Tag: solo traveler

The Angel at the Love Valley Owns a Phone (Final Part)

I stepped out of the store to look around, but I noticed that it was only me and the man inside who were there in The Love Valley, all the rest of the Chinese tourists has left along with their big van.  Feeling like a captive, I muster the courage to inquire from the man inside if taxi cabs passes by that area of Cappadocia.  He says never.  He relayed in broken English that taxis that goes to the Love Valley are at all times with a passenger who rented the cab to be driven around the sites of Cappadocia the whole day.

the lovely love valley
this suddenly became the tastiest tea ever!
unleashing the power of the selfie stick

With teary eyes, I asked the man if there would be a possibility to call a cab and ask its cab driver to pick me up in The Love Valley.  Without any response, the man then stepped inside the inner confines of his store (for authorized personnel only area I suppose) and when he reappeared, a calling card of a taxi was in his hands.  He then pulled out his mobile phone from his pocket and started pressing the numbers.

When the man ended his conversation in his mobile phone, he told me that a taxi would arrive in about 30 minutes to pick me up and drive me to my hotel.  He then told me that the whole taxi fare was worth 30 liras.  I instantly agreed with the price.  I was actually willing to pay more than that! Hahaha!

The man then told me to sit, sip my tea and patiently wait for the driver.  I instead, walked out and started to see again the beauty and magnificence of The Love Valley.  I took another set of selfies of me with the valley and walked again inside the shop.  I was so happy I wanted to buy all the merchandise inside the store.  I could not control my happy feelings, I told the man that he is such an angel!

While waiting for my cab without any tourist or buyer around, the man and I got to converse.  I learned that his name is Darius, he is a Christian, living by himself in Turkey and hailed from the Muslim country of Iran.  He talked about how he misses his family back in Iran and even relayed how difficult it was to be a Christian there.  And when the taxi cab arrived, I could not control myself but to give Darius a big warm hug!  I whispered to his ear… “You take care and may God bless the people like you” before finally bidding goodbye.

While the cab was moving away from The Love Valley, I was humming Madonna’s 80s song entitled Angel.  And when I was near my hotel only then did I realize that indeed an angel can appear in unexpected ways. And when I entered my hotel, I looked for the owner and thanked him for not letting me book the Red Tour option.  He asked me why but I refused to answer.  I gave him a nice smile and told him I need to get to my room to take some nap.

Yu mast be an eingel… Ay ken si it in yor ays…


The Angel at the Love Valley Owns a Phone (Part 2)

I also noticed that there was no other person who was hiking during that time from Uchisar to Love Valley. After much contemplation and being so pissed off on myself for not just getting a cab from Uchisar, I concluded that maybe hiking in this area is only done during summer and spring time and never on the time I was there, the start of winter.

winter in uchisar!
useful google map! notice, there are no alternative route neither a short cut.
a common view between uchisar and the love valley. this starts to look ugly to me when my legs starts to fail me

But when I checked Google Maps and showed that the remaining time for me to reach the Love Valley was only 5 minutes of brisk walking, I took a deep grasped and told myself that I will not die in that deserted place and can make it to Love Valley. And when a big stray dog barked at me and I saw a shed with a signage signifying that such structure is a store I started to grin. And a full gleaming smile emanated from my face when I saw a big van parked and a bunch of Chinese tourists alighted it and took photos of one of the most beautiful sites on the planet called The Love Valley.

I marveled into the erotic looking rock formations below the valley and upon scrutiny of these rock formations only did I understood why this valley is called The Love Valley. I took a couple of photos and went right inside the store because the temperature has further dropped.

the magnificent love valley
those rock formations says it all why it’s called the love valley
selfie time!

The first thing I looked for inside the store was a chair for me to rest. And when I was starting to feel relaxed, only then did I noticed that the store is a souvenir shop manned by a neat and well-mannered looking man sipping a hot Turkish tea. I looked around for a possible purchase but instead of buying an item, I asked the vendor if the store serves hot tea like the one he was sipping.

The gentle-looking man confirmed then pointed me to a small and humble-looking dining table. In less than a minute, I was served with the tastiest tea that I ever had. And while sipping my hot tea, I searched Google Maps on how long would I have to walk again for me to return to my hotel.

And when Google Map indicated 55 minutes, I wanted to cry! I started blaming myself for agreeing with the hotel owner of not booking the Red Tour. I was finding faults in myself for not hailing a cab that can drive me to that place when I was in Uchisar. And I was starting to hate the beauty of the Love Valley. To Be Continued…

Last na yung susunod… Abangan!

The Angel at the Love Valley Owns a Phone (Part 1)

When I checked-in at my hotel in Cappadocia, I was advised by the owner that Cappadocia basically has two major tour options.  The Red Tour and the Green Tour.  The owner advised me to book and pay for the Green Tour and that the Red Tour need not be arranged with a local tour company.  He explained that I myself can go and visit the Red Tour sites since I have four days to spend in Cappadocia and that the locations of the tour spots featured in the Red Tour are within a good hiking distance.

He nevertheless warned me that the longest walk in the Red Tour option from one site to the next would take me about an hour.  That was the walk from the rock tower of Uchisar to the sensual-looking rock formations of the Love Valley.

stop over at salkim tepesi panorama
took loads of photos along the way

From my hotel, I reached Uchisar after a 40-minute walk.  The walk was not incessant and continuous because I got to stop and do some detour so as to marvel at some of the most beautiful valley formations and breathtaking geological sites on the planet.

After getting around Uchisar and decided that I have to get to my next destination, I remember the hotel owner informing me about the 1-hour hike if I want to go to the Love Valley from Uchisar.  This was confirmed when I checked the information at Google Maps.

tour groups on shuttle would not be able to get a photo like this!
entrance to the pigeon valley…
marvelous uchisar!

And since I have nothing to do for the rest of the day but to gape and admire the natural wonders of Cappadocia, I gathered a lot of emotional fortitude and decided to walk my way from Uchisar to Love Valley.  But in the middle of my hiking my emotional fortitude starts to wane and it is instead being replaced and overpowered by my physical feebleness.  On the 30th minute of my slogging, my feet, my knees and my shoulders are starting to hurt.

Since my physical being is starting to fail me, the beautiful barren fields between Uchisar and my next site to visit has started to look like a severely distressing place to be at.  All I wanted at that time was a commuter bus or a taxi cab to pass by so that I could hail it and pay the driver whatever amount he wants as long as he will drive me fast to the Love Valley.  But except for one old rickety car that passed by, there was never a vehicle in sight during my hike. To Be Continued…

Itululoy… to bi kontinyud…

Holy House of Mother Mary in Turkey

Let me start featuring my Turkey solo journey posts not based on chronology of events.  Instead, let me commence by featuring one of the holiest spot in Turkey for the Christian Catholics like me.

I have been to the holy house of Mother Mary.

Hail Mary!

When the tour guide of the tour group I joined announced that the first site to be visited was the Holy House of Mother Mary, I got a bit worried.  I became so nervous and anxious because the guards of this pilgrimage site may see my invisible wicked horns and would not allow me in. Hahaha!

full of grace…
where are the pilgrims?

Anyway, the time of my specific visit to the House of Mother Mary according to our Tour Guide was something bizarre.  According to him, this Catholic pilgrimage site is often visited by hordes of tourists and pilgrims.  But on the particular instance that we visited, only me and my tour mates (a Singaporean couple, a Vienna-based Korean solo traveler and a Chilean lady physicist) were the only people at the site.

The Tour Guide who can’t seem to fathom that there was no people around justified that we must be some very special visitors of the house.  He mentioned that this must be some sort of a gift from the heavens so that our group would be able to deeply marvel and appreciate the beauty and sacredness of the holy site.

and i was actually allowed inside the house… taking photos inside though is prohibited
pose muna kahit nakaka-paso!

Except for the Chilean lady physicist everyone in the group were non-practicing Christians.  But I was the only Catholic and was the only one who took the rare opportunity of lighting a candle and writing a note and tied it along with the bunch of other written wishes and prayer intentions on the humongous wall of notes.

When we left, the Tour Guide asked the group if someone wrote on a piece of paper and tied it on the wall of notes.  The Vienna-based Korean pointed at me.  The Tour Guide then told me not to divulge to the group the wish and prayer intentions that I have written on my note so that its realization would not be spoiled.  I then zipped my mouth and kept quiet.

But let me reveal what I have written.

Mother Mary must be very busy… that’s a lot!
tied my thank you note…a wish fulfilled…

I actually did not wrote any request or any appeal.  I simply wrote a thank you note gor I consider my Turkey journey a gift from the heavens.  I did not wrote any desired intentions anymore because my being at the House of Mary and in Turkey (for that matter) is already a realization of a ginormous wish.

Heyl Meri!

Turkey, You Make Me Crazy

It has been more than a week that I have returned after a solo travel in Istanbul.  I don’t know if I am to share my awesome experiences in this blog or keep it to myself and be selfish about how it is to be in magnificent Turkey.

While contemplating the thought on whether or not to share my breathtaking journey, I would like to thank Sam Smith’s music for keeping me sane during the lengthy travel time from Manila to Istanbul via Seoul, South Korea.  It was a crazy 15 hour flight with 5 hours layover at Incheon Airport each way!

Here is my favorite track in Sam Smith’s recently released album:

I am more keen (of course) on writing about my Turkey journey.  It’s just that my experiences were all so beautiful and colorful, I actually don’t know where to start.  The title of this song is so like my travel to Turkey, “Baby, You Make Me Crazy”!!!


Tarki! Yu meyk me kreysi…

Hardships of a Filipino Passport Holder

20170814_142412I want to travel to Japan (again) but my visa has expired.  That is why I am so busy trying to collate all needed documents and requirements for me to re-visit the Land of the Rising Sun.

While trying to fill out the Japan visa application form, I realized that it is hard to be a citizen of a very weak passport.  Humongous preparations are needed to be undertaken for earthlings like us so as to venture into having to experience the joys of travelling.

For other citizens with very strong passports, their first step when they want to travel out of the country is to scout for a good-priced airfare.  For Filipino passport holders, scouting for a bargain airfare would be pretty much at the latter part of the multitude of complex steps that we need to hurdle, overcome and accomplish.

Photo of specific size and background, bank certifications, tax certification, employment certification, birth and baptismal certifications, approved vacation leave certifications and correctly filled up confusing application forms are some of the obstacles that we have to undertake.

Thank goodness, Japan embassy need not schedule me for a one-on-one interview with an embassy consul.  Other embassies would even add up more requirements like a face-to-face interview, a digital photo, a biometric fingerprint record, a medical vaccination/s certificate and a good coverage of travel insurances to name a few.

Aside from being so confusing and time consuming, being a Filipino passport holder is more expensive.  On top of all these time consuming collation of necessary and obligated documents, breathing Filipinos like me needs to pay for the expensive non-refundable visa fees!

The amount of visa fee application can already be a supposed additional budget to a sumptuous dinner in a posh restaurant or a night’s accommodation rate to a first class hotel or the total train and taxi fares of the Filipino traveler to the country of his destination.   And the only assurance for Filipino passport holders applying for a visa is that they are guaranteed to pay for a visa fee, may their visa application is approved or denied!

It’s hard to be a Filipino passport holder.  We are unlike other citizens of this planet, who would simply buy their plane ticket, pack their bags, bring their powerful passport and proceed to the airport so as to catch the flight to a country of their preferred destination.


San Francisco 2017 in 2 Minutes and 17 Seconds

According to Saint Augustine, “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page”.  With this in mind, let me share a short summary of my recent San Francisco solo travel.  This short video is a proof that I indeed finished at least a chapter of what this saint was talking about.

For those who endured and finished watching the whole video… Thank you!!!  Watch out for the next chapter…

Neks peydg na ko…