Day Five, Cappadocia


“I guess for everyone who has been to Cappadocia will agree with me, Cappadocia is something else.”


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Since I travelled with no expectation from my very first day, I had no regret if there was place/something I couldn’t visit or achieve in Turkey. It could be different when you have high expectation about a place and in the end you will say, “this is not what I had in mind”. If you haven’t been to or you are planning to visit Turkey, I must tell you this: Turkey is stunning. Turkey is a dazzling country. I mean it.

I landed at Kayseri Erkilet Airport in the afternoon with a stunning view of Mount Erciyes Dağı right after my arrival. On my fifth day in Turkey, Kayseri welcomed me with a warmer spring breeze and brighter sky, just exactly what I checked on forecast a week before I flew to Istanbul. Since I had a complete travel package that time, it was easier for the pick up from the airport to my hotel. Everything was arranged smoothly. I had a pleasant conversation with the shuttle bus driver, Mr Umar, who speaks English fluently. Lucky enough, I was the only passenger inside the bus. It made me felt like a private guest how would I felt if our ride were an open roof Mercedes (stop dreaming!). Gazining the beautiful landscape of Kayseri inside a clean shuttle bus with a wide clear window glass was exhilarating. When I was almost arrived at my hotel and finally saw those cone-shaped rock formations and fairy chimneys with my naked eyes, I felt confident Cappadocia would leave something special in my heart.

I didn’t explore much on my first day in Cappadocia. Just mingling around from where I stayed, took pictures as many as I could, was also a bit anxious when I starved in the late afternoon but happy in the end cause I found the way to the downtown. I closed my first day in Cappadocia with happy tummy and tempted eyes (textures and colors in Turkey such a heaven for a creative person like me!).

Still have many pictures how stunning this place was. More to come!



Oh, should I mention here how I was so snuffy with my very good friend, Hakan, when he sent me a phenomenal -at least that’s what I call it with Saf- video of him eating croissants with Saf when I was starving that noon? No, don’t worry, it’s a humbug :) I do love Hakan and Saf anyway, how could I upset -with Saf’s annoying laughter yes!- kinda happy with a video I keep in my iPhone that makes me smile again and again.

I can’t wait to continue this post, how I enjoyed two days in Istanbul with Hakan and Saf started from Galata Tower!

That Spring Breeze, In Istanbul

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“Perhaps, traveling with no itinerary is the best travel style”


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To be honest, I’m not that good doing a travel research. Though I do love reading travel stories from other travelers or bloggers, but I’m not that thorough concerning a destination. I always try to take notes for some key informations such as how to get there, do and don’t till exchange rates. My trip to Turkey wasn’t like my trip to Japan last year when most of my needs had been sorted before I even flew. This one was more like “let’s find the way when you are there”. Also, I had no itinerary except in Cappadocia for the balloon ride. So, basically my recent trip was like “I’m ready for any surprises”.

Arrived on Friday morning at Atatürk Airport, I headed straight to Taksim. Metro in Istanbul isn’t as complicated as Tokyo, and that’s a good news. Flying to Turkey with zero expectation reminded me of something:

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“Though I wasn’t full of the joys of spring even when I landed, but stood inside the train and found myself in somewhere I haven’t been to, was surreal”


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I was still wondering what Turkey has that could surprise me when I was standing inside the train. Yet I felt a feeling I’d missed that sparkled immediately. That feeling when you were inside the train and you could see difference faces and styles you’ve never seen before, and probably it was my wanderlust.

I did arrive around 11am at my hostel called #bunk, received a warm welcome and informative tips from Olga, a Russian lady that works in the front desk. She asked me, “your first time in Istanbul?”, “yep, zero expectation. Let’s see what will I experience here” I replied. “You’ll love it, Azis”, Olga convinced me with a sweet smile on her face.

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I didn’t start sightseeing on my very first day in Istanbul, I only looked the nearest mosque for Friday prayer, took lunch with my first Turkish dishes (that always look tantalising from the glass window), went back to hostel for napping, and relaxing in Taksim Square in the evening (when I realised evening in spring was so cold).

I went places on my second day. I started my mood right. I setted a bright smile on my face, listened to fav songs from my iPhone, and walked along to Taksim station. Before I went down to the station, I stopped my steps in front of Monumento a la República. I could vividly remember what I did. I stared to the sky, it was so clear and blue. I breathed easy and let the spring breeze and bright sunshine that morning kissed my face. I said to myself “I think I love spring”.

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“Day two could be one of the most beautiful day on my trip”


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First, I really enjoyed my morning in the tram heading to Sultanahmed district. Sitting in front of a Turkish lady that speaks English very well who kind enough giving me some travel trips while accompanying a friend from States. I will always love a simply moment like that, sitting by the window in a sunny yet cool morning, seeing random faces, gazening out to the unusual morning scene, and heading to somewhere new.

Second, giving myself “me-time” by sitting at Hafiz Mustafa in the afternoon after strolling around Sultanahmed district. There was nothing better by sitting by the window upstairs with a slice of pretty cake and a cup of hot Turkish tea while spring breeze was still cool.

And the last thing that made my second day in Istanbul beautiful was an accidental friendship with a very friendly and welcome des amis français in the Blue Mosque. Perhaps that could be the real meaning of the joys of spring for me.

Will share how it happened on the next post.

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Istanbul, Prelude


“I flew to Turkey with zero expectation. I mean, it was real zero…”


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Even from two days before my departure, I had no interest to expect much from Turkey. Let me make this simpler, I never put Turkey in my “country-to-visit-before-I-die” list. Tho I used to browse “Turkey for a week” on Google, and learned about their currency, some greetings in Turkish, but truly I wasn’t that excited to be honest.

So, how did it start?

On January this year, I finally got an agreement with the company for two weeks casual leave. It should be on February and ended by mid April (cause something happened in between, rggh). I had a fickle heart during that time to decide where to go and almost cancelled the trip. I should be over the moon right? but for some reasons I wasn’t keen to travel. Lurking at the air fare was one of the reason, too. This is why I always envy with my friends that live in Europe, where they just need to take a train for two to three hours and “greeting from Berlin!” will be on my iPhone screen like Andreas did. Or like my Ukrainian friend that I met in Istanbul (I’ll share about him on separate post) that told me he just paid around $200 for return ticket from Kiev. Flying abroad from here with only $200? FORGET IT. Airfare from and to Africa continent is always crazy. Don’t gasp if I tell you how much I paid my one way ticket from Jakarta to Lagos last year. It was $1700. Return could be cheaper but hey, it could be as close as $2800-$3000. INSANE. I was thinking I could even pass Istanbul on my way back to Indonesia when I have my annual leave. I did check the airfare for multi-city and it was reasonable. But my boss said “Azis, stick with your schedule. You need to rest. You are going to Turkey right?, just go.” 

I thought about it twice. Morocco came in between.

K, I never tell you that the agreement was included half of my ticket would be paid by the company. $883 divided into two, I paid half. It was still high right? it was! but if I didn’t take that opportunity and kept thinking about my travel cost, I would not have those beautiful moments and memories and pics for this blog :). Oh please note, that airfare wasn’t even direct flight to Istanbul. I had to transit in Cairo for 6 boring hours via EgyptAir. Not to underestimate Egypt but my flight via EgyptAir was the worst international flight I’ve experienced. How could I be on the air for almost 6 hours without even a small screen with movies or songs right in front of my seat? I don’t recommend at all :). My next flight from Cairo to Istanbul was so much better via Turkish Airlines although it was only 2 hours, but everything was good (not to mention how I enjoyed that warm sandwich with mozzarella, tomato and mushroom when I was starving by 5am!).

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“My friend, Andreas, used to say to me that traveling will give us more stories.

He’s hundred percent true


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My trip to Turkey was full of stories.

Right after I got my e-ticket, I applied the e-Visa. I used to read how easy to apply online but in my case, I found some gravels. I had to try three times here. The first try was almost done till I found that I couldn’t do the next step: payment. It was stated then that I couldn’t get the visa in this city. I found it strange till I had to read the same case on TripAdvisor forum. When my departure date was getting closer and closer, I became a bit anxious. I had to contact Turkey Embassy in the capital city but got a bit confused with dual languages on the phone. I tried to contact the Turkey Consulate General here in Lagos but no response. Till I saw one phone number people suggested on Google under Turkey Embassy so I made a call. When I was on the phone I knew it was fraud. I did explain what my visa issue was to him and he answered that the website was having a problem that moment. He told me I could get the visa from the Turkey Consulate after I sent a copy of my passport and made a payment for N 125K. Excusez-moi, that was more than $200 while the official e-Visa fee is $25! I finally got the visa after I got the additional link the Turkey Embassy sent to my email.

Another story I had when I arrived a bit late in the airport after I had to pass one bank to collect my debit cards, then went to the office to drop my hand-over notes, then traffic jam. Tho I had checked online, arrived late in the airport for international flight would give you butterflies in your stomach. I had annoying moment when I was at the passport checking point. There were two EgyptAir staffs that checked my travel docs. One lady with a very bitter no-smile face and one man who held me for more than 30 minutes. The man held my passport and asked why I only had e-Visa without OECD? I said, “Excusez-moi? what the hell is OECD?” I didn’t say what the hell but my voice tone was similar with that. I never heard about OECD before and he asked me the same question with force and one book in his hand. I looked at the book when he was re checking my e-Visa and found that “OMG! why you have to check all those countries list on that manual book and force me for OECD, there is internet in 2017 you know!”. I spent almost 40 minutes waiting for him till I had no patient and spoke to him like “I’m Indonesian passport holder. I just need e-Visa to Turkey. And I travel only for vacation, please look at this”. And he gave my passport back after I showed him one article on my iPhone, gosh that was nonsensical nonsense.

I’ll continue sharing stories from this trip on the next post. Let me refresh you with some photographs from Istanbul after my too-long prelude :P

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Asparagus & Colors

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Since I’m still working on a travel post, let me just share these pictures here. Taken on last Sunday when I came back from grocery shopping, after an afternoon well-spent with kind-hearted friend of mine. I just couldn’t resist for baby asparagus and those pretties.


“How could I move to Europe for berries since here is bloody expensive!”


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“I used to mention on this blog that berries is something I can’t compromise. And found that I can eat raw baby asparagus, just like I enjoy carrot”


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An iPhone picture above was my breakfast like a Prince I cooked this morning.


How could I remember that two weeks ago on Wednesday I flew from Indonesia and it just felt like a day before yesterday? Where has the time gone?


 

Bike Scenes in Japan

I’ve been eyeing for some hostels in Amsterdam on Booking.com lately and found it is so pricey, tho. Pricier than Paris, Vienna? Oops, I had no clue. I never been to Amsterdam next year yes! but heard how lovely strolling around the city with bikes. Biking and wondering those beautiful Dutch building in the same time, even by writing this sentence here my imagination could picture the scene perfectly. I promise, if I’m in Amsterdam, I’ll rent a bike and enjoy the city. Noted.

While I’m still wonder how I’ll enjoy Amsterdam with a bike, I’ll share some ‘bike-scenes’ I found in Tokyo and Kyoto via iPhone (click the picture for a bigger view!).

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“It was such one of simpliest joy in my life while I could freely photograph something interesting surrond me”


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I’m jumping into bike-scenes while I’m preparing for some travel posts. More to come!

See You Very Soon

Gloomy days recently such a bad thing for me. When I feel getting out of my bed every morning such a big deal (you can judge me I’m lackadaisical if this sounds so :|). Not because during fasting month my system has changed a bit, and realised that sleeping after suhoor it’s not good indeed (but who can deny it’s the best thing to do when morning rain falls and makes it worse).

Anyway, I couldn’t be more happier to travel back to Indonesia very soon next month. Even it’s getting closer but I feel two things here. First, excited cause I will travel to some new places and can’t wait to pamper myself with Indonesian food (of course batagor, pecel, terang bulang, see you guys very soon!), seeing my family and best friends, and shopping some furnitures for my own house maybe? (oh I’m talking crap buying furnitures but hopefully I can start something :/). In the same time, I still trying to push myself and believe that I shouldn’t worry and scare too much of what is coming next. This feeling is normal yet I still think it’s such a very scary thing, sometimes. I should calm myself for now, right? :/.

Oh, did I mention that one thing I love the most when I come back to Indonesia is the fact that I have more time to take pictures around? If you follow my IG you’ll know that almost a month I never post pictures anymore (could I say that I’m fasting taking picture as well?), so here some remain pictures I want to share on this post, from a quick jaunt four days in Singapore (some you’ve seen on my IG a year ago but couldn’t resist to attach them here).

 

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Then, I think I should start counting days to come back where my heart is…

 

 

P.S. If you are a new reader or just visited this blog, you can see some photographs I took when I was in that super expensive city, here.

Cereal Guide Book

I’m writing this post with zombie eyes and exhausted system on my body. Went for a challengingandcrazy set-up for an International event from Saturday night and came home 1 am on Monday morning. Four hours sleep doesn’t sound right cause I had to go for another project then. Fiuh.

Let me rush so I can have a sleep tonight. Lately, I’ve been enjoying doing an online shopping and couldn’t resist for some catchy songs from iTunes and these two handsome guys.

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It was on a lazy afternoon in the office I opened Cereal site without no reason. Just wanted to see some gorgeous photographs from those amazing photographers and ended by added stylish guys in my cart (I know I should add London as well :/). After two weeks (Easter holiday in UK made my order came a bit late) I finally had them in my hand. I was so excited but worry in the same time. Really, really beautiful guide book, clean and trendy lay-outs, beautiful photos of course, but the cover is so fragile. My hand must be clean before I surf the content :). Ah, I adore what Rich Stapleton and Rosalia Park do for Cereal, their attention to detail is on point (not to mention that both of them know Alice Gao in person :|).

Overall, I’m so happy could pamper myself by buying something that can train my eyes for beauties. I’m currently looking forward for another online shopping for some design and cook books, let me tell you, NOMA book is calling me.

Oh, you can check other city guides here.

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