A Travellerspoint blog

July 2009

神奇的伊斯坦布尔,现代的土耳其

伊斯坦布尔的第一天

sunny 37 °C

土耳其是神秘的。在飞机上,脑子里不断地回忆着“基督山伯爵”里对这个把东方和西方的奢华发挥到淋漓尽致的国度 – 穿着镶满珍珠宝石的裙裤的五官精致的土耳其女郎慵慵懒懒地斜躺在昂贵的手工地毯上,一手支着脑袋,胳膊上的一连串的手镯垂到了肘部,另一只手的三根手指握着晶莹剔透的水烟筒。听着思春的小曲(差不多就是小昭在倚天屠龙记最后和张无忌分别时候唱的小曲吧 – 当然不是电视版的,那个似乎有些太现代!),吞云吐雾。房间里装饰着雕刻精美的铜器和银具,矮矮的小桌子上的香料器皿里点着神秘的香料,混合着水烟的味道,让人如痴如醉。
当飞机在伊斯坦布尔机场降落的时候,我带着这份想象去寻找小说中的土耳其。然而那毕竟是几百年前小说中的仙境,现实中的伊斯坦布尔以及我后来见到的土耳其其他的城市与其说神秘,不如说完美地融合了现代和传统,西方的开放和东方的宗教和习俗。
土耳其像中国,大城市都是高楼。人们大多住在公寓。从伊斯坦布尔的机场坐着地铁和有轨电车一路看见很多正在兴建的高楼大厦,其中的大部分就是民居。大马路的两边开满了大大小小的店铺和饭店,还有让我无比兴奋的小吃摊。如果不是商店的标志时刻提醒我,我几乎以为我回到了中国。当电车缓缓开入古城区以后,伊斯兰的特色便变得越来越浓厚 。每隔一小段就能看见一些圆顶的伊斯兰教堂。有些奢华的竟然有黄金的月亮小标志。(那个是伊斯兰教的标志吧)民居把被成片的饭店,宾馆,礼品店,地毯点代替。不用多问,这个地段就是外国游人居住得旅游中心。闪亮地让人睁不开眼睛的黄金首饰店摆放在玻璃橱窗的陈列让我怀疑是不是基督山伯爵的所有遗产最后被“海带”所继承,最终回流到了土耳其。 礼品店里摆放着工匠当场雕刻的铜器,各色的水烟筒,“罪恶的眼睛”的装饰品和小首饰,色彩鲜艳的土耳其的传统围巾,裙子。
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当我在这些礼品店看着这些物件爱不释手的时候,耳边突然想起的伊斯兰教一日五次(日出,午饭前,日中,日落,晚上) 的祷告歌声(每个城市都有,男中音当场献唱,麦克风发挥最大功率,保证全城任何角落都能听到)。登上高楼,隐约可见教堂之外站满了做礼拜的教民,虔诚的仿佛正在接受神的召见,不时跪地,不时双手合并,而小贩则神情自若,坦然地继续他们的生意经。

Posted by suevasil 07:19 Archived in Turkey Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

The Turkish bath

sunny 37 °C

Having never been to a bathhouse I didn't really know what to expect. We were pretty dirty from the succession of dust, seawater, and cold showers, so it seemed like a plan. Here it is in a nutshell:

- arrive, strip into shorts (it was a co-ed bathhouse, I think the rules are a bit different in the regular type
- sauna for 15min or so. It wasn't a dry sauna, so dumping water on the coals is legitimate and encouraged (unlike past dry saunas I've been where certain patrons would do the same, announcing "steam steam steam!" or holding flowerpots while breaking the heating mechanism)
- go to the bathing room. It's all marble, with water taps around the edges and a raised circle in the middle, maybe 20ft wide, with maybe 5 people lying down around the perimeter
- lie down in that circle area when called (well when pointed at). The guy scrubs, exfoliating the skin
- go to the taps, the guy takes a bowl, fills it with water and pours it to rinse a few times
- lie back down, different guy pours soap bubbles through a mesh bag onto entire body then scrubs and rinses.
- have a glass of tea, change, leave.

All in all it was nice, and not too different from what I expected based on the posters for the movie the Turkish Bath that came out a few years ago...
back home there would have been something odd about being entirely covered in soap suds the scrubbed clean by a man, but when in Rome do as the Romans...

Posted by chrisvasil 07:20 Archived in Turkey Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Paragliding in Olu Deniz

sunny 36 °C
View Around the world ın 8 months on chrisvasil's travel map.

Was awesome. We were so glad to even be able to do it (see above) as the one we were supposed to do was cancelled (so we got up at 5:30AM for nothing).

It started about an hour late, but it was worth the wait. About 30 people (maybe 15 passengers, plus the same amount of pilots, plus equipment) all crammed into 2 minivans from the early 80s. After 10 minutes of driving we stopped at the side of the road and moved into one slightly larger truck.

The road up was treacherous, the driver going at about 80 km/h up a one-lane dirt road up a mountain, not slowing down for curves even though if he missed one the truck would have rolled down the mountain. On turns where the road was wider than the truck, the driver stayed toward the edge that looks down the cliff, which magnified the ambiance. Similarly disconcerting were points where there was oncoming traffic, which the truck didn't slow down to avoid. It was a total of 45 minutes of driving before we got to the expected takeoff point, 1900 meters (over 6000 ft) above where we would land. After getting our gear on they decided we couldn't go from there, so we went up to the next takeoff point, which was 1950 meters up. For that the truck needed to turn around, a three-point turn on a one-lane dirt road along a cliff. The back of the truck was past the edge of the cliff, and the tires were about half a foot away, but we got out fine.

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The takeoff involves running off a cliff and hoping to take off before falling. Actually in my case there was no running: the wind lifted us without any encouragement. Paragliding itself was awesome, though more passive than you might expect: a seat is stitched into the backpack, and the driver drives while I just sit in the front seat and watch. We never go much more than 30 km/h, so it's a pretty relaxed thing. The scenery over Olu Deniz was lovely: the sea, blue lagoon, and a couple towns. The way down was about half an hour. At a couple points we did some exciting stuff: spinning (really fast) in the air (driver was turning hard right for about 30 seconds, so we were spinning faster and faster until it felt like a roller coaster; at another point he dropped for awhile, almost in freefall, also felt like a roller coaster.

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Posted by chrisvasil 07:20 Archived in Turkey Tagged ecotourism Comments (0)

Saklikent Gorge

sunny 36 °C
View Around the world ın 8 months on chrisvasil's travel map.

The gorges make me regret having not ever gone to the gorges in Ithaca when I was at Cornell. We spent 3 hours at Saklikent gorge and still didn't go as far as it goes. No one else from the tour, I think, went to the gorge since there was the option of river tubing instead (which was about 10 times more expensive). It was really fun. Between 2 canyons runs a river/stream, generally about knee-high, a bit above the waist in a couple places; generally flowing very slowly, quick like rapids in a couple places.

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In a few areas it was hard to climb because the rocks caused a waterfall.
In fact, just before this spot Sue insisted on taking the camera to avoid it getting wet. About 30 seconds after I acquiesced and let her take it, I lost my footing trying to climb up this spot and ended up all the way in the water, soaking my wallet, Ziploc full of tissues, and camera case. Oh, the trouble I would have been in had I kept the camera....

Posted by chrisvasil 07:20 Archived in Turkey Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Ephasis Ruins

35 °C
View Around the world ın 8 months on chrisvasil's travel map.

We decided against going to Troy because there was apparently not much except for a big wooden horse (THE big wooden horse, some would argue). But the ruins in Ephasis were good. And the tour guide was also. Here are some pictures.
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Posted by chrisvasil 15:14 Archived in Turkey Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

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