A Travellerspoint blog

Turkey: Efes

The ancient city of Ephesus

sunny 29 °C

Ephesus, as one of the historical places in Turkey, is definetely a place you should consider going. I stayed for a night in Selçuk, a quiet little town easily accessible by train from Izmir and a nice base to explore the region. You can also reach it by bus and by dolmus (minivan) from places like Kusadasi (which I visited on the following day). From my pension, I walked to the ruins of St. John's Basilica. The ticket costs 10 TL and also allows you to visit Selçul castle. The basilica was built around the 6th century on the place where John (the so called Jesus favorite disciple) lived and wrote the gospel and the apocalypse. On the site the is a supposed tomb of his. As to the castle, is served as a base for the travellers and merchants during the middle ages. Here they were welcome and given all the best so they would return with their businesses.
After visiting the area, and after a dürüm for lunch, I headed to Efes. It is quite a walk, so if you want to save your legs you can catch a taxi or dolmus there. The historical site is one of Tukish most known and is really big and gives you a very detailed notion of an ancient roman city (although a bit expensive - 30 lira), I would recommend it to all ruin lovers :-)
If the weather is good, take the 30 min trip to Kusadasi, which I did. Nice beaches and lots of pubs, restaurants and hotels from every taste make this a common destination for foreign tourists (the city is also a cruise ship destination so is frequent to see a cruise ship in the harbour).

Next stop: Pamukkale

Posted by danics 09:10 Archived in Turkey Tagged ruins turkey roman ephesus kusadasi selcuk efes Comments (0)

Turkey: Izmir

The metropolis by the sea

sunny 26 °C

I just left Izmir. The city transmits a feeling of the modern mixed with the old. I recommend it.

After a quite comfortable ride on the bus from Istanbul, although long enough to numb my muscles (around 9 hours, 65-80 turkish liras), I arrived in the dawn to Izmir. A bit disoriented, it took me a while to understand how to get to the city center. Finally, I hopped on a bus towards a more central location (the driver was nice enough to let me ride without a ticket). I wandered throughout the empty and still asleep streets and rested in the park, where I talked a bit with a turkish fellow. After checking in into the hostel, I visited the bazaar, as well as the whole shopping district (which is huge). A place where you can buy almost anything.

Other touristic sights in Izmir include the Agora, a piece of Roman legacy in the city and the symbol of the city - the clock tower. If the weather is good (a common thing in Izmir, from what I've read), you can have a walk by the sea or catch the boat to the other side of the bay (2 liras). I tried some turkish food and I must say that Turkey has one of the best street food I've tried!

I'm on my way to Selçuk, from where I'll be visiting Efephesus.

Posted by danics 23:29 Archived in Turkey Tagged turkey izmir agora bazar Comments (0)

Late updates

It's been a while since I've posted here on the blog.
That doesn't mean I haven't been travelling, it's just that I've been lazy :-) so my apologies
May was the time for a week vacationing in pretty Belgium. Brugge has left me quite stunned and Antwerp and Brussels both had something to offer as well. Also in May, I went to visit a friend in Birmingham, city which I hadn't visited before. It is pretty in its own way, with a walk along its canals as must-do.
Later, in June, was the time for the yearly visit to the Azores, one of Portugal's wonders (I'll post some photos later).
My girlfriend suggested that we visit Genova (where she lived for a few months) to visit friends and savour italian food, so I accepted her suggestion with much enthusiasm. We had lovely weather, and lots of fun.
As to the present, I am on my way to Izmir, where I'll start a few weeks journey through Turkey, Iran (and maybe Armenia and Georgia too). I'll be updating the blog on a more regular basis.

Posted by danics 02:34 Comments (0)

Back to Dublin

The Guinness tour

sunny 17 °C
View Dublin 2014 on danics's travel map.

I'd enjoyed my previous trip to Dublin, so upon receiving a new invitation from my friend who lives there, I decided to buy a couple of tickets (for me and my girlfriend) and go visit him and this lovely city for the weekend.
My friend works at the Google office (as do many people in Dublin), so he took us the visit his workplace. These folks really know how to create a great working environment!
We were lucky with the weather, as it was really sunny for 2 out of 3 days we were in Dublin.
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The city has many things to offer to its visitors. We went to the National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology (with free entrance), a beautiful building which contains an exhibition of some of Ireland's archaeological treasures and to the Trinity College, where some of the teachers were giving very interesting speeches about what the University has to offer.
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A trip to Dublin wouldn't be complete without a proper pint of Guinness. So, we decided to visit St. James Gate, Guinness original brewery and now a big museum. The ticket was quite expensive, but is nice museum if you like Guinness and want to learn a bit more about it (and they give you a "free" pint).
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Next day, between shopping and sightseeing, me and my friend went to try a proper pint of Guinness at Mulligan's, one of the city's oldest pubs. Although it was too early in the day, some of the regulars where already arriving for a drink.
In the afternoon, we still had time to take a train to Bray and climb the hill for a short walk, enjoying the nice view.
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After returning to Dublin, we went to grab a bite, at one of the Burger places (of course, after another pint of Guinness :) ) and enjoy our last night in Ireland.

Posted by danics 11:33 Archived in Ireland Tagged sea walking ireland dublin guinness pint Comments (0)

Cuba - Part 3: Trinidad

Cuba's Museum city

The trip to Trinidad was indeed a lot different from the "camión experience". The main difference wasn't the comfort though, it was the percentage of tourists. Germans, Americans, Spanish, etc. It seams that everywhere you go in the world you'll find them. So I started chatting with an American lady and learning about her trip (and how "complicated" it can be for a US citizen to visit Cuba). The trip took about 11 hours (the Viazul bus is both slower and stops more often than the camión) and we arrived into Trinidad, a small city near the sea, in the southern coast of Cuba.

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For the first time during my visit to Cuba, it rained. And it really rained. First, it was really hot, so I decided that it was a good idea to go to the beach (Playa Ancón). But while I was waiting for the bus to arrive, the rain started. So, waiting there in the pouring rain I was almost reconsidering about going to the beach anymore. But then I thought "if it's raining, it won't hurt to be at beach". So I just went there and I think it was the best idea I had. The cloud still hadn't come there, so it was sunny when I arrived. The beach, simply amazing and the sea water hot. So I spent the afternoon there and almost 90% of the time inside the water (also because it started raining at the beach too, so I preferred to stay warm inside the water).
At the end of the afternoon, I went back to Trinidad (30 mins by bus). I ate dinner at a nice restaurant, where the owner spoke many languages (a rare thing in Cuba) and was entertaining the guests telling the story of how he opened his restaurant.

Next day: beach again. Playa Ancón had impressed me so I was ready to go back.

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The beach was excellent yet again. So were the mini mosquitoes that came to attack all the turists that were waiting for the bus afterwards. The sun was setting beautifully, but the mosquitoes were not nice at all. Finally the bus came and we managed to "escape".

That night was Valentine's night and all the restaurants seemed to be filled with couples enjoying that special evening. I met my American friend from the bus and we decided to go eat dinner together, but it wasn't that easy to find a cheap and good place. Finally, we found a spot were the food was good as was the music. And we didn't pay much.

The owner of the casa particular that I was staying in Trinidad was a taxi driver, so he had arranged a shared taxi for me next day to Havana. It was another good way of traveling as the price was the same as Viazul and it was faster and more comfortable. We arrived in Havana 4 hours later.

I enjoyed returning to Havana. At that time I was already a bit more "cuban" than on my first stay. I new more places and more people. I'd decided to go to the Book Fair, a good call. I took a full public bus there (the public busses in Havana always travel full and cost 0.01€). The Book Fair in Havana takes place once a year inside the two fortresses on the east shore of the bay. The crowd was really big, but I could see one of the main events for Cubans.

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It was may last day in Havana and next day was time to go home. So, after I got back from the fair, I enjoyed a nice dinner on a fancy touristy restaurant and finally tasted "Ropa Vieja" (shredded beef - one of the most typical cuban recipes).
Next day it was time to get back home. I got to the airport early (I took a bus to Santiago de Las Vegas and a taxi from there - a much cheaper option).
The flight was not as comfortable as the inbound one, but at least it was faster.

I wish I had more time to visit this big country where people are so warm. Hope to get back there one day :)

Posted by danics 09:39 Comments (0)

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