I’m going to spread the Contiki portion of our trip over a few posts as otherwise it would be ridiculously long! I had such a great time on Contiki and met some cool new people too. Unexpectedly, we were on a cruise ship! When we booked our trip (which was called the Golden Fleece), we both thought that we would be sailing on a small boat with only other contiki travellers, but instead we were on a huge cruise ship with the general public. It turned out to be a really unique experience. The cruise went to Turkey and then back through some of the Greek islands, starting and finishing in Athens.
We arrived to Athens late the night before and were to meet the rest of the group at 6pm so Jamie and I spend the day wondering the area around the hotel. Unfortunately I ended up with a bit of a tummy bug and went back to the hotel. I managed to snap these amazing photos of the view and the husband. That blue part on the hotel unfortunately isn’t a rooftop pool though, just an illusion!
We met up with the group and we went out for a Greek meal that I was too caught up with eating, drinking and talking to take any pictures. I did manage to take a couple a couple of snaps at Six d.o.g.s, a fantastic bar in Athens that does incredible cocktails. I do recommend!
This could be the only photograph we actually took on the boat! But we boarded the cruise the next morning and pretty much had to go straight into a safety drill. There was some confusion with our room as they thought we might be siblings, not a married couple so separated us. It was pretty hilarious. We then travelled to Istanbul which was beautiful!
The monuments in Istanbul are incredible, so incredibly beautiful. The blue mosque and the Hagia Sofia are truly breathtaking. I highly recommend a visit, perhaps a time when tensions aren’t so high however. We were there before the coup but I’ve heard it’s a little intense at the moment.
An interesting thing I learnt about Istanbul is that half is on the continent of Europe and across the river the city is on the Asian continent. The views across the river are absolutely stunning as well.
I love the cats just wondering around. It was the same in Greece, they are just everywhere! They are so friendly as well and just come up to you, looking for food.
The markets in Istanbul are absolutely intense, but really interesting to see. The Grand Bazaar is very same-same, there seems to just be a repeat of the same stock every few stores. The little bazaar (that I can’t remember the name of) from the few pictures above had an amazing spice and sweets store! The Turkish Delights were amazing!
The day after we cruised to Kusadasi which is apparently a popular tourist spot. We barely saw the town or port itself but spent a day touring around Ephesus, the remains of an ancient city. The history of the city is really interesting but unfortunately it was stinking hot and we were all hungover so probably didn’t take too much in. Something I wouldn’t rush to see again but I do recommend visiting if you’re in the area. I would do it as a tour as well as the history of it is really what makes it.
In the end I enjoyed the trip to Turkey and I feel like it’s a shame that we didn’t get to spend much time there. It was such a beautiful city and so different to what I’ve seen before. The tensions are pretty high there but I hope that it pulls through in tact.
Have you been there? What did you think about it?
Thanks for reading!