For Dilshad’s birthday, we planned a trip to Turkey. Arrived and landed in Istanbul, and spent a few days visiting this old city that straddles Europe and Asia. It is a very cosmopolitan and tolerant place, where Islam is the major religion.
In Istanbul, we visited the Blue Mosque, the Aya Sofia, the Topkapi palace, the Grand Bazaar, Spice Bazaar, etc etc.
Did a lot of walking in the streets to get an idea of daily life in Istanbul. Fell in love with this place, the delicious food, the people, etc etc. This is indeed one of those few places that I would like to visit again and again.
After checking out Istanbul, we flew to Izmir on the Mediterranean sea; rented a car, and drove a short distance over to Ephesus, which is a well preserved Roman city ruin that is quite fascinating and large in size. Definitely worth visiting. This has to be oneof the best Roman ruins I have seen,
After Ephesus, we drove over to Kusadasi, where we had planned to stay. Kusadasi is a port city on the Mediterranean, and is and old city that is quite hilly, with great views from all over the city.
After exploring, we drove several hours to Pamukkale; which is inland and had a spectacular natural feature; see below. Natural hot springs from underground loaded with dissolved limestone have created beautiful white terraces of pools and ponds as the water evaporates and deposits the limestone. Absolutely stunning.
View of the town of PamukkaleMiddle East, Turkey, Turkey May 2009