Turkey Trip: Istanbul and Capadoccia, May 2011

It has been a lifelong dream of mine to travel to Turkey. The home of so many civilizations all in one place, the intersection of European and Asian cultures, the architecture, food, people, handicrafts. Highest on my list were visiting Aya Sofia in Istanbul, and hiking amongst the fairy chimneys of Capadoccia, which I’d first seen in National Geographic as a child.

As luck would have it, two of our Cultural Detective authors decided to conduct a facilitator certification workshop in Istanbul, sponsored by our professional association, SIETAR Europa. And I had the blessed privilege to facilitate the course. It was held in an absolutely beautiful venue called Cezayir, the former Italian trade union building, off Itsiklal Cadessi in Istanbul. We lunched each day in the garden restaurant, and had a view of the Marmara Sea and the Bosphorous that was incredible. The participant group was very talented, experienced, and diverse. We had a terrific time and I believe everyone learned a lot and improved their skills. Click the slideshow below if you’d like to see the Cultural Detective workshop participants and the venue, or keep reading below for more on the sights and sounds of Turkey.

And, fortunately for me, I had two free days in Istanbul before the training, a partial one after, and two full days to tour Capadoccia before returning home. In a place so rich with experiences to savor and places to visit, these five and a half days were only a meze/appetizer, but they were surely an awesomely good one!

I have so very many photos that I felt the best way to show them to you would be in the form of a few slide shows. I have set the slide shows to some traditional Turkish folk music. Please pour yourself a cup of chay/tea or Turkish coffee, or Capadoccian wine, and enjoy!

The slideshow below, includes photos of Istanbul:

  • Galata Tower
  • New Mosque
  • Spice Market/Egyptian Market
  • Train Station/Oriental Express
  • Rüstempasa Mosque
  • Süleyimanye Mosque
  • The Grand Bazaar
  • Basilica Cistern
  • Aya/Haggia Sofia
  • The Blue/Sultan Ahmet Mosque
  • Tünel
  • Itsiklal Street
  • Topkapi Palace and Harem
  • Turkish Handicraft Center
  • Istanbul Handicraft Center
  • Bosphorous Boat Cruise
  • Military Officer College
  • Maiden’s Tower

My trip to Capadoccia included a hot air balloon ride over the region, extensive hiking, and a private tour by automobile that included an underground city and a gorgeous thermal hot spring. The Capadoccia/Kapadokya slide show is below:

  • Hot Air Balloon Tour
  • Göreme Open Air Museum, including Dark Church
  • Anatolia Cave Pension
  • Rose Valley
  • Red Valley
  • Love Valley
  • Pigeon Valley
  • Fairy Chimneys
  • Çevusin
  • Avanos
  • Kaymakli Underground City
  • Uchisar
  • Turasan Winery
  • National Rug Weaving Cooperative
  • Bayramhaci  Hot Spring
  • Göreme Village

We of course live in the land of hand painted tile work, Mexico. With that existing love, it was quite easy for me to absolutely fall in love with the tile work in Turkey. OMG I saw UNBELIEVABLE tiles! Below is a slideshow of some of the tilework.

As you saw above in the Capadoccia slide show, I took a hot air balloon ride. It was an incredible experience. I will post a few videos here if you’d like to take a look. The first one is taking off in the balloon.

The second clip shows the pilot of our balloon as well as a shot of the fire shooting up into the balloon to take us higher. It was awfully warm when that torch was blowing!

The third one is a short clip of the people in our balloon. There were loads of large tour groups, and it seemed that anyone traveling alone or in pairs was kept aside and made into a “group” for the ride. Interestingly, we all ended up being women, and we were from all over: Japan, Singapore, UK and Mexico. We called ourselves the “beautiful girls’ club.” Take a look.

The fourth video clip is of our high-tech landing. The crew, these guys landing us, were all terrific fun. And it was just hysterical to watch them pulling and running, over hill and dale, getting pulled through trees, in their quest to land our balloon.

My final video clip is of me opening a petori kebap for dinner in Göreme with my tour guide and the waiter.

Please let me know what you think! It’s always nice to know someone’s is reading/looking.