…thought I could trust myself after I wrote “Last night I thought about adding this handsome guy for myself :P but ended with a camera case on eBay.” on this post.

In fact, I was lying to myself…


Photos of myself by my flatmate, Arik // Art direction, lay-outs and editing by me.

Hagia Sophia

“I woke up on my last morning in Istanbul with less than hundred Turkish Lira…”


I also woke up with a patency my vacation was over and only had one more day to make everything counts.

I had a plan to end my trip with a proper fancy breakfast at one corner of a cafe, sitting nicely when the spring sun was bright but cool. I had a plan when I could pick some new stuffs for myself along İstiklal Caddessi. But none I could achieve.

I was in my hostel room cross checking my luggage, my camera and counted how much money I had left. I fought myself not to have erratic heart to visit Hagia less than a hundred of Turkish Lira from the one Hasan loaned me. I took a bath, no breakfast of course, grabbed my jacket and camera, then walked to Sultanahmed district. I remember, the morning breeze was something else. Smooth and cool. The sky was blue and clear. The reason why I loved spring.

I smiled along the way that fighting my erratic heart brought me to a beautiful secret place full of histories called Hagia Sophia.



I was there before it’s getting crowded. It actually opens by 9 AM, so getting there before nine is the best time to get a ticket. When I first walked in after paid TL40, I had a real goosebumps. There is a reason why this place is popular. Me that is not into history enjoyed so much staring at those amazing details on every corner of the building while reading the stories and wondering how possible they built this grand building back then (you’ll find some beautiful cats too). Every corner of Hagia tells how great the histories on those days were.

I wish I had a longer time to explore but then I had no regret I left with a bigger smile.


My Me – Time


It is true what people say that we should enjoy our “me-time” after we have a long rough day…


It is true by giving “me-time” shows that we love ourselves. For me, “me-time” could be watching a movie on the bed (I don’t care if I’ve watched it few times, such as Louisa Clark and Will Traynor’s love story) in a chilled room, with few soft throw pillows, a cup of hot tea I don’t mind for a wine honestly and a bowl of rosemary potato chips. Or, strolling around Omotesando with camera in hand in spring where cherry blossom is blooming, stop by some stores to pick some fashion items after having a cup of cappuccino (perhaps writing this sentence will bring me to Japan in spring, I’ll take it as a wish). A sentence before this’s such a real wish.

Having some pastries or cakes or just a cup of hot chocolate and a good book on the bed while the rain is pouring outside is such “me-time” for me too.

Hibiya Park


I found myself walking without a clear destination on one cloudy afternoon in Tokyo…

I was actually trying to kill my time before meeting Hiromi, my Japanese good friend lives in Tokyo that day. Apart of our meeting, a thing made me pleased was enjoying time in one of my fav cities again with a camera in hand.

If on my first visit to Japan last year I had no proper camera cause shit happened at a very first day, this year I had Sony A6300 with a proper lens :) I was enjoyed so much taking picture whatever, wherever without carrying some worries with me. Before I met Hiromi in the evening, I sat down on a bench at Hibiya Park. I had no clue what to do there but doing nothing at a beautiful public space like Hibiya, with birds were singing in the sky, greens everywhere, a packed of supermarket sushi, and a cool breeze on late summer, I had enough. Not to mention it’s very relaxing place to stretch my legs cause you know, walking in Tokyo counts as an exercise. Full stop :)



I have stories to share from my second trip to Japan, some are unforgettable for me :) more to come!

Coffee Scenes & Some Poser

Just wanted to share some throwback photos when I was in Indonesia for vacation, here…

I spent an afternoon with Andhi and Shohib at a coffee shop called Louis before moving to another coffee shop for more coffees (some pose, please). It was our first coffee time before we had this.

There is nothing like leaving a camera shop with a new lens in hand :). These shots were taken with Sony 10-18mm f/4 wide-angle lens. I shouldn’t have had a fickle heart to bring another lens home that day (seriously I regretted not buying on the same time). Although I have it (the one I’m enjoying right now, Sony 35mm f/1.8 prime lens) I should have gotten it before flying to Tokyo for some close-up portraits with my new friends (yes, I visited Japan again this year! more stories to come! :)) 

How I loved Andhi’s outfit that matched with the whole first scene.

Textures And Colors Play


I’ve been hearing so often how stunning Morocco is. Some of top photographers I’ve followed along on Instagram said that country is literally a heaven for a photographer. Textures and colors everywhere. It must be so tempting for eyes not to grab a camera and photograph every single second while in Morocco. Recently, I mentioned few times my curiosity about the country on my social accounts. And reading this particular post makes me want to pack my things, jump on the plane and land in Marrakech right away.

While I’m ensuring myself to travel to Morocco very soon (let’s see, this is June, right? my annual leave is so close as it should be!) and dreaming to discover those beauties Morocco has to offer, here are some of the textures and colors I found from my recent trip, taken randomly in Istanbul and Cappadocia.

Day Five, Cappadocia

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


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


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


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:


“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”


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.



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”.


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


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.



Istanbul, Prelude

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


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!).


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

He’s hundred percent true


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