Travel Diary: Dr Fazliana Abd Rashid & Dr Farid Razali Explore The Wintertime Charms Of Turkey
The show-stopping grand weddings pulled off by Dr Fazliana Abd Rashid and Dr Farid Razali proved to be a preview of the couple’s destiny as partners in life and travel. To celebrate the New Year, both doctors embarked on a trip through Turkey, their first ever experience of the country, for a winter holiday. The couple, who aim to travel at least twice a year, have already ticked England and the USA off their 2019 travel list at the time of writing. This leg of their travels start off in Cappadocia, then takes them to the ancient towns of Pamukkale and Selçuk, before capping it at the final destination, Istanbul. They share with us the best parts of their 8-day Turkish journey.
First impressions of Turkey
My first impression was how gorgeous the views were. Pictures and videos cannot do justice to the majestic views we encountered.
Turkey: Winter Edition
We wanted to experience a hot air balloon ride in 1 of the most beautiful destinations in the world (like the ones you see on social media – oh so dreamy!). Our decision to go during winter was practically a dance with Lady Luck. Due to bad weather and poor visibility to fly, we didn’t get the chance to tick the hot air balloon off our bucket list, but we had an amazing time.
Creating their dream itinerary
Farid and I did independent sightseeing throughout the trip, except for a private guided tour in Ephesus because we read that the ancient city was a lot to take in. Basically, we shared a document which we constantly updated on places to visit, restaurants to try, reservation confirmation statuses, and so on. We even included the opening hours and prices of some tourist hot spots. We also allocated several Plan B’s in the event we couldn’t follow through with the original schedule.
It’s tough to choose but driving to lookout points in several valleys with Farid to catch the sunrise and sunsets was definitely one of them. The views were simply incredible and in winter, the snow creates an even more breathtaking effect!
See also: Travel Diary: Zena Khan's Artistic Escape To Florence, Italy
Food, glorious food
The food was delicious, without a fault. The Turkish definitely play their food game right. Ingredients were fresh and dishes were all bursting with flavours. One of my favourites was definitely the pottery kebab – basically meats and some vegetables cooked inside a small claypot or jug for quite some time, which they have to crack and serve. The meats then get super tender and juicy from the sauce it’s been marinating in.
They are super friendly! Even the locals who aren't familiar with English would help you if you are lost. As for those who speak English comfortably, they go over and beyond to make you feel at home.
See also: Postcards From The Land Of Smiles: Discovering Art, Spirituality & Beauty In Chiang Rai
Lessons from the Turkish culture
Turkish culture is very diverse due to its influence from multiple civilisations, together with the assimilation of different religions. We were lucky enough to travel to different parts of Turkey and experience a variety of popular dishes. Even the handmade carpets have special patterns originating from different regions.
Turkish baklavas with Turkish ice-cream are a match made in heaven. They somehow do not taste the same elsewhere!
See also: 24 Hours To Dine: 10 Places In France To See (Michelin) Stars
For foodies, you can’t go wrong with a box of baklavas and Turkish delights. People who can appreciate carpets may want to get those authentic, unique handmade ones. Not to forget, the little cup sets specially for Turkish coffee, as well as the iconic 'evil eye' that's said to work like a good luck charm.
Recommendations for first-time visitors
This may sound cliché, but it is crucial to hit the tourist hot spots for first-timers. Don’t miss the valleys in Cappadocia (get on a hot air balloon if you get the chance and aren’t afraid of heights). If ancient cities tickle your fancy, Ephesus is an amazing place to visit. In Istanbul, visit Dolmabahçe Palace, Topkapı Palace and the sites around Sultanahmet Square since they’re just a stone’s throw away from one another.
See also: Travel Diary: Stephanie Chai’s Tokyo Hit-List For A Weekend Of Food, Shopping & Fun With Girlfriends
An enriching destination for the wanderlust
It has encouraged us to travel more and explore new cities. And perhaps, to revisit the cities but during different seasons, because they will be a whole new experience!