What To Do In Antalya – Visit Perge

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We woke up pretty early on the third day because we were going to Perge by bus. Antalya has a great public bus service. But you need to know how to use it. There is very little information about it online. Hence the best thing is to ask someone, specifically the bus driver. Continue reading “What To Do In Antalya – Visit Perge”

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Letters To The Moon # 14

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Dear Moon,

It’s 7 in the morning and I am awake. Because I have been getting Black Friday alerts all night. I switched off my phone but then I could not sleep.

I am frustrated right now. When I checked my phone, a lot of the alerts were from Pakistani shops and their online websites. Like Daraz.pk, Liberty Books, etc. This makes me sad. Why is it that we feel the need to do what others do ? Black Friday is a huge deal in America. That doesn’t mean that it should be a deal in Pakistan as well. Can we never be original enough to do something of our own ? What’s next ? Celebrating Christmas. Continue reading “Letters To The Moon # 14”

What To Do In Antalya # 2- Visit A Waterfall

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Visit A Waterfall:

Antalya is blessed with waterfalls, 8 I believe. So you cannot plan a trip there without including waterfalls in it.

We woke up pretty late on the third day, ate biscuits for breakfast while sitting in the balcony and than headed out to Lower Duden Waterfalls. These were really near where our apartment was, so we just took a taxi. It cost us about 15 TL/ $5. Continue reading “What To Do In Antalya # 2- Visit A Waterfall”

What To Do In Antalya – # 1 Roam Around In Kaleici

1448321351322This was suppose to be a single post. But then I realised that I cannot fit all of my writing plus the pictures in one post. So I am dividing it up. Please forgive me if you are reading about my trip even after a month. *evil grins*

Roam Around In Kaleici : 

Kaleici is the place with all the details, history and character in it. It has a story written on every corner of it. There are hidden parts of it that will surprise you the more you explore it. Continue reading “What To Do In Antalya – # 1 Roam Around In Kaleici”

Where I Stayed In Turkey

One of the biggest expenses when traveling other than airfare, is hotels. When I was searching for hotels, I was surprised at how inexpensive the hotels were in Turkey. Than I realised that I live in Qatar where pretty much everything costs a lot. But you don’t see it that way when you live here.

So here are the places I stayed in Turkey :20151030_121645

Antalya:

I had been wanting to try airbnb and rent a place from there. Airbnb is a website from where you can rent someone’s house or a room to stay in. Prices differ from place to place.

I rented this apartment solely for the view. And it did not disappoint at all.

Location: Murat Pasa, Lara Beach

Price: $40/day

We stayed for four nights. I had a coupon code sent to me previously, so I used that. And ended up paying QR 500/$140.

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All we did in Antalya was grab Coke or Coffee, sit in this balcony and stare at that view. 

What I Loved :

  1. What did I not love ? The view was stunning. Majority of our time was spent in the balcony that had a stunning view of the mountains and the ocean. Don’t even get me started on the sunsets and sunrises. Yes, I was awake for the sunrise. It was that good. Imagine a tour of the Chocolate Factory or a life time supply of Pizza.
  2. The apartment was fully equipped from coffee, makeup remover wipes to detergent.
  3. This was definitely my favourite out of all three. Did I mention the view ?

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    Bedroom in Antalya ! This is before we destroyed the place with our mess. 

Cappadocia:

Cappadoccia is made up of a number of small towns. I decided to stay in Goreme because most of the things were near it. Cappadocia is famous for it’s rock formations and there are hotels made out of them. Naturally, I wanted to stay in one of these.

A lot of the hotels I found were quiet expensive so I had to cut back and chose a more affordable hotel.

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View from our room in Goreme ! 

Hotel: Guven Cave Hotel

Location: Goreme, Cappadocia

Price: Qr 525 for 4 nights.

This is what I have to say about it.

  1. We were the only ones staying at the hotel. The service was excellent. The guy attending to us, named Umar, was very nice. He arranged everything for us, from Hot Air Balloon Ride to the Green Tour.
  2. The guy let us check out late because our flights was delayed and the shuttle was going to pick us up at 3 in the afternoon.
  3. The room we got was completely different than the one we had booked. It was a bit small. I know that he would have changed it but we never asked him. Because we arrived pretty late in the evening and we were too lazy to pack our bags again to change rooms.
  4. This hotel is situated in the middle of a hill. We both had a hard climbing it in minus temperature. Hiking is not as fun as I remembered. There are hotels that are higher up. But trust me, climbing it is hard work.

Istanbul:

Since we stayed in a modern area in Antalya, I wanted to stay on the old side i.e. Sultanahmet. All of the major attractions are here anyway.

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Love that brick wall ! View from our room in Istanbul. 

Hotel: The Constantine Hotel

Location: Gulhane, Sultanahmet

Price: I booked this through booking.com and got a discount for it. I paid around QR 900/$250 for five nights.

What I Liked:

  1. We walked to Topakapi Palace, Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. They were that near the hotel.
  2. There was a tram station right in front of the hotel. So you could pretty much go anywhere.
  3. The hotel gave us an upgrade since there was a problem with our room the day we arrived.
  4. Everything else was great. The location in my opinion was amazing.
  5. The breakfast spread was pretty good as well.

I did not want to spend a lot on hotels because I knew that we would be spending a lot on shopping since we had so many to people to buy for.

Like I said, hotels are pretty cheap in Istanbul. None of the above places are five star, just because we care more about the country we visit, rather than the place we stay in. If you like a bit more comfort and glamour, feel free to stay wherever you want. It all depends on what kind of vacation you want.

Hope this helps you in planning your holiday in Turkey.

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Black Beauty – Anna Sewell (Book Review)

20151021_144221Goodreads Review:

A horse is a horse of course unless of course the horse is Black Beauty. Animal-loving children have been devoted to Black Beauty throughout this century, and no doubt will continue through the next.
Although Anna Sewell’s classic paints a clear picture of turn-of-the-century London, its message is universal and timeless: animals will serve humans well if they are treated with consideration and kindness.
Black Beauty tells the story of the horse’s own long and varied life, from a well-born colt in a pleasant meadow to an elegant carriage horse for a gentleman to a painfully overworked cab horse.

Goodreads Rating: 3.9

Author: Anna Sewell

Published: March 01, 2003

Genre: Classic, Fiction

My Rating:5/5

My Review:

Black Beauty is one of my favourite childhood books. So when I saw the leather copy of it in Jarir, I had to buy it. I love horses and I am still keeping my fingers crossed to have one of my own someday.

Anyway, this was the first time that I was rereading this classic. Hence I was nervous as to whether I will find it as amazing as the 8 year old me did. I loved it even more.

Black Beauty is an autobiography. The story is simple, gripping and fascinating at the same time. You would think that a well cared for animal would have life pretty easy. They don’t. That’s exactly what this books portrays.

Normally, I find classics really hard to read because of all the detail that is in them. But this is not like that at all. It was a very easy read.

I loved how even as a horse, he was so proud of being a high class, well breed horse whose family was just as good. Time and again, he is forced to show his temper but he never does. Even in the worst of times, he is positive and hopeful.

You will take away something from this horse that you probably won’t get from anyone else.

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Letters To The Moon # 12 (Travel Edition)

View from the apartment we were staying in Antalya, Turkey.
View from the apartment we were staying in Antalya, Turkey.

October 31, 2015

Dear Moon,

I am sitting on a bright blue couch in Antalya, Turkey right now. There are floor to ceiling windows on my left and I can see the sea from where I sit. The mountains are right behind it, posing as a perfect backdrop.

The moment I saw Antalya, I was transported back to my childhood, to Anna’s (my grandma) house in Waah Cantt. You see the lust of building skyscrapers hasn’t hit Antalya yet. It is green, everywhere. I absolutely love it.

Moon, you were ignored today because your other half was in full glory. I saw a sunset that is very rare in my part of the world. I cannot imagine what it is like to wake up to this view and go to sleep with that sunset. I am sure that I will spend all my time out on that balcony. Staying in this apartment instead of a hotel was the best decision I have ever made.

This vacation is already to a great start. We ditched all our plans for the day, took a long two hour nap, completely messed up our sleeping patterns and just sat on the balcony. Did I mention that we also ate the most incredible Pizza for lunch.

What I am loving the most is the peace and quiet. We are staying in a residential area and there is a main road right in front of it. But all I can hear is the blissful silence.

Antalya, you have already made me fall in love with you. I cannot wait to discover you more.

Adieu !

S

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Things I Do Before Traveling

Dubai 2014. View from the 124th flour of Burj Khalifa.
Dubai 2014. View from the 124th flour of Burj Khalifa.

It’s no secret that I love me some wandering. But before I embark on any voyage, there are some things that I like to do to be prepared. Atleast that is what I tell myself.

Today, I am sharing those with you guys. Enjoy ! Also, tell me what you do when you travel.

  1. I take pictures of all the important documents like passports, visa, tickets, hotel reservations, credit cards, ID cards etc. I not only save it in my phone but also back it up on the internet. I like to think that I am ultra prepared although I rarely am. It makes me feel really good about myself. Also in case of any emergency, you have back up to show your documents. Win win.
  2. Whether I am traveling by road or by plane, I download ebooks beforehand. Don’t worry, I take paperbacks as well. But I take very few of those because I know that no matter what the destination, I will be visiting a bookstore. So eBooks are my go to.
  3. If you are not a reader, then download movies. I do this mostly on road trips. But this time, we have no in-flight TV so I have already downloaded several movies to watch during transits and such. Also, this is the perfect time to catch up on any of your favourite TV shows. (On a side note, do you know how hard it is to find movies that both you and your partner will like ? It’s a nightmare for me because we never agree on anything.)
  4. I hate airplane food so stocking up on snacks is a high priority on my list. It’s nasty people, the food. If you like it, something is really wrong with you. Also, I am not okay with paying 50 QR for a Burger King burger at the airport. Yes, I am looking at you Hamad International Airport. I hit my local Baqala aka grocery shop to get the junk I need.

    Taxila, Pakistan, 2014. View from the hill of Dharmarajika.
    Taxila, Pakistan, 2014. View from the hill of Dharmarajika.
  5. If you see a homeless person in the airport, I guarantee that would be me. I wear the most comfortable clothing I can find which is three year old sweats. Same goes for the shoes. I was that idiot who wore new pumps once and ended up hobbling the entire journey. Comfortable clothes and shoes are the key to good traveling.
  6. Maybe I am weird for doing this but I take a shower before traveling. That’s also the first thing I do when I reach the destination, after jumping on the bed ofcourse. No matter how swanky the airport and the plane is, after a 9 hour journey, you are bound to have a layer of grime on you.
  7. I tend to leave all my valuable things at home. This mainly includes Gold/Diamond jewelry or my watch. I always take inexpensive sunglasses with me. There are two reasons for doing this. First, I lose things very easily. Second, our travels are mostly adventure based so they include a lot of adrenaline pumping activities which aren’t ideal for any of your valuable stuff. This is just what I do personally. If you are going for more of a five star vacation than feel free to take whatever you want.

    Ferrari World, Dubai, 2014.
    Ferrari World, Dubai, 2014.
  8. The last thing I do is write it all down. This totally depends on my mood or where I am. For the most part, I am always jotting down experiences and the things I do. If I look back, I can remember the bigger stuff like going for Desert Safari in Dubai or wearing cotton clothes to Saif-ul-Malook. It’s the details like how mad I was at Abbu for not joining us on a trip to KSA or how we ended up paying more to go to Ferrari World than our tickets, that I miss. So I try my best to put my memories in words.

At the end of the day, I just like to keep in mind that exploring this world is an education of it’s own. The life lessons you learn here cannot be found in textbooks or research labs. Those are experiences and tools that you will use to lead an everyday life. So when you leave a certain place, take away something from it. Even if it is a single word.

We ate fresh caught grilled fish at this road side cafe while it hailed like crazy. Pakistan, 2014.
We ate fresh caught grilled fish at this road side cafe while it hailed like crazy. Pakistan, 2014.

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