Thursday, November 13, 2014

A story of both.

'All good things come to an end, they say.'


_ _ _ _ _
All good things must end. 
After all, it's the only reason why we look forward to the next vacation.
It's how things work, or the very least, how we'd learn to appreciate the good while it last.
We were taught to be content.

As I sit here, typing out the mumbles inside my head, youth by Foxes had been playing on loop for hours.
Drowning within the song, I gather my thoughts together.

"Now I'm just chasing time, with a thousand dreams I'm holding heavy. And as we cross the line these fading beats have all been severed. Don't tell me our youth is running out. It's only just begun" - Foxes

Kapalıçarşı (Grand Bazaar).

_ _ _ _ _
I always get cutis anserina. A good song can do that to me. Utterly euphoric.
Before I drift off too far away, let's get back to the topic. TRAVEL.
You know that feeling of sadness you get whenever your vacation is coming to an end?
It's like being trap inside a box of feelings, torn between the joy you felt during the entire trip and the part of letting go, coming back to reality.
However, you are content. Despite the ending, you enjoyed the show. 

_ _ _ _ _

Where and how do I begin? Turkey, Türkiye. I can't begin to tell you the colossal amount of beauty this country has to offer. 
It is truly stunning. Must I say, literally breathtaking. 

Ephesus, or to be known as Efes in Turkish, is an ancient city that was once a very vital commercial centre given the reason of its establishment as a port.
Walking along these ruins, you could almost picture yourself as if you were there, where the histories we all know now are happening right in front of your very eyes.
Passing by shops along Curetes street, the main street leading to the Library of Celsus from The Hercules Gate, and vice versa. You could almost see it all. 
The iconic Library of Celsus, that used to stored more than 12,000 scrolls back then, has earned the tittle of the third richest library in ancient time. 
Pretty impressive, especially when it's all still pretty much intact, maintaining its architectural designs. 

That's it. Scratch all these historical facts. Everyone can Google them up so why risk being a old broken record.

Here, I'll let these photos steal the show.

The owner happily handing out grapes for us to taste.

Şirince Village.



The very moment you place those earphone in your ear.
It is as if you are completely isolated from your surroundings, and that you are seeing this world.
You are finally seeing the world the way it should be, the way that you'd pictured.
Disconnected and yet not entirely alone. The privilege to enjoy solitude.
Being out here, in a foreign land, standing on unfamiliar grounds, everything excites me. 
Endless possibility. A whole new place, that demands to be discovered, to be felt, to be loved, to be learnt. 
You blend in. The need to observe spurs your mind to adapt, absorb, understand and appreciates the differences that made us all so unique but connected in our own ways. 

Atilla, a father of one, bursting with remarkable knowledge, has taught me plenty during my stay in Turkey.

Jam packed with humour, he embraces us, delighted to have us as guest. 
"Do you know what is the national flower of Turkey?", he asked. That was the first question he popped at us.
The national flower of Turkey is non other than tulip. At the mention of tulips, many would have thought that Netherlands was the answer. 
The Ottoman Empire was the reason behind the tulips we all came to known about in Netherlands.
Atilla joke about his country men, that they were always too late when it comes to appreciating things. Take tulip for an example, the Dutch imported the seeds from the Ottomon Empire and it was a hit during the 17th century. 
Not many would not have known the Turkish are the reason behind it. 
_ _ _ _ _

Günaydın Sayit!, we greet the driver. Atilla taught me some simple Turkish words that would come in handy. 
Indirim was one of them. He told us to use it to our advantage, but never to over do it. 
"Don't repeat it too much to the same person, or you will get it only in your dream." 
Turns out, Indirim meant discount. Talk about sense of humour. 
Kaç lira is translated into how much in Lira? Often accompanied by indirim next. Who doesn't love discount? 

"We may look like Europeans, but our minds are very much Asian.", Atilla said. 
He explains that Turkish are conservatives, to what extend, it was unclear. Of course everyone is entitled to their own opinion. 
"We are very much in common, our ways of thinking.", he said. 

_ _ _ _ _

Tea sugar e dream. Pronounce it fast and clear. 
It was Atilla's way of teaching us. The word, you've just probably try to read was teşekkür ederim, which means Thank you.
Watching us, struggling to master the pronunciation like locals, he then proceeds to teach us another word. 
Sağol, pronounced as sa ol, making the ğ, silent. An informal way of saying thank you.

"Raki, the national drink of Turkey, which is made from grapes and seed.", he said. 
There's a saying in Turkey about raki, that goes to show how the Turkish loves their raki.

"If  you take fish without raki, the fish will say where is my raki?"

Sense of humour on the loose. 
Atilla told us that raki could not be taken alone.
It is usually mix with water in a raki glass. However not many are accustomed to the taste. 
The smell of raki was something new to me, pungent but not unpleasing. 
I took on small sip which happens to be my last. Overwhelmed by the strong taste, I dare not take another sip. 
My father on the other hand enjoy it.

Ardıç Hotel & Restaurant.

 Aspendos theater, still in use today.

Düden Waterfalls.


Chevrolet Impala Sport Sedan 1960 that belongs to the hotel owner.

Horozluhan Restaurant.

Sultan Han.

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Atilla told us that Kapadokya, was a name the Persian gave when they came to Anatolia. The Satrabs, who collects taxes were crazy for horses.
Hence, the name came about. Land of beautiful horses, katpatuka.
Many of us know Kapadokya for the sight of hot air balloons.

Overlooking the sunrise, seeing all the balloons afar, the ones right above you or even the one right below your feet.
Stunning, beyond words.
I don't think I can do justice in describing the beauty of the scenery through words.
Hundreds of them floating in the air, and there you are.

Feeling so at peace, floating together with these balloons. Flying.
Quiet. Jaw dropping. Magical.
You feel so alive, inspired, ecstatic that you might get goose bumps or be literally lost at words. (in my case, both.)
The inner part of you jumps for joy, bursting with mix emotions, as if you can feel your brain screaming and admiring at the same time.
I know it's hard to imagine. Guess you'll just have to take a ride to truly know, don't you?

_ _ _ _ _
"A man without a belly is like an apartment without a balcony.", said Atilla as he proudly admits his belly. 

Olives are well known in Turkey, but that's not the only thing they plant here. 
Figs, Sultana Raisin, Hazelnuts, Apricots, Pumpkins, Pistachio are among some of the plantations found throughout the country.
Did I mention, their pistachio chocolate is remarkably delicious, and this is coming from a person who isn't that fond of chocolate. 
Fairy chimneys are the sights that will surround you in Kapadokya. 
When a volcano erupts, ashes and lava are produce.
The ashes become soft rocks while lava becomes hard rocks. These rocks are then sculpted by wind and water.
The soft rocks were carved into dwellings back in the days. 
Atilla brought us to a place where Turkish coffee are brew the traditional way, with charcoal.
"You must taste this, it is rare nowadays. People don't brew coffee with charcoal anymore.", he said.
We sat on the edge, overlooking these fairy chimneys from a higher altitude while sipping down Türk kahvesi. 
Life indeed is good, I would say.

Atilla told us that the coffee drinking habit started from Istanbul.

The Turks introduce coffee to the Austrians first, which the Italians eventually became aware of coffee.
The trick to drinking Türk kahvesi is to allow it to sit for half a min before drinking. 
30% of the total cup should be left behind, as these are the residue that we shouldn't drink. 
Türk kahvesi has been a big part of Turkish culture since the Ottoman Empire period. 

Arrange marriage is practice by Turkish back in the days, even now for some.  

A messenger is responsible to inform the family of the soon to be bride/the candidate. A meeting will then be set up.
To welcome their guest, the family will prepare Turkish delight. The girl on the other hand, will prepare Türk kahvesi. 
If she agrees to the proposal, she will put lots of sugar in the coffee. So that he can taste the sweetness.
However, if she disagrees with the proposal, the sugar will then be replace with salt. 
Anyone who are in their right mind, would definitely get the strong message after drinking a salty coffee. 
Atilla told us that this is still in practice today, maybe not massively but it is still in practice. 
What an interesting way of saying no, don't you think so?

People often mistake Nazar (also known as boncuk) as the evil eye. Little did they know, it is a charm believed by the Turkish to protect them against the evil eye.

The eye bead is made of glass with an eye in the middle.

_ _ _ _ _
Carpets is one of the oldest arts in Turkey. Handmades are very rare nowadays. 
What makes Turkish carpet one of the best in the world is their double knot system. 
He said it was known in a city called, Gordion. 
According to the prophecy, Gordius, a legendary king of Phrygia tied a complicated knot and the person who undo the knot shall rule Asia.
However, nobody could untie the knot.
Alexander the Great attempt to untie the knot but it was to no avail. He came up with a solution which was to cut it into two.
He then went on to conquer Asia. 
This was the legend/myth which Atilla told us. Interesting story. 

"Turkish respects their carpets very much.", Atilla said. They believe that carpets absorbs bad energy from the body. 
Carpets, as they age, the more expensive they become, and the more valuable they are.
Most people in Turkey don't buy carpets, but instead, they inherit it from their parents.
If the knots of the carpets increases, the sharper the image. Atilla told us that a carpet with million knots could take up to 5 years to complete. 
Magnifying glass are used by the women when tying these knots.

çay, best thing ever!
A friendly, warm and cute dog I met while visiting the carpet manufacturing place.

I've learnt from Atilla that Turkish carpets are usually named after the city in which they are produced or the family.

The natural dye used will vary in shades of the colour when viewed from a different angle. 
Oldest carpets are made from wool, while carpets made nowadays are usually from cotton. 

_ _ _ _ _

_ _ _ _ _

Turquoise, the colour that some of us would instantly associate with Tiffany & Co. 's.
Or perhaps that greenish blue colour that we like. 
The word, Turquoise, is a French word. I was told that it meant Turkish rock. 
Similar to the colour we refer as Turquoise, the mineral is of blueish green or greenish blue. 

Fun fact: Almost 98% of Turkish are Muslims, however Islam is not the official religion of Turkey. Turkey is a secular state.

The Mevlevi Sema Ceremony.

Konya is Turkey's city of Whirling Dervishes and has been for 800 years. - Turkey Travel Planner
_ _ _ _ _ 

Istanbul, the only city in Turkey that allows you to travel between Asia and Europe within 30 minutes.
Separated by The Bosporus Strait, where two continents meets. 
Modern and ancient.

 Park Fora, Istanbul. 

Dolmabahçe Palace.

 A pool in the middle of Bosphorus Strait. How rad. 

_ _ _ _ _
Travelling in Istanbul is a surprise every time, said Atilla. 
"You can't predict the traffic, and the weather changes every time, sunshine now, then it rains.", he said. 
I couldn't agree more. 
The Blue Mosque (The Sultan Ahmet Mosque), truly a beauty.
Atilla told us that there's this legend, claiming that the mosque wasn't suppose to be constructed with six minarets.
Upon construction, Sultan Ahmet I wished for the minaret to be build with gold. 
The Turkish word for gold is "Altin". Unfortunately the architect misheard this instruction and took it as "alti", which you've guess it right, means six in Turkish.
Which is why, you can see six beautiful minarets now.
There's a famous cat that lives in Hagia Sophia. You could google it up. 
Yes, Obama did pet this very cat. 

 A young man selling Turkish Top. 

Hagia Sophia. A building with a unique story.

Christian mosaics that's been previously covered with plaster.

_ _ _ _ _

It was raining the day we visited Taksim square. 

With only 30 minutes to spare, I was more persistent than I've ever been in my entire life. 
The only thing that's been occupying my head ever since I'm in Istanbul was Kronotrop. Yes. a "MUST VISIT" was scribble on my notebook.
Without a map, and only the address that I noted down before this trip, I tried to search for it with my sister. 
We decided to ask for help from a hotel personnel (btw handsome as hell), judging that we don't have much time to spare wandering around or getting lost. 
The instructions was some sort clear but the estimated time he gave was wrong. 
We wind up getting lost. Yes, LOST. Circling the neighborhood and returning to the point where we first asked for directions.
15 minutes passed. My sister was clearly on the verge of giving up, but hell no, I didn't come so far to give up! 
Giving another shot, we asked a local who just came out from a shop. She was very friendly and helpful though she was obviously having difficulty trying to explain in English. 
Not quite sure what I've heard, I decided to head down the same route we first took, but only to go further down the hill. 
HEAVEN. IT WAS GLOWING! Thank you random stranger!
The moment I took that turn further down the road, I could already smell coffee brewing nearby. 
Kronotrop, there it is. RIGHT BEFORE MY VERY EYES. An instant smile crept up on my face.
A rush of joy, then relief. I take a moment to absorb all these emotions and settle down. Who am I kidding? I was jumping in joy, shouting inside but I'm all cool on the outside. 

Ran in the rain, with our raincoats protecting our coffees. With one minute to spare before meet up time. 

An experience that I will never forget. 
I can feel the adrenaline rush while gasping for air and my heart beating so fast against my chest all at the same time. 
Talk about persistence and perseverance. (which my sister have to thank me for)
The coffee btw, was so gooooood! How I wish I have the time to sit there and enjoy it instead. 
Well, at least I bought a bag of beans roasted by them back home. (trying to convince myself it's all good)

_ _ _ _ _ 

The last day was spent at Mısır Çarşısı (Spice Bazaar) and Kapalıçarşı (Grand Bazaar). 
It wasn't fun having to go through lanes of shops with a stomach ache. 
But thanks to a kind heart soul who gave me some medication, which made the stomachache subside to almost none. 
Good as new, well, almost. 
Heck, I wasn't gonna let some stupid diarrhea stop me from fulling utilizing my last 24 hours here.
Ain't nobody got time for that!

_ _ _ _ _

 _ _ _ _ _

Strays in Istanbul are treated, vaccinated for rabies and other diseases and then ear-tagged. These dogs are very friendly.
 Sideways Medusa column. 
Yerebatan Sarayı (The Basilica Cistern)
The Fountain of Sultan Ahmed III (III. Ahmet Çeşmesi)

Fun fact: Sea of Turkey - North: Black | South: White | East: Blue | West: Red |

 Chilling on grass, intersect between highways. What a way to spend the afternoon. I envy so much. 
One last photo, bidding farewell to this beautiful country. 

In retrospect, it was truly a prodigious week.
Sometimes, I still get these projections inside my head.
Heck, I still get all the projections from my Europe trip two years ago at times when I'm lying on my bed, wanting to fall asleep.

“You lose sight of things… and when you travel, everything balances out.” – Daranna Gidel

_ _ _ _ _

When life is good, it becomes boring. Things tend to be, well, perfect, too perfect I would say. 

Perfect is predictable, expected and also a party pooper. It sucks out all the hell you will go through and the sense of unbeatable strength you feel every time you stand up from all those shits.
So, all good things always come to an END.

All photographs are taken by Canon 550D, Iphone 4 and Iphone 5. 

It took me more than a month to finish this post. Yes, I procrastinated, like most of us. 
My trip to Turkey lasted for 10 days, and it was in the month of September. 
The weather was just nice in Istanbul, with temperature of 20°C but >30°C in other places, however still bearable.
It was a guided tour, with Apple Holiday & Renk United Travel. 
I was really very fortunate to have Atilla as my tour guide, truly the best! 

Cheers mes amies!XX

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disclaimer: The facts/information/knowledge presented in the post(regarding to Turkey) are mostly information received through verbal conversations and the interpretation may have vary in words or sequence. Take note that this means no offence in any way.

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