I had my first near death experience in Turkey. We were on a highway heading towards Pamukale from Cappadocia. Our driver fell asleep and our bus got out of control. Speed was around 100 km/h. We went tearing the dividers to the opposite side of the highway towards the ditch in front of us and I was mentally prepared that we were going to fall in the ditch but the barrier stopped the bus. A few of us fell in the bus but considering the circumstances it was nothing compared to what could have happened.
Turkey was my first out of my country experience so naturally, it holds a very special place in my heart. I had made a hundred plans before Turkey and for one reason or the other, I had failed miserably in the execution of my plans. I travelled to Turkey with my father. It was a group tour. What made that group interesting was that it was very diverse.
My first stop was Istanbul. With the amazing view of Bosphorus and those huge beautiful mosques, Istanbul stole my heart sooner than I thought was possible. This city is blessed with so much beauty that you can’t possibly lose interest. 5 days seemed like a very short time to explore this magnificent city.
The first day I went to see Princess Island. When I realized there were no cars on the roads I felt I was in a 70’s movie. It was beautiful. Once I saw the houses built on that island I instantly started imagining my life on that wonderful part of this world.
You have to realize that since this was my first experience out of my country, I felt overwhelmed. I was all over the place. This trip will always be the most important travelling experience for me because there were a lot of ‘firsts’ in this trip. And it was there and then I decided how much I was missing and how there was so much beauty in this world that I had yet to experience.
Hotels are pretty expensive in Istanbul so we stayed at a 3-star hotel which was fine because there was so much to do in Istanbul that we only came to the hotel to sleep. Their cuisine was not settling well with me. Being a Lahori I’m used to of spicy food, and Turkish cuisine is very bland for my taste.
Some of the places I would recommend to everyone visiting Istanbul are Dolmabache Palace, Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia Museum, New Mosque, Spice Bazar and Grand Bazar.
Our next stop was Cappadocia. It’s such a magical place. I could easily imagine flying carpets and other magical things happening there. Saddest part of the trip was that I didn’t get to ride hot air balloon. I went for it twice but the weather was not favorable. With a heavy heart I returned both times.
But hot air balloon ride isn’t the only attraction in Cappadocia. There were hundreds of years old underground cities. There were also caves and an open air museum. All of it had a very mysterious touch in it.
Next we went to Antaliya and we explored city in a rain storm. There was heavy rain through out our time there. We went to see the beautiful Duden waterfalls.
Next we were supposed to see Pammukale but since we had accident our day plan didn’t work out. The injured were taken to the hospital. We had to wait for a couple of hours for the next bus and then we had to submit our reports in the police station blah blah blah. Next day the time changed without any notice. And we had to rush to the airport. There was a lot of confusion that day because of the time change, because of which we couldn’t explore Pammukale.
We spent our last night in Istanbul before we said our goodbyes to this beautiful country.