Posts tagged Turkey

Turkey in my Eyes: Let The Distance Keep us Together

My dear travellers, how are today? I hope you’re doing just fine because it’s time to continue our adventure in Eastern Turkey! At the very beginning, I would like to thank everyone on the wonderful messages you sent me through social networks and via e-mail. Your support and your comments really mean a lot to me, because they help me to write the right content for my blog which will fulfill all your needs and wishes.

Today we are continuing our adventure and in our previous story we came to Kars… Dogu Express helped us get to Kars, and from Kars we had to unfortunately to continue our journey on foot… Of course, it’s a joke!

Who has not been able to read my previous post from Turkey or someone just wants to remind a little, you can read the post on this link. According to the plan and program which Turkish Airlines had made for us the next important sights were the ruins of Ani.

Ani city was formerly a symbol of luxury and wealth, famous for its large number of imposing buildings and luxurious architecture, a city inhabited by famous merchants, rich people – crème de la crème kind of people… What happened? As in every story, there is always a word BUT, so in this case I can only say that it is the place where only ruins are left, which are also the only witnesses of the golden era of one of the largest and richest cities in the world.

Today, instead of splendid city, there are still ruins in the area of ​​the former city of Ani, and for this reason it received the nickname “the City of Ghosts.” The ruins are located at the border of Turkey and Armenia. I sincerely hope that with the help of archaeologists, little luck, careful and dedicated work Ani city will slightly regain its old glory and shine, it really deserves and just awaits the perfect moment to shine again!

Ani was also known as the city of the 1001 churches, and it is assumed that during the golden age in the city lived over 100,000 inhabitants. The nickname “the city of 1001 churches” may have been more than overly, but historians and archaeologists have so far found little less than 100 religious objects, so this evidence suggests that the Armenian monarchists were very religious and were dedicated to the construction of the sanctuaries (holy objects).

Today, at this site you can find the Cathedral of Ani, more precisely its ruins. Built from red brick, a religious building located on a special hill and today attracts the attention of visitors. The Cathedral’s dome was largely destroyed during a major earthquake in the 14th century, which was not unfortunately an end because after that, the other part of the cathedral was destroyed, but there remained a ruin that could still show the real beauty of this incredible temple.

According to some books, the Cathedral of Ani was built in the period when the city of Ani was at the golden age of its rise, during the 11th Century. There is also the church of St. George, which is still in the ravine on the border between Turkey and Armenia today. St. George’s Church is considered one of the best preserved objects in the area of ​​the former city of Ani. Everyone thinks buildings, are just empty, have no soul, but they are witness of various great same things that have changed the course of history.

After a good hiking, believe me that I was a bit ill and that this walk through Ani was pleasant, maybe the temperature was below zero, but the mood and beauty of the landscape made me feel cold at all, but the feeling of unusual happiness and pride because I had the opportunity to visit such an unusual place as the city of Ani.

Slowly, our small blogging group was gathering and it was time to move on… We were a bit hungry, which is normal after a couple of hours of walking and exploring sites like Ruins of Ani. Before entering the bus, I turned around again, for the last time to greet the city of Ani, because I truly enjoyed the story of a golden city: “Bye Ani, maybe we’ll see another way, See you!”

Bloggers continued their journey, with a great excitement we showed pictures to each other, everyone in his own way showed the old glory of Ani and our friends from Turkish Airlines took us to Lake Cildir, where was organized lunch.

The scene was like a fairy tale, many bloggers went with fishermen to see how they are fishing in a frozen lake, but my fear of water, and that the ice will break under my feet, so I was a bit brave and went to some parts of the lake that I considered it will be safe for me. This time luck was not enough to provoke my courage! 🙂

The time for lunch was just flied so fast, so we had to hurry up to the mountains, so little Marko step suddenly on the snowboard on this journey… It’s good that I still stayed in a good shape… and also in one piece! 😀

Sarikamis! The Mountain Heaven for real lovers of winter sports, if I remember well the price of a ski pass for a lift for an entire day is about 5 euros, if in any case you also rent ski and snowboard equipment, I think that together with the ski pass the pass is less than 20 euros, which is extremely cheap compared to some European ski resorts.

We were stayed in Sarikamis Kayi Hotel, I would like to share with you one interesting fact about this lovely hotel. Hotel has got a cute epithet from its guests as the “Snow Palace of Sarikamis Mountain” because of perfect location. We had time to rest a bit, so the next day we began with our activities much later than usual.

After breakfast, just as I have planned to the room to pack my things, our friends from Turkish Airlines told us that if by any chance in the group there are winter sports lovers, they have a real treat for us and that we have 5,6 hours free to enjoy a little on the snow.

I was lucky enough to forget the keys of the room and the phone so my colleagues searched for me in the hotel because I was faster than wind when it comes to winter magic! When I finished dressing for snow, a guy who was renting equipment asked me: “Do you want skis or snowboard? “. I thought, life goes on and on this mountain are not sharp paths, I could ski on Divcibare mountain, but my father is always scared when he sees me on the snowboard…

I just pointed with my finger on the snowboard and after a few minutes little Marko found himself on the ski lift after a long time! First of all, I thought I was crazy, but I’m going to do this! So in that moment I just thought about the landscape, it’s a beautiful and sunny day that’s not going to go anything wrong today!

It was great, I must admit that I spent less time on the snow than I know it when I go to Divcibare mountain, maybe I was tired because of the trip, who knows… After a few hours, the bloggers get together again and we were ready to go for Erzurum, also the last city that was planned to visit during our adventure in Eastern Turkey.

Erzurum is one of the largest cities in this part of Turkey, the largest university center and city that is considered the “cradle of” good kebab. I tried their kebab, I can not tell you how much I have eaten… I’m embarrassed when I remember those beautiful buns, my heart is playing, the pressure is growing! 😀

I’m just saying that all myths are true! Kebab is really fantastic! There are numerous ski resorts around the city and also winter Olympic Games are organized there, so what you are waiting for?

These fantastic 7 days have passed sooo fast, it’s time for us to go back… We caught the evening flight to Istanbul and on the plane we shared our impressions from this trip with a smile on our face. We asked Turkish Airlines team few times about some new adventures, their response were positive so who knows maybe we will see again soon!

Tired, but satisfied I was on my flight to Belgrade, I managed to get a little nap, but also to read the Turkish Airlines magazine where I saw the photo of the Cathedral of Ani and below which was written “Visit Kars!”. I smiled and thought: “Marko, you were there, you will go there again!”. Stewardess brought me breakfast and you know how that classical story goes on the plane.

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 last one from our Turkish adventure with Turkish Airlines. 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 Sarikamis Kayi Otel hotels that made our stay pleasant and we felt like we were at home.

How do you like this post about Eastern Turkey? Have you ever visited Turkey? Did you have chance to enjoy in the magic of the Turkish culture and of course their cuisine? 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.

Best,

Mr.M

This post was sponsored by Turkish Airlines. I also thank my friends from Sony who made it possible to enjoy in these beautiful photos made with the camera Alpha 7r Mark II.
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Turkey in my Eyes: Dogu Ekspresi, Adventure of a Lifetime

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.

 

Best,

Mr.M

This post was sponsored by Turkish Airlines and Dogu Ekspresi, with the unselfish support of other partners of this project, such as Hotel Crown Plaza Harbiye and Hotel Radisson Blu Kayseri. I also thank my friends from Sony who made it possible to enjoy in these beautiful photos made with the Alpha 7r Mark II.
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Istanbul: The City Where Two Continents Meet

Good morning my dear travelers! How are you today? I sincerely hope that you are good and that you are ready for a new adventure. Since you all know how much I love traveling and that this is my second biggest love in life (after fashion of course!) today you will have the opportunity to meet the city I really love – Istanbul. I’m sure that you have watched sometimes in your life some Turkish soap opera so far and that you have seen some scenes where Istanbul is presented like some heaven where you need to go and feel it!

That was me few years ago when I was watching some Turkish movie and almost every scene was in some part of Istanbul and i said to my mother: “Mom, we must go there!”. After 3 months my mother and I was on the flight to Istanbul… That was my first visit to Istanbul, ten years ago… At the beginning of this post, I would like to thank the Istanbul Convention & Visitors Bureau for hospitality and this fantastic adventure.

Istanbul is maybe not the main capital of Turkey, but has taken over time the role of the largest tourist center where people from all over the world come to get know with the city of hedonist and delights. In addition to this, Istanbul also has another great name – The City of Tulips. There are many names and each of us will always have the opportunity to give Istanbul its name depending on what this fascinating city will associate you the best. Istanbul is the only city in Europe that is located on two continents, Europe and Asia. The European part is new and modern while the Asian is traditional and where you have the opportunity to feel that old spirit of the Ottoman Empire.

Istanbul is a city that never sleeps. The European version of New York, which attracts an increasing number of tourists each year with its bright rhythm of life. Do you want something nice to eat? Istanbul is a city of kings food and delights, you can not stay hungry here, and prices are more than affordable.

Want something nice and interesting to buy? Istanbul is a city that can offer you everything your heart desires, the price range is from 1 euro to incredible luxury sky rocket prices, for everyone’s pocket and for everyone’s taste. I will only tell you that they have over 20 outlet shopping centers where you can buy really good and interesting things, and you will not spend a large amount of money. All you need is a card for transportation and a lot of time because Istanbul is a multi-million city where crowds can be very exhausting and you must be prepared to wait.

Now, let’s move on to my favorite topic – Turkish candies and delights. Baklava and other deacons are the reason why I do not have small money coins to buy a magnet for a fridge, but I spend everything on these treats. Of course, the prices of these treats vary depending on whether you are buying them in “famous” places reserved exclusively for tourists or you may go to some neighboring parallel streets and you can buy for the same value of money some kilo of those delicious delights.

Believe me, who did not try halva at night and did not pray in the late night hours on the reception desk for the knife, where the staff watches you as you’re probably planning to cut off the veins in the room, that person definitely doesn’t know the basic definition of hedonism in Istanbul. Yes, that’s my mom and I in the early morning at the reception desk when we have some strange tired eyes, but in the bag there is a packet wrapped in white glossy paper covers the main reason why we are looking for that knife. I know, it does not fit into that nutrition plan and nutrition program where you can not eat anything after 6 pm, but they never wrote that it’s forbidden if you come across a precious chocolate halva with pistachios in Istanbul.

The exact working hours of restaurants and shops in Istanbul are indefinable. On one occasion I came to Istanbul at 2 am and everything was open and the people were on the streets as if it was 8 or 9 in the evening. The second time I came about 11pm hours and the streets were so empty… You never know what you can expect in Istanbul, but you need just one thing to have on mind when you are in Istanbul. Whatever happens in Istanbul, stays in Istanbul… It will just a small secret between you and Istanbul, don’t worry Istanbul is a good friend it will hide your secret.

The real “life” in Istanbul is taking place in the small streets which you can see everywhere in the city. There you will notice the couples love who have some “serious” problems and they are arguing in Turkish, but in the end they end of story they make up as if there was nothing. The music which you hear from clubs has a some interesting pop – RnB sound with Arabic melody.

Since I’m not going to make you envy anymore with those photos of food, it’s not fair I know, but if for your consolation during this last visit to Istanbul I didn’t feel these deacons, but I just enjoyed taking photos of them. Okay, that’s it for today! Finally, I wanted to give you a warm recommendation where you can stay in Istabul if you want to spend more time in the central area of ​​Beyoglu – Taksim Square.

Konak Hotel is located not far from the Beyoglu center area, more precisely from the famous Taksim Square. It is the square from where famous red trams go through Istiklal street, the main street. In addition, Konak Hotel is close to Nisantasi area where it is a true paradise for shoppers with a “deeper” pocket. I sincerely love to go there just to enjoy in the beauty of shops windows and to enjoy the decoration of the showcase while I share the bagel with a cat and I’m pretty happy to say, the cat is also very happy and little fat, but at the end we have each other to share that moment.

Why I love Istanbul? I love Istanbul because it is a city of diversity and because it is a city of contrast. There are differences in which you can enjoy, maybe we have different religions, but we have a lot of similarities. We have problems and similar reactions to some life situations. I love to see reactions of mothers with the children on the street who can not get right with the endless play of their children. Those interesting cute argues on Turkish language you will smile and enjoy, maybe you will learn some new words! 🙂

My dear travelers once again we have come to the end of this post, time just flies so fast when you are having a good time! Don’t worry in a couple of days I will publish a new post where we will continue together to enjoy the charms of traveling and we will continue our adventure in Salzburg. I will try to leave you now for a moment just because you maybe would like more to enjoy in the beautiful view on the last photo of the post!

How do you like this story about Istanbul? I would like to hear your opinion! 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.

As I promised we’ll see again in a couple of days, so if something new and interesting happens to me, I promise, I will write to you!

Best,

Mr.M

 

The post is sponsored by the Istanbul Convention & Visitors Bureau and Konak Hotel. For these beautiful photos I used the Sony Alpha 7r  and Sony RX100 Mark V camera.

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