I apologize for not updating very much recently, but I've been busy doing other things, namely having fun.
I will give a more in depth post on what I have been doing in Istanbul in the next couple weeks, but know that I'm having a blast.
For the past week though, I have been away from Istanbul. It is the week of Bayram, which is the Muslim Feast of the Sacrifice. For the holiday, people of means are expected to sacrifice a lamb and then give 80% or more of the meat to the needy. In a way, it's similar to the American Thanksgiving, as everyone returns to their hometowns and enjoys big feasts with their families. More importantly for me, however, it means that I get the week off of school.
We had been planning a sweet trip to the Greek isles but due to some visa issues, we realized at the last minute that we would not be able to go. So, just two days before break began, two friends and I sat down and in a frantic and crazed two hours booked flights and hotels to the southern Mediterranean coast of Turkey.
This is Sam, one of my travel buddies, melting down when we couldn't figure out how to book flights on the Turkish websites.
In the end, we conquered the Internet and booked a 7-night stay in Kalkan, a gorgeous fishing village along the coast. From there on out all we did was have fun.
This is Kalkan. Fun fact: Aristotle and Plato were both born in this part of the Turkish coast. At the time it was obviously controlled by Greece, but I feel smarter just being near where those two came from.
We ended up getting lucky and found a very cheap hotel that had a gorgeous view.
We spent three consecutive days lounging at the beach, a personal record for me, which I will admit almost drove me crazy. The beaches were lovely but I needed more action.
Fortunately, Kalkan is along the Lycian Way. The Lycian Way is a two week long hiking trek that is very popular as it takes you along the coastline, past millennia old ruins, and through some of Turkey's best landscapes. It has already been added to the Griff Bucket List (which has been growing at an alarming rate in the past few months).
I was able to talk the group into doing a short hour as a half long stretch of the hike that took us out to a hidden little beach. It was really a beautiful hike, but I'll let the pictures do the talking.
The Lycian Way is dotted with Ancient Greek sarcophagi, that date back at least 1000 years, there are so many of them that....
You are allowed to crawl up on top of them.
Plus the sunsets are killer.
We did have one rainy day, but it ended up being a highlight in its own right. We wandered the coastline in the rain and them jumped in the water because it was actually warmer than the air around us.
We spent the rest of the day chilling in the hotel, and I didn't even make it out of my towel until dinner time.
From then on my lust for activity prevailed. We spent one day sea kayaking and it was gorgeous. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the activity, I was unable to take any pictures, but it was a ton of fun.
But it was the next day that was the highlight of it all for me. I rented a bike from a travel agent and took to the hills. I hadn't been on a bike since I was in Budapest, which means it had been about 2 months since I was last on two wheels (it would be dangerous and reckless to try and ride in Istanbul), easily the longest stretch in my lifetime.
I spent five hours in the saddle (which I regretted the next day, as I didn't have a shammy) and rode as far uphill as I could. These are all images from the ride:
I got plenty of strange looks from locals as I made my way further into the rural hillside villages. But many smiled bright at the foolish tourist and they offered me freshly picked pomegranates and pears for fuel.
I even brought Dad along.
I am back on my way back to Istanbul now, but I have plenty more travel plans lined up, and I promise to be more diligent about keeping this thing updated.
Here are some more pics: