Monday, November 9, 2015

Our day seeing the Anzac battlefields without a tour

A few days ago it was my 21st birthday and we were in Çanakkale to see the Gallipoli Anzac battlefields.  While some people may initially think this is a somber way to celebrate a 21st, I am so privileged to be in Turkey and to see and learn about one of the biggest events in Australian history. It was really special to experience and Julia and I had so much fun along the way.  Seeing so many memorials to ANZACS, British, Indian, and Turkish soldiers who were 21 (lots were younger) when they were killed, it really brought home how tragic the loss of life was and always will be - especially for the little or no gain achieved.  This post will be about our adventure seeing the ANZAC Battlefields as well as providing information to those who will go in the future.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Top 3 things you should experience in Istanbul

So here we are in Turkey! I am currently travelling with Julia, an Australian girl from Sydney who I met in Croatia while volunteering at Falling Lakes Hostel. Turkey so far has been fantastic: 4 nights in the bustling capital of Istanbul,  3 nights at Çannakkale, 2 nights at Selçuk, and now a night in Pamukkale.

I initially expected Istanbul to be busy, but I was very surprised at how I underestimated it. Can you imagine the population of Australia living in one city? At first, Istanbul reminded me of an Asian city like Bangkok due to the hustle and bustle, the wonderful and not so wonderful smells, and the insane traffic throughout the city. However, staying for a while gave us a great introduction into Turkish culture, food (yumm), and the cool vibe of Istanbul. Our four days ranged from exploring incredible alleyways and lanes, getting lost in the grand bazaar marketplace, sitting peacefully and observing prayer in the beautiful mosques, getting slightly lost in poor residential neighbourhoods, getting crazy looks during our morning runs, eating like a king and queen, and lots and lots of walking.