California Coast RV Road Trip

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Going to Orlando and its Parks

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Helsinki City Guide

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Tag Archives: Museum of the Ancient Orient

Ditch Bodrum for Istanbul

Istanbul Cistern

It’s really easy to find the cheapest airline tickets to package holiday destinations. Pick one of the ones you know to be overdeveloped and overcrowded; the Costa del Sol, Majorca, Faliraki… you get the picture, and you’ll see just how cheap they are. A lot of people who decide to go a little further afield and go for Turkey, choose one of the coastal resorts such as Bodrum.

Tourists think they’re getting the Turkish experience with tours organised by travel agencies paying a visit to things like the Turkish baths, where the men giving massages to tourists in bikinis sometimes look genuinely ashamed. Tours might take you out on a boat or to a local bar and the guides act as if you are getting the ‘local’ experience. But it certainly doesn’t always feel that way.

Istanbul sunset

While Turkey is a secular country, Islam is the dominant religion. Some of the Turkish people who live and work in the coastal resorts seem caught between dismay at the skimpily clad tourists and a delight in the business those tourists bring in. Covering up may not even help prove your modesty that much. Also, the famous markets in places like Bodrum may be big, but a lot of the things sold there are dodgy (like mouldy tobacco). It’s not necessarily worth spending your money on most of it.

There’s a bit of a lack of beach in places and the sea is a bit devoid of sea-life. If you want to come to visit Turkey, ignore the package deals and book yourself on to a historical tour to less tourist frequented beach destinations and see all the things of archaeological significance. Or visit Istanbul.

In Istanbul you will find the Istanbul Archaeology Museums. These include the Archaeological Museum, the Museum of the Ancient Orient and the Museum of Islamic Art.  The Blue Mosque has to be the most famous and iconic of the buildings in the city. While there are hundreds of stunning buildings that were built during the many years the powerful Ottoman Empire was ruling, the Blue Mosque is the picture that makes it to your postcard. The interior is covered in thousands of blue tiles that lend themselves to the name of the building itself. There are many domes and minarets and the patterns in the interior are phenomenal. Another resplendent building in the city is Topkapi Palace, home over the years to sultans and consorts. One of the most interesting of all the fabulous things to see here is the Gate of the White Eunuchs. The entrance leads to the Third Court, which was once staffed by White Eunuchs. Also here is the Imperial Treasury, which holds many fascinating objects including the Topkapi Dagger, which has three massive emeralds in the hilt.

Istanbul Topkapi Palace - Middle Gate

Be sure to book yourself into a good restaurant at some time during your stay so you can sample kebabs and koftas as well as spicy tomato-based dishes. Try the yoghurt drink Ayran alongside the spicy dishes and for dessert a delicious baklava.

This is a guest post from John Hutchinson.  John has enjoyed travelling since he was a young boy when his parents first took him to visit family overseas. Since leaving home, John has tracked down family all over the world and regularly jets off to faraway lands to see distant relatives.