My name is Zoe Carvosso (@wankerlust) and I’m a 24 year old born and bred in Sydney, Australia. Thanks for stopping by my Turkey blog which (I hope) provides you with some travel inspiration to this amazing country.
I’ve visited 40 countries in my life so far and am nowhere near finished yet! My passion for travel started at a very young age. I have always been of the belief that travel and experiencing adventures and different cultures can bring you much more joy than buying material items.
My parents had a huge influence on me. They took my twin brother and I on some unbelievable adventures when we were young. We travelled within Australia during my younger years and even drove all the way from Sydney to Uluru and back – a fun 8,000 km journey by car.
I was eight when I visited my first country, New Zealand, and my love for the unknown has grown exponentially ever since then. I guess with the adventure comes the ability to capture it. I’m no professional photographer but that doesn’t stop me from snapping up a storm with my camera!
Why I Named my Instagram Profile “Wankerlust”
By now some of you might have clicked on my Instagram and seen my profile name @wankerlust and thought “hmm – that’s an interesting Instagram name” haha. Well, the original concept I had was to make an Instagram page to showcase the less glamorous side of travelling.
The long stopovers, cancelled trains, lost luggage and general frustrations of travel. I planned to take relatively stupid photos and post them with some witty remarks. Obviously, that was a short-lived plan as I started my page in around 2015. Wow, it’s been a while!
In fact, I created the page while I was studying for a law exam pretty much drowning in self-pity. I thought to myself – this is it! I want to start something that I can share with the world. Queue: Wankerlust!
The name originates from the German term ‘wanderlust’ which essentially means: ‘desire to travel’. I hate when people use it so frequently. It really irks me (I can speak German too). I would like to think that my page represents a realistic side of travel – the adventures of a normal person.
I hope my page doesn’t make me look too much like a vapid influencer. Hopefully it gives people some genuine travel inspiration to the amazing destinations that I have visited such as Turkey.
Visiting Turkey for Three Incredible Weeks
From there, I explored the amazing Turquoise Coast of Turkey for 10 days visiting Antalya, Cirali, Kas, Kalkan, Fethiye region, Kayakoy, Olympos, Dalyan, Pamukkale, Saklikent Kanyon, Delcuk and many more places but that’s all I can remember off the top of my head.
My parents joined me in Istanbul and we explored so many different parts of the city. Most people just seem to spend a day or two visiting Sultanahmet (Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Spice Markets) and then call it a day. They don’t know how much they’re missing out on!
Istanbul is so much more than just a few landmarks to tick off a bucket list in one neighbourhood. It’s a magnificent city with a clash of Europe and Asia that makes it such a thrilling place to explore.
My days were spent walking everywhere. I explored the trendy Beyoglu/Galata area, took a ferry to Karakoy and ate my way through the markets, and took a long public ferry down the Bosphorus to Anadolu (near the Black Sea). My one tip for Istanbul – eat everything.
My time in Cappadocia was also wonderful, watching hot air balloons float harmoniously amidst the rising sun. I was fortunate to also be in one for sunrise. I’ve got an interesting story about this hot air balloon ride if you continue reading this Turkey travel inspiration blog below.
The road trip along the Turquoise Coast was something quite unique too. We stopped along the way at gorgeous coastal towns – some rather quaint, others a bit too overflowing with boozed up Brits but still great!
Oh and I pretty much played with every single cat in the country. They are everywhere in Turkey and I was obsessed with these beautiful animals.
Turkey Travel Inspiration: Must-See Places
All stages of the trip were beautiful. It’s worse than the movie Sophie’s Choice trying to pick a favourite place! Nevertheless, if I had to choose, I would say that Butterfly Valley (Kelebekler Vadisi) and Kayakoy (the abandoned city) were two breathtaking sights for me.
But overall, Istanbul was exhilarating and each sunrise in Cappadocia wasn’t too shabby either. If you’re visiting Turkey you have to explore it extensively. Each place has its own special and unique charm. It’s worth noting the cute coastal village of Cirali as well.
This town boats natural rock fires (chimaera) that burn all day long and are visible during dusk and dawn (and all night). Obviously Istanbul is a must-visit destination. Butterfly Valley is incredible – more so for the view from the lookout rather than for the actual valley itself.
Saklikent Kanyon was also such a surprising place where you can navigate your way on foot through an enormous canyon for over 2 kilometers. It’s like the world’s coolest natural obstacle course. Make sure you wear reef shoes though. I didn’t and boy was that a mistake!
Extraordinarily Delicious Turkish Cuisine
I’m a huge foodie so I went crazy and ate all the Turkish food I could see (I am vegetarian, so within those boundaries). I ate amazing vegetable dishes, cheeses, dondurma (ice cream), baklava, gozleme, burek, Turkish delight and every other sweet dish possible. It was heaven.
Turkey Travel Inspiration: Best Places to Stay
I stayed in the most beautiful apartments and cottages during my time in Turkey. One memorable place was an incredible cliffside house in Faralya, perched over Kelebekler Vadisi called Pure Life Villas.
It was impossible to find, but once we did, it was heaven. It was like an Italian country home with a pool, deck chairs and cosy kitchen and comfortable rooms. Another beautiful apartment was in Kas called Derya Beach Apartment. Both were booked through Booking.com.
In Istanbul we stayed in Sultanahmet and Beyoglu. Beyoglu was by far superior, boasting a vibrant café culture and trendy bars. We stayed at Noa Luxury Apartments. There are more places I could recommend for this Turkey travel inspiration blog but these were the best places.
Turkey Travel Inspiration: A Memorable Experience
As you can imagine, every moment in Turkey was beyond special for me. My most memorable experience, though, was actually one of the saddest parts of the trip. My beloved cat who I had for 17 years sadly passed away the morning of our hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia.
Our ride had been rescheduled from the day before due to unsafe wind – so off we went at 4am to head to the ‘airport’. We were a mess. Let me say, this was a 180 Euro per person ride (thanks mummy and daddy) and I will controversially say that it was pretty overrated.
I reckon the views from Sunrise Point were much better. We took off and I’m sure our fellow passengers were wondering why the weird family was crying. About 5 minutes into the trip, I hear my dad shout ‘ahh f***’.
Turns out, in his sadness, he was looking down to the Rose Valley below and his glasses slid right off his face and fell down, down, down to the ground. I inherited my terrible eyesight from my dad, so his 180 Euro ride was spent imagining what the view was like.
It was super depressing and a travel low on my Turkey trip, and the insurance claim was a real fun time, but it’s a funny story now I guess? Also for the rest of the trip my dad had to wear my glasses. Sometimes travel experiences can be memorable in the most tragic way too.
What you Need to Know Before you Go
I found the people of Turkey to be extremely welcoming and friendly. I will admit, I was expecting some of the men to leer as had been my experience in many other countries but the locals were nothing but friendly and only hassled tourists in the markets (as you would expect).
When I explored the streets on my own, went for morning runs and dined in local restaurants – I had the chance to meet locals. They always had smiles and were very generous. So I would recommend trying to get to know the locals on your visit to Turkey. You won’t regret it!
In addition to all of the above, I would say:
- Bring a scarf and conservative clothing – you don’t want to be disrespectful in a mosque.
- You can wear summer dresses and short sleeves as a woman. I did and it was completely fine in Istanbul. However in Kayseri, I was unbelievably uncomfortable as men were leering at me constantly. Make sure you cover up in more provincial towns (though coastal towns are usually liberal).
- Make sure you’re always hungry – the food in Turkey is divine.
- Exchange Euros into Lira in markets and hunt for the best exchange rate.
- Bargain your heart out at markets – the locals know the game like no other and you’ll almost always pay more than you should.
- Take plenty of photos.
- Hire a car and drive along the Turquoise Coast from Antalya to Izmir – thank me later 🙂
I hope this blog has provided you with some travel inspiration to the incredible country of Turkey. If you have any questions or would like more information feel free to get in touch with me on Instagram.