! How are you doing this morning?! I sincerely hope that you have slept well and that you are ready to start this weekend with me and I will take you to new exciting adventure in Eastern Turkey. Before I start, I would like to thank you for the wonderful messages you wrote to me in the past few days and I can not describe my happiness right now! In the previous post, I’ve described my short, but lovely adventure in London, but now it’s time to start a story from beginning!
At the end of March this year I received an interesting email from the Turkish Airlines representative office in Serbia where I received a invitation to feel the charm of Eastern Turkey. When I saw that I would be able to visit Cappadocia, which is otherwise the dream of every blogger to have some photos with legendary balloons, I did not wait for a second, but I replied briefly and clearly: YES!
Because of the excitement I did not know what to do next, in my mind I was already in Cappadocia imagined those beautiful, large, colorful balloons and my new adventure has already started. After a couple of hours, I decided to read the itinerary program for this trip, and then I realized that will be one hard, but very interesting adventure. My blogger’s eye was attracted by the word Dogu Ekspresi, I immediately realized that it was some train, so I dropped into a little research where I read that I was going on a journey by train that was otherwise so popular that people are waiting for months to get their tickets for a train that received a grand epithet of Turkish Orient Express.
Otherwise, before I started blogging and during my work on the blog, I often traveled with this airline and every time I was overwhelmed with the service and what the most important flights were always on time and for my hungry soul catering service was always excellent. I remember when I went to Helsinki last year, the stewardess was so nice that she saw that I’m dying hungry, so I got two portions of beef and I was the happiest person on this planet called Earth.
By the time for a flight (thank God and never check out all those details on tickets) I did not even know which class I fly. As always, I arrived 3 hours earlier on the flight. It was so crowded, so I waited my turn. The lady at the check-in counter says: “Sir, you are at the wrong counter now my colleague will help you!” I’m in shock, as I thought I’m on the wrong place, but I have Turkish Airlines tickets…
After her colleague ended up with a passenger, she asked me to go to her counter in order to check in on the flight. I take my suitcase and I get a little out of the way just to read the little boards to know where I am going to, when I read “business class” I was already in heaven. I got my ticket, there really says business class 4F seat, PERFECT! As an international blogger, I traveled several times with the first and the business class, but I never got something like a domestic blogger and I was proud of myself that someone on our Balkan market supported the work on my blog in such a sophisticated way.
The flight to Istanbul this time lasted in my head much shorter, as you see I had enough time to make nice photos and by the way I had fun with the new romance movie of my favorite Turkish actors, who watched the Turkish TV-show “Rented Love” (Turkish: Kiralik Ask) will understand what I’m talking about!
I landed in my beloved Istanbul, I think that Ataturk airport was wondering why I have not been there for so long, but here I’m in my beloved Istanbul – a city on two continents. After I finished all activities such as passport control and luggage, the hardest part came, which I loved less when I travel: searching for my name on one million boards, but well this time I found my hosts in a record-breaking short time! By the way, I met my colleagues bloggers and members of the media from the Balkans and Eastern Europe. Of course, little Marko is immediately started to talk and after five minutes I find the ideal chit-chat company.
The first day in Istanbul literally AMAZING, we were on lunch at Nusret. If there are people who are like me and did not know who Nusret is… He is a famous Turkish cook who has become a living legend and has restaurants all over the world. It is recognizable for its movements during cooking, I am sure that you have seen somewhere in the media a guy with sunglasses and in a very unusual way, spice, sew meat and make a show. Let’s not explain further and I’m not blaming myself anymore, here you can check out on this link. 😉
Food brings people together, so I managed to get to know my colleagues and a team from Turkish Airlines who made this dream come true. According to the plan, we had to go back to the hotel after lunch, but we changed a little so we included Taksim square in our program! Little Marko warmed up an initiative to go to Galata Tower and some bloggers were first in Istanbul and also they wanted to see some sights. What about me? I just supported them! 😀
People from the Turkish Airlines team have mentioned to us several times that we will our program starts tomorrow at at 4 am and they tried to explain this to us many times but, the next scene… Four bloggers and one member of the team of the THY team are going to Taksim, there’s really no time for sleeping anyway…
Thank God, so we came back to the hotel a little after midnight, I did not sleep, I watched the Turkish series that I usually follow up, so it came as a great way to fill the time while waiting to leave the hotel. It was 4 am in the morning, all the bloggers had gathered and so sleepy were ready for Cappadocia. This was my second time in life that I used local flights in Turkey and I was just thinking about balloons which are waiting for me in Cappadocia.
Cappadocia is a very unusual place, full of valleys and everything looks like a fairy tale. Whole Cappadocia is shaped by nature, and it only shows how nature can itself create the outstanding works of art without any impact of the human hand. Really amazing! My admiration was interrupted by the words of our guide who told us that due to the strong wind there will be no balloons in the valleys of Cappadocia…
You know those scenes in the Mexican series when the major actor finds out some shocking news, so they put the sound effect of broken glass… That’s how it was in my head at that moment! There was no balloons, that I was not ashamed of my 27 years I would start to cry like a little child… The plan was changed for us, so we went for breakfast, then on ATV Tour, and our day was more than fulfilled. Maybe I did not see the famous balloons in Cappadocia, but I met a new furry friend – Mert.
In Cappadocia we visited two important and very interesting museums: Goreme, open air museum and Gurey, the first underground museum of ceramics and pottery!
Gurey, an unusual newly opened museum of ceramics and pottery, is located in the cave below the Gurey ceramics showroom. This museum has exhibited a private collection of ceramic art that has been collecting for years, and the ancient ceramic hall contains pieces from the prehistoric age.
The open-air museum of Goreme resembles a huge monastery complex consisting of many smaller monasteries located next to each other. Usually tourists when they arrive in Cappadocia, this is the first “station” in Cappadocia. I had the opportunity to enjoy the incredible landscape, and my colleagues made great pictures on the stones. I did not have the courage to climb, but I helped them to make some amazing memories from this wonderful place. 🙂
The second day of this trip was approaching the end, we left Cappadocia and headed for Kayseri because it was our station for boarding the Dogu Ekspresi train. I thought to myself: “Marko, this will be another looong night!” But I managed somehow to sleep a little, it was quite interesting!
The program of our trip was detailed and the timetable was precisely stated, when I first read the program in Belgrade, I realized that we would be traveling by train for 18 hours in one direction and I was afraid that I would succeed, but only I remembered India and said to myself that I can do it. The reality was a bit different, we spent almost twenty hours in the train, we made incredible pictures, some new friendships were made on this train.
What should you need to know about this train? Dogu Ekspresi, known as the “Eastern Express”, is a nightly passenger train operated by the Turkish state railway. The length of the route is 1310 km long, from the railway station in Ankara to the railway station in Kars. The interesting fact is that this is the first night train running east of Ankara. If you want to feel the real adventure, you can buy tickets for this train on this link. I just want to warn you that you must to book the tickets for this train couple months in advance if you want to feel the beauty of this amazing landscape, because this train is very popular attraction in Turkey.
After a long train ride, we reached our goal: Kars! It was time for dinner, so our hosts take this hungry group to restaurant. I have to admit the one thing I love most in Turkish culture: food! In Turkey you will never be hungry and their portions are so big (at least for me) that they really need to be proud of and will use this opportunity to give them the title of the best hosts ever.
My dear travellers once again we have come to the end of our travel adventure. Time just flies so fast when you are having a good time! This post is just a start of our Turkish adventure with Turkish Airlines and next week we will continue our journey and you will find out something about Kars and Ani Ruins.
At the end of the post, I would like to thank my friends from Turkish Airlines for this incredible adventure and the friendly staff from Crown Plaza Harbiye and Radisson Blu Kayseri hotels that made our stay pleasant and we felt like we were at home.
How do you like this post about Eastern Tukey? Have you ever visited Turkey? Did you have chance to enjoy in the magic of the Turkish culture and of course their sweet Turkish delights like halva or my favourite baklava? I would like to share with me your experience! If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me, you can write me down in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via mail or social media, which you can find on the CONTACT page.