0stanbul · Cappadocia · Selçuk · Ku_adas1 · Marmaris
Frank's Travelogue

It's Tuesday so it must be Istanbul
Aya Sofya · The Blue Mosque · Obelisk of Theodosius · Topkapi Palace

Frank and Kevin suffered through the upgrade to business class on the flight to Munich as best they could. After a hearty Turkish breakfast of bread, hard boiled egg, cucumber, tomato, olives and lots of coffee we're off to Aya Sofya museum (Hagia Sofia, Justinian's great 6th century church). The mihrab is a popular tourist photo stop and once gave the Muslim faithful the direction of Mecca for prayer. Just a few minutes' walk away is Sultan Ahmet's Blue Mosque, his 17th century answer to Justinian's impressive architecture. In addition to the beautiful tile in the walls that gives the mosque its name, light filters in through stained glass windows high above the carpet covered floor.

Roughing it in business class

Breakfast atop the Side Hotel


Ayasofya's mihrab

The Blue Mosque

Stained glass in Blue Mosque

Jet lag is your friend

The park beside the Blue Mosque was a hippodrome in Roman times, an elongated racetrack for chariot racing. Only a few monuments have survived those days of the Roman Empire, the most famous being the granite Obelisk of Theodosius. Carved in Egypt in 1500 BC, it once stood in Heliopolis to commemorate the victories of pharaoh Thutmose III. Theodosius brought it to town in 390 AD. The Topkap1 Palace was home to the Ottoman sultans from 1453-1839. In addition to impressive architecture, the palace grounds include the nearly deserted Arkeoloji Müzesi (archaeology museum). This is an excellent museum housing exhibits from Troy, Roman times, and the Byzantine period. The most interesting part of the palace visit came when a group of girls struck up a conversation with Frank and Kevin, though Kevin quickly retreated.

Obelisk of Theodosius

Topkap1 Palace

Arkeoloji Müzesi

Frank's fan club

No trip to 0stanbul is complete without a visit to the Grand Bazaar, whether you buy anything or not. With more than 4500 shops the bazaar dates back to the 15th century. Fun as it's been, it's time to pack and bid farewell to 0stanbul. The Orient Express no longer runs but we tried the modern equivalent, taking the sleeper train to Ankara. The ride takes us through the ancient steppes of Anatolia, an area barren of forests but rich in cultivated land.

Grand Bazaar

Havranpa_a Station

Göreme · Kaymakl1

Amazingly, we were able to drive our rental car out of Ankara during morning rush hour in about 15 minutes. A few hours later we were in Göreme in the heart of Cappadocia. You have probably seen pictures of this area of Turkey and not realized it. Tunnels, rooms, and churches were carved from from volcanic tuff to create extensive underground cities.

Göreme from Kelebek Hotel

Test for Efes beer commercial

Tour group invasion

Open air museum

Bazaar gauntlet at Kaymakl1

Kaymakl1 underground city

Kaymakl1 underground city

Kaymakl1 underground city

Ephesus · Meryemana

Ephesus is the best preserved classical city in the eastern Mediterranean. As early as 800 BC the nearby sanctuary of Cybele, a fertility goddess, was a place of pilgrimage. Cybele became Artemis and the Temple of Artemis was one the 7 wonders of the ancient world. Like most of these wonders, little remains of the temple (one column to be exact). In Roman times Ephesus was the capital of Asia Minor and a rich sea port. Initially a cult center, Ephesus developed a Christian presence and the Virgin Mary settled here. St. John and St. Paul are reputed to have lived here for a time, too. Unfortunately, the river silted up and the coastline moved seaward, leaving Ephesus behind. By the 6th century the city center was moved to Selçuk. Ephesus has regained most of its glory as tourists from the world over travel here to walk the ancient streets.

Library at Ephesus

Can you find the spectator?

Ancient indoor plumbing

Mary's house above Ephesus


We made it to the beach and our first real tourist town. Ku_adas1 is the cruise ship gateway to Ephesus. The bazaar is much more upscale than others we've seen and the prices have increased accordingly. Restaurant fare is less Turkish and the prices are more continental. So far in our trip prices have been near what they were when Frank was last here several years ago. In other words, a bargain. Not so in the Ku_adas1 bazaar district. Frank was looking forward to a wonderful meal until he found that the price of his favorite dish had increased from 6 to more than 20 million lira. Fortunately, the Bül Bül Restaurant across from the cemetery was still there with its tasty lamb, reasonable prices, and excellent service. Expect a few stares if you go; this is a local hangout and well worth the walk. If you get the chance, stay at the Club Caravanserail, a hotel in a restored karvansaray. Karvansaray were built by the Ottoman Turks along trade routes like the Silk Road. Caravans could stop, stay the night, trade, get a bath, and take care of their stock. We've seen several ruins along the road but this one's in downtown Ku_adas1 and certainly a step up from the Ottoman days. The rooms are named, not numbered. We're staying in Çabuk. I don't know what it means but it sounds exotic.

Downtown Ku_adas1

Dawn on the karvansaray

Club Caravanserail

Second floor guest rooms


We're in Marmaris to visit Frank's friends at the Marmaris Yacht-Marina, do laundry, and catch the ferry to Rodos. Sunburned tourists traveling the Turquoise Coast stroll along the waterfront where colorful goulets and restaurants vie for their attention. Despite the lack of cruise ships and inland destinations the streets are busy with visitors. The rug, watch, and porcelain vendors Frank knows are still selling their wares in the bazaar. Kevin is tempted by the affordable Rolex watches but wisely decides to save his money. The early morning ferry carries us Rodos (Rhodes), our first stop in Greece.

Marmaris Yacht-Marina

Frank, Nazli, and Kevin

Kevin and his new boat

Pupa Yacht Hotel

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