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Welcome to Direct Traveller's blog. The blog will be a place to come for holiday inspiration on North Cyprus, Turkey, Oman & Sri Lanka Holidays, Direct Traveller exclusive offers and Direct Traveller news. Remember to connect with us further with social networks sites such as Facebook, Twitter , Google+ and Pinterest.
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|Sunset at Karpaz Gate Marina, North Cyprus|
|Night-time at Karpaz Gate Marina, North Cyprus|
|Restaurant at Karpaz Gate Marina, North Cyprus|
|Yachts Karpaz Gate Marina, North Cyprus|
|Karpaz Gate Marina scene|
|Karpaz Gate Marina docked yachts|
9.00am - 01.00pm
Rest at Pia Bella
01.00pm - 2.00pm
Walk down to Harbour @ take lunch from somewhere
2.00pm - 4.30pm
The Girne Castle & Shipweck Museum
4.30pm- 5.30 pm
Aga Cafer Pasha Mosque
Harbour sight seeing
09.00am - 01.00 pm
St. Hilarion Castle
2.30pm - 4.00pm
Alagadi Turtle Beach
Apostolos Andreas Monastery
Ayios Trias Basilica
see wild donkeys
Edremit -small church/slovenlier/deco plates
Day 4 - 20/12/2013
11.00am - 2.00 pm
The Great Khan
2.30pm - 3.15pm
09.00am - 10.30am
11.00am - 12.00pm
Porta Del Mare (Sea Gate)
2.00pm - 3.00 pm
The Othello Tower
For the route, we chose the Pegasus airlines night flight from London Stranded airport on 16th December 2013 within six hours; we were in lovely sunshine temperature near to 15C in Cyprus.
We love to walk through Kyrenia harbour in the evenings as the ambience and view in the harbour area was beautiful. There are lots of fish restaurants in the area and the fish is very fresh. In fact you can choose which fish you would like the chef to grill for you..
Have you been to North Cyprus in the winter? what's your favourite aspect?
|Sri Lanka wildlife|
|Sri Lanka beaches|
|Sri Lanka cuisine|
Turkish Carpet and Rugs
|Turkish Carpets & Rugs|
Turkish delight or Lokum is a delicious soft gel sweet which comes in a range of flavours and colours. With the introduction of sugar to Turkey in the 18th century came a new era of confectionary as Turkish delight was created in the kitchens of the Ottoman court. An old Turkish adage says, “Eat sweetly and speak sweetly” and the gentle flavours of rosewater, Bergamot orange or lemon definitely sweeten the breath. It is beautifully presented in dainty cubes of deliciousness dusted with icing sugar and makes a perfect gift if you can stop yourself eating it on the plane.
|Turkish Raki Table|
Turkish Evil Eye Protector
|Turkish Evil eye Protector|
|Bazaar selling leather, gold & much more|
|Ottoman & Anatolian Jewellery|
Visit a Tea PlantationIn the 19th century the British turned the natural jungle landscape into an area which became an area devoted to the growing of tea. Sri Lankan tea is world famous so what could be better than sipping a cup of delicious Ceylon Tea on a veranda overlooking the sprawling tea plantations in Nuwara Eliya. Why not take a tour around Pedro tea estate, built in 1885 and full of 19th century engineering, to see where your morning cuppa originates. A visit to Dambatenne tea factory, built by Sir Thomas Lipton in 1890 is a very popular place destination where you can take a tour to learn all about the processes involved in transforming the humble green shoots into delicious tea so popular in the UK and around the world.
Climb Mount SigiriyaThe town of Sigiriya is located in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka. The town has one main attraction; its fortress, inclusive of various gardens and was built in the 5th century AD by King Kasyap. The fortress at Sigiriya is a World Heritage Site and even though the entire fortress is in ruins it is well worth a visit. Anyone taking the climb to the summit will be rewarded with picturesque views over the surrounding area.
See the Pinnawela Elephant OrphanageAnother very popular attraction is the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage run by the Department of National Zoological Gardens. Pinnawela orphanage is situated northwest of the town Kegalla. It was established 1975 by the Sri Lanka Wildlife department. This 24 acre site is home to orphaned and injured elephants. Visitors and volunteers can get close to the elephants under the supervision of the keepers. Feeding the baby elephants with the largest milk bottle you ever saw is good fun, as is standing in the river Mahaweli watching the elephants bathing.
|Sri Lanka Elephants|
Visit a Turtle HatcheryAbout 62 km south of Colombo in the South West is the city of Bentota. It is a city graced by palm trees and has a serene atmosphere. Here the Sea Turtle Project is a must if you want to take a look at the conservation of turtles in Sri Lanka. The turtle hatcheries are open from 06:00 in the morning to 18:00 in the evening. If you want to release a freshly hatched three-day old turtle into the ocean you can do it here.
|Sri Lanka Turtles|
Visit The Temple of the ToothThe Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is one of the most-visited destinations in Kandy and is a UNESCO world Heritage site. It is the most sacred Buddhist shrine in the world and is said to possess a sacred tooth relic of Buddha which has been preserved safely. The temple has a very long history, dating back to the end of the 16th century and although considerable damage was caused by the terrorist attacks of 1998 repairs have been made and it has not deterred tourists and pilgrims from visiting. The sacred tooth is housed in a Chedi made out of solid gold and once every six years the tooth is put on display for the public. Being a sacred relic for Buddhists it is cared for by the monks and priests who every Wednesday perform a symbolic bathing of the relic, with a preparation using scented water and fragrant flowers. This water is believed to possess healing powers.
|Sri Lanka Temple|
Are you travelling to Sri Lanka? Where are you planning to visit?
|Juicy Turkish Tomatoes|
|Giant Turkish Tomatoes|
8.5kg of organic tomatoes
10 medium size glass jars
1. Put all your fresh tomatoes in a large deep pan of hot water
|Organic Tomato Sauce|
|Wedding on the beach|
|Wedding couples abroad|
|Citrus Groves of Guzelyurt|
|Freshly Grilled Cyprus Fish|
|Freshly made Hellim (Halloumi) Cheese|
By Rasme Ozdemir - Sales & Operations Director
The town’s charming tiny harbour is full of yachts and fishing boats bobbing on the sparkling sea. The harbour is lined with the grand warehouses, once used to store carob beans, now housing bustling restaurants and buzzing bars. The impressive fortress of Kyrenia Castle guards the entrance to the harbour as it has done since Byzantine times. Its massive defences surround a complex mixture of building styles from centuries before and it is likely that there was a Roman fort here originally. Later enlarged and strengthened by the Lusignans and then the Venetians, the castle is home to many historical artefacts.
Kyrenia is a place where it seems as if the world has slowed right down and is moving at a slower pace. You can while away the day… exploring shops, markets and local cafés in late morning, strolling in the narrow cobbled alleys behind the harbour in the afternoon, or stepping out for a stroll along the promenade at dusk.
St HilarionKyrenia is a place full of history and if you look up from the town you can just see St. Hilarion Castle clinging to the rock high above. Rumoured to be the original inspiration for Walt Disney’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’, it is one of the most –visited sites in Northern Cyprus. This 8th century castle built by the Byzantines perches precariously on the rocks 660m above the sea and though the climb is steep and uneven your efforts will be rewarded by the breath-taking views of the island’s northern coastline from the top.
The beauty of BellapaisThe beauty of the Bellapais village is legendary. The British author Lawrence Durrell painted an enticing picture of the leisurely pace of life in a Cypriot village in his book ‘Bitter Lemons of Cyprus’, describing his time in the quaint village of Bellapais. Set in the mountains, just ten minutes above Kyrenia, a visit to the 14th century Monastery with its fabulous location and atmosphere of tranquil calm is a must-see for any visitor. Bellapais Monastery derives its name from the French, meaning 'Monastery of peace'. It was also known as the 'white abbey' on account of the white robes which were worn by the monks who lived here. Bellapais Abbey was built in 1158-1205 AD and with its iconic arches is one of the finest examples in Cyprus of the Gothic architecture of the Lusignan period.
There are hotels in Kyrenia to suit everyone’s tastes; from modern sophisticated hotels to rustic and traditional hotels. When choosing your hotel bear in mind location and what you want from your holiday. Do you want to be surrounded by countryside views or would you prefer to stay in the heart of a town which has exciting nightlife? Whatever you desire from a hotel you will find it in and around Kyrenia.
RestaurantsAs the sun sets restaurants prepare to for the evening’s guests. There are plenty of restaurants and bars to suit your taste and your wallet. In Kyrenia harbour locals take their evening stroll and the cafés and bistros that face the sea prepare for their nightly trade; arranging crisp white linen and small vases of local flowers on table-tops to welcome the evening’s guests to wine and dine in the cooling breeze. For a different setting, opt for a balcony or even a rooftop table, giving you amazing views of the sunset over the sea, while you enjoy the Turkish or European cuisine. There are over 125 bars and restaurants in the harbour area and dotted along the coastline so you can try out a new one every night.
BeachesThe coast around Kyrenia has great beaches. If you want the excitement of water-sports, such as windsurfing or jet skiing you will find them at beach clubs dotted along this part of the coast. Or perhaps you are an adrenaline -junky…if so why not try out sports like paragliding, parasailing and scuba diving which are well catered for in this area.
One of the best ways to explore the beautiful coastline around Kyrenia is to take a boat trip for the day on one of the boats leaving from the picturesque harbour. Cruise the crystal- clear waters of the Med, enjoy a rustic lunch on board, discover hidden coves and dive off the boat into the deep blue sea.
Need to find out more about this beautiful holiday resort in North Cyprus? Contact Direct Traveller on 0844 414 1686 or click here.
What do you like most about North Cyprus?North Cyprus is a perfect holiday for me. It has sun, sea and sand but at the same time plenty of culture and a friendly ambience. I love how it still feels very Mediterranean, with old men sitting in community cafes playing backgammon, locally run restaurants and bars, with no commercialisation. Everyone seems to know everyone and this gives it lots of character and just a really enjoyable destination to be in.
Which foods should people try when visiting?With regards to eating in North Cyprus, to be honest - that's all people do. Eating is a big social factor for locals. At every corner you will find a restaurant offering Cypriot food. Meze is my favourite in North Cyprus, this is small hot and cold dishes served to the table, which allow you to try a little bit of everything, very much like a tapas style dining.
Food in North Cyprus is always fresh: freshly-caught fish or succulent kebabs. Specialities I would recoommend for someone to try are: seftali kebab which is a Cypriot sausage, hellim/halloumi cheese but served grilled, and pilavuna, a savoury bread made from cheese, egg, milk and raisins.
Are there any restaurants in particular that you’d recommend?Restaurants I would recommend are:
- Ambience Restaurant – (Kebab & Meze)
- Address Restaurant - (Kebab & Meze)
- Sofra Restaurant at the Ship Inn Hotel - (Kebab & Meze)
- Hur Deniz - (Fish Restaurant)
What are your favourite activities to do in North Cyprus?I always try and do something different when there. Obviously the usual is to lay on the beach and classify that as an activity, but there's plenty more to do in North Cyprus.
I have done paragliding off of the 5 Finger Mountains in Kyrenia and that was amazing. Scary! But amazing. You can see a video of this experience here:
Windsurfing is always fun too but depends on the time of year you travel, as the main summer months of July - August don't have too much wind. I like to also have my camera by my side as there is always something interesting to take a picture of - amazing scenery, wildlife and people. My favourite areas to take pictures of are the Kyrenia Harbour, Bellapais Monastery and the St Hilarion castle.
Boat tours are also a great way to relax with the opportunity to catch your lunch with a spot of fishing, sunbathe, have a swim in some of the remote spots along the coast, and if you’re lucky - see some Loggerhead turtles.
What are the best beaches to visit?Popular beaches are Çatalköy Beach and the Escape Beach in Kyrenia, which is one of the more busy beaches on the Northern coast. My favourite beach would be in Karpaz, which is at the very tip of North Cyprus. There's just miles and miles of sand here. I have been there a couple of times and it's so remote that you may not see civilisation for a few hours, but so peaceful for this reason, and the beach is one I would definitely recommend.
Which hotels would you recommend?North Cyprus has hotels for all types of travellers. If you want a small boutique hotel then I would recommend the Hideaway Club, Bellapais Monastery and Bella View. 3 star hotels would include the Citrus Tree Gardens, The Ship Inn Hotel and Altinkaya Hotel. 4 star hotels would include The Pia Bella Hotel, Oscars resort, L.A Beach Resort, The Vuni Palace, Malpas Hotel & Spa, and the Colony Hotel.
Do you have a favourite historical site?St Hilarion is my favourite, the views are amazing once you get to the top.
If you had to sum up North Cyprus in one word, what would it be?Unspoilt!
If you'd like any more information on North Cyprus or to book a holiday give Direct Traveller a call on 0844 414 1694, e-mail at email@example.com or visit www.directtraveller.com.
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What do you like most about Cyprus?
Even though compared to other destinations there may not be that much on offer.. what night-life there is on offer is spectacular. When I visit North Cyprus I always tend to stick to the same bars and clubs as they’re located in beautiful areas. For example I love escape beach which also turns into a club at night. They also have personalised VIP areas for anyone that wants to hang out in there own little group or even for special celebrations. There is also a go-carting pitch which I like to visit and its very good prices. There is a massive bowling alley which also serves food such as burgers, chips, mini pizzas.
Makarna bulli is a traditional local retreat with home-made Cypriot cuisine. You must definitely try the ‘patates kofte’ yum! There is astonishing Turkish style waffles! They scatter the fresh fruits across the waffle and drizzle a lovely Turkish home-made chocolate sauce. There are some wonderful desert places such as Cacao, Waffle House and Simit Dunyasi. But there’s so much to choose from you will never run out of options. If you enjoy the Mediterranean cuisine you will defiantly enjoy Turkish Cypriot food. You've also got the home-made soups, such as the red lentil soup which is a must try. They also serve the best salads. I would also recommend trying the amazing fresh fish restaurants in Kyrenia, near the harbour. You should stick to the harbour if you like fresh fish and chilled white wine and on the opposite side there are some Shisha bars which play a range of music.
What are your favourite activities to do in North Cyprus?
North Cyprus is mostly about relaxation but that’s not to say it doesn't have it wild side for us youngsters. There is so much natural beauty to explore. You can also do lots of tours and local excursions. Turtle watching is one of the most fascinating activities in North Cyprus. There are some protected areas where you can admire this beautiful feature of the nature on your holiday.
You can also enjoy one of the longest diving seasons in North Cyprus which is a stunning experience. You've also got go carting which has one of best racing surfaces in the region. I also visited a local village high up in the mountains towards the west of Kyrenia. I had the most incredible opportunity to feed some baby lambs, do horse riding and enjoyed a delicious early lunch whilst admiring the spectacular view. A definite must see. There are lots of hidden little tucked away cultural places like this.
What are the best beaches to visit?
You've got many striking beaches such as the Karpaz Golden Beach, Escape Beach Club. However Golden Beach is known as the island's most beautiful beach. Ideal for anyone who would like to get away from the crowd and if your seeking some privacy. You may need a car hire to go to Karpaz but it’s definitely worth it!
Which historical sites have you been to and which is your favourite?
You have to visit Kyrenia Castle. Leaving Kyrenia without visiting this magnificent castle would be close to wickedness. Another place I would recommend is the Bellapais Monastery. You can get a spectacular view of Kyrenia coast from the Bellapais Abbey. The ancient city of Salamis is one of the most impressive archaeological sites on the island, despite the fact that they have only been partially excavated. The site is located 5 miles away from Famagusta. When I visited this extravagant site I really sensed the scale of an ancient Roman city. Unlike many similar sites elsewhere in the North Cyprus, here you can escape from the crowds and feel that you are discovering history for yourself.
If you had to sum up North Cyprus in one word, what would it be?
I did not know what to expect when I visited North Cyprus, but I can safely say all my fears have disappeared. The friendly and comfy atmosphere doesn't come close to any other place. The way the staff welcome you into their hotel, just seems like they are really over the moon that you have chosen to spend your vacation in North Cyprus. I convinced my friends and family to go there nearly every summer. For me it’s my number one destination. Cyprus is beautiful, hot and quiet! The beaches are practically empty and the sea is so clear, clean and warm. If you want a little bit of freedom with gorgeous sights around you, I can safely say you will love Cyprus!
If having read that you'd like to book a holiday to North Cyprus, or perhaps just find out more information then get in touch with Direct Traveller! You can call us on 0844 414 1684, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website on www.directtraveller.com.
How many times have you been to Kusadasi?I've been to Kusadasi about 8 times so far!
Wow! What do you like about it most?I like the different beaches, the port marina, the lively town centre and the shops.
What are the best things to see and do?There's lots! Paying a visit to the old Greek Village of Sirince, the Ancient city of Ephesus, exploring Pigeon Island and the museum, visiting the National Park for clean crystal clear beaches, taking a dip in the Cave of Zeus or a boat trip around the bays near Kusadasi.
Going on a day trip to Pamukkale is incredible, as is climbing to the top of Ataturk Hill for a truly spectacular view over Kusadasi. For a feel of the local life, visiting one of the Kusadasi Markets is a must, while if you're feeling brave I'd also recommend doing a tandem sky dive at Selçuk so that you can see the wonders of Ephesus from the air!
What is the food like?A mixture - kebabs, lots of seafood /fish restaurants and then cafes that make local pastries and sweets. Yummy!
Did you have a favourite historical attraction?Ephesus and Pamukkale
|Historic Ephesus Library|
Do you have any tips for those thinking of going to Kusadasi?In order to fit everything in you need about a week in duration for your holiday, so that you can spend plenty of time relaxing beside the beach as well as touring around.
Have you been to Kusadasi? Tell us what yo thought, and any tips you have for holidaymakers.
Everyone loves a good holiday deal, and they’re easy to find if you’re savvy about booking your getaway. We have some tips for you on how best to go about this, and while many will seem pretty obvious they can still be helpful to remind yourself of when starting to plan a holiday.
1. Go at an off peak timeAlthough this may be more difficult if you have kids or your holiday periods fall at peak times such as June to September, there are still ways to get around this. For example, peak times can vary depending on the destination. For Dubai June is actually considered off peak, and therefore is likely to have better deals than normal while still maintaining a warm, luxurious climate.
For those that can be flexible with when they take their holiday, May is one of the best times to go in regards to Mediterranean destinations. Flights and accommodation will be cheaper, while the climate is still comfortably warm. You’re also likely to find that the tourist attractions are less crowded.
2. Book earlyThis is a simple one, but nevertheless a mantra everyone should keep in mind: The earlier you book, the cheaper the deals you’ll get. This is especially true of flights, where prices are always fluctuating and so it’s good to book before the prices go up, which is likely to be the closer it gets to your holiday date.
3. Research destinationsIt’s not a shot in the dark to assume that going to Bognor Regis will probably be a lot cheaper than going to Barbados, but for other parts of the world the difference in costs might not be so obvious immediately. For example, going to Turkey can work out much cheaper than going to other spots in Europe due to the fact it uses the Turkish Lira as a currency rather than the Euro. Little things like this can make a big difference and be worth researching for that reason.
4. Be flexibleSure, flights at normal hours would be nice, preferably with your favourite airline and from the most convenient airport, but it’s not always possible. The same goes for accommodation – sometimes you have to weigh up whether the sacrifice is worth the money it will save you, and often it is.
5. Choose your tour operator carefullyIf you have a particular destination in mind then sometimes going with a specialist tour operator can be the best option. This can mean that you’ll be offered more choices for things such as airlines and also better deals.
6. Keep a lookoutWhile the above will all help to get a cheaper holiday, on top of this keeping a lookout through checking online for deals is also always a good idea. For example, here at Direct Traveller we currently have 15% off specific Turkey tours: the Anatolian Highlights, Fire of Anatolia, Best of Anatolia and Anatolian Treasures, and the booking period for this is the 1st of April to the 31st May.
North Cyprus FloraNorth Cyprus’ flora is such a highlight that it’s one of the main reasons many choose to visit. There are over 1,250 different species to see, and this is particularly beautiful to experience when in bloom, from around March to April. The vibrancy of the colours and diversity in species due to the Mediterranean climate makes for a spectacular sight amongst the regions placid, unspoilt scenery. Visiting in spring not only offers the most beautiful of the nature as it gradually comes to life, but also provides comfortable temperatures that range from about 21-24 Celsius. This means that those visiting can go on nature trails and hikes, exploring the various plant species without the heat getting to the point of distraction.
Which plant species will I see?The types of species that you’re likely to encounter in North Cyprus during spring include the neon yellow of the Oxalis pes-caprae, which illuminates the deep green of the grass, brightening the landscape to a similar effect of lanterns glowing amongst darkness. Then add to this sight the gentle pastels of the anemones, and most fascinatingly, the orchids. Orchids come in many different types and are most remarkable through their animated resemblance to certain creatures. Take the Ophrys Apifera for example, which is also known as the Bee Orchid due to the fact it could easily be mistaken for one. Others such as the Ophrys Elegans appear like Rorschach tests, with their patterns forming face like features. The wonderful thing about the variety of orchids in North Cyprus, which is estimated at around 32, is how diverse and animated a species they are, embellishing the environment in fascinations. There are also a number of trees to see – namely the olive trees, along with carob trees, Pinus Brutia and orange trees, reminding of the importance agriculture plays within North Cyprus, as well as adding a gentle fragrance to the air that rejuvenates the senses of those walking the paths they line.
The best areas to find floraThe North Cyprus orchids are best found at Alevkaya Forest Station herbarium, which is situated along the mountain trail of Kyrenia and includes around 800 species of plant. This was first created back in 1986 and includes an amazing collection of flora all in one place, famously including orchids, so that those with a particular interest in North Cyprus’s nature can find out more and satisfy their curiosity without travelling all over the region. Outside of this the mountains are spectacular for finding woodland flora, making Kyrenia Mountain in particular a popular hiking trail. The Karpaz Peninsula is also a part of North Cyprus that is renowned for its natural beauty. This is the place to be if you want to see plant species such as the Zosima Absinthifolia, Helianthemum, and the odd wild donkey along the way too!
Getting aroundThere are two main ways for experiencing the North Cyprus nature. The first is renting a car, which allows you to venture further afield from where you’re staying, which in turn allows you to explore the diversity of plant species across the landscapes with ease. The second and most common way is to walk. You can either go with a tour guide or without, as maps are available for those that want to explore the local plant life.
The benefits of North Cyprus’s floraWhether a botanist or not, a North Cyprus holiday spent seeing flora is something everybody should do. Along with the region’s treasure trove of historical sites it’s what casts a charisma over the environment, adding an essence of exhilaration to the laid back ambience. A nature trail in North Cyprus also rarely just means spotting plants and orchids, as particularly in parts such as the Karpaz Peninsula It’s very likely you’ll catch sight of some exotic birds and other wildlife. It’s the ideal holiday activity for all types of traveller, including families. North Cyprus’ placid nature is so much a part of its identity and therefore to explore this aspect of it is to become truly acquainted with it. Most importantly though, it’s an activity that encourages the focus on eco-tourism in North Cyprus, which is what preserves the region’s landscapes so that those visiting can feel as at peace as the grounds they’re stood on.
The TripAdvisor voting results have been published recently and Istanbul topped the polls, being named No.1 holiday destination to visit in the world! We think its a perfect time to let you know why, and one person who knows this better than anyone is Guner. Guner is one of our friendly team here at Direct Traveller and having been to Istanbul many times is the perfect person to give those wondering what the Istanbul experience is like some information and advice.
When did you last visit Istanbul?I last visited Istanbul on the 20th June 2013. I went for 4 nights and had a fabulous time! I go to Istanbul every year because there is always more and more to see each time. I can never get enough. The weather was perfect - I wore t-shirts most of the time and light jumpers in the evenings.
Which hotel did you stay in? What was it like, and would you recommend it to others?I stayed in Nisantasi (The House Hotel) or ‘The Knightsbridge of London’ as they call it…. It is literally 2 minutes from all the local restaurants/retail shops. It took us about a 30 minute walk to Taksim Square – now this is where you see the city come to life. I don’t think I've ever tasted such amazing food as I have on this street.
In Nisantasi town there are many boutique shops, so if you’re a shopper like me it's the perfect location. Of course, there are much better deals for hotels if you want to keep costs down and still be in the heart of the city. In particular, the old city – Sultanahmet area has very good standard hotels .The ones I can recommend are Momento Hotel/Celal Sultan/Art City/Best Western the President. Next time I go I will stay in one of these because they are central to the beautiful historical attractions and the Grand Bazaar.
What was the food like? Would you recommend any restaurants in particular?I loved the food!!! I couldn't stop eating- every corner and street had amazing food places. You are spoilt for choice and guaranteed to come back a few kilos heavier!
I loved the Fish restaurants on the Bosphorus. There are mini boats that grill fresh fish on the shore side in Eminonu, which is really famous as this is where you see all the locals fishing. It's such a great ambience, so buzzy and very lively.
My favourite experience was when I took a boat from the European side to the Asian side and went to a fantastic fish restaurant overlooking the famous Bosphorus bridge. There are local smaller restaurants hidden on the side streets, like Cibalikapi Balikçisi (fish restaurant). For deserts, I must say that Konak pastanesi is delicious for something sweet. It is near galata tower in taksim on a terrace. For breakfast one day I went to Guzelcehisar (anadoluhisari.) – it has breathtaking views. Fransiz sokagi near istiklal caddesi is also very nice to visit, with little small cafes/shisha lounges etc.
For evening entertainment, we went to a few snazzy bars and a few local bars.The snazzy ones were: Lebiderya bar terrace bar of Bosphorous, or for something more low key you've got the lambo bar outside, which is perfect for a quick drink. We also enjoyed listening to the local live bands that play in the side streets whilst eating dinner / having a drink - that was really nice because you see how the locals live and the lifestyle they have.
What were your favourite attractions/ things to do while there?My favourite attraction were the Grand Bazaar – it's like a maze in there through the never ending streets. I think it has over 18 entrances/exits, each full of Turkish ceramics, jewellery, bags, carpets and fashion. Taksim street is also great, as this is the area to be for the buzzy lively diversity of the city. You get to see Istanbul at its best during evenings because it's so cosmopolitan, and for the historical attractions I loved the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque) – the interior is so distinctive and the architecture is faultless.
What do you think makes Istanbul such a special city to visit?I think what makes Istanbul the perfect city to visit is its diversity in attractions/entertainment/food. You can never get bored - this is my 5th visit to Istanbul and I will definitely be going back again next year because every time you go there is something new to see. It's cheap to get there and it's cheap within the destination because it's Turkish Lira currency. It's the hot spot destination for shopping and has delicious food! what more could you want.
Lastly, do you have any tips for those thinking of going to Istanbul?I would suggest to anyone that is interested in going to Istanbul, to GO!!!!! There are really great deals for 2 or 3 night stays where you can do it as part of a tour, ensuring that you make the most of your time there.
The first time I went I did the Mini Stay Istanbul Tour, which included 3 nights stay at a 4 star hotel in the SultanAhmet Area. We had a full day city tour covering the Blue Mosque, St. Sophia Topkapi Palace, the Hippodrome and the Grand Bazaar. We also visited a carpet shop and learnt how carpets are made by hand.Then we also visited the Egyptian Spice Bazaar and took a scenic cruise along the European and Asian shores of the Bosphorous.
The tour included all transfers, transportation throughout the tour, an English speaking guide to explain everything we were visiting, entrance fees, 2 breakfasts and 1 lunch, which was perfect because then in the evenings we would go out exploring the local cuisine.
If like Guner you want to experience the wonders of Istanbul, you can call Direct Traveller on 0844 414 1684, e-mail at email@example.com, or visit our website at www.directtraveller.com for more information.
|Scene in North Cyprus|
Crossing the Border
I remember the day they crossed through, the memories and the people they saw; the simple things that moved them emotionally, such as the smell of their old Fig tree that was planted by my late grandfather in their citrus groves. The feeling they got when they once again saw the endless view of their vineyards, and their Carob groves.
One opportunity that I personally saw immediately was that of accessibility. While people who travelled to North Cyprus were deemed to have to travel via Turkey, this border opening meant a real opportunity. People could now travel to North Cyprus through Larnaca airport. The borders meant that from just the UK, there was now the option to fly from around 18 UK airports at the time, non stop and direct to Larnaca. With this opportunity in mind, we developed the very first non-stop direct flight package holidays to North Cyprus.
Awards Received From RT Hon Vince Cable, Sunday Times & Virgin
|Ramadan Ozdemir being awarded Turkish Entrepreneur of the|
year by Rt Hon Vince Cable, British Business Secretary
First UK National TV Adverts for North Cyprus Holidays
Kusadasi HistoryThe name Kusadasi comes from the Turkish words for bird and island, due to having a peninsula that is shaped similarly to a bird head. It was an important port and has seen many different civilizations pass through over the centuries, including the Aeolians, Ionians and the Ottoman Empire. Many of these have left behind traces of their presence through the cultural heritage that exists in the town today. Such traces include the Kaleici Camii Mosque that was built in 1618, along with the Okuz Mehmed Pasha Caravanserai and the city walls, both of which were built by the Ottomans. These can be explored within the old town of Kaleici, where establishments have been influenced with an Ottoman style décor that makes the area feel like it’s taking you back in time.
Historical Attractions near KusadasiKusadasi is also located close to Turkey’s third largest city of Izmir, where there’s even more to be seen. There’s the Kadifekale, which is also known as the ‘Velvet Castle’. This charismatic site dates back to 300 BC and provides spectacular views over Izmir. The Konak Clock Tower has become a symbol of the city, having been first built in 1901 and given as a gift from the Sultan Abdulhsmid. It stands as a strong impression of the Ottoman era and adds to Izmir’s ambience of being lost in time. The Archaeological Museum also houses many different antiques such as statues, sculptures, ceramics and more from around Izmir and its surrounding areas.
Most famous of Kusadasi’s historic neighbours has to be Ephesus. Once an ancient Greek city that dates back to the 10th century BC, there is a lot to see here. Each attraction such as the Temple of Artemis, gladiator’s graveyard, Library of Celsus and ruins create a ghostly ambience that feels fragmented with the spirits that once built or lived amongst these sites. A visit to Ephesus provides the chance to see one of Turkey’s most famous historical attractions and to wonder at the weathered character of once grandiose and important places.
Beaches in KusadasiIt’s not just its historical fascinations that Kusadasi is famous for, but also some rather exotic beaches. In particular the ‘Ladies Beach’ is situated centrally in the area and has a vibrant atmosphere, with water sports on offer and usually quite a few visitors, creating a sociable energy.
For a quieter spot on the sand there’s the ‘Long Beach’, which can be reached by regular mini buses, and has clean waters and nearby restaurants. There’s also the aptly named, ‘Paradise Beach’ where little cafes can be visited for a light lunch beside the sea while Dilek National Park provides a strip of beautiful beaches along with being a prime spot for reveling amongst Kusadasi’s beautiful scenery.
Where to stay in KusadasiFantasia Deluxe Hotel, which is just 3 miles from Kusadasi’s town centre and 12 miles from the marvels of Ephesus, while the Charisma Deluxe is another five star resort that sits beach front and has facilities and activities in abundance.
This makes it the ideal place to stay for families and those traveling in groups who want lots to keep them busy. Even the three star Hotel Carina offers as lavish a setting as its five star competitors, located just 1km from the beach and 500 meters from the town centre, with self catering studios and a gloriously blue swimming pool.
Why Kusadasi?Kusadasi has everything you could want in an exotic getaway: beaches, bars, restaurants, shops, striking scenery, great hotels and plenty of fascinating history to devour. At the same time, it’s completely unique because of its history, which creates an atmosphere unlike anywhere else and also lets visitors see a vision of Turkey that is authentic in its cultural identity. This is somewhere everyone should see at least once in their life, not only to find relaxation, but also to find a connection with civilizations before us.
For those that are still unsure about whether the destination is for them, we have conducted an interview with one of our DT Team, the lovely Raz. She has been to Dubai twice and therefore has plenty of personal insight to offer, which should hopefully help you with planning a trip of your own.
Hey Raz! When did you visit Dubai?I’ve been to Dubai twice now. The last visit was back in June 2013. I specifically chose this month as it's off-season in terms of prices – so I got an excellent deal. Everyone said the weather was going to be far too hot, but I think it was the perfect temperature for a beach holiday. Yes it was hot – but what I would normally expect if say, I travelled to the Med. I say June is perfect as it's just after the peak periods (October to May) while July & August is not preferred as it really is too hot. June is just that perfect month in between where it's hot and not overly priced!
Which hotel did you stay in? What was it like, and would you recommend it to others?I stayed at the Sheraton Jumeriah Beach and I would say this was in a very good location, as generally to be located on Jumeriah Walk is perfect. You are within walking distance to the main strip where there are lots of shops, restaurants and cafes.You can also walk to Dubai Marina easily, which is a great place for taking some amazing photos - so make sure you have your camera! It was about a 10 minute drive to Downtown Dubai also.
Where did you go to eat while there?There were so many restaurants to choose from! I mean, food is definitely not of shortage in Dubai, and in fact your holiday is pretty much about the excitement of where you eat. We dined a few nights at the hotel to get our bearings, then we chose to explore the local cuisine. There were lots of great meze’s such as hummus (crushed chickpeas) cacik (mint, cucumber and yogurt), tabbouleh (bulgur wheat with parsley, tomatoes, onions and pomegranate juice) and then the mains were either fresh grilled meat, such as marinated chicken or lamb, or if wanted they even had the more traditional dishes such as okra stew with lamb on the bone (yum!)
You definitely must do the traditional Friday Brunch too – the Emiratis definitely know how to dine! We went to the Westin Hotel for our brunch which was approx 4 hours away – it was amazing.
If people want to see some history, where should they go in Dubai?Dubai is predominantly man-made, so everything you see pretty much has been built in the last 10-15 years. I would say it's not the best place for historians. It's more for those whom enjoy amazing architecture (i.e. the tallest building in the world, Khalifa) and want to take in the local culture, generally enjoying all the luxuries the city has to offer for affordable prices – you'd be surprised at the great deals you can get out there!
What were your favourite attractions?I loved Dubai Marina – the views were amazing. We chartered a private Yacht from the harbour and went out onto the sea for a few hours – it was totally breath-taking. We saw the whole of Dubai Strip, the skyline and famous landmark hotels such as the Burj al Arab and Atlantis from the middle of the sea. I also loved the rustic side of old Dubai – we went to the famous Karama Market, which practically sold anything from Gold to food spices.
Of course a visit to Dubai would not be a visit without a trip to the malls, and in particular, the Mall of Emirates and Dubai Mall. Oh, and the desert safari! Wow. This was a truly thrilling experience as we booked a Jeep Desert where you have the most exhilarating time going up and down the dunes (they are very steep!!)
Before travelling through the terrain you get to your camp whereby a camel awaits to give you a short and bumpy ride, then you are shown into your camp where a traditional Arabian Themed Night begins, with a BBQ, belly dancer and other shows. The best part is you get to sit on the floor on hand made carpets and cushions just like the Arabs used to!
Lastly, do you have any tips for those thinking of going to Dubai?I say travel in the ‘off peak time’ – June was excellent as mentioned above for weather & the price. I would also recommend you stay on the Jumeiriah Walk as it's fairly central to everywhere, and there are lots of hotels to choose from. I would definitely stay on a B&B basis, though most deals throw in the half board. When booking restaurants make sure you check whether they serve alcohol as not all places do (and it is pricey!) Other than this you are in for a brilliant holiday as there is lots to do & see!
If having read that you'd like to book a holiday to Dubai, or perhaps just find out more information then get in touch with Direct Traveller! You can call us on 0844 414 1684, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website on www.directtraveller.com.
Turkish semolina cake bathed in syrup, to be exact. It'd be tough to go wrong with something so delicious. This spongey desert has some history too, with the Ottoman's big fans who even gave the cake its Turkish name, 'Revani'. It's also known as 'yogurt tatlisi' in Turkey, which translates to 'yogurt desert'. A bite of this beauty won't just leave your mum in a sweet state of mind, but will also take her tastebuds on a holiday of sorts, far away to the flavours of the Mediterranean.
For the cake
- 1 cup of plain yogurt
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 3 tbsp flour
- 3/4 cup of vegetable oil
- 1 cup of uncooked semolina
- the zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 cup finely ground hazelnuts
- ground nuts and coconut flakes (for topping)
For the syrup
- 3 cups sugar
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 juice from a lemon
Let's get started.
You'll need to prepare the syrup so that it has time to cool down. Mix the sugar and water in a medium pan on a high heat until it comes to a boil, stirring the whole time. Turn the heat down and continue to let boil for around another ten minutes. Add some lemon juice and then leave to cool.
Grab a large mixing bowl and put your eggs and sugar in first. Whisk until the sugar dissolves and then whisk some more. Lots of whisking! Next the yogurt, lemon zest and oil go in. Whisk up. Lastly, you want to put all the rest of your ingredients in, excluding the ground nuts and coconut flakes for the top.Give the mixture one final whisk until smooth.
Pour the cake mix into a baking tray that measures 10 x 12 inches and then cook in the oven at a temperature of about 175 degrees celsius. You'll want to leave it until the cake turns slightly browned and the tip of a knife or a toothpick can be inserted and removed without any mixture residue on. Leave to stand for five minutes.
Cut the cake evenly into squares in the pan and then drizzle the syrup over it, allowing it to sink through the sponge. Cover in foil and put in the fridge for a few hours.
To finish scatter a pinch worth of coconut and ground nuts on top of each square. Serve with a fresh cup of coffee and don't forget to say: Anneler Günün Kutlu Olsun! (That's Happy Mother's Day in Turkish).
Visiting the Turtle Beach at Alagadi is something that should not be missed during a trip to North Cyprus, and aside from being very cute, the Loggerhead and Green turtles also have some fascinating facts. Did you know that...
1. The name ‘Loggerhead Turtle’ was inspired by the fact they have big heads, and by that I don’t mean that they go around boasting about how many crabs they’ve eaten that day, although their big heads are actually useful for helping with catching their prey. It supports their strong jaws, which allows them to eat hard shelled creatures far easier than other turtles.
2. Green Turtles love their greens. They’re herbivores, and tend to feast on algae and sea grass. Yum.
3. Loggerhead turtles can move through the water up to 15 miles per hour.
4. Green turtles can weigh up to a whopping 700 pounds, which makes them one of the largest species of sea turtle in the world.
5. It’s common for both female Loggerhead turtles and Green turtles to travel thousands of miles in order to return to the beach where they were born to lay their own eggs.
6. Green turtles enjoy sunbathing, which makes them unusual compared to other sea turtles, who usually only leave the water to nest.
7. Loggerhead turtles create a mental map of their migration route through using the Earth’s magnetic field.
8. Green turtles mate every two to four years by digging a pit in the sand with their flippers and filling it with around 100-200 eggs. After covering this they return to the sea until 2 months has passed.
9. The most dangerous time of a Loggerhead and Green turtles life is when they leave their nest for the sea. Due to being so small and vulnerable they can easily be caught by predators.
10. Loggerhead turtles can live to be over 50, while Green Turtles can live up to over 80 years old. Pretty impressive, huh?
|AtlasJet Welcome Desk|
|At the AtlasJet Desk in Luton|
|Our Tour of Luton Airport|
|Tour of Luton Airport|
|Walking to the Gate|
|VIP priority Gate|
|AtlasJet aircraft at Luton|
|AtlasJet Aircraft waiting|
|Boarding the AtlasJet plane|
|Cheeky snap by the plane|
|Say Cheese AtlasJet|
|Ok last one we promise...|
|Inside AtlasJet aircraft|
|The AtlasJet Stewardess, smiling, ready for service|
|The aircraft engines|
|The atlasjet logo|
|Complimentary AtlasJet branded cupcakes.. yummy|
Without further ado, here is a recipe for a unique Savidu inspired, Sri Lankan style chicken curry. Word of warning: get your spice racks at the ready.
What you'll need:
First:- Tameric (quarter of a table spoon)
- Ground Coriander (2 tablespoons)
- Ground Cumin (1 tablespoon)
- 2 cardamoms
- 1 small cinnamon stick
- 2 cloves
- Chilli powder (half a tablespoon)
- Vinegar (1 tablespoon)
- Black pepper (half a tablespoon) and salt
- 1 green chilli
- 1 big onion
- 1 and a half cloves of fresh garlic (chopped)
- 1 small root of fresh ginger (chopped)
-2 curry leaves/sticks
- 1 half of a small lemongrass
- 1 big tomato
- Coconut oil or vegetable oil
- 150 ml Coconut Milk
- Tamarind paste(1 tablespoon)
- 1 Pandan leaf
First: Marinating the chicken
Put your chicken into this mixture and leave to marinate for 45 minutes to an hour.
Second: Cooking the chickenPut 2 spoons worth of oil/ coconut oil into a pan and add garlic, ginger, 1 pandan leaf and 2 curry leaves. After 1 minutes, add chopped up onion. Next chop up the tomato and add, followed by your lemongrass, 1 green chilli and then mix and allow to fry for around three minutes.
Lastly, add the chicken on a normal heat and cook for five minutes, making sure to cook on the other side for another five minutes also. Next add Tamarind paste, then about 300ml of water to the pan.
Mix together and leave to cook for 20 minutes on a medium heat. Then cook for another 20 minutes on a low heat.
Third: Optional coconut milkYou can optionally add some coconut milk and then leave for another 6 minutes at this point. Taste before serving to check flavour is good for you. You can always add some more seasoning at this point if not.
Fourth: Serve upYou're done! Serve up with some boiled rice or bread and enjoy!
You wont want to leave, but you definitely will want to sit down and take it all in. the slow pace of the sleepy village has that affect on visitors.
Below you can see some scenes of the village and take it all in too...
|Enjoying a Coffee in Bellapais Village|
|Watching the world go by in Bellapais Village|
|The enchanting Bellapais Abbey|
|The arches in Bellapais Abbey|
|Winter sun scene in Bellapais Abbey gardens|
|Inside the grounds of the Bellapais Monastery|
|A sleepy cat enjoying the peace of the village|
|The views to coast from the Abbey|
Did you enjoy our scenic gallery? Tell us if you have been to Bellapais Village too...
|Eat Well. Travel Often|
Do you like this? What's your favourite saying?