I’ve been recapping my trip on Instagram. Here’s where I gather the collection.
#YQrtw 0525 Hagia Sophia
#YQrtw recap 0526 Istanbul
My mom joined in Turkey during #YQrtw. It was a coincidence that Malaysia Airlines started selling flights to Istanbul a few months before my trip. It was relatively cheap so I booked a flight for my mom.
I am an advocate for solo travelling because I don’t see the point of waiting until someone else wants to travel with you. If you really want to go somewhere, go alone. Still, it was nice having my mom as company after a month of travelling alone.
I outsourced the Turkish trip to a local travel agency. I went into one of the offices and asked what would be good for a middle-aged tourist (I mean me, I have the soul of a retiree when I travel.) The agency picked a few routes and booked the night buses, hotels and tours for us.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing during the trip. We missed one of the buses and was yelled at by a driver for the hot air balloon trip.
My mom is a saint in life and in travel. She rarely complains though would sometimes nag me to ask for directions. (I refuse to ask for directions most of the time.) She doesn’t complain about food not suiting her taste or other stuff I heard elders like to do. She really is a best travel companion.
She was the first person I announced my round-the-world travel decision to in 2011. Well, I didn’t exactly announced it but it was more like the words tumbled out of my mouth while I was unfolding the futon in the Japanese guest house. She laughed it off but I was firm about my decision and started my planning then.
I wonder where my mom and I will travel to next.
#YQrtw recap 0527 Cappadocia
Mom and I spent some nights in Göreme, Cappadocia. My very enthusiastic sister booked several nights in one of the cave hotels for us. (Thank you!) The rooms are carved out of soft volcanic rocks and has modern amenities such as a plumbing. (Yay plumbing.) The temperature is much lower inside and I had to wrap myself in the blanket.
#YQrtw recap 0528 Cappadocia, #Turkey
Three months before the trip to Cappadocia, there was a hot air balloon crash in Egypt which caused the death of 19. Being a worrywart, my dad “forbade” my mom to take the hot air balloon in Turkey. We took it anyway because it was a rare chance to do so. It was amazing seeing all the other balloons floating. I was a tiny bit worried about accidents but luckily I’m fine.
Thinking about this incident brought me back to the months before my trip. I was told many horror stories about solo female travel. Funnily, the horror stories weren’t by actual solo travelling female. Some of them have travelled much but that was all in the past; some of them travel often but with companions while some of them don’t travel that much.
There are many horror stories floating around about solo travelling. Mostly because it sticks in people’s mind more. I mean, who would want to know the story of a solo travelling woman who came back home safely after 130 days around the world. It’s not sensational enough.
Solo travel comes down to knowing how to take care of yourself. I make it a point to stay safe, for example by being indoors before the sun sets. Sure I miss out on a lot such as not seeing the Eiffel Tower at night. But I’ve always believed that I will be back to where I’ve been and pick up whatever it is I’ve left out.
I don’t advocate the YOLO (You Only Live Once) spirit. Instead it’s more about calculated risks. You know yourself best so try not to be swayed by others.
I’m trying to tell myself that too.
Recently I’m going through a tough time. I’ve lost track of who I am and what I really want. I’ll have to process this slowly and figure things out on my own. Hope your life is better.
#YQrtw recap 0529 Pamukkale, #Turkey
Pamukkale: “Cotton castle” in Turkish.
If you google Pamukkale, you will see gorgeous photos of white pools on amazing terrains. In reality, it’s more like dirty cotton than the pure white that has gone through lots of filters and colour editing.
I thought the pools would be the highlight of the visit but on my way down, I saw something even more beautiful. An oasis at the foot of the hill.
Why haven’t I seen this sight on the internet before? I don’t have an interesting or thought-provoking story to tell today. But I think it’s a shame that this version of Pamukkale isn’t promoted as much. I find the color contrast of the green trees, brown island and bursts of purple flowers prettier than the white hills.
My mom and I went on a tour of Hierapolis, a UNESCO World Heritage Centre Hierapolis. At the end of the tour, there was a chance to dip in the hot springs which legend has it Marc Anthony built this for Cleopatra.
#YQrtw 0530 Pamukkale, Turkey
In Pamukkale, I discovered a Japanese eating place through Foursquare. It’s run by a Japanese lady. The shop is set up right in front of her front yard, though the floor is tiled and there are tables and a rised platform for epople who like to sit on the floor.
The food was good with choices of Japanese or Turkish food. It was a while since I had Asian food though technically I am in the Asian side of Turkey so I was overjoyed.
What I found most fascinating were the big fat grapes growing over the tables. It was a magnificent view of bunches and bunches of glossy green grapes hanging on vines. They looked like they would burst in your mouth in juicy goodness.
#YQrtw 0531 Cappadocia (Probably wrong), Turkey
Here is a cat from Turkey because I need cat photos on this channel.
#YQrtw 0601 Ephesus, Turkey
A rare photo of my mom and me at Ephesus, an ancient Greek city. This photo is not related to the info I will share below.
Here, I learned about ancient public toilets. Rich people would go to the public toilets, sit in a row to poop. To clean up, they use a sponge on a stick to wipe and clean the sponge in flowing water.
In winter, if you’re a rich person, you’d send your slave down to warm your toilet seat. Kind of the low-tech, ancient version of those Japanese electronic toilet warmers. Robots are replacing everything!
#YQrtw 0602 Turkish rest stop on the way to #Istanbul
My mom and I were at a rest stop on the way back to Istanbuk after visiting Troy. I was waiting for my mom when two Turkish girls stopped in front of me and their eyes went big. “Ohh!!” They waved their hands and ran off.
After my mom and I had a meal, we were going back to the bus when I saw the kids again. This time, they ordered a boy with a large DSLR over. The blonde girl batted her eyelashes and the boy obligingly took photos of us.
I asked them to take photos on my camera too but they ended up blurry. Suddenly their teacher came over. She shooed them away and apologized.
I thought everything was really funny.
#YQrtw 0603 Istanbul
short story: Stalked by young guy while I was trying to walk to this unreachable IKEA.
(#sgimprovfest now so nothing much to type.)
#YQrtw 0604 ISTANBUL ✈ DUBAI ✈ BUENOS AIRES
Managed to completely stay out of the Turkish protest.