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Three Countries, 24 Hours

Sofia, Bulgaria

I had to get up early to catch my train, which left the central station in Belgrade at 7am. My train map, which I have carried with me everywhere so far for easy reference, highlights interesting and scenic parts of routes in green. Most journeys have some, and my journey from Bar to Belgrade was nearly all highlighted. I was about to embark on a 24.5 hour journey, none of which was highlighted in green - I would have to amuse myself in other ways.

I had found out the day before that instead of a single train, I would have to change at Sofia in Bulgaria, which would give me an opportunity to stretch my legs at least. The first part of the journey therefore, was on a normal European train, in a six seat carriage. For the first five hours I was in a carriage with three Serbian students who were travelling home to spend the holiday with their families. In the intense heat and without air conditioning, the carriage was quickly heating up, and as I tried to draw my curtain to at least shield myself from the sun, it got stuck. At this point one of the students swore loudly in English on my behalf, and we all starting laughing. From that point on, we talked the whole way to their hometown about everything from Shakespeare to Communism, and History to Music. As drama students, they knew English history and literature, and it was fascinating being able to draw comparisons with them. The one downside was that they were convinced I looked identical to Jamie Oliver; how Jamie Oliver has even found his way into the Serbian consciousness is beyond me.

By the time they got off I had had no access to food or water all morning. (We had been told there was a cafe - instead there was just one man making Serbian coffee on a stove in a neighbouring carriage.) They kindly got me some water and food on the station and passed it in through the window, so I was at least hydrated for the rest of the journey. Some hours later, we passed through Bulgarian border control and eventually reached Sofia. I had originally intended to stop here, but after extending my stay in Belgrade decided not to; seeing the littered fields, the slums and the miserable communist architecture, I was instantly pleased I wasn't spending the night. Whilst I'm sure the centre of the city has its fair share of sights, the outskirts were by far the most horrific of any place I have seen in Europe, and I couldn't believe I was within the EU, so great was the ubiquitous poverty.

At the station, I had huge difficulty finding the correct ticket sales office, as it is laid out like an airport and all the signs are of course in cyrillic. Thanks to the help of another tourist who apparently spoke both English and Bulgarian, I found it eventually ... to be told that there were no seats left on the train and the next one was not until the next day. I begged, I pleaded, and eventually I was offered a bed on the train but it would cost more. It did not matter; I was getting out of here at the first opportunity. In my remaining hour at the station I managed to locate a piece of bread, the only vegetarian food available, and my first and only meal of the day. Finally able to board the train, I was shown my carriage by a strange old man, who, after rubbing his fingers together and repeatedly saying 'very nice', I realised was after a tip - for what?! For walking my down to a carriage I could have found perfectly well on my own? I had even carried my own bag. Unfortunately I had a couple of Bulgarian bills hanging out of my pocket, but as I knew I wouldn't be needing them again I passed them over. He then had the audacity to ask for Euros, so I told him in no uncertain terms that he was wasting his time. I am still not sure if he even worked at the station or whether he was just a random local who thought he could make some easy money.

The journey was uncomfortable, due to a lack of storage space that meant I had to share a single bed with both my bags. However, the train itself was nice, and if you discount the toilet, the experience was not too bad. We were woken up several times throughout the night at the Turkish border, had to buy visas in USD or Euros after standing in the cold for nearly 2 hours - some people nearly ended up having to stay at the borderline because they didn't have the correct currencies - and eventually I woke up in the early morning somewhere outside of Istanbul.

permalink written by  BenWH on April 17, 2009 from Sofia, Bulgaria
from the travel blog: Gap Year Odyssey
tagged Turkey, Serbia and Bulgaria

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Stuffed in Turkey

Eskisehir, Turkey

Taking trains in this part of the world can be thoroughly disconcerting for the following reasons: Firstly, whereas in the bigger stations in London, trains arrive and depart every couple of minutes, in the forty minutes I was at Haydarpasa station in Istanbul, mine was the only train to depart. Secondly, you can board the train a considerable time before it sets off, during which time it will make strange clunking noises as if threatening to take off and confirm your fears that you are in fact on the wrong train. The quality of the trains, however, is better than in most of Europe, with more legroom, nicer toilets and bigger windows. The trolley even comes down the train every half hour or so, significantly better than in Britain, and because the aisle is so big this doesn't disrupt your movements down the carriage.

The four hour journey to Eskisehir therefore flew by, especially as I have been used to much longer journeys over the past few weeks. The next six hours would be more challenging - stuck at Eskisehir station, waiting for my train to Izmir. I managed to find a machine that for a small fee would look after my bag for a couple of hours so I could stretch my legs and explore the town. Having located a civilian who spoke English, I managed to communicate my intentions to the person manning the machine, who told me that I needed to be back no later than 5.30 as there was a likelihood the machine would malfunction and this was when he left work.

I won't waste space describing the town - suffice it to say that I was probably the only English-speaker in a 20 mile radius in an area not known for its tourism. It wasn't bad; there was just nothing there worth seeing. So I made my way back to the station, made use of the free WiFi and read. At 5.20 I returned to the spot specified to collect my bag. I waited; the machine had clearly broken or been turned off or otherwise ceased to work. 5.30 came and went; I continued to wait. A station worker who had passed me by several times, tried to explain in frustrated Turkish that - I imagine, not that I could understand -I could not leave my bag there because it was not on/working; he banged the doors, shouted at me, shook his head and walked off. More people came, to whom I tried to explain that my bag was actually in there, but nobody understood, clearly thinking I was either incredibly stupid or incredibly stubborn.

Finally somebody came who spoke very broken English. I showed him my ticket from the machine, and he understood. Eventually he managed to locate the man who ran the machine and after several attempts to coax it into handing over the goods, it opened up and I was able to take my bag away. I was reassured that they had taken the security of my possessions seriously; I just wish they had been a little easier to access.

When I was finally able to board the train at nearly 10, I was pleased to see I had a single seat between the aisle and the window. However, the woman in front of me kicked up a fuss about being sat opposite a man, and so I did the gentlemanly thing and sacrificed my superior seat. The new one had half the leg room and was opposite somebody else, which effectively limited me from moving my feet; as a result, I slept very little and in the morning was alarmed to see that my ankles had actually swollen from lack of movement. But back to the woman, who by now had vacated the seat behind me and had taken up a further two seats across the aisle, and having left her possessions on my original seat she was effectively taking up three. Some time later, she advanced her foot onto a further seat, contorting her body painfully to extend her monopoly over my part of the train. Petty things like this don't normally bother me, but as I lay awake squeezed into less space than a child could be expected to occupy, my anger gradually increased. Every time I did go to sleep, the train would stop, make the aforementioned clunking noises, and so I would again be disturbed. I approached Izmir more in need of a cup of coffee than ever in my life.

permalink written by  BenWH on April 21, 2009 from Eskisehir, Turkey
from the travel blog: Gap Year Odyssey
tagged Turkey

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The Odyssey brings me to Homer

Izmir, Turkey

I had travelled to Izmir to meet an old school friend who was travelling with her family. Having promised to meet her at the hotel for breakfast, my first hurdle came when the train stopped at a station in the middle of a field and we were shepherded off and taken to a shuttle bus. The route, it seems, was undergoing major engineering work, a crucial fact you miss when you don't speak the vernacular. When I had located the hotel, I got some strange looks from security - it seems I was not kitted out in quite the style of the 5 star's regular patrons - but was eventually let in and enjoyed my first cooked breakfast in weeks.

Her parents having rented a car, I experienced the luzury of 'private transport'; I had forgotten the freedom that we take for granted when we are not relying on timetables. We drove down through Selcuk to Ephesus, the site of some of the most extraordinary ruins in this part of the world. Having parked in the main car park, we boarded a 'free' shuttle bus that kindly took us via a school of carpet making, just on the off chance that we should be looking to purchase a carpet - see '20 Lessons', lesson number one: nothing is free. When we eventually reached the ruins, the sun was baking the ground, and tourist groups swarmed around their multilingual guides like flies.

The ruins at Ephesus are fascinating because of the great length of time that this area was settled. You can see inscriptions in all periods of Greek and Latin, and a myriad of styles of architecture. I of course am not educated in the subtle differences between these, but my friend is terrifyingly well read and was able to provide me with information. In the afternoon we drove up into the mountains to have a picnic, and spent a good deal of time searching among the trees for a particular kind of plant to no avail. But getting a chance to fully explore a less populous part of the country is something you rarely get as a solo traveller without a car, and so I made the most of it. Back in Izmir, we ate out in the evening at an authentic Turkish restaurent by the sea - my first real taste of a selection of the local entrees.

My second day in Izmir was spent in varying degrees of panic. I woke up knowing that I only had a bed for one more night and had no more idea of what country I was going to as I did what bed. My main options were to head to the Greek islands, to explore the Turkish coast further or to head inland. After hours spent looking over maps and doing my research in internet cafes I chose the latter, but I had left little time to do anything else all day.

So on my final day I spent a little more time exploring. Izmir is a city that at once appears perfectly simple; as you spend time here, however, you lose faith in the geography you have built up in your mind until you become entirely lost. The outskirts are a sea of square technicolour houses; interesting although not beautiful at a distance, but not worth exploring. The centre itself in many ways resembles a Western European city, but none of the shops are the same. In fact, for the first time in living memory, it took me over an hour to locate a Starbucks. (I know this is unadventurous, but I was after coffee that didn't have mud in the bottom and wouldn't send my system into shock. Besides, few people here understand requests for a Grande Iced Latte.) However, by the sea there are some interesting features including a small mosque and a famous clock tower, and of course the city is famous not only as the alleged birthplace of Homer but as a crucial place in the fight for Turkish independence. Having explored these and resigned myself to the fact that I have about exhausted what Izmir has to offer, I settled into an internet cafe, which is where I write this: small, out of the way, but incredibly cheap. A little while ago, as I was typing, a fight broke out outside, perhaps a sign that it's time for me to move on!

permalink written by  BenWH on April 22, 2009 from Izmir, Turkey
from the travel blog: Gap Year Odyssey
tagged Turkey

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The Gateway to Asia

Istanbul, Turkey

I am starting to get the feeling of having properly started travelling. France, Italy, Croatia - these were just a warm up, though highly enjoyable. Montenegro, Serbia and through Bulgaria - challenging certainly, but the backpacker mentality still hadn't set in. But once I pulled into Istanbul on the train, saw Asia over the water, and stepped out for the first time into a Muslim country, a country whose culture, cuisine, music, art and history was almost entirely alien to me, I felt I was truly a traveller.

Some will no doubt criticise me for not doing my research, but the very nature of this kind of travelling means you are making things up as you go along and playing things by ear. My time in Istanbul suffered because of this, but I still managed to have a fascinating time, and have certainly found somewhere I will come back to explore on another occassion. Although I arrived in the early morning, for instance, I spent most of the time just walking around, sitting in parks and not really making any concrete decisions. I knew I could not get into my hostel until the early afternoon, and having not changed, had a shower, or really rested for over 24 hours I was not in the mood for sightseeing. So in the afternoon, having stopped in to the hostel, I became more adventurous and explored Sultanahmet, where I was staying, from the water up to the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and beyond. It is a glorious area, particularly the park between the two big mosques. The gardens are perhaps too formal and the number of tourists is a distraction; still, you can't help but be impressed by the magnitude and magnificence of the buildings on either side of you. Foolishly, I had changed into shorts, so endured the stares of the locals throughout the afternoon.

In the evening, the hostel where I was staying had organised what it called - somewhat misleadingly, in my opinion - a 'pub crawl'. Despite being tired, I decided to go so I could get to know some of my fellow backpackers. We set off at about midnight, taking a mini bus to get from Sultanahmet to the busier nightlife centre of the city. We spent the night mostly in live music venues, which played a spectrum from Turkish ska and Indie to Techno and even 50s Rock'n'Roll. At the end of the evening, however, our guide dissappeared. There was muttering that he had had an argument with his girlfriend and had walked off, so the remaining eight of us had to get into taxis and make our way back.

In the morning, I met up with the Californian I had met in Dubrovnik whose route had taken her down to Turkey and had just arrived into the city. We wandered around, sampled some of the local food, and went into the Blue Mosque. However, being a Sunday and a national festival, the crowds were overwhelming. The heat too was extreme, and of course we were covering up so we could go into the mosque. Having exhausted myself, I decided to leave the Hagia Sophia for another day and spent a relaxing afternoon and evening walking around and reading in the terrace above the hostel.

The said hostel was in some ways perfect: ideally located, a roof terrace with fantastic views across the Bosphorous, several large communal areas with free internet access, and so on. However, there were some major flaws, which meant the place did not have the same atmosphere as I had experienced in Belgrade and Dubrovnik. The hostel was big, spread over four floors, and so when it came to finding the people who I had met on the first evening, the task was impossible. Over the course of the three nights I was there, there were only three people with whom I had a chance to speak to more than once - hardly the ideal atmosphere for cultivating friendships. For a solo traveller, this is rather disastrous, and was the main downpoint in a weekend that was otherwise enjoyable. There was one guy I met, however, who was one of the most interesting people I have had the opportunity to meet so far; unfortunately I could not find him on the last evening, so never got his contact details.

On Monday I had more sightseeing planned but the Hagia Sophia was closed and for some reason I couldn't locate the Cistern until after closing time - two fairly major failures, which limited my sightseeing opportunities. However, I spent a good time in the Grand Bazaar - certainly an experience in itself, as I managed to resist the attempts of shopkeepers to sell me every description of item - and walked in the heat through the palace gardens. I have discovered that Istanbul is not a city that can be fully appreciated in three days, and in the end had to give up in my efforts to pack everything in. But on my final full day I did get the chance to meet with several of the locals, sharing lunch in a cafe with one (who said he could find me job if I could get my hands on a forged TEFL certificate) and playing dice in the evening at the hostel with another. The residents of Istanbul are for the most part greatly friendly, welcoming to strangers and eager to talk to you, which can all be slightly disconcerting for a Westerner who is used to passing people on the street with no acknowledgement. But for the most part it's a good thing - you just have to make sure they're not trying to sell you something.

On Tuesday I rose early to catch the ferry across the Bosphorous - this is necessary if you are to travel on to anywhere in the Asian part of the country over land. It may have been due to my expectations, but I immediately noticed a difference as I stepped onto the Asian continent. Perhaps it is because this part of the city sees less tourism, but I could not find anyone who spoke English. I managed to locate the station through a combination of luck, instinct and by miming my request for the locals, and boarded the train.

permalink written by  BenWH on April 18, 2009 from Istanbul, Turkey
from the travel blog: Gap Year Odyssey
tagged Turkey

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More Turkish Train Time

Ankara, Turkey

As I have previously mentioned, I finally made the decision to explore more of Turkey. Having got here, and realising what a diverse, huge and at times daunting country it is, it felt foolish to move quickly on to somewhere new. Of all the places in Turkey, the one that had the strongest pull for me was Cappadocia, the Middle-Earthly valleys of towns built into the rock. Problematically, this would require a 21 hour journey from my current location of Izmir. Normally this might have been too much of a barrier; in comparison to what I have been getting used to, however, it seems positively short. And besides, I have learnt to make the most of my time spent travelling: reading, sleeping and working out where I am going to go next.

The first couple of hours of the train ride gave some stunning views of the mountains, kissed pink by the setting sun; once darkness set in, however, there were no such amusements and other than this, the journey from Izmir to Ankara was greatly uneventful. A couple of locals tried to talk to me, but soon realised the limits of their English and my ignorance of Turkish; I got very little sleep and that which I did get was disturbed; and I consumed large amounts of water, diet coke and Turkish tea. Otherwise I read, philosophised and generally let my thoughts morph between wakefulness and sleep in that surreal way that they tend to do.

Ankara, into which the morning brought us, seems fairly unexciting despite being the capital of modern Turkey. But I wouldn't know; I took my guidebook's word for it. I was more concerned with getting to Cappadocia as soon as possible. Having managed to lose myself in a sort of underground bazaar annexed to the station which sold mostly military uniform and equipment, I decided to indulge in a cab. Little more in price than the metro it got me to the bus station, or 'otogar', in good time. Next came the tough part. Insular as I am, the words 'bus station' conjure up images of a few buses lined up at Exeter or at the very most Victoria Coach Station in London. In Ankara, this is more like a medium sized airport, but I managed to locate a company selling tickets to Goreme, where I was going to be staying, and boarded the first bus I could. For four hours we rushed down straight roads as the scenery became increasingly desolate. Sometimes in the distance you could see snow-capped peaks, but mostly it was rocks, small mountains and a scattering of grass between the small towns. At Nevsehir, I changed to a shuttle bus, which took me to Goreme, in the heart of Cappadocia.

permalink written by  BenWH on April 24, 2009 from Ankara, Turkey
from the travel blog: Gap Year Odyssey
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Land of the Wild Horses

Goreme, Turkey

Somewhere in the middle of Anatolia lies Cappadocia, a mysterious landscape of canyons, rivers, and the caves of the troglodytes who settled there nearly two millennia ago. Cappadocia is like nowhere else on earth. My guidebook describes its landscape as 'lunar' - it is certainly rocky, dramatic and in places barren, but what makes this place so spectacular is something that is unique to earth: human settlements built into the rocks. The bus drive to Goreme gives you some idea of what you can expect for the next few days, but what I was completely unprepared for was the scale, the sheer number of these cave villages and underground cities.

I had only a short afternoon on my first day to explore, so after a little walking I headed for a cafe with a balcony overlooking the town. Sitting back, a cold beer in one hand and my reader in the other, whilst I looked across the valley in the evening light, I realised how much I love travelling. The only thing to mar the feeling was the restaurant I went to that evening, which was by far the worst I have been to on my travels. I should have known: in the vast room, I was the only one there. The food was burnt, tasteless and soggy, and the staff lingered around my table with a disturbing blend of obsequiousness and intrusive questioning. I hurried through my meal, didn't leave a tip, and dashed out before I could be persuaded to stay any longer.

I only had two full days in Cappadocia, and because the landscape is so vast and the places of interest so far out I knew that I would need help in getting around. On the first full day, therefore, I took a tour. This is something I would never normally do; in fact just days before I had been scorning the tourists who needed a guide to show them around and make their holiday interesting for them. But as I don't drive, and I had travelled nearly 24 hours to get here, I had to find another way to make the most of the area. The tour surpassed my expectations and turned out to be one of the most enjoyable days I have had so far. There were sixteen of us, mostly European, though I got talking to a lady from Chicago who within minutes had invited me to drop in when I am in the States this summer. The guide was knowledgeable, interesting and helpful, and over the course of the day we managed to see and learn a great amount.

We started off by stopping at the top of pigeon valley; of course, no pigeons live there now - they have been driven away by the humans - but the view was stunning. Next stop was the biggest underground city that has been excavated so far, where the early Christians would hide in the hills. This was extraordinary, and photos or description cannot really do it justice. As we half-walked, half-crawled through the underground tunnels, it suddenly struck me that people used to live here for months at a time. The city had dwellings, stables, a winery, a church, a burial place, communal areas ... and it was all buried deep beneath the earth. (Note: the experience is not advised for claustrophobics.) We were then driven to a valley, with great faces of rock on either side and a river running through trees below. Here we walked for an hour, stopping to look at the local farmers and shepherds and finally reaching a restaurant where we were treated to an authentic Turkish lunch. The remainder of the afternoon was spent admiring the views, learning a bit of history of the region and stopping at an onyx workshop, outside which we finally caught site of some of the famous pigeons.

I returned to the hostel, which deserves a description of itself. I had chosen one of the numerous 'Cave Hostels', which are fairly self-explanitory. Built into the rocks, our hostel had cave bedrooms, with a communal area made of glass that looked out onto the valley and the town. I had been expecting something a little less comfortable from a cave, but we had beds and sheets, and there were even curtains of sorts on the window cut into the cave wall. The only time you noticed it was a cave was the morning, when you woke up in the stale and heavy air, but for about 3 pounds a night, I wasn't complaining.

That evening I met up with two other travellers at the hostel and we walked to the top of the hill into which our hostel was built and from where, apparently, you could get the best views of the sunset. Unfortunately, the cloud cover was wrong and it never turned into the spectacular event one might have hoped for, but it was still an experience. In the evening I went with one of them to a pub down in the centre of the village. Typically for the area, it was an international theme and was run by an Australian, a reminder of the tourism in high summer. Again, it was also almost empty, another indication that the season hadn't really begun here.

By the next day I felt that I had already seen enough of the village, but was reluctant to take another tour due to expense and loss of independence. I decided to rent a bike, and explore the local landscape in this way. I hadn't ridden properly for years, and this was on the 'wrong' side of the road, so I was a little apprehensive. However, after a couple of early wobbles as I learnt left from right, I was fine. The first route I took rapidly turned into terrain that was impossible to navigate, so I took another. I rode up to the Open Air Museum, an awful hill but a worthwhile view at the top. The museum itself was a little dissappointing - swarming with tourists and overpriced - but the ride down the hill again was so exhilirating I didn't mind. I explored more, rushing through canyons, arriving into tiny rural villages, and stopping every so often to photograph a rock face or a lone donkey.

Despite aching greatly, I wanted to make the most of my last night in Goreme, so joined most of the others from the hostel in going to a Turkish night. All you can eat, all you can drink, with entertainment of the Turkish variety throughout the evening; all for 50 lira or about 21 pounds. The evening started tamely; it was the whirling dervishes, and because of the event's religious significance, there was to be no drinking and no flash photography for this part of the show. Of course, the sanctity of the moment wasn't spoiled by them charging bus loads of wealthy Japanese and American tourists money to see it, nor by its inclusion in a show that would later include belly dancing and considerable amounts flash photography and drinking, but the hypocrisy was hardly noted. As the secular entertainments proceeded, the evening gradually became louder, less Turkish, and culminated in the aforementioned belly dancer being lowered from the ceiling in a luminous cage and calling several male members of the audience up to have lessons. Authentically Turkish? Probably not. Amusing? Certainly. So continuing the mood of the evening, six of us headed for what we had been told was the only club in Goreme and turned out to be a small bar with a number of surprised locals that played almost exclusively 80s music. Everyone I was with was great, however, and I certainly have met some people here I will be keeping in contact with.

On the final day I had a bus to catch, but most of the day to spend in Goreme. Most of the morning I sat talking with my fellow travellers in the atrium area, and later headed out for a lunch with them. The day passed so quickly that soon I was saying my goodbyes and heading down to the bus stop for the next leg of my journey.

permalink written by  BenWH on April 25, 2009 from Goreme, Turkey
from the travel blog: Gap Year Odyssey
tagged Turkey

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The English Turkish Riviera

Marmaris, Turkey

The less said about the bus journey from Goreme to Marmaris, the better. Suffice it to say that thirteen hours on a bus that gradually became more crowded, more overheated, and more malodorous throughout the night was not one of the more comfortable nights I have had to endure. They try their best: there are TVs, and the seats are at least soft, and there are regular stops, but nothing could induce me to have more than about an hour's sleep all night.

Marmaris, into which I arrived, had little of what I have come to expect of Turkey. There was the shuttle bus from the bus station to the centre, which was small and authentically Turkish, but here the similarities stopped. Having avoided wearing shorts for fear of offending, and having eaten almost nothing but true Turkish cuisine for over a week, I was suddenly thrown into an environment in which my Western values and expectations were both at home and thoroughly alarmed. Having enjoyed a great choice of vegetarian food in Turkey, here the only veggie burger I could find was at Burger King - everywhere else was catering for the British tourists. In fact, the first item on nearly every menu was the full English breakfast. But the strangest difference was in dress. Here, religious sensibilities are thrown at the window along with 80% of a person's clothes: short shorts, mini skirts, t-shirts or even toplessness (of the male variety I should add) were ubiquitous and nobody thought twice about it. In the summer I've heared that tourists can outnumber locals by 10 to 1 and the majority of these are Brits. I'm sure even in late April I heard more Yorkshire accents alone than people speaking Turkish.

I explored the waterfront of the town, which takes a good half hour to walk from end to end, sat in a couple of cafes, did some reading, and soaked up the sun, but the interest for me in the town was soon exhausted. Had I been here longer, I would have taken a tour to explore the beautiful coastline, but even these were geared towards the package holiday market, mostly involving stops at beaches only. The place I was staying was great for the price, but there were no other backpackers there and I was pleased I was not going to be there long. I went to bed early so I could get to the ferry early the next morning.

The next morning, the owner of the hostel offered to take me and my luggage to the port, situated out of town, on his scooter. I was eager for the free ride and so hopped aboard. At the port, the boat I boarded was not what I was expecting. Having been used to bigger ferries in the Adriatic, and seeing the numbers of tourists at Marmaris, I expected something like this, but the boat was tiny and the passengers didn't number above 20. Towards the end of the 90 minute journey I started to feel sick, no doubt due to the small size of the boat but the sight of Rhodes in the distance managed to keep me focused and we gradually pulled up into the harbour.

permalink written by  BenWH on April 29, 2009 from Marmaris, Turkey
from the travel blog: Gap Year Odyssey
tagged Greece and Turkey

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Kusadasi, Turkey

Our first stop on our cruise was Kusadasi Turkey. Oceania offered several organized tours to Ephesus, but we prefer independent touring. The ship provided a local representative each morning to answer questions about the city. We discovered that we could get a taxi to take us to the site, drop us at the top, and pick us back up at the bottom for no more than $100. We connected with another couple to share a cab, and the guys haggled the price down to $80 for the four of us.

Ephesus is amazing. We took tons of pictures, and here are just a few.

permalink written by  DRKester on August 25, 2009 from Kusadasi, Turkey
from the travel blog: Turkey and Greece 2009
tagged Turkey and Ephesus

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