My Travels in Turkey Part 2 – A Contribution From Our Old Friend, Allen Lai


We are grateful to Allen Lai for sending us the second part of his photo essay on his recent vacation in Turkey. He continues to relate his amazing travels through the country.

Safronbolu City

After Istanbul, we drove approximately 6 hours to Safronbolu city, another UNESCO world heritage site. Here, the appearance of the Ottoman period is completely preserved. There are not many modern buildings in the local area, and the residents still maintain a simple temperament.  History has left a deep impression here. With its typical buildings and streets, the city played a key role in the caravan trade since the 11th century.  Being here is like stepping back in time 600 years. It is more of a museum-city. Its cobblestone streets, hill houses and natural beauty are evidence of its worthiness of being declared a cultural asset, home of the precious saffron flower.

The Anitkabir Mausoleum

From Safranbolu, it’s another 3 hours to go to the capital of Turkey,  Ankara. There I visited the Anitkabir Mausoleum.

I mentioned earlier about the Turkish people being polite and educated. One person had a very strong influence in this. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881-1938) was an army officer who founded an independent Republic of Turkey out of the ruins of the Ottoman Empire. He then served as Turkey’s first president from 1923 until his death in 1938, implementing reforms that rapidly secularized and westernized the country. Under his leadership, the role of Islam in public life shrank drastically, European-style law codes came into being, the office of the sultan was abolished and new language and dress requirements were mandated. So to understand today’s Turkey, we have to start with this person.

The Changing of the Guard was an amazing and solemn ritual. My first thought was that the video had been intentionally slowed down but this is actual speed of the soldiers taking part (SGW).

Lake Tuz.

On the way to Cappadocia, we passed by Lake Tuz. (Tuz = salt) Lake Tuz was once the second-largest lake in Turkey. Flamingos flocked there to feed and nest and people visited to witness the pinkish lake.

Now, the lake rarely spans an area much larger than a puddle and is unfortunately in danger of desiccation. Still on a clear calm day, it casts a perfect reflection for tourist like me for that once in a lifetime travel photo.
Night, and we arrived at Cappadocia, a UNESCO site. It has existed since late 300 BC,. It is a place you have to see to believe. Seemingly plucked from a fairytale, the region has, in recent years, become something of an Instagram legend. With fairy chimneys, underground towns, the Göreme Open-Air Museum, cave hotels and a sky that becomes dotted with hot-air balloons at sunrise, there’s something ethereal about life in this pretty part of Turkey.
Full of excitement, I checked into a cave hotel. It’s not every day that one lives in the cave. But when in Cappadocia, do what Cappadocians have done for centuries, live in the cave.
The Yunak Cave Hotel
We checked into the Yunak Cave Hotel, one of the 5 star hotels here in the heart of Cappadocia. The moment I walked into the room, I said to myself, oh no, it can’t be!It’s a cave, there’s no window, no air-conditioning, no WiFi, wall to wall stones…. It’s nothing, but a cave. I complained to the manager who was very accommodating. Immediately, he showed me five different rooms. Then I realized, I actually had a much better room/cave. A one bedroom suite with approximately 800 sq. ft. 4 electric fans. When most are 100 sq.ft. I happily took the first key from the manager, thanked him profoundly and settled down for my next adventure. Here are the pictures of our room, what do you think?One piece of advice, if you are travelling here, think twice about staying in a cave hotel, especially those summer months. Life without air-condition in a unventilated cave, may not be as romantic as you think it is.  Well, What happens in Cappadocia stays in Cappadocia.





Stewart Goes Walkies is very grateful for this latest part of Allen’s travels through Turkey. His photos and descriptions certainly bring the country to life.

Thank you for visiting stewartgoeswalkies. I hope you enjoyed this post. Please feel free to leave a comment and, if you would like us to publish an adventure of yours, you can send it to

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Published by stewartgoeswalkies

Happily married man to a wonderful lady. Living in Hong Kong. In my younger days I enjoyed hiking, camping and rock climbing. I've trekked in the Himalayas and climbed Mt. Kinabalu in East Malaysia.

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