I was sitting in Greece, my next flight to Albania the click of a button away. I was feeling somewhat low and the sense of excitement for my next destination was overcome with uncertainty and angst. The phone call that followed was just what I needed to pull me out of my funk. The familiar voice of Anna, who I worked with all summer in Croatia. A short sweeping phone call and it had been decided – we were going to Istanbul, the ease and excitement finally creeping back in.
A city that was never of huge interest to me. You know when you really have to prioritise the places you want to see, you sometimes have to imagine yourself all old, shrivelled and frail, about to kick the bucket thinking ‘did I tick those places off that were on the very top of my list? Only then I can die a happy man.’
Well, Istanbul was not at the top of my list. It probably wasn’t in the middle either, somewhere in the haze of ‘maybe one day’s’ floating around at the bottom. I pictured it being run down, dirty & neglected, thanks to the media painting it in such a dim, feeble light. But boy I was wrong, as were they. We arrived in the darkness, but even then there was a hectic vibe to this new and curious city.
With tired eyes and weary legs we were looking forward to crashing for the night but our Air BnB had fallen through, so it was a quick trip to the nearest airport hotel, avoiding the three hour journey into town.
When light rose in the morning, it was clear that a lot of development was underway in the beating heart of Turkey, construction works and skyscrapers lining the cities crowded view.
The day was off to a bittersweet start, missing our bus but being helped by a generous local who paid for our tube fair and showed us the way. As my time in Istanbul fleetingly grew longer, I was consistently shocked by how colourful and full of life this place was. From witnessing the delicate but grand architecture of the Blue Mosque, absorbing the many sights, smells and gaudy treats to be had at the Grand Bazaar to soaking up the lights and loud music of the incredible nightlife in Taksim, where it was as though each bar had a bet on who could play their music the loudest.
Not once did I feel unsafe in this unfamiliar city, only positively overwhelmed by the fantastic culture and wonderful locals.
if you are looking for somewhere to stay in Istanbul check out this place right in the heart and and a great space to relax. https://www.airbnb.com.tr/rooms/1041982
When you say Cappadoccia to people they say “ahh the ballon place” I didn’t know to much about this place only the beautiful pictures people would post on Instagram. Another spontaneous idea spoke about over a shisha we had booked flights. You can get internal flights from Istanbul for fairly cheap around £40. Again we arrived in the dark and didn’t know what to expect, the temperature on arrival was a lot colder then Istanbul and when we got to our incredible cave sweet the heating from the fire pit under the hotel warmed us right up.
A 5:30 alarm and camera ready we set off very tired to witness the balloons from the view point. To our disappointment they didn’t fly due to wind but we could see the beauty of the landscape. It was incredible, breathtaking even the only way I could describe it is like giant ants nests made from rock. We spend the next few days exploring this beautiful part of turkey and taking the green tour which is highly recommend. Our first sight of the balloons come the following morning from cappadoccia cave suits the place you see all the bloggers photos we were lucky enough to speak with owner who let us come up for sunrise (you normally have to stay at the hotel to use this terrace) I was breath taken and if you follow me on Instagram you will know this from how many pictures I’ve posted. It was so beautiful and I wanted to be in a ballon so that’s exactly what I did, we booked a ballon ride for the next morning with rainbow balloons for around 80 euros. The alarm was set for even earlier and we set off to the take off point, it was freezing cold but the excitement inside of me was keeping me warm. We jumped in our basket and they shot up the fire as we started to rise with the sun, such a strange feeling being in a wicker basket floating in the sky. The sun started to rise and there were about 100 balloons in the air. I was speechless and mesmerised, one of them moments you dream about. Our flight last about an hour and the whole time I couldn’t stop saying wow I was on such a high of emotion, once we landed we had champagne and took some shots it was one of the greatest mornings of my life to date. If you go here make sure you do a ballon ride you will not regret it. My day ended slightly differently with a goodbye to Anna and a 16 hour night coach to bodrum but you have to take the highs with the lows I guess right?
After a crazy crazy summer my body was tired and I needed to base myself somewhere for a while so I signed up to work away and found an eco farm in bodrum. Here I spend 17 days helping with some light construction, chilling in a hammock drinking with gem the super owner and all round great guy, eating ALOT of bread and most importantly making plans for the next few months. With 9 hours plus sleep each night I was fully recovered and hungry to get back to work. I reached out to a few people and made some good contacts. As I write this is sit on my flight to Bali where I will be for a while firstly teaming up with Mrs Sippy Bali.
Fuck what you read
Turkey for me was incredible and I felt so so safe it’s sad to see how the tourism has been hit there by scare mongering from the media and instilling fear in people to travel. The locals are amazing and so so friendly and the food is even better although I think I’ve ate to many kebabs. I will be back Turkey you taught me a lot and mainly to be spontaneous and enjoy the ride.