view of boats through Trojan Horse in Canakkale

Canakkale, Turkey

During my two-week tour around Turkey with G-Adventures, our final night’s stay was in Canakkale.  Canakkale is a seaport on the southern coast of the Dardanelles with a population of nearly 200,000.  It is a good base for those wishing to visit Troy and Gallipoli.

GO VISIT!
pots at basilica of st john in selcuk

Selçuk…The Site of Ephesus

As part of my two-week tour of Turkey with G Adventures, a budget National Geographic company, we stayed in Selçuk for two nights.  Sadly, I knew nothing of Selçuk or of its many attractions.  For that matter, I didn’t know much about Turkey except that people enjoy it, so I wanted to go.

Selçuk is a very popular tourist destination.  During the shoulder season at the start of COVID, however, the city was rather quiet, which I enjoyed!  While Selçuk features a variety of restaurants and shops on lovely streets and a smattering of ruins on the hill above town, it is best known for its proximity to Ephesus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

With all the attractions, Selçuk definitely warrants an overnight stay or perhaps even a weekend get-away.  Below is a list of things to do while in Selçuk.

EXPLORE!
Pamukkale

Turkey: Pamukkale and Heiropolis

I actually signed up for this G-Adventures tour, a budget National Geographic company, specifically because the itinerary included Pamukkale.  Pamukkale is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which features natural travertine terraces of thermal pools.  I saw a picture of the famous site in a National Geographic magazine at least 10 years ago and have wanted to visit ever since.

Take a Soak!
dog in antalya

All About Antalya

History of Antalya

Antalya was originally founded by King Attalus II of Pergamon around 150 BC and was called Attalia for the King.  It soon became part of the Roman Empire and prospered until the fall of Constantinople.  The Seljuk Turks captured the city in 1207 which fell to the Ottomans in the mid 1300’s. 

It remained under Ottoman control until World War I when the city was briefly given to Italy before the Turkish Republic recaptured Antalya during the War of Independence.

RELAX!
Mount Hasan in Turkey

From Ankara to Konya

Wow!  I had never really taken the time to realize the size of Turkey.  It is huge.  I signed up for a two-week driving tour, and we hardly scratched the surface of Western Turkey.  After touring Istanbul on my own for five days, I joined G Adventures for an itinerary which included stays in Bolu, Cappadocia, Konya, Antalya, Kekova, Selcuk and Canakkale with additional stops in Ankara, Kas, Pamukkale, Ayvalik, and Gallipoli.

DRIVE THE COUNTRYSIDE!

Istanbul: The Asian Side

Istanbul is an enormous city of 14 million people and is separated into three sections by water.  The Golden Horn divides the European side into two while the Bosphorus Strait intersects the European and Asian side.  Istanbul is the only city in the world to span two continents.

In previous posts I wrote about the Sultanahmet (the Old City) and Beyoĝlu (the European Quarter).  This post will focus on things to do on the Asian Side of the city.

TAKE A STROLL!
dolmabahce palace in istanbul

Istanbul: Beyoĝlu Region

As I mentioned in my previous post about Istanbul, the city of 14 million people is split into three by the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus Strait.  The old city or the Sultanahmet district is to the south, the Asian side is to the east and the New Town called Beyoĝlu or the European Quarter is to the north.

The old city definitely features the most the sites, but Beyoĝlu also has many.  Below is a list of sites to see in Beyoĝlu.  Begin just north of the Beyoĝlu region on the Bosphorus Coast at the Dolmabahçe Palace.

TAKE A TOUR!
Sedlec Ossuary

Kutná Hora and the Sedlec Ossuary

Kristin and I planned two and a half days in Prague.  Then I found out about this town, Kutná Hora, and the Sedlec Ossuary, and I wasn’t sure how to spend my time.  My friends have raved about Prague, and many have claimed Prague was their favorite European City to visit.  As such, with all the places to see and things to do, I figured I at least needed our planned two and a half days to visit, maybe more. 

But after seeing pictures of the Sedlec Ossuary, I felt like I was too close (only an hour away by train) to pass up a chance to see it.  After much deliberation, I signed on to a six-hour tour of Kutná Hora and the Sedlec Ossuary with Discover Prague.  While I really enjoyed Prague, I’m so glad I took the time to see Kutná Hora and Sedlec Ossuary.

If you find bone art as fascinating as I do after reading this post, you may book the tour at Get Your Guide on the Prague Day Trips section.

234*60 EXPLORE!
Parliament in Budapest

Budapest, A Walking City

History of Budapest

The ancestors of the modern Hungarians are the Magyars who migrated from the Urals in 896. Hungary crowned its first King, Stephen, in 1000.  The country, becoming one of the largest monarchies, flourished under King Mátyás ’ rule from 1458-90.

The Ottomans, however, captured Buda in 1541 and made it the capital of Ottoman Hungary.  To quell their advance, Habsburg led Austria occupied western Hungary.  In 1686 Christian armies led by the Habsburg finally defeated the Ottoman.

TAKE A WALK!

Top Things to Do in Bale, Croatia

Bale and the Surrounding Area

Our nine-day tour with Mt. Travel Sobek began this morning at 9am.  We met our wonderful guides, Stasa who speaks five languages and loves to travel and Domen who holds an MA in Ethnology and Cultural anthropology and is also an adventurer.

Our group included two sets of friends (including me and Page), four couples and representative from Mt. Travel Sobek’s California office.  Four of the group were meeting us later due to flight delays and other plans.  As such, nine of us loaded into our two vans with our guides who drove us three hours in the rain past agricultural fields and through mountains to Bale in Istria, Croatia.  Istria, located in the northwest corner of Croatia is known for its olive oil, wine and truffles.  We are looking forward to our hiking and culinary tour! Continue reading “Top Things to Do in Bale, Croatia”