Tag Archives: turkey

Pamukkale, part two: hot-air balloons and ancient spa-resorts too!

Hi folks!

Pamukkale’s known for its travertine terraces, but that’s not all; it’s also known for the hot air ballooning that goes on here aplenty. 100% Must-do. The only problem for some folks – you have to get up at the crack of dawn to experience it… ->

Even how they inflate the balloons before dawn is a spectacle worth seeing. First it’s all quiet, calm and peaceful. Then they start up the noisy furnaces! And slowly, several, then a dozen, then scores of hot-air balloons all start bulging and rising up from their sides into the air (with the basket still on the ground). And they get big. Real big! ->

Read on…

Travertine that must be seen!

Travertine? Never heard of it? Is it an indie band? Is it a type of floor covering? Is it an errant world-traveler? Actually, none of those. Actually, if you don’t know what it is, that might just point to the fact that you’ve never visited Pamukkale in Turkey. For if you had, that’s where you’d have learned that this, is travertine! ->

The terraces of Pamukkale, which means “cotton castle” in Turkish, are without a doubt among the most beautiful and unique natural objects on our planet (so, of course, they feature in my Top-100 Most Beautiful Places in the World). The travertine is the sedimentary rock deposited by mineral water at the exits of the hot springs here that has formed a colossal cascade of pools with stalactites hanging down off them – and everything as white as snow.

Read on…

Flickr photostream

  • Yakutsk - Tiksi - Yakutsk
  • Yakutsk - Tiksi - Yakutsk
  • Yakutsk - Tiksi - Yakutsk
  • Yakutsk - Tiksi - Yakutsk

Instagram photostream

Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar – with a roof that’s nicely bizarre.

Hi folks!

Been a while, I know. Let’s just say… I’m traveling less of late (. However, occasionally I do manage to fly off somewhere, and since I’m a die-hard kerosene-head, doing so duly preserves my sanity ).

So where was I off to this time? Generally – south. But I’ve never known a flight to a destination in the south take such a bizarre detour: first it was almost sharp east, then directly south, followed by sharp west. Oof:

Yes, as you’ll have guessed, I was headed for Istanbul. Hurray!…

Read on…

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Turkish Grand Prix 2020: Very strange F1 in very strange times.

Most everything’s strange this year. A lot’s been cancelled, a lot’s been changed, a lot’s been postponed, some things have been transformed into different formats… And Formula 1 racing hasn’t been spared either; still, at least it hasn’t been canceled this year: it’s still going strong, and still… as incredibly awesome as ever!

I won’t dwell on our team’s poor results. A hundred reasons will always be found for a losing streak – but I’ll leave that to others to discuss. All I’ll say is that this really strange year has been a really strange one for Ferrari too.

The strangest thing of all this year for F1 is that the stands are completely empty, and I really do mean completely! Not a single spectator to be seen the whole season. I should know – I was at the Turkish Grand Prix recently ->

Strange year, strange F1, and here, now – strange post!…

Read on…

Bodacious Cappadocia cliffs and caves.

I’ve already shown you the oddly shaped rock formations up on the surface here at Cappadocia. Turns out the unusual shape theme continues underneath the surface too: man-made caves – ‘upside-down skyscrapers’. Well, why not? After all, pumice is very soft for a rock, so it’s not crazy difficult to carve out (as it no doubt was in Baalbek); also – it doesn’t need strengthening; also – due to the dry climate there’s no water needs pumping out from the underground depths.

Then it seems that everything was forgotten about and abandoned (as often happened), and the caves were taken over by dust, decay and depression. Then, centuries – or millennia – later, Homo sapiens rediscovered them, and archeologists, historians and researchers got down to revealing them though their archeological digs. Today, many of the underground ‘neighborhoods’ have been dug out, cleaned, tidied, fitted with staircases and electricity (!), and probably will have free Wi-Fi fitted very soon too – all to cater for the many tourists who visit.

Read on…

All okie-dokia – in Cappadocia.

If you’ve heard of Cappadocia, you’ll probably know it for one of two things – or maybe both: its strange-shaped pyramid-columns, or (and) the many hot-air balloons that often fill the sky there. Well I’d heard of the place, but had never been, but wanted to for a very long time. The place even has a spot in my Top-100 Must-See Most-Beautiful Places in the World, so it was high time I made a visit seeing as though I was in the region recently…

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Istanbul’s new airport: humungous, ambitious – and delicious!

A new airport has opened in Istanbul! And about time too, for the former main airport had long since been overstretched but couldn’t be expanded because it’s in the city itself (it’s now used just for cargo, business and other unscheduled flights), while the national carrier has been impressively expanding its geographical spread of destinations around the globe. Woah: a quick glance at Wikipedia tells me that that geographical expansion is so impressive that it’s given Turkish Airlines the highest number of countries served by an airline – a whopping 121! The second highest is Air France, but way behind TK  with just 91. Turkish is also sixth in the rankings of most destinations (304 cities) served, with only international cargo and US airlines ahead of it (i.e., hardly the fairest of comparisons). It’s also tenth in the world on fleet size – again behind US/Chinese/postal behemoths (and Ryanair:). But I digress…

So it was logically decided some years ago that Istanbul needed a new, bigger airport hub – a grandiose one; therefore one was built on a greenfield site outside the city. It’s size is 6 x 4.5km; it has four (!) runways each four kilometers long; and a gigantic terminal some 800×400 meters (that’s the main building, not including all walkways to the gates). In a word three words: oh my ginormous!

Here’s the view from up top:

Read on…

Turkish DeFlight.

Interestingly, it takes 4.5 hours to fly from Moscow to Dubai, 3+ hours to fly from Istanbul to Moscow, and from Dubai to Istanbul – the same 4.5 hours!

Yes, direct from Dubai to Istanbul it’s a little shorter as the crow flies, but commercial flights fly around conflict zones. Mmm, unpleasant topic, but that’s the reality of today’s turbulent world.

Read on: Interesting selfie…