30 October 2010

Kashan - Iran

Well despite feeling pretty tired after sleeping on the hardest bed i have ever encountered whilst travelling we spent the day looking around the small town of Kashan.
Kashan has some of the best historical houses in Iran that were built around 200 years ago, these were pretty impressive with dozens of different rooms, doors and stained glass windows.
Wandering round this afternoon a helpful Iranian man chatted to us and helped us find the Fin Gardens just outside of Kashan, which was a good place to meet local young people and enjoy the fountains and relaxing atmosphere. 

28 October 2010

Tehran - Iran

Arrived early yesterday, off the overnight train from Tabriz, so wasted no time in finding a cheapish hotel in the South of Tehran.
This wasn't far from the Tehran Bazaar & Iman Khomeini Mosque; which we saw in the morning.  Had lunch in a park to get away from the traffic; general pollution & business of the city.
The Golestan Palace (built in the 19th century) complete with mirrored halls & a massive marble throne was then visited, aswell as the National Museum of Iran which had endless archeological treasures.
Sruggled quite abit to find any sense of nightlife in Tehran, eventually ended up in the newer part of town, with shops, fast food and a few restaurants, so then got the underground metro back to our hotel, where lots more Iranians wanted to chat to us.

Spent another day in Tehran 2day and took in the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art which had a very impressive exhibition on.  Have been more successful on finding good shopping and eating areas and sampled dizi (a traditional iranian stew) for tea.
 The scenes around Tehran, busy roads, and a surprising painted building below

25 October 2010

Tabriz - Iran

After a long day of travelling - a bus to the border in turkey, crossing the border formalities, a taxi to the Iranian town of Maku, and then a 4 hour bus ride - we made it to Tabriz.
Tabriz 1 of the large Iranian cities, has proved rather busy and a good introduction to Iran, as many of the locals have been inquiring "where are you from?", aswell as beeing friendly and wanting to speak to the tourists.
After a nice breakfast of fresh yoghurt, honey and Iranian bread, we walked round and saw the sights.  These include the Blue Mosque, which was badly damaged in an 18th century earthquake; but has been rebuilt, with some of the blue tiling and patterns still intact inside the mosque.
Have tickets for the evening overnight train to Tehran tomorrow, so will get to see the capital city then.

23 October 2010

Dogubeyazit - Turkey

At the last stop in turkey, a mere 30 km from the Iranian border, the small town of Dogubayazit.  Have been able to visit the palace that overlooks the town and also looks at Mt. Ararat (Turkeys highest mountain at 5000m).
 A typical turkish chicken kebab, with rice, chillis, tomatoes, onions and salad, not bad at all.
 The palace that overlooks Dogubayazit
The twin mineret mosque, the symbol of Erzurum.
Has been a good month in Turkey, and moving on so onto Iran tomorrow.

20 October 2010

Erzurum - Turkey

After a night in the capital city of Ankara we purchased tickets on the Dogu Express (not really very express) Train which winds all the way east.  Whilst it wasn't the quickest, it was a comfortable sleeper train and it did pass some great scenery through the mountains and countryside to get us to Erzurum 24 hours later.
Just arranging a friends Iranian visa here at the consulate before carrying on east towards the border.

16 October 2010

Goreme, Cappadocia - Turkey

Had a few days exploring around the bizarre landscape that forms Cappadocia.  All the chimneys and caves and towers of rock have formed from the softer tuff and volcanic ash being eroded leaving the varied landscape.
Had a good time exploring around the landscape and mountain biked around the entire area yesterday, then got up this morning to take shots of the countless hot air balloons that float over the landscape of a morning.

14 October 2010

Pamakkule - Turkey

The main attraction here was the incredible calcium carbonate (limestone) travertines that stretch out over and up the hillside.  There are several pools and water flowing down across the white cliffs and landscape that they form; which was brilliant to see, and walk up barefoot.
All of this leads up to the ancient roman ruins of Heiropolis, the town was well preserved after an earthquake covered it in ash many years ago.  The roman baths here have also been restored and it is possible to swim in the 37 degree heat of the mineral waters.
Took a long but not so bad overnight bus last night to reach Cappadocia this morning.

Bodrum - Turkey

Spent a couple of days enjoying the resort of Bodrum on the coast.  Sights including visiting the castle in the middle of the 2 bays that form the town with a great view out.  We also spent a day trip touring round on a boat emjoying the blue waters of the Mediterranean sea.

7 October 2010

Kusadasi - Turkey

Have worked our way south along the Aegean coast and are currently in Kusadaci - 1 of the more touristy and package holiday destinations.  That said though not too busy here this time of year now and it has an ok beach. So just relaxing here and enjoying some of the touristy irish bars, before going to a waterpark tomorrow.

The view in kusadaci, and then lunch - Gozleme - large savoury turkish panacakes, taste ok and very cheap

5 October 2010

Selçhuk & Ephesus

The ritual of a turkish shave for a couple of pounds

Visited the ancient roman ruins of Ephesus yesterday - complete with its grand theatre which was quite a sight!

2 October 2010

Selçhuk - Turkey

Have carried on workıng along the turkish coast and have just arrived in selçhuk to spend a few days and vısıt the ephesus ruins.
Stopped off in Izmır last night and despite being a large very busy city had a great view out to see with waterfront bars and restaurants.  The previous day we visited the lovely harbour village of Foça which also had a good view out over many small fishing boats into the bay.