Vacation Notice

Because not everyone is a regular reader:

I am on vacation in Europe until August. Fear not, though, I’ll still be posting stuff. You can read about my travels around Europe right here on Andrew Ferguson dot NET. You can also view my photos related to the trip on flickr. Or just check out the most recent ones on an interactive map.

In other news, I will not be answering any programming questions because I don’t have my programming computer with me. Email will also be slower because, well, I’m on freaking vacation.

Also, I don’t have my cell phone with me. So don’t bother calling.

Note: This is a sticky post I’m back now.

Dateline: Samos, Day 2 – Exploring the Island of Samos

Samos, Greece
30 June 2009

Batteries fully recharged, we (Cecilie and the Three Musketeers) started the day early. The plan was to rent either two mopeds or one car, with the former prefered because it was cheaper (by just a couple of Euros). We walked into town and the consensues between Anthony (from ISTA), my understanding of Greek and European Union laws, and, most importantly, the rental agency, was that we would have to rent a car becuase I did not have an International Driving Permit.

So it was. We got some groceries for breakfast and lunch and were on our way to explore Samos. Pedro, who was the most flamboyant man I have ever met, had recommended some places to visit, and, with marked-up map in hand, we were off.

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18.0 mm || 1/200 || f/3.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70

The first stop was to get some petrol, as rental cars, at least in Greece, come with an empty tank. We drove along the coast, eventually coming to the river where we could walk up to some waterfalls.

The walk quickly turned into a river excursion. Getting past the first waterfall with everyones bags was an interesting feat. The deep water at the bottom made positioning difficult. Charlie was able to climb to the top of the water fall and, with some careful positioning, the rest of us were able to pass our bags up to him before climbing up ourselves.

The second waterfall proved a bit more difficult and everyone, save me, dumped their bags in a small, dry rock cropping. I slipped the rain-jacket on my camera bag and prayed that I didn’t fall.

We wandered up the river more, passing three more waterfalls. We were able to jump off a couple of them, but the others were too dangerous to jump from, either because of proximity to other rocks or lack of depth at the bottom.

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50.0 mm || 1/400 || f/4.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
, Aegean, Greece


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, Aegean, Greece


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, Aegean, Greece


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, Aegean, Greece


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, Aegean, Greece


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, Aegean, Greece


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, Aegean, Greece

When we got back to the bottom, we were famished. We drove in search for a place to eat near the sea, such as a beach, and ended up driving to the end of a commercial pier, which was amazing! No one seemed to care (just try doing that in the US of A) and so we sat on the ledge of the breakwater, eating warm homemade sandwiches, throwing bits of ham, cheese, and bread to the schools of fish below our dangling feet. Afterwards, we dove off the end of the pier in the warm Aegean Sea.

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Karlovasi, Aegean, Greece


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Karlovasi, Aegean, Greece


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Karlovasi, Aegean, Greece


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Karlovasi, Aegean, Greece

It was picturesque.

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Karlovasi, Aegean, Greece

We continued to explore the island of Samos. We drove up and over the island to the back side, stopping in a small town along the way to get some dessert.

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Ayios Konstandinos, Aegean, Greece


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Ayios Konstandinos, Aegean, Greece

Once on the backside of the island, I settled down for nap on the beach while everyone else walked around town.

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Pythagoreio, Aegean, Greece

Not wanting to miss another amazing sunset, we headed back for our side of the island and returned the car. We walked alongside the pier as the sun set in the distance. Another amazing day capped by another amazing sunset.

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70.0 mm || 1/400 || f/4.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Samos, Aegean, Greece


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Samos, Aegean, Greece

Back at the hotel, we all hung out – Cecilie and the Three Musketeers – one last time before heading off to bed. Charlie and I would have to get up early to make our sailing for Paros.

Dateline: Samos, Day 1 – Down Day

Samos, Greece
29 June 2009

Well, last night I ended up not going straight to bed. First, I wanted to get some blogs posted (still playing catch, ugh). Second, Charlie needed to call his bank to get his withdraw limit changed. And then Caitlin1 called on Skype, so I had to let the two love birds talk.

In any event, I got to bed around 3am, just in time to get four hours of sleep. We woke up, packed, had a quick breakfast, and walked down to ferry. We went through customs easily enough and were off on the ferry to Greece.

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18.0 mm || 1/1600 || f/4.0 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Kusadasi, Aydin, Turkey

I spent the first part editing photos on the outside desk, before getting tired and dozing off. I spent the last half wishing I had something more to eat. I did “splurge” on two sandwiches, a €1.80 ham and cheese toast sandwich for breakfast, and a €3.80 ham and cheese and lettuce sandwich for lunch. Neither were filling.

Meanwhile, Charlie had found Finn and Cecilia elsewhere on the ferry.

We disembarked in Samos and promptly found food and, with the help of Anthony and Pedros at ISTA, a hotel.

I ended up calling in a down day and spent the afternoon in the hotel room recharing my batteries, so to speak, while Charlie, Cecilie, and Finn went exploring.

We met back at the hotel for an amazing sunset dinner before heading to the roof to enjoy the evening. Charlie thought that we should come up with a name for our group. After some discusion, it was settled: Cecilie and the Three Musketeers (Finntaro, The Hawk, and Ferg).

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200.0 mm || 1/1600 || f/5.6 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Samos, Aegean, Greece


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70.0 mm || 1/400 || f/4.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Samos, Aegean, Greece


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Samos, Aegean, Greece


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18.0 mm || 1/50 || f/4.0 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Samos, Aegean, Greece


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18.0 mm || 2.5 sec || f/4.0 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Samos, Aegean, Greece


  1. Charlie’s girlfriend 

Dateline: Kusadasi, Day 1 – Ephesus

Kusadasi, Turkey
28 June 2009

The original plan was to take the bus to Selcuk and stay at the ANZ Guesthouse. The new plan, that Ali (from Mavi Guesthouse) gave me, was to go past Selcuk to Kusadasi. Ali (from Panorama Hotel, aka Ali II) would pick us up at the bus station.

The new plan didn’t really work though. We got kicked off the bus in Selcuk (because that’s were I said we were going…I probably should have said Kusadasi). We found a bus to take us to Kusadasi, however it dropped us off somewhere in town, not the hotel.

So we started walking. After asking a couple of people on the street, we finally found Panorama Hotel. Ali II wasn’t too pleased that we weren’t at the bus station as he had waited over an hour at the bus station. I explained our situation and everything seemed fine…more or less.

We grabbed lunch (as it was well past breakfast time at this point) and took a bus back towards Selcuk to visit Ephesus.

Getting to Ephesus is actually kind of interesting. It’s about three kilometers outside of Selcuk and there’s no bus (at least from Kusadasi) that goes all the way to Ephesus. Instead, you get dropped off on the side of the road and can either negotate with a taxi driver or walk the kilometer to the entrance. Being strapping young men with a budget, we opted for the latter.

Ephesus was pretty amazing, and it damn well should be considering we paid 20YTL1 each to get in. It was also one of those super touristy things to do, and, for me, falls into the category of going to the Hermitage: Sure, I’ll see it if someone is going…but I’m not really going to go out of my way.

Ephesus is currently being restored, which takes away greatly from the cool factor. There are some areas, though, that have either had their restoration work completed (at least for now), or have yet to be restored; these were the highlights, as everything elsed clashed unfavorably with the modern industrial equipment.

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Ayasoluk, Izmir Province, Turkey


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Ayasoluk, Izmir Province, Turkey


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Ayasoluk, Izmir Province, Turkey


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Ayasoluk, Izmir Province, Turkey


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18.0 mm || 1/1000 || f/4.0 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Ayasoluk, Izmir Province, Turkey

After a couple hours at Ephesus, we walked the kilometer back to the road and caught the bus back to Kusadasi. I was completly wiped out and went for a nap.

I woke up around 8 or 9 and when for a quick bite to eat with Charlie. I wrote some postcards, we walked the pier, and then it was off to bed for an early wake up call, again.


  1. $13 USD 

Dateline: Cappadocia Region, Day 2 – The Better Tour

Cappadocia, Turkey
27 June 2009

Sleeping felt great. Waking up, not so much. But we had to get an early start on the day as we day yet another all day tour before we had to run to catch another overnight bus, joy! Shazia had left for Istanbul last night, so we made friends with Cecilie and Finn.

We’ve actually been “stalking” them since Istanbul where we both stayed at the Mavi Guesthouse. They booked a tour with Ali’s help as well, and we (unbeknownst to either party at the time) booked essentially the same tour all the way to Samos. The only difference was Cecilcia and Finn had an extra day in Cappadocia before their tour.

We started with some more rocks just outside of town, but today’s tour eventually took us down to Kaymaklı to see the Kaymaklı Underground City.

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24.0 mm || 1/2000 || f/3.8 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Uchisar, Nevsehir, Turkey


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18.0 mm || 0.6 || f/3.5 || ISO1600 || NIKON D70
Derinkuyu, Nevsehir, Turkey


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18.0 mm || 1/6 || f/3.5 || ISO1600 || NIKON D70
Derinkuyu, Nevsehir, Turkey


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18.0 mm || 1/6 || f/3.5 || ISO1600 || NIKON D70
Derinkuyu, Nevsehir, Turkey


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18.0 mm || 1/6 || f/3.5 || ISO1600 || NIKON D70
Derinkuyu, Nevsehir, Turkey


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38.0 mm || 1/10 || f/4.2 || ISO1600 || NIKON D70
Derinkuyu, Nevsehir, Turkey


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18.0 mm || 1/10 || f/3.5 || ISO1600 || NIKON D70
Derinkuyu, Nevsehir, Turkey

Being almost 50 meters down was a nice change of pace from the beating Turkish sun, although the cool relief did not last long.

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65.0 mm || 1/1600 || f/4.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Derinkuyu, Nevsehir, Turkey

We did a short (about 4 kilometers, or so) hike through Ihlara Valley and then stopped for a quick lunch over the river before finishing out our day. It wasn’t nearly as good at yesterdays buffet, but it filled the belly enough.

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18.0 mm || 1/2000 || f/3.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
, Aksaray, Turkey


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, Aksaray, Turkey


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, Aksaray, Turkey


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18.0 mm || 1/8000 || f/3.5 || ISO800 || NIKON D70
, Aksaray, Turkey

Funny picture of the day: What a bunch of tourist look like photographing a mountain in the middle of nowhere.

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18.0 mm || 1/8000 || f/3.5 || ISO800 || NIKON D70
, Aksaray, Turkey


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38.0 mm || 1/8000 || f/4.2 || ISO800 || NIKON D70
, Aksaray, Turkey


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70.0 mm || 1/8000 || f/4.5 || ISO800 || NIKON D70
, Aksaray, Turkey

We finally headed over to Selime Monastery to finish up the day.

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18.0 mm || 1/8000 || f/3.5 || ISO800 || NIKON D70
, Aksaray, Turkey


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18.0 mm || 1/640 || f/3.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
, Aksaray, Turkey


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18.0 mm || 1/15 || f/3.5 || ISO1600 || NIKON D70
, Aksaray, Turkey


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48.0 mm || 1/1000 || f/4.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
, Aksaray, Turkey


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18.0 mm || 1/2500 || f/3.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
, Aksaray, Turkey


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18.0 mm || 1/6400 || f/7.1 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
, Aksaray, Turkey

Getting back before our bus left had its moments of excitement. The bus was supposed to leave at 19:00 and our tour was supposed to get back by 18:30. However, we had a late start in the morning because they didn’t have enough seats and had to get a second bus for the tour. It was pushing 18:50 by time we got back to the hostel. Fortuneatly our bags were packed and ready to go. However, I needed to check my email to see if Ali had sent me any last minute information. Meanwhile, Charlie went to go take a shower after we decided that he was no longer allowed to ride next to me without taking one.

Ali actually ended up calling the Shoestring Cave and leaving a message. So I called him back. It was lucky I got a hold of him as there was a change of plans. It basically boils down to this: We were going to stay in Selcuk, which is about 25 minutes from Kusadasi, which is where we catch the ferry to Samos. The ferry leaves at 08:00 in the morning. Ali thought that he could get us a ride, but he couldn’t. So he’s going to have us stay at a place in Kusadasi instead so we can just walk to the ferry!

I wrote down all the contact information for our new hostel and was off running to the bus station with Charlie 45 seconds behind me. As it turned out, this bus didn’t leave on time and we had an extra several minutes to spare.

We took the short ten minute ride to Nevsehir, where it started raining buckets. As we arrived, the streets started looking like Venician canals. This was unfortunate for the sheer fact that none of us, save Cecilie, had any sort of rain gear. Finn used his backpack as a shield, I threw on my fleece zip-up, and Charlie just sucked it up.

Once we got on the bus, it was okay though. The AC was on, Charlie had take two showers, and we on our way to the cooler coast.

Dateline: Cappadocia Region, Day 1 – You Rock My World

Cappadocia, Turkey
26 June 2009

I’m going to start by appologzing profussely for all the pictures of rocks. Cappadocia is, in essence, a giant collection of cool looking rocks and I’m pretty sure I got a picture of every single one of them. Out of 215 photos I took today, I ended up only rejecting 84 of them. Typically, I reject just over half. Not today.

Anyway, the bus ride was less than ideal. Charlie smelled like a sweaty rugby player after an all-day round robin tournament and the bus driver refused to keep the AC on. We awoke in Nevsehir and were called off the bus. A bit dazzed from just waking up, Charlie and I got off, thinking this was the guy who was going to take us to the hostel from the bus depot.

As it turned out, we think it was just a way to get tourist to purchase a tour of Cappadocia, as the guy quickly put us back on the bus once he found out we had already booked a tour. Still super confused about what happened, we finally did off at the right stop.

We got to the hostel and learned that both Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett had died while we were in transit. Sad times.

A quick turn around and we were off to explore the northern region of Cappadocia with our guide, Esra.

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18.0 mm || 1/3200 || f/3.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Uchisar, Nevsehir, Turkey


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70.0 mm || 1/1000 || f/4.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Uchisar, Nevsehir, Turkey


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18.0 mm || 1/500 || f/7.1 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Uchisar, Nevsehir, Turkey


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Ortahisar, Nevsehir, Turkey

Many of the holes in the rocks were for roosting pigeons. The previous inhabitants used the guano as fertalizer.

We spent most of the day hiking around. One kilometer here, another four there. For two guys who barely got any sleep, I thought we did pretty good. We befriended Shazia, another traveler from the States who was on vacation with her mother; had an amazing buffet lunch (that’ll teach them to let to college grads eat all they want); and, toured a pottery shop, among other things.

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27.0 mm || 1/1600 || f/4.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Ortahisar, Nevsehir, Turkey


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Ortahisar, Nevsehir, Turkey


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Ortahisar, Nevsehir, Turkey


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Ortahisar, Nevsehir, Turkey


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Uchisar, Nevsehir, Turkey


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Uchisar, Nevsehir, Turkey


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Uchisar, Nevsehir, Turkey


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Uchisar, Nevsehir, Turkey


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Uchisar, Nevsehir, Turkey


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22.0 mm || 1/3200 || f/4.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Uchisar, Nevsehir, Turkey


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18.0 mm || 1/15 || f/4.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Avanos, Nevsehir, Turkey


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Avanos, Nevsehir, Turkey


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70.0 mm || 1/30 || f/4.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Avanos, Nevsehir, Turkey


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70.0 mm || 1/30 || f/4.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Avanos, Nevsehir, Turkey


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50.0 mm || 1/80 || f/1.8 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Avanos, Nevsehir, Turkey


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48.0 mm || 1/40 || f/4.5 || ISO800 || NIKON D70
Avanos, Nevsehir, Turkey


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Avanos, Nevsehir, Turkey


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Avanos, Nevsehir, Turkey


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34.0 mm || 1/3200 || f/4.2 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
, Nevsehir, Turkey


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50.0 mm || 1/2500 || f/4.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Urgub, Nevsehir, Turkey


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Urgub, Nevsehir, Turkey

For dinner, we walked into town and had pide (a Turkish pizza) and a beer at a restraunt that Shazia had recommended for their kunefe, which is amazing by the way.

We wandered back to the Bat Shoestring Cave and promptly fell asleep.

Dateline: Istanbul, Day 4 – Wrapping Up

Istanbul, Turkey
25 June 2009

For our last day in Istanbul, Charlie and I split up.

While walking down to the pier the other day, I saw a sign for the Istanbul Museum of the History of Science and Technology in Islam. Knowing that much of our current math has its roots in Arabic (our numbering system is, after all, Arabic), I was rather curious to check this museum out.

The museum was relatively new and not quite completed yet; which was unfortunate, because several of the models were kinetic, but not plugged in.

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18.0 mm || 1/5 || f/3.5 || ISO1600 || NIKON D70
Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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31.0 mm || 1/100 || f/4.0 || ISO800 || NIKON D70
Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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25.0 mm || 1/80 || f/3.8 || ISO1600 || NIKON D70
Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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29.0 mm || 1/20 || f/4.0 || ISO1600 || NIKON D70
Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey

I think I was most impressed by the astroglobes, which were used to predict star locations, and water pumps, which I was interested in for their sheer ingenuity and for a project I’m working on that I’ll discus at a later date.

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18.0 mm || 1/15 || f/3.5 || ISO1600 || NIKON D70
Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey

I met back up with Charlie at the hostel for one last trip to the Grand Bizaar to get some more Turkish Delight and hopefully a carpet for me.

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18.0 mm || 1/640 || f/3.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey

With remarkable efficient, we entered the Bazaar, completed our missions, and were back at the hostel.

One snag Charlie ran in to was withdrawing money from the ATM. The aforementioned trip was expensive, 390YTL1 …which actually isn’t all that bad considereing what we were doing and the ground we were covering, and we still had to pay Ali. However, Charlie couldn’t get either of his ATM cards to work! Crap! After calling his bank and some bank and forth to the ATM, we eventually figured out that he has a maximum withdraw limit and was attempting to take out barely more than the limit.

Charlie rushed back, just in time to pay Ali and catch the bus.

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60.0 mm || 1/20 || f/4.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey

And just like that, we were on to Cappadocia.

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18.0 mm || 1/400 || f/3.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


  1. $250 USD 

Dateline: Istanbul, Day 3 – The Bath

Istanbul, Turkey
24 June 2009

Having walked so much the previous day, Charlie and I decided that today would be a good day to take that boat right up the Bosphorus. After a bit of late start, we walked down to the pier in hopes of finding a boat that would take us on for a decent price. It didn’t take long for a guy to get us interested in a two hour boat cruise. It wasn’t the exact ride we wanted, which would have taken us up to Çamlıbahçe or so, but it was good enough, especially given the amount of time we had. The asking price was 20YTL each; after walking away once, we were able to get him to go for 30YTL for the both of us, and probably could have gone lower.

The ride was decent; I was able to take some great pictures. It would have been nice to have a guide to give some background on what we were looking at, but alas we had no such fortune.

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18.0 mm || 1/1000 || f/16.0 || ISO1600 || NIKON D70
Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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18.0 mm || 1/1000 || f/16.0 || ISO1600 || NIKON D70
Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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70.0 mm || 1/1000 || f/16.0 || ISO1600 || NIKON D70
Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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18.0 mm || 1/1000 || f/16.0 || ISO1600 || NIKON D70
Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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70.0 mm || 1/1000 || f/16.0 || ISO1600 || NIKON D70
Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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70.0 mm || 1/800 || f/14.0 || ISO1600 || NIKON D70
Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey

There wasn’t much to see on the Asian side of Istanbul, so I ended up falling asleep for the hour or so it took to get back.

Charlie and I decided that we were both pretty hungry. Charlie heard a rumor that the fish was pretty good here, so we set out to find something decent. We settled on a bustling fish house of sort right on the water.

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18.0 mm || 1/1600 || f/3.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey

The kitchen, and I use that term very loosely, was little more than a collection of grills on a boat docked to the pier. Ordering meant walking up to a guy right on the edge of the pier, handing over your 3YTL and getting a cooked fish sandwich handed to you. For another 2YTL each, we added two cans of Coca-Cola.

Overall, it was a decent meal, at least up until I starting getting bits of bone in my mouth.

We made our way back to the hostel, getting lost in the Bazaar along the way.

Despite my little cat nap, I was still dog tired when we got back. I spent the rest of the afternoon sleeping, which honestly isn’t such a bad thing to do in the hot Istanbul weather.

After I finally woke up, we spent the evening figuring out what to do in Cappadocia and really the rest of Turkey. Ali, the owner of Mavi Guesthouse1, was very helpful in piecing together this section of our trip. It was going to be a grueling few days, but we assured him we could do it.

The plan was such: leave tomorrow night on an overnight bus to Gorme (which is in the Cappadocia region) and go on an all day tour of the northern region of Cappadocia. Sleep at Shoestring Cave for the night. Wake up and go on another all day tour of the southern region of Cappadocia. Then, catch another overnight bus to Selcuk. Spend a day in Selcuk (i.e. Ephesus), staying overnight at the ANZ Guesthouse, and leaving for Samos, Greece the next morning at 8am via ferry. Talk about a whirlwind tour of Turkey.

Content with our plans, Charlie and I headed off to a Turkish Bath, also known as a hamam, with Nick (one of our roommates).

Let me tell you something about hamam’s: they are utterly amazing and utterly scary. We got changed into single towel and slippers and were ushered into the sauna to sweat it out. There was some talk about crossing legs or not, but we decided that we were all mature males, comfortable with our heterosexuality.

Two older gentlemen2 came to get us out of the sauna. They sat us down on the marble and drenched us in water before rubbing us down with a stiff glove. It actually felt good and I wished they went a bit longer.

Next, we were instructed to lay face up on a marble table. There, they gave us a soap massage, intermixed with sporadic slapping (for effect, I’m sure). It’s pretty much what you would expect, although a bit on the vigorous side. They had clearly done this many times before and were not afraid to go practically all the way up my thigh. To put it bluntly, one slip and this guys thumb was going right up my asshole. Seriously. Not an exciting thought.

I just stared straight ahead, looking at the single bare Philips florecent light bulb illuminating the room.

Philips…Lets Make Things Better

Reveling in our newfound cleanliness, we walked back to the hostel, grabbing some food and baklava on the way.

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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


  1. the hostel we were staying at 

  2. men, yes; gentle…not so much 

Dateline: Istanbul, Day 2 – Touring Istanbul

Istanbul, Turkey
23 June 2009

For better or worse, I feel like Charlie may be the end of me on this trip. I’ve already been traveling pretty much non-stop for three weeks and now I’ve got an eager beaver who wants to see it all.

Today, we went to the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar, the Old Bazaar, bought Turkish Delight1, walked across the Galata bridge, walked up to Galata Kulesi, and over to the Kabataş ferry which took us to Üsküdar (on the Asian side of Istanbul).

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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey

We walked around Ãœsküdar for a while before returning to what we thought was Emınönü”Ž (which would have been for a short walk back), but we ended up going to BeşıktaÅŸ, which is further north (north being the wrong direction) of KabataÅŸ. The north end of the tram only runs to KabataÅŸ, so we had to hike it the 1.5 kilometers to the tram before we could relax in air-conditioned comfort. We later learned that today has been one of the hottest day day in Istanbul this year. Great.

We took a nap before venturing into the somewhat cooler evening to find some well deserved grub. A kebab house fit the bill pretty perfectly and all was good.

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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


  1. which has led to a slew of rather off-color jokes 

Dateline: Istanbul, Day 1 – A Delay

Istanbul, Turkey
22 June 2009

I got up extra early this morning, around the the crack of 9am or so to find several messages from Charlie.

I finally left the hostel just before 11 and made my way to the central train station via the metro. My plan was to reverse my route that I took coming in.

Amazing, everything worked out great! I got on the metro, got to the train station, walked back through the entire train station to the other side, found a bus to the Boryspil airport, and all was good. Even better, I had lots of time to kill, which was surprising because I had left later than I planned.

My plane out of Boryspil was a bit late, but we eventually did get off the ground and I slept most of the way, as I usually do on flights less than 3 hours.

Getting through Turkish customs was pretty easy. I bought a visa before going through customs1, picked up my bag, and cleared customs via the green line2

I decided the best plan was to wait for Charlie. His plane was scheduled to land in about three hours and I wasn’t sure he could figure out where to go.

I found a food court and grabbed some lunch, which was an adventure in-and-of itself. In my attempt to eat local foods, I try to stay away from places such as McDonald’s and Burger King. I found a nice little place to eat that had a combo meal for something like 13 liras3.

The picture on the menu looked good, so I said “Combo please with Coca-Cola.” The woman at the register asked what I wanted, so I said, “Combo Meal,” trying to repeat the the words on the menu as close as I could. It was no use though. She waved over another woman who was able to translate for me.

Well, as it turned out, you still had to pick what you wanted for the main course with the combo meal. The titles weren’t very descriptive, so I just asked her what she liked and went with that.

Slightly frustrated, and even more embarrassed, I quickly devoured the entire meal (I didn’t have a chance to get breakfast before I left due to problem solving Charlie’s flight issue).

With at least another 2 hours until Charlie’s flight arrived, and feeling a bit worn out, I decided to seek refuge in the local Starbucks.

Not wanting to miss him, I waited about 30 minutes after Charlie’s plane landed before I headed over to the area where the passengers came out. Unfortunately, it would be another hour until I saw his happy face. When Charlie finally emerged, I’m pretty sure seeing me standing there was the happiest moment in his life.

We made our way down to the metro, up to the tram, and all the way to the hostel with a minimum of fuss. Despite the fact that he had just been traveling for over 24 hours, Charlie still wanted to go out. So we made a quick tour of the surrounding area before going to bed.

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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey

In summery, I feel like this day exemplifies exactly why traveling by air sucks.


  1. Note: They don’t take Russian Rubles or Estonian Kroons 

  2. I’ve got nothing to declare! (And I don’t know why I’m shouting)  

  3. about $7.75