The Moon or a Hot Air Balloon

by mishvo

I F*cking Love Turkey.

Listen: Go to Turkey. Go now, even if it’s February and the beaches are too chilly to visit. Go now even if you’re traveling by yourself and you don’t know anyone there. Go even if you don’t know anything about the country beyond the fact that it’s at the meeting point of Asia and Europe and Constantinople used to be the capital of the Byzantine Empire. Just go!!

Turkey was incredible. The people were friendly and open and kind, the food was splendid, the landscapes were breathtaking, and the apple tea was plentiful. I F*CKING LOVE TURKEY.

Maybe it was just a relief to be somewhere that wasn’t Israel?


Eh, maybe. But mostly I love Turkey because:

I met these guys…


Aren’t they colorful? We spent the day wandering around Istanbul- to the Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sofia, and the Blue Mosque – and spent the night drinking lots of Turkish beer at some divey bar that played Beatles music. Best Valentine’s Day ever (although that time None Like Joshua took me to a mediocre sushi restaurant for dinner and asked me to senior year prom through rap song follows a close second)

I ate this…


Um hellooo stuffed mussels with lemon juice. Yes yes yes yes.

I ate other tasty things like kebabs, gozleme (savory pastry with various stuffings), salep (a hot drink of dairy-like consistency but made from the roots of a flower and topped with cinnamon and spices), Turkish Delight, “bio” black olives at breakfast (you know, the ones with the wrinkly skin), and lots and lots of tea!


Turkish Delight on sale at the Spice Market.

I saw this…


“Fairy Chimneys” in Cappadocia. Proof that Mother Nature has a sense of humor.

and this…


Hot air balloons at sunrise in Cappadocia.

I parted ways with my Istanbul friends and headed to Cappadocia, land of the crazy eroded volcanic ash. Also the most beautiful, bizarre, unbelievable thing my eyes have ever laid sight on. It was where the Flintstones lived, where Dr. Seuss’s imagination took him, where wizards and fairies came from. It was out of a video game or from outer space.

It was reality inspired by fantastical dreams.

Hiking amongst the cliffs and fairy chimneys, I felt like Jodi Foster in that scene in Contact when she sees the stars through her translucent space shuttle wall as she’s blasting away to another planet. What she’s seeing is so beautiful, it brings her to near-speechlessness. “No words…to describe it…They should have sent a poet. So beautiful,” she says. Awe and childlike wonderment. I was like that.


and I also saw this…


After Cappadocia, I headed southwest to Pamukkale to climb around in the blindingly white calcium deposits and geothermal travertines that send naturally warm mineral water down the face of the cliff-side. Oddly enough, I ate lots of East Asian food there, including bibimbap, twice.

I even spent one evening dining with two tiny Japanese boys who made me eat my salad with chopsticks whilst they laughed at me in amusement.

I swam in the warm mineral pools and hoped all that dissolved calcium would do some good for my hair and nails!


Overall, it was just a fantastic time. The whole thing, even when I returned to Istanbul after Pamukkale and kinda got tear-gassed in the middle of riots in the streets. Because even then, helpful Turkish strangers let me hide in their shop to avoid the broken glass and angry crowds. They gave me lemon juice-soaked napkins to use as a bootleg gas mask and counteract the effects of the tear gas.

Yes, even after that incredibly terrifying evening, I still think Turkey is one of my favorite places I’ve ever been.

For sure.


15 comments on “I F*cking Love Turkey.

  1. Eileen
    March 23, 2014

    oh,how I enjoyed that blog-you meet wonderful people all over- don’t you- I really enjoy your enthusiasm….. a Syacuse NY fan…

    • mishvo
      March 23, 2014

      Hi Eileen! Good to hear from you again :) yes I’ve met some really wonderful people around the world (some better than others) but sometimes it makes me sad because I feel like I don’t have “present” friends. They’re scattered across the globe!

  2. Kate Brinson
    March 23, 2014

    I love reading your blog!!! Very “alchemist” like. Your such a great writer. Thanks for sharing your adventures! Keep em’coming!
    :) Kate

    • mishvo
      March 23, 2014

      Hi Kate!! Wow how are you? So good to hear from you. Thank you so much for the alchemist comparison- I’m honored! Although admittedly I don’t remember much about that book since I was forced to read it in Spanish back in high school :/ haha

  3. Vaughan Merlyn
    March 23, 2014

    Another great post! Gill and I spent some time in Istanbul, Marmaris, and Antalia, and we loved everything about Turkey – fascinating, charming and exotic!

    • mishvo
      March 23, 2014

      Thanks so much Vaughan! One of my biggest fans :)
      I’ve never heard of Marmaris or Antalia- how did I miss those? Oh well, next time I suppose!

  4. Craig
    March 23, 2014

    Wowza… that’s beautiful countryside. Those white calcium fields look like they’re in the North Pole or something. How long were you in Turkey, and where are you now?

    • mishvo
      March 24, 2014

      Isn’t it insane? I was literally talking to myself out there, I couldn’t believe it. I was in Turkey for two weeks. I could have fit in more places but I was running out of money by the end:/

  5. Megan
    March 24, 2014

    I love the “Fairy Chimneys”. hehe

  6. marlene Kawalek Josephs
    March 25, 2014

    Love this blog. And love the pictures. Can’t wait to go to Turkey. xo

    • mishvo
      April 14, 2014

      Thank you! You should go. It’s super wow-worthy


  7. KimVo
    March 30, 2014

    I always wondered what it was that Jodie Foster was mumbling on her trip to Vega.

    Love that Cappadocia is Seussian. And whatever is Turkish delight anyway?

    XOX momvo

    • mishvo
      April 14, 2014

      Yeah her face does a weird warped thing…I think they meant to transform her into her child self or something in that scene. Turkish delight is…hm it’s a gummy sweet usually with nuts inside and covered in powdered sugar

  8. Pingback: My Top 5 Favorite Places | The Moon or a Hot Air Balloon

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This entry was posted on March 23, 2014 by in Geology, Nature, Turkey and tagged , , , , , .

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