Plans for Russia and Turkey

My friend, Eric Boyd, left this comment on my Facebook wall regarding my trip:

That should be a lot of fun. Watch out for Gypsies though. I’ve heard they like to break into train compartments and rob you blind. But I’m sure in your case they will try to unzip your suitcase and find themselves fighting for their lives against an army of death-ray wielding nanobots;)

They’re actually going to be sporting 1.21 jigawatt lasers, not death-rays.

After talking to Jeff the other week, I called up Mr. Staples (Jeff’s dad) to ask about what travel agency they used. Mr. Staples referred me to Mir Corporation. I took a look at their packages, and they’re quite expensive ($5,000 for 10 days), plus their dates don’t line up with mine. They did, however, have some very useful information on their website.

I’ve received my official invitation, filled out the visa application, and had my visa picture taken last week. Today I sent everything, plus my cover letter and a $131 check in the mail to Dad. Dad will add my passport to the set and drop it off at the Russian Consulate in Downtown Seattle. It will take no less than six days to process it, so here goes nothing.

Russia

  • Moscow
    • The Central Museum of Armed Forces1
      70 ruble, or 30 ruble if I get the student discount, plus another 100 ruble so I can take photos
    • Kremlin Armory Museum
      700 ruble, or 200 ruble if I get the student discount
    • Cosmonautics Memorial Museum
    • The Polytechnical Museum at the Ilinsky Gates
    • Moscow State University Zoological Museum
    • Underground Moscow

Useful resources: http://www.moscow.info/

I also talked with my friend, Erin, who’s currently in Turkey. She gave me the low down on what’s what in Turkey.

  • Turkey
    • Istanbul (2 days-ish, Hackett did 4 days)
      • Grand Bizarre
      • Blue Mosque
  • Antalya
  • Ephesus (1 day)
  • Cappadocia (1-2 days)
  • Ankara
    • Capital
    • Turkish Aerospace Industries2

Erin also says I need to :

  • See a Whirling Dervish dance
  • Eat Gözleme and Kanafeh3
  • Read up on Atatürk
  • “Also, when in Turkey, you can’t miss out on a Turkish bath. Its a fairly odd experience at first, but you have to do it!”

Random thought, do I need a phone?


  1. http://www.cmaf.ru/eng/index_eng.htm 

  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_737_AEW&C#Turkey 

  3. Erin says, “kunefe, my favorite dessert…it rhymes with ‘tunafay'” 

6 Replies to “Plans for Russia and Turkey”

  1. Istanbul was difficult for me as a single white woman, but you’ll have a blast… don’t miss the Hagia Sofia or the Blue Mosque. If you have enough time, go to the newer districts of the city. Eat as much lamb as possible. You must go to the kofte place across from the Blue Mosque, it’s #12 I think, I’ll look up the name. Ask for the spicy chile sauce to go with your kofte. Rick Steve’s guide to the city did me right! The Spice Bazaar and Grand Bazaar are… overwhelming but fun and worth the fuss. Don’t buy the sausages or pastramis, they use a weird red dye and they just aren’t that good. Do buy cheese, the SMALL, firmer bites of Turkish Delight, and kunifey (if you can find it). Erin can tell you all about Antalya… Ismir and Marmaris were the other two places in Turkey I loved. Ismir is a big port city and Marmaris is a smaller, more touristy summer destination town right on the water. Really recommend you hit up Marmaris if you can, I spent one of my favorite days there.

    Do buy: cloth, and if you can ship it home, ceramic. I bought a carpet and I love it immensely, but it was super expensive and heavy to carry around on my trip. Do visit the harem at Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, it’s worth the extra TL. Don’t go out drinking with Turkish people you meet on the street in the tourist district, they ARE salespeople and they WILL try to sell you something at the least. Do stay at the Istanbul Hostel, it’s right by the Four Seasons and they treated me so well — comfy beds, internet access, nice friendly pub area in the cellar, and they’ll give you excellent hints about the city. Do take their hints.

  2. I don’t know about Turkey and Russia, but when I was in Albania and Azerbaijan I found that I could buy a pre-paid “disposable” phone with a set number of minutes on it and then could return the phone to the shop when the minutes ran out or when I was done with it. This is useful when trying to get in touch with people that you meet, because people over there tend to not have the same devotion to meeting at a specific place and time as we do here in the states. Things can be a bit more fluid.

    For contacting home, I usually found an internet cafe or someone’s house with Skype installed on a computer, and did it that way. It’s a lot more convenient than international calling cards and all that crap.

    My dad has also spent a lot of time in Russia, and I know some people that have travelled and lived in Russia and/or Turkey, so if you want any contact info let me know and I can get some names to you.

  3. Yeah, we need to talk Turkey. Would you fly or bus between all these cities? They are much further apart than it seems.

    If I were you I would skip Ephesus and Ankara. You can really get a sense of Turkey by simply spending your time in Istanbul and Cappodocia.

    I have hostel recommendations in Istanbul, and I agree–you MUST see the Hagia Sophia. You also have to go to Taksim. It is 10 minutes from the Sultanumet (sp?) where the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque are, but it has a COMPLETELY different feel and with that 10 minute drive you will get a real sense of the unique cultural reality that is modern Turkey.

    I loved Cappodocia, and I think you will too. I went to Ephesus but I actually found it was not all it is cracked up to be (and yes, that is coming from a theology major). Cappodocia has the really interesting Christian history going on, and you need at LEAST 2 or 3 days to see it. One of my biggest regrets was that I didn’t spend more time there, and we spent 3 full days there as it is. We didn’t go to Ankara because we were advised not to by many. People just said it wasn’t that much to see for as far out of the way as it is. Seriously, Turkey is WAY bigger than it seems. So…let’s talk more about this.

    1. What would you recommend for getting around Turkey? It sounds like Charlie will be joining me in Turkey, so there will be at least two of us. Buses sound pretty easy (according to Lonely Planet), but maybe not fast enough? Perhaps if we did them as an overnight?

  4. PS– Turkey is impossible to call out of if you do not have a phone or skype on your own computer. I had credit card problems and it was a HUGE problem because no one could help me call out of the country. So, a phone may be a good idea.

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