‘We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us’..had come across this quote a few times before I finally realized its pertinence  to life. Being a curious child I was always intrigued by the vastness and the diversity of the world and dreamed of setting foot on unknown terrains. But that’s as far as I ever got to my dream until June 2014, when it really did materialize out of nowhere (literally)!

Turkey

I had hit rock-bottom (or so I thought then) and was just really tired of life. And this is exactly what I told my friend in the dark hours of a night to which she promptly suggested a getaway. Thinking it is just in good humor, I played along and soon enough we had zeroed on a destination and a tentative date! This still wasn’t the ‘voila’ moment because I had yet to take permission from my parents to travel to Turkey (yeah, that was our brilliant plan) and I knew they wouldn’t consent. However, to my utmost surprise they readily agreed with a few staple questions. And just like that the Turkiye diaries happened!

Since it was my first international trip and that too with my 2 girls, I was just too ecstatic. We researched about the country and gotto planning our visas, air tickets, lodging, currency and had a complete itinerary ready in no time. We booked our flights to from New Delhi to Izmir, Turkey via Yatra and got a pretty good deal using the yatra coupons. Also, we made our accommodations through the same portal to get some really affordable yet comfortable lodging rooms. Our first stop after stepping foot on Turkish soil was Kusadasi, a beautiful port city situated on the Aegean Sea, some 100kms south of Izmir. Over our stay in the next 1 and half days we visited the harbor, the gorgeous Ladies Beach (a misnomer, men are welcome too) and Dilek Peninsula Delta National Park. The days ended with some local shopping at the night market and some amazing bars and cafes in the city centre.

After a relaxing and fun stay at the beach town we travelled 185kms inward of the country to reach Pamukkale- the cotton castle. Any image we had seen of this hot water spring and its white travertine terraces were no match for the spectacle that stood before us! We indulged in the spring water rich in calcium and enjoyed the sunset at our feet. We then proceeded to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hierapolis, built atop the white castle. An ancient city of the Greco-Roman and Byzantine empire awaited us in all its glory. The monumental gates, 300 ft long facade of the open theatre, temple of Apollo and huge libraries were enough to send us back in time.  The day ended with a warm ‘Hammam’ (Turkish bath in a pool) at the resort and some Turkish delights.

Turkey

The next day we set off for the historical city of Cappadocia which is about 617kms drive from Pamukkale.  The centrally located city comprises of unique geological sites and structures alongside underground cities of Kaymakli and Gaziemir for the adventurous soul.  An exhaustive trekking up and down the irregular terrain took most of the day. The night called for a hearty meal and good Cappadocian wine. The next morning was probably the highlight of the trip as were taking the ever famous hot air balloon ride over the Goreme sprawled with rock minarets and pillars. Undoubtedly, it was an experience worth living for with colorful balloons adorning the morning sky as the sun came up. After a little adrenaline dose, we settled for local shopping and cuisine.

After Cappadocia our final halt was to be at Istanbul for which we had been quite excited.  We flew in from Izmir to Instanbul in the morning and after a few hours rest, set out to explore the populous and beautiful city. We took an evening cruise down the Bosphorus strait that separates Asia and Europe and enjoyed the cool breeze and lighted bridge overhead. After this we ventured into the Istiklal Avenue, which is a gorgeously designed avenue about 1.4 kms and lined with clothe boutiques, shoe stores, music and art galleries, amazing pubs and night clubs. The street ended withTaksim Square, another popular place for gourmet food and boutique hotels. We hogged on shavarma and baklava before retiring for the day. The next day was dedicated to the magnificent mosques such as Hagia Sophia(a museum now), Blue Mosque, Galata Tower and Topkapi Palace. The night brought us to the most posh and sea facing night club Reina where we stayed till the wee hours. The following day was a chaotic one at the Grand Bazzar where we went crazy shopping for local souvenirs and gifts for friends and family. We picked some great tea and spices and leather items to remember Turkey by.

It was already 8 days since we left home and was time to return but it felt we had just started. I never travelling would open me up in ways I have never experienced before.  I came home wiser and happier. What started as a means to escape life in turn became a reason to live and accept it with its shortcomings. I learnt a great many things on this journey and look forward to more such travels-with friends/family or solo. So my matra now is- When in doubt, travel!

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinhttp://www.travelpleasing.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/galata-1204927_640.jpghttp://www.travelpleasing.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/galata-1204927_640-150x150.jpgfreecouponindiaTravel Tipsfreecouponindia,Travel,yatra coupons‘We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us’..had come across this quote a few times before I finally realized its pertinence  to life. Being a curious child I was always intrigued by the vastness and the diversity of the world and dreamed of setting...