Basia Dudziak, former key account manager at cievents and 2018 inVOYAGER, is currently taking time out to travel the world and tick off her bucket list. And she’s sharing her amazing journey with us through her travel blog – Miss B Around The World. First up, she gives us an insight into her travels through Turkey…
An alluring mix of ancient-old culture, a rich variety of landscapes, mouth-watering food and incredibly beautiful and kind-hearted people – Turkey certainly has got it all. A brief but memorable trip to Istanbul a few years back had left me wanting to explore more and I could not think of a better gateway into the Asian chapter of my travels than a country that has so skilfully bridged the European and Asian continents and their cultures since time immemorial.
This time I picked four locations to fill my two-week itinerary, yet again the deeply embedded, overambitious nature of an event planner reared its ugly head, something I know I will have to ‘unlearn’ when working my way through Asia on local time.
Bodrum and Marmaris
First a much-needed sun, beach and sea therapy! Following a local insight and a great piece of advice from the MEPtur DMC, I picked Bodrum and Marmaris which proved to be an excellent choice for many reasons.
First of all, the scenery – I was actually blown away by how stunning the Turkish coastline is (sorry for my prior ignorance my beautiful Turkish friends, but better late than never). You will find the eye candy of azure coloured sea, golden sand beaches, great snorkelling for the marine life lovers, and top accommodations… Not to mention the first-class nightlife in Bodrum.
Another advantage – the tourism is predominantly domestic, always my preference (yes, quite ironic coming from a foreign visitor, I know). Also add to that list, prices that are kind to your wallet… What more can you want!
Pamukkale and the ancient ruins of Hierapolis
I worked my way up from the coast to visit the Instagram-worthy Pamukkale, an ancient spa site where the nature yet again has proven to be the best artist and created with its mineral rich waters the picturesque white travertines and pools cascading down the hill.
To those who do not travel ‘just for a pretty picture’ and are ready to cross it off their list in disdain straight away… hold your horses. Once you do climb the glistening ‘Cotton Castle (Pamukkale in Turkish)’ and squeeze through bus loads of Instagram loving tourists, you will discover a place that not many others bother to reach, the ruins of the ancient city of Hierapolis with its necropolis and the imposing theatre of Dionisios.
Now, this is genuine Indiana Jones stuff and at times you will feel like you have it virtually all to yourself. Also, you won’t be able to resist the majestic photo opportunity at the top of the ancient theatre… It will make you bow to its grandeur and the impressive history filling the air!
If you wait until sunset and work your way down the travertines, the majority of mass tours will have gone by then and you will be rewarded with the moonlit view which is a different spectacle altogether and somewhat like exploring the surface of the moon, it is really unique.
A sunrise view of Cappadocia whilst floating in a hot air balloon surrounded by dozens of other colourful globes flaring up with fire had long been a bucket list item of mine.
The dreamy landscape of Cappadocia peppered with mysterious caves and intriguing rock formations truly is a place like nowhere else and a hot air balloon ride is an absolute must when you visit, it is undeniably a breath-taking experience and one that will etch itself in your memories forever.
Ours was facilitated by the Atmosfer Balloons and the obligatory ‘hello, it’s my second day as a balloon pilot’ joke helped even the more nervous passengers ease themselves into the sky high journey (you’ve got to laugh as it’s too late to jump out of the basket at that point anyway).
There is also plenty more to see so make sure to reserve at least a few more days to take in the mesmerising landscapes of all the magical valleys, Goreme open air museum, the underground cities and so much more… It will let you take in the fascinating history of the place and get a glimpse into what it might have been like to live in a cave! And make sure to stay in one of many enchanting cave hotels for the complete experience.
Istanbul… Where the East meets West
This enthralling city that bridges the two continents has always held a key importance in the world’s history due to its significant location. It was my second visit after a few years when I had a chance to experience a fabulous incentive programme on a destination familiarisation trip facilitated by MEP Destination Business Solutions DMC and was left impressed by their excellent knowledge of the destination and operational expertise. I wanted to return ever since, so what better place to pick as a start to my Asian trip than a city where the East meets West.
Naturally, the iconic Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofía have to top your list, as well as getting lost in the wonderfully colourful Grand Bazaar. But… There is so much more to the city, so time allowing go about living like a local, staying in a real neighbourhood (the cool and hip Besiktas is my new favourite), getting lost in the little streets and hanging out at the resident food joints. To finish off make sure you get some relaxation and rejuvenation at the traditional Turkish baths.
I left this amazing country genuinely impressed with the variety of stunning locations and unforgettable experiences it has to offer and overwhelmed with the warmth and generosity of its people. Even before boarding the plane for my onward journey to Asia I already had a strong desire to return… And I know it’s just a matter of time before I will.