Category Archives: Africa

bloody river of Eid Sacrifice

Bayram in Turkey vs. Eid in Morocco

Travel holidays. There is no bigger holiday in the Muslim world than Ramadan. The variations in Islam between countries that are all lumped together as ‘Muslim’ can be huge. In fact, there are things that tie all Muslims together (very broad things), but by no means is a Turkish ‘Muslim’ anything like a Moroccan ‘Muslim’.

bloody river of Eid Sacrifice And I use the quote marks because I’m not talking about the really devout. I’m talking about the average person you meet who is Muslim because they were born Muslim but really doesn’t take the time to think about it – or care about it.

One example of this is the holiday that I’m currently enjoying. Just like in Morocco, Turkey closes schools and government offices for the week so that students and workers can go home to be with family during the ‘feast of the sacrifice’. To see my post about Eid last year where the river ran red with the blood of sacrificial sheep you can go to the links below.
Bayram in Turkey

http://www.vagobond.com/sheep-bloodbath-coming-up-in-morocco-al-eiad/

http://www.vagobond.com/al-eid-wrapup/

This year, I didn’t see much in the way of celebration. The University students all left Manisa to go back to the family homes. I saw a couple of sheep here and there, but there was certainly no blood in the streets. Instead, what you see in Turkey is young kids going from door to door asking for sweets or money.

No fires in the yard, no bleating of sheep, no bloody rivers.

Admittedly, this isn’t Eastern Turkey, but still. We were surprised to see the complete and utter nothingness which we witnessed. I’m sure there were plenty of sheep sacrificed here, but the cost of 800 Lira vs. 800 dirhams in Morocco is pretty sharp since the first translates to about 400 Euros and the second to about 80 Euros. That certainly makes a difference.

Seafood in Canakkale

Canakkale, Turkey – Part 2 – Worth a Visit

Canakkale is bustling, even in the off season. I would actually hate to see it during the peak tourist times, although most backpackers would probably enjoy it.

My introduction to this was at http://www.vagobond.com/canakkale-turkey-gateway-gallipolli-ancient-troy/ – Just in case you missed it.

I tend to shy away from tourist places in the high season because I don’t like crowds, pyramid in TurkeyI like the locals, and I tend to think that tourist towns are like magnets for all the worst types of people this ugly world produces from drug addicts to terrorists to plain old assholes. But during the off season, I do like to see the pretty places- and most touristy spots are pretty. Canakkale is no exception.

Canakkale Trojan HorseFrom the promenade with it’s nighttime lights, cheap stuffed mussels, and big, fake, Hollywood Trojan Horse to the pretty little cobble
stoned backstreets. It’s a nice town.

We found a great little place to get fresh fish grilled and delicious in the back streets.Seafood in Canakkale I don’t suppose I’ll be going back anytime soon so I’ll share the secret with you. On the road between the dolmus station and the ferry road, there is a tiny little place run by a very nice family. Clean, fresh, and delicious. It’s called Okyanus Balick Calick. Normally, I don’t eat anywhere with anus in the name, but in this case, it was delicious.

There are a number of little monuments in the town. cannon in canakkaleSome old cannons from the Dardanelles battles and a strange ceramic something that is just sort of strange. Of course, as everywhere in Turkey there are no shortage of monuments to Attaturk and the heroes of the Turkish Republic. An Ottoman clock tower somehow seems out of place.

In stark contrast to Manisa, there are a lot of places to quaff a beer in Canakkale. Lucky for me there are plenty of places for shopping too, so I was able to sit in a small cafe/bar for an afternoon listening to jazz and having adult beverages while Hanane shopped. Bliss. I’m very much a Turkish sort of Muslim, my wife on the other hand, well, she doesn’t approve. The difference between Moroccan and Turkish again.

Another difference is the Hammam. After nearly four months here, I finally made a trip to Turkish Hammam while in Canakkale. I went for the full massage at Yali Hammam. As compared with the Hammam in Morocco ( see this post: http://www.vagobond.com/the-hamaam-morocco/ ) I was surprised to find that it was….empty.

The advent of modern bathrooms and hot water in nearly every house has made Hammam a thing of the past in Turkey whereas in Morocco it is still a necessity. I miss going to the Hammam in the Casbah of Sefrou, the social nature of seeing the same guys in the morning, then seeing them through the day. It was nice.
Hammam in Canakkale
Don’t get me wrong, the Turkish Hammam was fancy with marble basins and a heated center platform for massage plus a closed sauna room inside the main hammam. There were private locker rooms to leave your things in and you could lock the rooms. The massage was good, done by a big serious bald fat man.

The expense, well 35 lira in total (just 10 lira for the hammam alone). Pretty cheap when you consider a full bath, massage, and steam room for 17.5 Euros but when you compare it with 3.5 Euros (35 MAD but just 10 dirhams for the hammam alone) in the casbah, well, it starts to seem expensive. In fact though, both are a bargain. If I were to choose though, I preferred the one in the casbah.

Of course there is plenty more to see and do in Canakkale. A military museum, a castle, fishermen, the strange pyramid, the Nusrat Minelayer, the Korfmann Library and more, but I’ll leave those treasures for you to discover.

Oh, one last suggestion though…make sure to try the peynir helvas. It’s sweet, baked, and delicious with strong tea or Turkish coffee.

Coming soon: Gokceada Island: The Organic Turkish Island
Troy: City of Legends
Gallipolli and the Gellibollu Peninsula
Eceabat, Turkey
and much more…

cc image of Gulfoss, Iceland courtesy of Bryan Pocious

5 of the World’s Most Amazing Waterfalls

How does one decide which waterfalls are the most amazing in the world? Is it the tallest, the widest, the fastest, or the most scenic? There are just so many to choose from. Check out My Adventure Store tour and be blown away by the magnificent waterfalls that grace our planet.

Victoria Falls, Zambia

cc image of victoria falls courtesy of ebel on FlickrVictoria Falls means “the smoke that thunders” in the language of the Kololo Tribe. It is one of the largest waterfalls in the world. When David Livingstone first stumbled upon it in 1885 he was completely awestruck by its beauty, describing the falls as “scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight.”

The waterfall is where the Zambezi Rivers drops over a 108 metre vertical wall into a narrow gorge below. The fall at its widest is 1.7 kilometres across. Such is the intensity of the falls that mist can be seen several kilometres away. Pure majesty!

Angel Falls, Venezuela

The Angel Falls are the tallest in the world, dropping an amazing 979 metres from a table top mountain. The falls are frequently shrouded in clouds adding to their mystique and beauty. Getting to the falls is quite an adventure; you will travel by boat for four hours and then a take a 90 minute uphill climb. When you finally spy the falls after all that hard work you will be exhilarated. They are breathtaking.

Iguazu Falls, Brazil

The Iguazu falls are beyond compare. They are made up of 275 different waterfalls across an area of 3 kilometres. The combined flow of water is nature at its most powerful: around 1000 cubic metres per second! Nothing can prepare you for the sense of grandeur that the waterfalls evoke. It is an incredibly energising place; watching the sheer volume of water fall is awe inspiring. There is an abundance of wildlife around the falls, including banded-tail coaties, parrots, toucans and butterflies.

Gullfoss, Iceland

cc image of Gulfoss, Iceland courtesy of Bryan PociousGullfoss means “Golden Falls’ and is arguably Iceland’s most popular waterfall. Gullfoss is unique in that features two separate drops, one a short distance from the first, at right angles to each other. The falls produce glorious sprays of mist that are rainbow filled in certain lights. The Hvita River from whence the falls come is glacial and the colour of the falling water reflects its’ origins. The first drop is 11 metres and the next around 13 metres.

Yosemite Falls, USA

Yosemite Falls are the iconic symbol of the beautiful Yosemite National Park in California. The waterfall drops in three points: the Upper Fall plunges 435 metres; the next drop known as the Middle Cascades, tumbles a further 200 metres; followed by the last drop, The

Lower Fall, which drops a final 100 metres. The Yosemite falls are one of the tallest in the world. The double attraction of the falls is that they are easy to access and stunningly beautiful. The makes them once of the most popular waterfalls to visitors from all over the world.