Istanbul is the only city in the world that spans 2 continents.  It's very eclectic, where old clashes with the new.  At one point in history, it was the capital of Rome, and was later conquered by the Ottomans.  A lot of history happened here and a lot is still left to uncovered - many historical sites are still buried meters below the modern city.

During our 2 week stay, we took time to visit some of the most popular sites: Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia Church, Basilica Cistern, just to name a few.

We also walked around the Grand Bazar and the Spice Market.

Since we stayed near Taksim Square in the Beyogul district, we went for a daily walk down Istiklal Avenue for fun.

On one night, we were just going out for some dessert and tea when we accidentally walked through a protest.  Istikal Avenue is always filled with a crowd of locals and tourists at every hour of the day.  Nothing seemed unusual until we heard several people start whistling, cheering, and chanting.  We had just arrived at our destination and sat down inside, when we suddenly we saw people running down the street with the police chasing them.  It turned out to just be a small protest so we had nothing to worry about, but it was interesting to see the game of cat and mouse that the protestors were playing with the police.  This protest was definitely a lot less nerve-wracking than the La Paz protest we walked through several months ago, where miners were igniting small sticks of dynamite in the streets! :)

Kitesurfing in Akyaka

Continuing with our new kiting addiction, we rented an apartment for a month in a tiny town called Akyaka, along the Gokova Bay in South-western Turkey.  This kiting location is known for its calm shallow water and the fact that it's always windy. 

From our apartment, it took about 30 minutes to walk to the kitesurfing beach... and it involved crossing a waist-deep river :).

The beach was really nice (sand!! :)), but the location was very crowded in August especially with a lot of beginners.  If you walk your kite about 200m out into the bay, you could usually find a bit of space away from all of the out-of-control beginner kites :).

Yes, you can actually walk 200 meters right out into the bay, the water is super shallow as you cross the various sand bars.  In some areas it gets so shallow that your board can actually dig itself into the sand... while you're riding..  On multiple occasions, we found ourselves flying off with the board left behind, firmly wedged in the sand. :).  (We secretly had a pretty entertaining time watching other unsuspecting visitors also get beached and go flying off too.)

Our skills have greatly improved since our first lessons in December, we're much more comfortable and now enjoy riding upwind and practicing basic tricks (ie. like turning!).

Dom even started jumping waves... nothing big, just fun small stuff for beginners.  Kitesurfing is especially fun for this since it doesn't hurt to fall! (..yet?)

Lastly, we met a group of Turkish friends who came here together on a quick kitesurfing vacation.  We were just hanging out nearby their friend's shop and they each came out to introduce themselves to us, and invite us to hang out at their friend's school where there are chairs, shade, music, drinks...  They were all super nice and made us feel welcome right away (even though they were only here for a couple more days).  

They offered us some advice on where to visit in Turkey, what to eat, where the best kitesurf spots are...  They even offered to drive us out for dinner in a near by city (Marmaris), to help us experience the culinary delights of Turkey.. including one dish of cow-stomach donair ;)  We really enjoyed their company and it was too bad when it was time for them to return to Istanbul.  But they were kind enough to invite us to stay at their place if we ended up in Istanbul, so maybe we'll see them again!

Akyaka is a tiny sleepy little town with not much to do except kitesurf.. really.. there's nothing to do there.  But we enjoyed the B&B that we stayed at, the kitesurfing, and we got our first taste at how amazingly friendly Turkish people are!!  Everyone we've met so far has been unbelievably nice and super helpful!  

Travelling with Kitesurfing Gear

For the past year, we've been travelling the world super light.. we only have one 45 litre backpack each... and we love it!!  But while in Kos, we bought a bunch of kitesurfing gear so now we're quite a bit more loaded down.  Thanks to Peter and Kisztina who lent us their kitesurfing "golf" roller-bag to help make our travel days a bit easier!  Our trick is to attach the rollerbag to the bottom of Dom's backpack.. we got a few funny looks but hey.. it works!! :)

Also, we thought it funny that a kite surf company would write "Golf" on their kitesurf equipment bags...!  Krisztina told us that they do this because many airlines will let you check golf equipment in without charging an extra checked-bag fee!


A 30 minute ferry-ride from Kos led us to our next country of adventure.  Our first port of call was Bodrum, a resorty coastal town in the South-West corner of Turkey.  Here we took it easy walking the town, window shopping, going to a movie, and having a nice dinner on the beach. Nothing super special or fancy, but we enjoyed it... and the coolest part was the hotel's rooftop pool overlooking the city ;)