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The list of countries on my ‘must travel to’ list got one shorter in the summer of 2015, when I was finally able to explore the magical transcontinental country of Turkey.Along with my wife and our good friends with whom we previously travelled to Iceland with, I set off on a month long journey through Western Turkey armed with my trusty little Fuji XE-2 to document our adventures.  This was my first ‘big’ trip shooting nothing but my new mirrorless compact camera, but I wasn’t worried at all about leaving my big clunky Nikon gear behind.  This little camera is so easy to use, and has really performed well on my last few trips.

We didn’t know quite what to expect when we landed in Istanbul, to be honest.  In recent weeks leading up to our trip the news had been bombarding us with stories about the Syrian refugee crisis, and about the terrorist group ISIS gaining a foothold to the East of the country.  My wife was justifiably worried about what we might be faced with when we arrived, however those worries proved to be unwarranted as we were welcomed with open arms and big smiles from almost everyone we met along the way.

Our trip started out in the massive capital city of Istanbul, where we were staying in an Air BNB just off the touristy Istikal Avenue.  Our first few days were spent trying to acclimatize to the intense heat and humidity coming off the Bosphorus Sea, while we toured the amazing architectural wonders around every corner.  The Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque), the Hagia Sophia, the Basilica Cistern, the Topkapi Palace, the Grand Bazaar…so many wonderful sights within walking distance of each other!  I definitely gave my camera a workout here.

We boarded a flight off to the ancient ruins of Hierapolis & the travertine terraces of Pamukkale next, followed by a train and a bus to the ancient Greek city of Ephesus.  Our tours through the ruins were exceptionally hot, however it was absolutely worth it to study the Library of Celsus up close.  Around this point we decided we needed a bit of a beach break, and headed to the ultra-touristy town of Oludeniz so we could swim in the famous Blue Lagoon for a few days.  We had booked a paragliding trip over the Lagoon, and got all the way to the top of the mountain, before a clerical error canceled our flight and we had to bus back down to town again.  (Next time, we won’t leave it for the last day!)

The next stretch of our adventure we luckily booked well in advance!  We boarded a traditional Turkish gulet with a handful of other tourists from around the globe, and spent the next few nights sailing casually from Fethiye to Olympos, stopping along the way to swim in the pristine waters of the Turkish Riviera.  After a brief visit to Mount Olympos to see the chimaera flames, we boarded another flight to Goreme in Cappadocia for the last leg of our journey.

Perhaps one of the most stereotypical tourist activities when in Turkey is the sunrise hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia.  But it is stereotypical because it might just be one of the most magical sights in the world.  Hundreds of hot air balloons slowly rise from the dark Earth into the purple-red early morning sky, gently drifting up and down (and occasionally into neighbouring balloons), as they soar through the alien landscape below.  This ride was breathtaking…

We finished off our Turkish tour by renting a little car and driving through the Cappadocia region to visit the underground city of Derinkuyu, the Ihlara valley and the Uchisar Castle, before boarding a final flight back to Istanbul for a few days before heading home.  We had a wonderful time exploring this amazing country, and probably only scratched the surface of all that it offer.  These are just a few of my favourite photos from our trip, however, if you’d like to see our entire trip in all its detail please head over to view the entire collection at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/codename/collections/72157668126005982/.

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