Amsterdam and Turkey might seem like an odd combination, but it made a lot of sense for us. We really wanted to see both at some point, and it allowed us to fly into Europe without a stopover (which we hate doing after an overnight flight, and would have had to going into Istanbul from here).
We spend four days in Amsterdam, during which it was a little chilly and rainy, but that was totally fine because the entire two weeks in Turkey were hot and sunny. We still managed to get out and see lots of things: museums, galleries, parks. I didn’t take a whole lot of pictures, because the lighting wasn’t great, but here are a couple of the canals and architecture.
Such a beautiful city! And great for eating too — we had Indonesian, Ethiopian, and Indian food as well as traditional Dutch while there and it was all very tasty.
Our first stop in Turkey was the town of Selcuk, near the southwest coast (by the Aegean sea), an area that was a major part of the Roman empire way back when. The town itself had various Roman ruins in and around it:
(Remains of an aquaduct along one of the main streets)
But the big attraction was Ephesus, about a half hour’s walk away — said to be the best preserved Roman city in the Mediterranean region:
We also went down to the nearby beach, Pamucak, to enjoy the sea:
From Selcuk, we headed over to Urgup, another smallish town in a central region of the country called Cappadocia. Cappadocia is known for its gorgeous and unusual landscapes, which we saw quite a lot of! To begin with, our hotel itself was a “cave hotel”, built into the side of one of the hills like the traditional dwellings in the area:
(The entrance area of our cave hotel suite)
We went on a horseback riding tour through a few of the scenic valleys:
And visited an “open air museum” in a nearby town, which used to be a religious community, built into the rock:
We also took a day tour that included one of the area’s underground cities:
The awe-inspiring Ihlara Canyon:
And a historic monastery:
(Doesn’t look very fancy on the outside…)
(…but on the inside — wow!)
Finally, we made our way to Istanbul. We stayed on the north side of the Bosphorus, just steps away from the Galata tower, which had an amazing view:
(The view over the city)
The Galata neighborhood was great for dining and shopping, and also held a very interesting modern art museum, but most of the historic sights were across the bridge in the old city, Sultanahmet, so we ended up crossing it rather a lot:
(Looking back at the Galata side after crossing the bridge to Sultanahmet)
Some of the highlights:
(The Basilica Cistern)
(The Blue Mosque, outside)
(The Blue Mosque, inside)
And then it was time to drag ourselves home. All in all, I’d say it was a spectacular time!