A Travellerspoint blog

Tea Sugar Dream

tammam, tammam

sunny 25 °C

Oh my god. The past week has been a whirlwind of activity. First of all, I left Istanbul for Cappadocia, and took a tour and explored this area, it's got these strange rock formations caused by volcanic erruptions, over 200 ancient underground cities, and limitless caves that served as houses, early churches, and communal spaces. It was cold there though -- it snowed a few times! I took another night bus to Antalya, with a friend. After I got off the bus, my neck had this huge crick, a giant knot and I was paralyzed and seriously crying from the pain. My body is in a crisis now... a Turkish masseuse helped me realize what a state I am in... I can't wait to get home and resume a healthy diet and exercise... and YOGA my god.

Anyways Antalya was nice. Planned to stay a while but ended up hopping in a rental car with Nat, a fellow dreadlocked Australian girl, one of the most incredible and inspiring people I have met so far. We looked like quite a sight, were mistaken for a lesbian couple a lot of times too! Anyways we visited ruins at Falesis and Olimpos, drove over rivers and slept in a bungalow. We stayed up late with some Canadians by the light of the Chimera's breath, eternal unexplainable flames that burst from the rock at this particular mountain.

The next day we moved to Kale Koy, saw the sunken city at Kekova, and made some friends with a boat. We climed to a castle for another one of those sunset things, and cruised through the stars, parting the black water into sprays mirroring the night sky, with phosphorus particles glowing like stars. We cuddled into the boat and slept.

Upon sunrise we bolted up, carried on to Pamukkale. Got ourselves sorted at the old internet cafe that caters to every need, and climbed up the white mountain, famous for it's calcified rock and pools of water. We slipped and slid with the best of Turkish children and families. Came back for the ruins at night time. Made for Selcuk but had to stop to sleep along the way, in a clean cheap hotel found by a random lovely Turkman.

On the fourth day we rose again, and found ourselves in Selcuk. After a turkish breakfast, saw the ruins in all their splendor. Nat left and I returned to the ruins via motorbike with some man. I can't describe the feeling I get amongst the old rocks and columns, the temples overgrown with poppies and fig trees, the vibrations of wind in the tall pines and the bushes and herbs and grasses of spring in ancient Roman cities. Life is good.

Posted by mythxation 09:22 Archived in Turkey Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Turkish Delight

And Istanbul nights

overcast 12 °C

Well after the farm in Italy I hopped over to Roma, planning to get to Milano for my flight the next day. It turns out all the trains were booked, so I got a ticket for the next morning at 7:30. Because of daylight savings time, I accidentally woke up not at 6, but 7... ran to the station and arrived in time to watch the doors of my train shut. I went and knocked on them anxiously, but no one would open them up... I stood helpless for a good two minutes before the train finally departed. So I got the next one, and cut it really close... I was convinced that I'd miss my flight. The stress of travel.

Anyways, I arrived in Istanbul and made it to my hostel... Bahaus. It's fantastic, a chilled out atmosphere, great lounge area. Very easy to meet people. Istanbul... I am really impressed. The middle eastern influence is apparent, but it is far more developed than Morocco, which surprised me. It is a liberal city, with loads of bars and clubs and a nice alternative scene. The shopping is cheap, the carpets are plenty, and the food is incredible. There is the old bazaar and spice bazaar, both full-on closed markets, selling all the silver, gold, scarves, belly-dancing costumes, rugs, spices, oils. Yet just across a bridge is taksim, which is completely modern and European style.

I've explored the city and done a lot of window shopping, visited numerous mosques, one in which we were actually allowed to witness the men's prayer (!!). I saw a whirling dervish performance, tasted turkish delight, and smoked shishah, had too many glasses of tea to count.

I am happy to once again bear witness to the eerie sound of the prayer call... yesterday we went out to some clubs and came home to the sound of the morning prayer (5:30). I leaned out the window for a brief moment to catch the dark inertia of Istanbul, pre-sunrise. Magical.

Posted by mythxation 00:01 Archived in Turkey Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

visit to the cheese-making shepherd...

(camilla's evening gown)

rain 12 °C

I write from Sora, a small city south of Rome. I am staying on a farmstay in the Italian countryside, there are mountains all around me and rolling hills. I can see the icing sugar covered terrain in the sky from partings in the thick fog. It has rained on and off, the sky remains murky but the grass and new blossoms of spring are succulent and bright. The vegetation is beautiful in it's diversity, from palm trees to pine trees, wild asparagus to wild mint.

For the last week I have been working with Antonello and his family on his farm, with the help of Camilla (Sweden), Jen (Quebec) and Molly (Alaska). We have shovelled manure, transported rabbits, dug holes, cleaned bathrooms and bedrooms, washed too many dishes to count, and eaten more pasta than I could ever imagine possible.

The girls are hilarious, we get up to all kinds of trouble. The farm really has character as well, Guiseppe, the father, speaks no english but always tries to tell us that we should "have more wine for good health", and that drinking raw eggs will only make us stronger. I love the twinkle in his eye when he shows us how he milks the goats or makes his own olive oil.

Yesterday we worked in the morning as usual, and after lunch walked into Sora to use the internet. We went on a late afternoon hike to this castle overlooking Sora. As we climbed the mountain it appeared seemingly out of nowhere, a sturdy fortress with thick stone walls and winding staircases. We sat on the roof and stared at the view. Afterwards Antonello took us out for Italian pizza... as he says, "Everything in Italy is about food."

Posted by mythxation 07:43 Archived in Italy Tagged ecotourism Comments (0)

Tuscany Trains

Travelling and Tourists

sunny 22 °C

I have landed in Rome. I arrived at a hostel I had chosen, sans booking. I had walked miles, I'm sure. They didn't have a bed, and the manager sat on my new sunglasses. C'est la vie! I got reimbursed for the glasses and offered a good deal to stay there tomorrow night. Life works.

I spent some time in Firenze, visited a pile of churches and saw much art. The statue of David was beautiful, of course, but I am sick of renaissance art -- how many images of the virgin and child or distinguished noblemen will it take for my mind to shut down? I saw a strange mimed Baroque comedy with a Texan -- great fun. Anyways Firenze had some beautiful parks and quaint cafes, in between the throngs of tourists.

I followed these throngs, to the Cinque Terre, a UNESCO world heritage site, five tiny mountanous coastal towns with hiking trails in between them that are truly stunning. And then, the throngs led me to Siena, where the buildings glow with a dirty pink shade and everyone sits in a main piazza in the sun, just chilling.

The throngs of tourists... I dislike being a tourist, though I am one. Is this a paradox? I believe so. I am all supporting of travel and seeing the world, but each person that visits a place puts a certain amount of detriment on the place, dilluting the culture and subtly taking away from the thing that makes the place something to see. I am conscious of my own doing, each time I buy a postcard, or fail to speak the local language when asking for help.

On the other hand, tourists support the country and it's economy. I struggle to find a happy medium in this problem with so many sides... how can I travel and not just be one of the dumb, gaping tourists? Or is this inevitable?

Posted by mythxation 06:11 Archived in Italy Tagged backpacking Comments (2)

Barcelona to Florence

A pretty standard thing.

sunny 20 °C

Well I did the Barcelona thing after a 12 hour train ride. The hostel I stayed in was massive and business-like. As usual I met a cool crew to fool around with. I went out a bit, and have to say that the Barcelona nightlife isn't everything I was told it would be. I still had some fun and danced, met a Spanish circus acrobat at one club! Life is random.

Las Ramblas is the main kind of pedestrian street in the old town. It's filled with cafes, stalls selling fresh flowers, and scores of shops set up selling pets; they have turtles, iguanas, mice, rabbits, chickens, doves, fish, ferrets, and everything in between. Even some animals I could not identify. There are no-legged beggars and guys selling beer illegally in between the throngs of well/groomed northern European tourists. Also in the square are people dressed in outlandish costumes, those statue/people street performers. One guy is dressed in black, face hidden, cape flowing as if he is not alive.... then when an unsuspecting tourist passes by, he screams and jumps at them. I don't know how he makes a living.

Barcelona is quite interesting. Architecturally fantastic; if you are bored look up Antonio Gaudi on google images, and you will see what I see. His buildings are so rounded and colourful and just add a feel of fantasy to the city when you stumble upon them.

Last night I didn't sleep a wink, I stayed up with some Australians, an American girl and the hostel bartender. I had to catch a 3:00am bus to the airport and my alarm clock died long ago. I don't even own a watch anymore. So I flew into Pisa, saw the LEANING TOWER. It was pretty in the morning light when none of the tourist booths were open and I was the only one with a camera. Then hopped a train to Florence, and here I am, in Italy. It has a really different feel. And the food is great, veggie friendly and not so ham-oriented like Spain and Portugal.

By the way on the train I think I saw some kind of an angel. An angel in babouches.

Posted by mythxation 05:06 Archived in Italy Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

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