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Simon’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 22 Aug 2006

Location: Sofia, Bulgaria

MapHi there everyone,
We are currently in Sofia, Bulgaria we arrived overnight from Istanbul this morning and we are bloody tired as there was a three and half hour wait at the boarder, but no worries it all part of travelling!

Since we last wrote we have been full on with various trips around Turkey. Our last day in Cappadoccia we did a full day trip around the region. The tour included visiting a 3000 year old under ground city, which was really amazing i wished that we could have had a place like that somewhere on the farm when i was growing up, as it was great for exploring and imagining how life would have been living down there. Also we visited a large gorge with churches etc. carved into the rock walls. Lunch was served on a river bank and consisted of a tasty 3 course meal and from there we moved onto visiting other villages carved into rock formations, one of them being where star wars was filmed!! The day concluded with visits to a Onyx factory and pottery house and was basically a selling ploy so that detracted somewhat from the otherwise great day, but at the end of the day we are tourist and they want our money. After the tour we caught an overnight bus to Istanbul and eventually made our way to Sulthanmet where our hotel was.

After cleaning up we headed out into the old city to begin exploring, first of all we hit the Grand Bazaar and were overwhelmed by the selection of goods and the number of touts that proposed the question "how many carpets will you be buying today sir?" we had a good look around and unfortunately none of the carpets were to our liking. A couple of purchases were made after some hard core haggling, so we left only slightly ripped off. Our general sifting then lead us down to the Golden Horn water front, and we stumbled upon the spice market, which was an olphactory overload. Down the waterfront and back to the room for a late afternoon kip. We were travelling with Paul and Sarah an Australian couple, so we met up early evening and caught the Blue Mosque light show, which proved to be rather disapointing. Some more Turkish cuisine was consumed and more Efes downed before crashing out.

Our second day began at 6.00am as we were going to Gallipoli for the day. We arrived in Eceabat at midday to meet our guide and have a barbeque lunch before heading to the museum. From here we had a great view of Brighton beach where the ANZAC's were supposed to land and also of Chunic Bair, the high ground that the New Zealand forces did eventually hold for 2 days and 2 nights. The museum was brief but very moving due to the emotional nature of the contents. Next we visited ANZAC cove and Ocean beach where we got an eyewitness view of the crazy terrain faced by the ANZAC's on landing. From there we headed to Lone Pine and finally the New Zealand memorial on Chunic Bair. Overall the day was incredibly moving and sobering but made us proud to call ourselves the decendants of the ANZAC's who fought. Ended up getting back to Istanbul after midnight, so a bloody huge day. Our third day we visited the under ground Basilica Cistern, the Blue Mosque, viewed the Aya Sofya and the rest of the major sights. We said goodbye to Paul and Sarah, boarded the bus and here we are.

Hope all is well with everyone, keep in touch, until next time
Simon and Keryn