目前分類:土耳其 Turkey (41)

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Although I am a fan of rail travel, I seldom travel around Turkey by train, because many of the places I wanted to visit cannot be reached by rail. Travelling by train in Turkey has something romantic and sentimental about it: it brings one back to the golden age of epic train journeys immortalised by films and novels, when the legendary Orient Express was the epitome of travelling in style.

Which is why I decided to take the opportunity to travel with the overnight sleeper 'Curukova Mavi Espress' from Ankara to Adana. Initially I had wanted to take the overnight sleeper train from Istanbul's Haydarpasa Station all the way to Adana, but this train has been suspended until autumn 2009 due to engineering works on the rail tracks between Konya and Adana. So I had to choose between going by sleeper train from Istanbul to Konya, then change to a day-time train to Adana; or to go via Ankara.


Haydarpasa Train Station, located on the Asian side of Istanbul, near Kadikoy. Haydarpasa Station also has its own IDO ferry terminal. There are regular ferries across the Bosphorous from Haydarpasa to Eminonu or Karakoy.

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下午到達 Antalya 之後,隨即換車到 33km 外的 Kemer.因為從未來過這裡,不知道會逗留多久,所以沒有預訂旅館,想說到了再找就有,反正 Kemer 是一個相當有名的度假小鎮,就算是一月淡季,應該還是會有幾間旅館或者民宿照常營業的吧??

沒想到在鎮上繞了半天,竟然找不到半間開門營業的旅館;眼看已經天黑了,街上的商店也關的差不多了;心裡開始緊張起來:難道要折回Antalya 過夜?但是真的很不甘願,都已經來到了Kemer....

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I must admit I am not fond of backpacker hostels or pensions geared towards international backpackers in Goreme. Thus whenever I visit Cappadocia, I choose to stay at one of the hotels in Urgup instead. There are several reasons why I prefer Urgup to Goreme:

1. I feel more 'normal' walking around in Urgup because until now, nobody tries to persuade me to buy something from them.

2. The kind of shops and restaurants available in Urgup are more 'normal' - i.e. they are those kind of shops that ordinary Turks do their daily shoppings, unlike those in Goreme, which cater only to foreign tourists and international backpackers.

3. In spite of the fact that hotels in Urgup are more expensive and more up-market than those in Goreme, prices for  dinner, grocery etc. are cheaper than in Goreme.

4. People working in the tourism sector in Urgup are, according to my experience, less pushy and less aggressive than those in Goreme.

Since Urgup is a far bigger town than Goreme, bus services to and from neighbouring Kayseri, Nevsehir as well as other towns and villages in Cappadocia are much more frequent and convenient than those available from Goreme. This means :the chance of foreign tourists being conned by taxi drivers or bus companies becomes less likely.

During my most recent visit, I stayed at Akuzun Hotel, in the centre of Urgup. The hotel is about 100m from Urgup bus station, 50m from the local hamam and shops. Price for single room (en suite with breakfast, balcony and free WiFi internet connection) costs 25 euro. The service is good, and they do not coerce you to buy any excursions from them. I did not book any tours with them yet they are still friendly and polite.


Comfortable and elegant sitting room with fireplace and traditional furnitures.


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Most people from outside of Turkey know about Konya because of the Mevlana Sect, the Whirling Dervishes and the 'Sema' dance ritual. The reason I decided to visit Konya has however less to do with the Mevlanas. Being an industrialised city (for Turkish standard at least), Konya is famous within Turkey for its religious conservatism. I am curious to find out if this is true: the best way to find out is to visit the city on my own.

My first impression of Konya is a favourable one: the people in the city are friendly and they help you find your way without asking anything from you (unlike their notorious neighbours in Cappadocia).

Tourist Attraction No. 1 in Konya: the Mevlana Museum (Entrance: 2 YTL as of 01/2009) The fact that  in Konya, everybody paid the same price for museum entrance regardless of your nationality, gives me an even better impression about this city.


Inside the Courtyard of Mevland Museum and the entrance to the Tomb of Mevlana Celebi and his disciples.


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After the overtly commercialised tourist haunt called Goreme in Cappadocia, it is such a welcoming relief to be here in Egirdir and to know that not all Turks think of tourists as nothing but a walking ATM.

The bus from the ancient city of Konya to Egirdir took about 3.5 hours, passing through some stunning sceneries: snow-capped mountain passes, green pine forests, fertile orchards and farmlands, then the serene view of Turkey's Lake Districts. If this were somewhere in Western Europe or Switzerland, I am sure the shores would be filled with thousands of luxury hotels, posh cafes, restaurants, and boutiques; but this being Turkey and Egirdir being a place still outside of ordinary tourist's or budget backpackers' radar (thank God for that!!!), the place retains the charm and peacefulness of a quaint little lakeside town. Prices are affordable, and level of service provided are good. Most important of all, the hospitality and friendliness expressed by local residents to foreign visitors are genuine, unlike in Goreme or Sultanahmet in Istanbul, where people greet you because they are trying to sell you something. (OK this might sound harsh, but it's not too far away from the truth...)


The town of Egirdir is well-known amongTurks for good seafood, especially fish. Local residents still go out to the lake with their small fishing boats and fish for themselves and for the restaurants that lined the island of Yesilada (Turkish: Green Island).

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Once in a while, I read about some tourists complaining about the lack of culinary variety in Turkey.  It seems there is a deep-lying (mis)conception that all you can eat in Turkey is doner, kebab and bread. This always makes me wonder: where have these guys visited during their visit and what have they been eating all the time? OK, although I would not go as far as to place Turkish cookings on the very top of my World Culinary Scale (for your information, the top 4 on the Scale being: 1. Italian 2. Thai 3. Indian 4. French), nevertheless Turkish cookings are delicious, nutritious and satisfying.

For those of you who ate nothing except doner kebab and bread throughout the whole time you were in Turkey, it's time to take a look at the following pictures I have taken during my latest visit to Turkey:


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To be honest, I did not like Alanya at all when I visited the town for the first time in the summer of 2004. I thought it was the worst place one could possibly go on a holiday: a town full of soulless modern concrete blocks, beaches packed with topless fat European pensioners eager to bake themselves brown in the sun, restaurants and bars serving bratwurst and sauerkraut to German tourists, and it was so hot I did not even want to go out in the afternoon.
And there were so many shops in Alanya selling cheap-looking counterfeit designer wears and bags; it seems turkish shop owners were all convinced that fake Gucci bags and Prada t-shirts are all that European holiday makers want to take home with them after their 2-weeks vacation in the sun.
Which is why I thought I would never ever visit Alanya again, until some Belgian friends of mine invited me to visit them in Alanya. My first reaction was 'Oh My God, no thank you, I had been there before and I don't want to go there again', but they kept reassuring me Alanya has become a much nicer place since my previous visit and I would give it another try.
Since I had nothing better to do then, I decided to accept their invitation and check out the town for a second time. Maybe the sunny, mild climate of mid-March does make a difference to the steaming hot sun of September, but Alanya in March is actually quite a nice place for a short visit ..............

The harbour of Alanya where boats leave for an 1-hour excursion of nearby coves and beaches. Unlike the Aegean coast, tourist season in Alanya lasts throughout the year. Average temperature in March is already 20 - 25 degrees Celsius during the day, which makes it the best time of the year to visit. Mass hordes of tourists will begin to arrive in April, reaching the peak in the summer months.

The town has a natural deep water harbour and a pictursque setting. During the summer months, there are weekly high-speed ferry to the port of Girne, Northern Cyprus, from Alanya.

Cleopatra Beach, Alanya: 傳說中 Alanya 是安東尼送給埃及艷后克麗歐佩特拉的結婚禮物,兩人還在此地渡蜜月,

Most European holiday makers come to Alanya for the white sandy beaches and the warm sea. One of the most well-known destinations is the Cleopatra Beach (picture above), named after the Ancient Egyptian Queen. Legend has it that Alanya was the wedding gift presented to Cleopatra by her lover, Marcus Antonius, and both of them spent their honeymoon in Alanya. Hence the name 'Cleopatra Beach'. What is also true is that the Egyptians hacked off most of the forests in the mountains near Alanya and ship the timbers back to Egypt.

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The first time I came across the idea of visiting Ayvalik was while I was on a Turkish Airlines domestic flight from Istanbul to Ankara. In THY's inflight magazine was an article about the life of 20th century Turkish Fauvist painter Fikret Muallâ Saygi (1903-1967), and I was immediately attracted to the bright, bold colours and expressive emotions of his works. In one of the photographs published in the article, the painter was shown to stand near the harbour of a small village with some pretty Greek houses in the background. The photo was taken while Saygi was teaching at a school in Ayvalik soon after his return from Europe. The little village in the photo seems so peaceful and picturesque, it aroused my interest immediately.
However, it would take me another 2 years or so before I could finally accomplish my intention of visiting Ayvalik and the nearby archipelagos.

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Being a frequent visitor to Turkey and someone who has stayed in the country for an extended period of time on several occasions, it is always interesting to observe Turkey and the Turks from a close range.
To live among ordinary Turks is quite an enlightening experience. It gives me the opportunity to see a side of Turkey unknown to package tourists or seaside resort visitors.
Not many people outside of Turkey know that Turkey has one of the toughest high school and university entrance examinations systems in the world. Every year tens of thousands of students enter the OSS and OKS examinations and fight for a limited number of places - around 15% of the total number of candidates entering the exmainations each year - at one of the country's state universities and high schools. The tests are based on a series of multiple choice questions, to be answered within 3 hours. The results of these two examinations alone will determine if a student will go to the high school/university of his/her choice, as well as the subject he/she is allowed to study.
Given the extremely limited number of places available, it is hardly surprising that 'cram school culture', normally assoicated with countries with the highest stress factors in the world - notably Japan and Korea - also flourish in Turkey. Turkish school children attend cram schools - called 'private schools' or 'private lessons' in Turkey - after normal school hours, during which they will revise examination topics from previous years, learn to memorise important examination questions and improve their exam technique. To the Turkish students,  success at state examinations will determine their future once and for all. Anyone who wish to enter highly regarded course of study or prestigeous schools will have to undergo intensive after-school 'private tuition' exercises in order to have a fair chance of success at state examinations.

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In this essay, I will discuss an interesting phenomenon - the issue of male Turkish love rats.

A love rat is somebody who cheats someone of love and money. Actually such 'love rats' can be found all over the world in every single country. But why is it that Turkey - and to a certain extent, men from countries in the Middle East as well as South Asia - are especially well-known for this 'crime'?

And why is it that we seldom heard of male love rats from countries like the US, UK, Canada, Europe etc.?

My argument is that love rats are a by-product of societies in which income disparity prevails and where the majority of the people are prevented by immigration legislation to seek better-paid jobs in foreign countries.

1. The issue of poverty, unemployment and lack of opportunity
Many people who visit Turkey actually have very little idea about the socio-economic conditions of the country. Most people only spend a few weeks in Turkey and the places they visit are either big cities  with plenty of tourist attractions, such as Istanbul or Antalya; one of the tourist places in Central and Eastern Anatolia, or on the country's western and south-western coast.
Most of the European tourists who visit Turkey - pardon me if I say this - are from the working-class background or the lower-middle class background in their home countries. They visit Turkey on an all-inclusive package holiday, do not travel to different cities of Turkey during their visit, and spend most of their time staying within the confines of their holiday hotel or resorts. Many of them do not speak Turkish and do not bother to venture outside of the resort town at which they spend their holidays.
This means: the only Turkish they will ever come to meet are those who speak foreign languages and who work in the tourism industry, namely: hotel staffs, carpet shop/jewellery shop owners, travel agents, waiters, restaurant owners, etc. It is highly unlikely that they will ever meet any ordinary Turkish folk who is not working in any of the above professions, because ordinary Turkish people, who have not lived abroad before, do not usually have a good command of English or other major foreign languages. The presence of language barrier among ordinary Turks and most foreign visitors, coupled with the lack of opportunity for tourists to get to know locals who work outside the tourism business, explains in part the reason why most love rats stem from those who work in the tourism sector).

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是以一張5YTL來計算 (2006年價格,American Express USD 旅行支票,土耳其Garanti Bankasi所收的手續費-其他的銀行手續費也一樣,可能還更貴),而不是以兌換總額的百分比來計算.

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Kas is a little fishing village about 180km southwest of Antalya. Its most famous landmark is the Lycian tombs that still stand in the middle of the town. The town of Kas has a pretty setting, with imposing Taurus Mountains in the background, and beautiful Kekova Bay around the corner.

A traditional Lycian rock tomb in the middle of Kas's Old Town. Pretty Ottoman houses lined the narrow streets in the centre of Kas.

I really like the little balcony of these traditional houses. Nowadays most of the old houses in Kas have been converted into pubs, shops and restaurants catering to the booming tourist trade. When I visited Kas in February 2008, it was still in the off-season, thus most of the shops and bars were still closed.

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一般的人一想到'土耳其逛街血拼',大概會立刻想到水煙管,蘋果茶,地毯,奧圖曼風格瓷器,皮大衣,以及 Grand Bazaar 與 Egyptian Spice Market 所賣的那些可能只有觀光客才會買的東西.

A) 伊斯坦堡買精品
那麼, 土耳其有哪一些值得推薦的牌子?

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Walking on the streets of Bozcaada reminds me of Lemnos (Limnos), the Greek island not too far away west of Bozcaada. Both places have a very typical North Aegean flaire, with wind swept cliffs, rocky pebble beaches, brightly coloured houses and a very wild, rugged landscape.

I love the stark sense of contrast and solitude as expressed by this photo.

A while ago there were talks of a direct sea link using passenger ferries between Bozcaada and Mytilini, Lesbos, but the plan fell through at the last minute, because the Turks refused to open up Bozcaada for international traffic, citing the lack of customs facilities at the little harbour. Unconvincing as the excuse was, it was evident to anyone with some knowledge of the troublesome not-so-distant history between Greece and Turkey that any direct sea traffic between Bozcaada and Greek territory would bring back problematic memories of events in the 1920s.

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Bozcaada - this small island plays an interesting role in the geopolitics of Northern Aegean. One of the two bigger Turkish islands in the Aegean, Bozcaada is located off the coast of Turkey, near the strategic point of entry to the Dardanelle and the Sea of Marmara.
Bozcaada - still known in Greece by its Greek name of Tenedos - was already under Greek rule when the First World War broke out in 1914. However, in the aftermath of Greece's defeat by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's Turkish republican army in 1922, the island of Bozcaada and Gokceada (Greek name=Imbros, just off the western coast of Gallibolu Peninsula) were handed over to Turkey as part of the peace settlements. Under the conditions set out in the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923, Greek-speaking residents of Tenedos and Imbros were exempted from the compulsory population exchange that had affected millions of people all over Greek Asia Minor and the eastern Aegean.

Because of the island's strategic location, a castle and fort had been constructed by the Venetians who held the island prior to the arrival of the Ottomans to ensure the control of shipping movements in and out of the Dardanelles. For a brief spell during Greece's War of Independence, Bozcaada was 'liberated' by the Greek army prior to its return to Turkish control in 1923.
The Venetian Castle of Bozcaada is also the island's most famous landmark. There are still some Greek-speaking citizens of Turkey on Bozcaada, although their numbers have decreased dramatically since the 1960s. Most of them have left for Australia or return to Greece. Those who chose to remain are usually older people.

Due to Bozcaada's Greek heritage, there are many pretty old houses in the town centre with a Greek touch. This one is the Ege Hotel, which used to be a Greek primary school.

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The Aegean town of Ayvalik and the surrounding villages are known for their excellent olives. The region around Ayvalik is one of the biggest centres of production in Turkey of top-grade olive oil.  But the town also has a long history, an interesting heritage, and is a popular seaside resort for Turkish tourists.

The harbour front of Ayvalik: this part of Aegean is very windy, even in the summer. There are direct ferry services to and from Mytilini, capital of the Greek island of Lesbos. However, schedules are prone to change and/or cancellations due to strong winds and rough seas, even in the summer. There are also direct ferry services 2-3 times a week from Mytilini to two other Turkish ports: Dikili (south of Ayvalik) and Foca (near Aliaga and Izmir).

Like so many other towns and villages on the Turkish Aegean coast, Ayvalik used to be a predominatly Greek-speaking town, before the enforced population exchange of 1923 changed the lingustic landscape of the region. While Greek-speakers were resettled on other Aegean islands, Turkish residents of northern Greece (near present-day Thessaloniki and the Greek province of Macedonia) moved to Ayvalik. Thus it is not uncommon to hear Greek spoken on the streets, even though the speakers are ethnic Turkish Muslims.
Many city dwellers from Istanbul visit Ayvalik on weekends to enjoy fresh seafood and run away from the bustling life in a big city.

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Assos is an ancient harbour town on the Northern Aegean coast, just 2 miles down the hill from the Roman ruins of Behramkale. It was founded by settlers from the Greek island of Lesbos. Do not confuse this Assos with its namesake in Greece: the Assos you are going to read about is located in present day Turkey, about 1.5 hour by bus from the city of Canakkale.

There are several nice boutique hotels in the small harbour of Assos. Most of the people that stay overnight at one of the nice hotels are well-off tourists from overseas who are on a private tour on the way to Izmir and Central Anatolia. Assos is a favourite stop due to its stunning scenery, the relatively well-preserved Roman ruins on the hill top, and the fact that it is located just 1.5 hours by bus from the city of Canakkale. After a long day visiting all the War Memorials on the Gallipoli Peninsula, it is a good way to unwind at this small village.

Local Police Station (Jandarma). In Turkey, Jandarmas (equivalent to Gendarmarie in France) are the para-military forces responsible for security in country districts in Turkey. Here is the Jandarma Office in Assos, located in a traditional building.

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Ever since time immemorial, Bodrum (Halikarnassos) has been well-known for its ship-building industry. Seafaring boats made of wood according to traditional methods are known as gulets. In the past, these boats were used by merchants to transport goods from one Aegean town to another; nowadays. they cater to tourists who spend hundreds of euros on an all-inclusive seven-day 'Blue Voyage' up the famous Gokova Bay.

Colourful fishing boats in the Old Harbour in front of Bodrum Town Hall. From here, there are taxi boat services in the summer (May-October) to Bardakci Bay every 10-15 minutes, where you can swim in the sea and enjoy a splendid view of the Castle. The taxi boat service starts at 08:00 in the morning and last boat is at 23:00 in the night.

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Es ist gut moeglich, dass Mascha die folgende Aussage nicht zustimmt, aber M40 fuehlt sich troztdem im Bodrum wohl zu Hause ....

Our favourite seaside town in Turkey is actually Bodrum (although we are not party people). In ancient times, Bodrum is known as Halikarnassos, where one of the Ancient Seven Wonders of the World, the Mausoleum, once stood.

Traditional boats 'Gulets' in Bodrum's Old Harbour. In the background is the St. Peter's Castle.

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於西元前七世紀, Side 位於 Antalya 東方大約一個小時車程的地方,是一個濱海小鎮,也是古希臘與古羅馬時代一個非常重要的港口城市,經手的貨品包括橄欖油和奴隸貿易. Side 這個名字的意思是石榴 (pomegranate). 歷經 Lycian, 波斯帝國,亞歷山大大帝, 羅馬帝國, 拜占庭等等朝代的統治, Side城區,處處充滿了古羅馬時代的大理石雕刻與建築.

大多數的景點都集中在 Antik Side 那一帶,最著名的就是靠海的Temple of Apollo 遺址.
Side is situated about an hour outside the city of Antalya. The town of Side is divided into two parts:modern Side and Antik Side. Most of the sights are located within the Antik Side district.
Although Side could get fairly touristy in the summer months, in winter it is a dainty quiet little town full of beautiful ancient ruins dated from the Hellenistic era and the Roman times.
One of the most famous landmarks of Side is the ruins of the Temple of Apollo right on the edge of the ancient town, just a few minutes' walk from the harbour. Built in the 2nd century A.D., the Temple is a fine example of Roman marble architecture. The remaining columns stand majestically against the backdrop of blue sea and blue sky. In the evening, the view of sunset across the vast ocean was stunning. Someone calls it 'the most romantic place' in Side, as lovers hang out after dark and adore the beautiful view of the moon over the Temple and its reflection on the sea.
Temple of Apollo 側面照:建於公元二世紀, Apollo 神廟的羅馬式建築廢墟靜立在海邊. 傍晚時分,這裡是情侶們最喜歡 '曬月亮' 的地點, 被當地居民稱為 Side 最浪漫的地方. 

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