You Are Stunning, Cappadocia

 


The fact that I just realized today is April already, it makes me remember, I spent my April last year in one of stunning places I’ve ever been…


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I could tell that traveling is addictive in a good way, of course. I’m writing this in my room on Sunday, plus Easter holiday tomorrow, with my body’s here. But my mind is somewhere else. I’m literally thinking to travel to somewhere new. To somewhere I have never been to. I have some ideas where I’d like to spend my casual leave this year but I won’t tell for now :) (as I wish I didn’t need to think about budget TBH!).

As often as I think about where is my next destination, I also think about how I should gather my will to start something for my own house. It is too bad I neglect it for two years doing nothing. The last time I went (yes, last year when I had my annual leave in Indonesia) I forgot the exact location of the house, ridiculous I know. But it was true. I was literally wondering “where is my house” till I laughed stupidly when I saw a lot of vines growing on the floor. From the rusted gate, thru the door, till the unfinished part at the backyard. Sigh, pathetic. But here’s also the truth…

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“There are a lot of travel bugs flying around me right now”


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While I’m still looking at some places for my vacation, I’ll take you back to where I spent one of beautiful days I had last year in a stunning Cappadocia.

 

 

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Ok, fine. You just saw what I had for my breakfast in Cappadocia. It looks good right? The trust is, yes, it was! le pardon if it makes you hungry.

It was a bless having an opportunity to experience the famous balloon ride there and came back for an hour before my tour started. I still remember how peaceful it was having the breakfast that morning. When the sunshine was bright but the weather was cool, endless Turkish almond I fell in love with (true, the almond is amazingly milky!), fresh fruits, also that fluffy cutie popped in the picture :)

I only had an hour before the shuttle bus picked me for a whole day tour called Green Tour. It was part of the tour package I paid included the balloon ride (I’ll attach the link of the travel agent in case you guys need it :)). I had to rush preparing myself cause I knew that day would be an exciting long day.

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“You know I prefer to be a BTS person but when standing in front of that stunning landscape I gave my camera to one of the tour members and said “Would you mind?” ~ cause yes, for memory purpose. Perhaps if I didn’t follow my spirit I won’t have a single picture of myself in Cappadocia :)”


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Before I continue with the story, I’ll take you to take a short tour to some stunning landscapes…

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If you read what I wrote up there, I must say one of the things “Ok, travel first” instead of “Buy the furniture for your dream living room” is photograph. I admit that photography is my happiness. Before I even started writing this post I looked again on those pictures I took when I travelled, always, and will always make me happy. This might sounds like an excuse not to do something for my house but buddy, there is a magical feeling every time I look at those photographs” 


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I deliberately joined the tour cause I knew I can’t drive, meaning it would be easier for me to explore another side of Goreme by tour even though I’m not a tour person TBH. Perhaps if I could I would drive around and stopped to some points anyhow I liked. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t regret anything joining the tour cause I was glad I could see interesting places like what you just saw above. The tour itself started by 9am to 5pm and costs 40 euros/person. It includes Derinkuyu Underground City (you’ll love it if you are in to history), Selime Monastery, Ihlara Valley, Pigeon Valley, and ends at Goreme Onyx where you could see onyx demonstration (and pick some if you want to spend money :)). The tour itself was a bit tight, so you might need to fuel yourself properly before it starts.

Honestly speaking you’ll be mesmerized by the fact how people lived in 8 levels of underground city then. It was amazing knowing the history from the English-speaking guide, tho it might be a bit boring if you are not into history. Again, if you have a plan to visit Cappadocia and have a very short time to explore but want to experience something else, the Green Tour isn’t bad at all. Yes, hiking on some points might be a bit tiring, but having a quick-lunch at place with beautiful surrounding and ended the trip at Pigeon Valley was worth to try.

When I finally arrived at my hotel that day, I didn’t want to waste my time in my room. I opened my window, the sky was gorgeous, some sunset hues were on the sky, and call prayer was echoed. I had no reason not to be grateful before I ended my day two in a stunning place called Cappadocia. Now, let these photographs do the talk :)

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I’m glad right now looking at picture above when we were stopped for five minutes and most of us decided sat on the road for memory purpose. Mine was taken by one of the tour members, she’s Chinese and traveled alone (oops, with her friend (read: a selfie stick) :)). 

When I shared my chocolate to her in the bus, she said “I loved to be up there on the balloon ride, I think I’ll do it one more time tomorrow” :) 


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Below is one of my favorite photographs I took that day…


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Ten Things I Love To Do In Tokyo


“Oh, bloody hell why I have to write the title of this post as if I’m a travel blogger, I can’t even say it with a straight face (I’m laughing!)”


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Okay fine, this isn’t a bad thing. I have managed my time (no, not actually, it’s laziness!) to start posting a post today. Been trying to finish what I have started since December last year after compiling some memories from my second visit to Japan (who doesn’t want to come back again to Japan anyway? One isn’t enough right). Well, this is a thing, when you start forgetting “don’t wait till tomorrow what you can do today” you’ll never finish. It’s lackadaisical, of course.

But here just a short one I’d like to share with you guys, ten things I will always love to do when I’m in one of fav cities on earth, Tokyo.

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“Of. Course. This. Is. The. First. Thing!”



“Pocky! This particular almond crush I tasted inside Shinkansen to Kyoto (on my first visit to Japan) stole my heart”



“What else is a better thing to start a morning than having a cup of cappuccino :) this was from Streamer Coffee Company”



“I might stay in hostel everytime in Tokyo for the sake of “finding new friendship”, but eating a proper “a-bit-fancy-oh-yes-it’s-pricey” breakfast at one cafe or restaurant is always a good idea, period”



“This is funny, but it’s actually fun”



“Staring the magical city light from above”



“Praying in a beautiful mosque called Tokyo Camii. When I was there, I remembered the day I met Hakan and Saf in Istanbul”



“Eating authentic halal ramen”



“Looking for some design inspirations cum spending money for some new stuffs”



“This last one might be the cheesiest thing I say on this post, but honestly speaking it’s one of my fav thing to do not only in Tokyo, everywhere I travel to a new country :). In frame below is my friend, Luís from Brazil”


Galata, Topkapı & Ortaköy II


While I’m writing this sentence, my mind is thinking about Hakan and Safoine.

Perhaps, I’m missing them…


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We didn’t really spend time at Galata Tower. Olga, a Russian lady who works in the hostel I stayed told me, “Galata Tower’s so boring, what you could do up there just to see Istanbul from above”. I must agree at some points, but spending time together with Hakan and Saf and ended with a photo of myself wearing Turkish traditional costume was interesting enough (it wasn’t really cheap but worth to try for a memory-wise). I wanted to have a photograph together with Hakan and Saf but couldn’t be accomplished cause hell ya, the queue was crowded and we had to change the costume very quickly. I had no brave to show how I was on the photograph cause I looked so shabby,le pardon!. I must say Hakan looked so handsome and so royal wearing the traditional costume complete with a sword like a real sultan (he’s Turkish by blood, no surprises).

Writing this post after nine months still give me goosebumps and clear memories how I enjoyed every single second I had in Istanbul.

After we left Galata Tower, we spent an hour plus at a small cafe with friend talks, Turkish sweet delights on our table, some French words Hakan taught me (holy shit it was difficult af!), and for sure, some photos before heading to the harbor under Galata Bridge for a boat ride. It was one of “I’m waiting for this!” moment cause I heard crossing the European side of Turkey to Asian side’s such a must do. The ticket isn’t that expensive as far as I remember. Of course it made me so excited before we finally entered the ferry. We came out from the ferry just less than five minutes cause Saf was faint and I felt so dizzy af but it didn’t stop us to enjoy the day cause our next destination? The dazzling place called Topkapı Palace.

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At Topkapı Palace, I was awed with the fact how time created such a mind-blowing histories years ago. One of the highlight from our visit was when we entered a room where most of important holy relics are being collected: the hair of Prophet Mohammad’s beard, his footprints, letters, also the tray used by Abraham, the sword of David, the rope of Joseph and the chest of Prophet Mohammad’s daughter, Fatimah.

Photographs are forbidden in that room but memorizing the relics only with your own brain and eyes would give you an experience. Especially when you hear the mellifluous Quran verses echo in the air softly, I had a serious goosebumps then. If you are a moslem like me and planning to visit Istanbul, put Topkapı Palace in your must-visit list.

Before we left, we managed our time at one restaurant inside Topkapı Palace with three cups of Turkish tea, a bowl of Turkish delight and fresh strawberries. It was just a casual beautiful afternoon in spring with a view of Bosphorus Strait.


“But for me, it was one of the most memorable moments I had with Hakan and Saf”



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…we didn’t end our day at Topkapı Palace…

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We took a taxi to a place which later I knew was Ortaköy. It was definitely Hakan’s idea to spend our day there since me and Saf hadn’t been there before. Ortaköy is one of most popular districts in Istanbul where a lot of cafes, bars, and stalls located on cobblestone roads. The idea taking a taxi to Ortaköy was a great one I have to say. It wasn’t because I mostly used metro for a “cheaper” option, it was great because I could remember all the scenes on the road. Something I couldn’t do if we took metro (I recorded an iPhone video while we were inside, of Saf, you showed me a picture from your visit at Chefchaouen!!). Even we had a light traffic on the road, it didn’t stop us to enjoy Ortaköy after we prayed inside the beautiful mosque on the coast, Ortaköy Mosque.

After praying, we enjoyed the cool evening by strolling around the bazaar then went to have a snack. Hakan and Saf might call “it” as a snack (I called Hakan double portions till today :)) but for me, it was a huge baked potato (man, it was really huge!) till I couldn’t finish it (was it the time Hakan created “mister half-portion” for me cause I eat small? sigh, I couldn’t remember). It was quite interesting for me eating baked potato with “you could choose any toppings you like” in Istanbul.



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Hagia Sophia


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


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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.

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I was there before it’s getting crowded. It actually opens by 9am, so getting there before 9 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.

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Hibiya Park

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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 :)

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

Bromo

I felt such a naughty fellow everytime I lied to some of my good friends for not answering the same questions last month: “When are you flying to Indonesia?”


“No, I don’t feel to go home” – “Well, I don’t mind to spend my annual leave in Morocco instead” – “I have no ticket yet, hey I have told you I won’t go home this year” – even to my mom, “Maybe I won’t go home”

Yeah, you can call me a puckish fake actor perhaps. Don’t count the one to my mom as a lie, it was just the way I loved to surprise her, promise.


I might be a liar yet couldn’t lie to myself how it felt when I had passed immigration in Lagos airport. When I sent a picture of my passport to my very best friend, Andreas Knogler, he immediately replied “Nice feeling, huh?”, I said, “Yeah it felt the same” :)

I have been here in Indonesia for eighteen days already SIGH TIME FLIES TOO FAST!!! HOW COME THIS HAPPENS AGAIN!

Nothing but grateful still had time to hang out with my best friends few times for food hunting, coffees, friend talks, and managed two days to finally visit Mount Bromo for the first time cause funny enough I live in Surabaya which isn’t that far. Woke up by 3am to catch the sunrise (how peaceful it was, not to mention the crowd tho), climbed 250 steps just to see the crater, managed to take photographs with some dust flying made a quite exhausted morning that I thought having an afternoon tea at Aman Tokyo with Alice Gao sounds more me :) (Andreas would definitely love this kind of trip since one of his hobbies is hiking)

Apart of that, things made me grafetul the most was the fact that I spent the time there with Ruli’s family (after five years I couldn’t make time to see his parents!). Do you think some scenes below’s such in Mars?


 

Galata, Topkapı & Ortaköy I

were three places we created those friendship memories…


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Spring breeze that night was icier. I was running in hurry on my way back to the hostel with a happy smile on my face. Had to admit that I was so stoked on the day I met Hakan and Saf. It didn’t come to my mind I would meet and became close friends instantly just like that, spent time together till midnight (anything better than ice creams and friend’s laughters to end the day?). Back to where I met them for the first time, Saf was the first person who offered me to join him and Hakan if I had no place to go. I almost said no to Saf yet I kept it in my mind till I remembered something: “while you have no itinerary on this trip, so make it memorable with unpredictable, unplanned, unexpected things!.”

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“Where do you have in mind to spend tomorrow at, Hakan?”


 

Since it was Saf’s first visit in Istanbul, Hakan was his guide if I may say. Key questions about the city went directly to Hakan if we had some. When Hakan mentioned about “boat” on Bosphorus Strait, I won’t say no when he offered me on the second day. If you googled things to do in Istanbul for the first time, boat tour is among the top must do. Before boat tour, Galata Tower was the first place we visited.

We agreed to meet there at 11 in the morning. Hakan said 10am before but I knew we won’t make it cause hello, spent a whole day and ended by walking from Sultan Ahmed till Taksim Square in midnight wasn’t a joke (Istanbul has many uphill alleys, kindly note). I took sometimes earlier before I met them by enjoying a buffet at Parole İstiklal on my way to Galata. I shouldn’t tell you the truth this brekkie scenes more like ‘picture-purpose’ yet I did enjoy Turkish chai in spring. I’m serious.

As much as I enjoyed Istanbul, I tried to take my time to do one of my favourite things when I’m traveling: starting my morning with a cup of cappuccino in a coffee shop. When Hakan sent me a message they would be a bit late, I took my time to linger around to take some pictures and ended with a coffee right in front of Galata Tower. I was about to tease myself spending my Turkish Lira to bring home one of cute vintage table lamp from a small shop (designer’s temptation, classic – full stop). Nevertheless, I didn’t enter when I finally saw Hakan and Saf were walking hurriedly. A bit confused but I understood why it took sometimes for them to arrive at our meeting point. Hakan said, “there were three men behind us when Saf wanted to get a new ring but we didn’t take it” while Saf added after, “so sorry Azis, we didn’t mind to unrespect you by came late”.

I answered, “so let’s get tickets and enjoy Istanbul from above”. 

Surely, with a bright smile on my face cause we would spend a whole day together.





More pictures to come on part II :)

 

Happy Eid Mubarak for those who celebrate! I wonder to celebrate Eid next year in somewhere new. Marrakech perhaps? Or even, Paris? Dreaming is free, right :)

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