Our Blog

“Doing” Anzac Day

  "Stop the bus! Stop!" A middle-aged man with silvering hair and a walkie-talkie strapped to his waist runs towards our bus with arms flailing. "What the hell are ya doing here? How d'ya get in?" Thirty-seven sleeping Aussie and Kiwi pilgrims jolt awake together, wipe the drool from the corners of their mouths and search for their water bottles while taking in the spectacle. The driver...

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Cruising the Med, Turkish Style!

We’re well and truly in relaxation mode by day eight of our Colours of Turkey Tour. We’ve just spend three chilled-out nights in Faralya, soaking up the sun, and today we check into traditional wooden gulet boat, for three glorious nights onboard. You wake up and jump straight into the crystal clear turquoise water.  Scrambled eggs and a full Turkish breakfast are waiting for you whenever you...

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Heaven in the south of Turkey

If you had to describe an idyllic hideaway destination, how would you describe it? Difficult to get to? Small, peaceful and with almost no tourists? A spectacular view of turquoise water from the dinner table? A banquet served al fresco each night by a local family, with local, organic produce? A bungalow surrounded by pomegranate trees, strawberry patches and pine trees, up high on a hill where the air is fresh? Does...

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Selçuk and surrounds

This tiny little village, just slightly inland from the Aegean coast sure packs a punch. With a population of only 30,000 people, Selçuk is home to the ancient city of Ephesus, the 6th century basilica of St John, the house of the Virgin Mary, as well as a grand fortress high on the hill and a 14th century mosque. Selcuk castle Once a major Roman city, in 1st century BC, Ephesus had a population...

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Next stop: Gallipoli!

We leave the hustle and bustle of Istanbul just before the morning commuter rush, and hit the highway – destination Gallipoli. Every Australian has some connection to Gallipoli. Perhaps your relatives fought in the bloody battlefields here, you may have been to a Dawn Service or two, and you’ve probably done a school project about Simpson and his donkey. The battles at Gallipoli were...

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Around Turkey on a Portakal Tour! First stop: Istanbul

Over the next few weeks I endeavour to take you on a virtual Portakal tour of Turkey. While I’d planned and promised to do this while actually on tour in Turkey in September, it didn’t happen as we were simply having too much fun! East meets West. Asia meets Europe. A city of contrasts. A juxtaposition. A melting pot of cultures, food and history. Every cliché you hear about Istanbul is true! Istanbul...

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Iyi Bayramlar! Happy Sugar Festival in Turkey!

Today marks the end of Ramadan, the 30 day fasting period in the Muslim calendar, during which Muslims refrain from consuming food and drink between sunrise and sunset. Seker Bayrami, the sugar festival, is the 3 day festival following Ramadan, which focuses on all things sweet. Baklava, Turkish Delight, boiled sweets, the works! Sweet shops are open around the clock, all shops and hotels offer...

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Turkish Pide – Turkish-style pizza fit for a Sultan

"Rose! You HAVE to come to this restaurant with me, you'd love it!", said my friend Gen, excitedly last week. My friends say things like this to me quite a bit, knowing that I get overexcited about trying new restaurants, especially when there is even the slightest of Turkish influences. The Moor's Head in Thornbury is famous for Pide. Pide (pronouced 'pee-day') is a traditional Turkish/Middle...

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Turkish Kilims

What is a kilim and how is it different to a carpet? Kilims are flat, tapestry-woven rugs which are commonly made from the Balkans to Pakistan. While carpets are made from knotting wool or other materials, kilims are made from weaving materials through a base 'warp'. Kilims are all fabulously unique and are the product of the creativity and imagination of the weaver. While they aren't as durable...

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Ezo Gelin Soup – Ezo the Bride Soup

Now that the cold weather has well and truly set in, I've whipped out the slow cooker and am looking to expand my hearty soup repertoire. One of my favourites from my time in Turkey, is Ezo Gelin soup, Ezo the Bride's soup. Legend has it that a beautiful woman names Ezo lived in the east of Turkey in the early 20th century. She had ruby-red lips and jet-black hair and was admired by the many...

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