Bank balances replenished we set off for 8 days in search of flying carpets, magic jeanies and the ultimate lamb kebab - Turkey.
First stop, Cappadocia. Located right in the middle of the country these amazing volcanic stone formations have been carved into villages both above and below the ground.
We stayed in a cave room which unfortunately wasn't sound proof enough to drown out the 4am chanting from the Mosque, though created great accoustics for a song that Lisa got rather sick of me singing every time we entered the room. 'let the music play - clap clap -worries for another day - dance your cares away - clap clap - down at Fraggle Rock! (those of you who remember the show are there with me)
Cappadocia is world reknown as a hot air balooning destination with wind conditions that allowed our pilot to drop us into winding valleys of these incredible rock formations.
Back on the ground we headed out on a tour that took us to what's rumored to be where they filmed the first stars film in the 70's. You Star Wars nerds (I can say it cause I am one), may remember these landscapes as the home of Obi Wan and the sand people.
met some local turkish blokes who seemed pretty happy to be there.
then met up with some other happy campers in Istanbul. My bro Todd and his girlfriend Rachel for those who haven't met them.
Istanbul is a crazy mix of old and new world and clocking in at 17million predominantly Muslims, has quite a few Mosques - once again there's nothing like a quick chant to Allah over loud speakers at 4am!
View of the Blue Mosque from the roof of our guest house.
Couldn't go to Istanbul without a stop at the Grand Bizarre, with over 4000 shops the girls were in their element.
I preferred to search for old lamps to rub to see if magic jeanies really exist. I was hoping for one like the blonde out of the 'I Dream of Jeanie' though all that appeared was smelly old turkish shopkeepers with broken calculators - too many zeros!
Had to throw in one of a Turkish Rug shop. The guy sitting on this chair had a pretty well developed sales line for Western tourists.
'Hello my friend, how can I rip you off!' Gold...
Next stop was Gallipoli, which all you Aussies and Kiwis on my mailing list will know all too well. For you Yanks, it's the site of Australia and New Zealand's bloodiest battle in World War 1 and the first time we'd fought under our own national flag. For you Poms, you dropped our soldiers on the wrong beach and we got slaughtered by the Turks. It's alright though, we make sure you get sunburnt, drunk and most likely get your wallet stolen when we drop you off at Bondi.
A very moving place that the Turks also highly value as a distinction of their national identity. And rightly so when you here that 10,000 Australians died there compared to over 80,000 Turks.
Next stop was the trail of the Romans as we explored the ruins of thousands of year old ancient cities down the West Coast.
No prizes for guessing where we were after this following image. This was the actual replica used in the movie donated by Hollywood to the city of Troy. Sorry girls Brad Pitt was nowhere to be seen.
A day or two touring ruins is enough to make you feel the need to get ruined though I swear it was Apple Tobacco in these Traditional Turkish Shish Water Pipes. That's Bong in Aussie.
We also got stick into a traditional Turkish drink Raki - similar to Ouzo though more like mouthwash in my books. I think my bro clearly agreed.
We spent our last day in a national park swimming and washing away the smell of lamb kebabs in the crystal clear waters of Kusadasi.
I reckon you can always tell how good a trip you've had by how easy you can sleep on the flight home. Good times all round!
Next stop Belgium for a 3day rock music festival on a farm an hour out of Brussels. Think Woodstock Euro style! Stay tuned and as usual love hearing your stories from back home so keep them coming!
Clint - email@example.com
Lisa - firstname.lastname@example.org