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Blogs from: Turkey

Blue Mosque Sun – Istanbul, Turkey


Photo of the Day – Blue Mosque Sun – Istanbul, Turkey

The Blue Mosque located in Istanbul is massive. We were inside the rather large courtyard outside of the Blue Mosque and struggled to squeeze the mosque into this photo even with a wide-angle lens. Unfortunately visiting the mosque in the middle of the day does not lend to the best photos, but I think this came out kind of cool in its own way. It is very easy to get caught up in the beauty and detail of the mosque in a more detailed picture. Here you are left with the simple beauty of symmetry and the domes that build up and up and up.

Blue Mosque Sun - Istanbul, Turkey

Cotton Castle Tourists – Pamukkale, Turkey


Photo of the Day – Cotton Castle Tourists – Pamukkale, Turkey

The bleached white, naturally formed limestone pools of Pamukkale are truly a unique site to see and one of those wonders that leaves you scratching your head in disbelief. Even though the pools are beautiful, I was shocked to see so many tourists had ventured to the absolute middle of nowhere in western Turkey with the sole purpose of seeing this natural wonder in person. It teaches you that just because somewhere is unknown and not popular with people from where you are from, doesn’t mean that there isn’t somewhere else in the world where everyone grows up dreaming of a visit.

Cotton Castle Tourists - Pamukkale, Turkey

Inside the Blue Mosque – Istanbul, Turkey


Photo of the Day – Inside the Blue Mosque – Istanbul, Turkey

The Blue Mosque is named for its exterior, but I have to say its interior is not too shabby as well.

Although not as outstanding, the inside contains an enormous chandelier that must be amazing when lit with candles.
The patterned rug, chandelier, highly-detailed walls and stained glass make up for an overwhelming amount of color, not just blue!

To give a bit of perspective on the size of this mosque, look to the right of the main column in the photo at the ground-level and you will see someone sitting. As you’ll quickly notice, the interior is absolutely massive which means the chandelier is ginormous. OK – I can’t think of anymore synonyms for “big” :) , but I think you get my point.

Inside the Blue Mosque - Istanbul, Turkey

The Dark Sunrise – Hot Air Balloon Ride – Cappadocia, Turkey


Photo of the Day – The Dark Sunrise – Hot Air Balloon Ride – Cappadocia, Turkey

Cappadocia is an area in Western Turkey best known for its unique moon-like landscape, underground cities, cave churches and houses carved in the rocks. One of the most popular attractions for a tourist is to wake up early in the morning and float through the sky safely in the basket of a hot air balloon.

Will and I visited Cappadocia back in 2010 on our trip around the world and made the steep investment to secure our spot on one of the morning balloons. We woke up really early one morning and joined about fifty other balloons in the morning sky. It was the first time either of us had ever been up in a hot air balloon and it was nothing short of incredible. There is no better way to get a full view of Cappadocia’s special landscape.

As the sun was rising, I pointed my camera at two balloons that were standing between us and the sun. I included the top picture below to give you perspective on where the sun was at relative to the two balloons. However it is the second picture that I think is special. I zoomed in, eliminating the distracting sun, but leaving the silhouetted balloons in the frame. It’s hard to recall a better sunrise on any day in my life.

The Dark Sunrise - Hot Air Baloon Ride - Cappadocia, Turkey

Stray Cat in Hagia Sophia – Istanbul, Turkey


Photo of the Day – Stray Cat in Hagia Sophia – Istanbul, Turkey

Honestly, I am not 100% sure this was taken in Hagia Sophia, but if it was not there, it was in its neighbor, the Blue Mosque. Regardless, it is always interesting to me to see ‘domesticated’ animals abroad. For me, it is something that seems to draw people together; it’s something that is generally the same from country to country. And although I presume this cat was a stray, it was still there left to roam just as a cat might be at a cathedral here in the US.

Now, I must say that not all stray animals are quite as elegant as this feline, but we seemed to capture her in a deep nirvana while warming in the glass filtered light of the mosque.

Stray Cat in Hagia Sophia - Istanbul, Turkey

Travertine Terraces Made From Calcium – Pamukkale, Turkey


Photo of the Day – Travertine Terraces Made From Calcium – Pamukkale, Turkey

The Travertine Terraces of Pamukkale, Turkey, are one of the more interesting natural ‘structures’ I have seen. These terraces and pools are naturally created from the calcium deposits in the hot springs that are abundant in this region. And there are hundreds of them flowing down the side of a substantial hill.

There is quite a bit of history to this area dating back to the Greco-Roman period, including a Roman Bath house which still stands today and adds to this attraction. However, it was not the history and bath house that made Pamukkale special, it was certainly the natural terraced pools. I have never seen anything else like it in the world.

Has anyone else been here? What did you think?

Travertine Terraces made from Calcium - Pamukkale, Turkey

Spices by the KG – Grand Bazaar – Istanbul, Turkey


Photo of the Day – Spices by the KG – Grand Bazaar – Istanbul, Turkey

These huge buckets of spices look so odd to a guy who grew up in America. Here at home we tend to buy much smaller quantities of spices than some of our friends around the world. Those small quantities are always found in a collection of little jars which practically go unused with the exception of one or two of the spices that came in the set of 24. Contrast that with the Turkish people who were using shovels to scoop up enormous amounts of bright and colorful spices and paying by the kilogram!

This shot was taken in a market on the outskirts of the famous Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey. The Grand Bazaar is a wonder of its own and certainly not to be missed while you are in Turkey visiting two of the Top 100 Places (Cappadocia and Hagia Sophia).

Markets never disappoint and always should be at the top of your list when traveling. What other places are consistently great to visit from destination to destination?

Spices by the KG - Grand Bazaar - Istanbul, Turkey

Hot Air Balloon Ride – Cappadocia, Turkey


Photo of the Day – Hot Air Balloon Ride – Cappadocia, Turkey

This was one of the most expensive activities that Will and I did on our trip around the world in 2010. I’d never been floating in a hot air balloon before and that experience alone was nothing short of amazing. The rugged and unique landscape found in Cappadocia, Turkey, makes this one of the most popular spots on the planet to go up in a hot air balloon. This was my favorite moment while visiting Turkey for a week and it easily makes the list of the top 100 things I have done in my life.

Hot Air Balloon Ride - Cappadocia, Turkey
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The Top 100 Places in the World
1 Great Wall of China
2 Pyramids of Egypt
3 Machu Picchu
4 Serengeti Migration
5 Galapagos Islands
6 Grand Canyon
7 Angkor Temples
8 Antarctica Cruise
9 Taj Mahal
10 Iguazu Falls
11 Amazon Rain Forest
12 Great Barrier Reef
13 Bora Bora
14 Victoria Falls
15 Bagan
16 Petra
17 Potala Palace
18 Karnak
19 Mt Everest
20 Cappadocia
21 St Peters Basilica
22 Fjords of Norway
23 Jerusalem Old City
24 Burj Khalifa
25 Borobudur
26 Forbidden City
27 Kashmir Valley
28 Li River Cruise
29 Ladakh
30 Alhambra
31 Louvre Museum
32 Perito Moreno Glac.
33 Banaue Terraces
34 Colosseum of Rome
35 Easter Island
36 Venice Canals/Alleys
37 Kathmandu Valley
38 Wat Phra Kaew
39 Yellowstone NP
40 Pompeii
41 Rio Panoramic View
42 Palace of Versailles
43 Dubrovnik
44 Golden Temple
45 St. Basils Cathedral
46 Vatican Museum
47 Florence Cityscape
48 Acropolis
49 Amalfi Coast Drive
50 Kremlin
51 Hong Kong View
52 TerraCotta Warriors
53 Mezquita Cordoba
54 Chichen Itza
55 Damascus Old City
56 Shwedagon Stupa
57 Sahara Desert
58 Mont St Michel
59 St. Marks Square
60 Egyptian Museum
61 Hagia Sophia
62 Angel Falls
63 Delphi
64 Teotihuacan
65 Baalbek
66 Banff NP
67 Santorini
68 Matterhorn
69 New York Skyline
70 Neuschwanstein
71 Chartres Cathedral
72 British Museum
73 Prague Old Town
74 Burj al Arab
75 Yangtze River Cruise
76 Yosemite NP
77 Hermitage Museum
78 Torres del Paine
79 Chambord Chateau
80 Lijiang
81 Portofino
82 Great Ocean Road
83 Tongariro Alpine
84 Las Vegas Strip
85 Tikal
86 Topkapi Palace
87 Sydney Opera House
88 Eiffel Tower
89 Luxor Temple
90 Kerala Backwaters
91 Golden Gate Bridge
92 Cinque Terre
93 Metropolitan Mus
94 Uffizi Gallery
95 Ayers Rock
96 Cliffs of Moher
97 Pacific Coast Hwy
98 Shanghai Skyline
99 Glacier Bay NP
100 Wulingyuan
Cappadocia  Cappadocia, Turkey
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