I’ve stayed in Europe for one year and four months, maybe because I felt comfortable there. Now I am so excited to enter a new continent. Actually I heard that Turkey could be challenge for a solo girl because some men sexually harass girls on the road. I hope I do not have this problem and I only meet a good people on my way. Anyway I am more excited than nervous.
After Turkish border the road was downhill, because I cycled on the steep uphill in Bulgaria. Because of downhill and being excited, I felt so good to cycle.
There were fewer cars around the border, so I felt so comfortable to cycle. Indeed, the shoulder was very wide and there was a tail wind. Actually in Europe there was no shoulder many times, so it was difficult to cycle. I felt so fresh to see wide shoulder here.
I arrived at the first town after some kilometers. I was so excited to new things at a new continent. First of the thing I saw on the town was mosque.
I was hungry, so I stopped at the city center.
I found one street which car could not pass. While I tried to find a restaurant, a few boys shouted at me or mumbled “hey China! Nihao”. Yup, they welcomed me with their way. It was time to forget about Europe which gave me peace most of times.
I went to a restaurant and I tried to figure out how much was for one meal. It was around $3~5.
The amount was not that much. So I ordered rice as well. Later they gave me big bread for free. I was not sure that Turkish restaurant gave free bread all the time.
After the meal, he gave me tea. I asked how much it was, but he only smiled and didn’t want to get money from me for tea.
I started cycling at a bit quiet road at the afternoon. On this road, one motorcycle passed me slowly and then stopped. I thought that he had the problem with a motorcycle. So I passed him when he stopped. After then he passed me slowly and stopped again at the front. It happened more than 10 times.
I became nervous, because the guy on a motorcycle in Egypt touched my hip and run away. So, I thought something like that would happen again. I stopped when he passed slowly and he tried to talk to me something. My speed was slower than him, so I had distance from him. I held pepper spray on one hand and pretend eating something with other hand.
When he started moving again, I also cycled again. He disappeared from my view soon, so I thought I did not need worry about it anymore. I just looked back after few minutes and saw that the guy was behind me again.
I had to decide to act something. I suddenly stopped and shouted at him “Fxxx YOU!!!!!!!! F…F…F..F..” and showed finger. He had to hear this when he was passing me. He mumbled something and was gone.
After my acting, I didn’t see him anymore. I didn’t have any choice. I would never know what would happen if I let him keep following me this way. Specially it was quiet road. Only the thing I could do was to show him my stronger acting to say “I am not afraid.”
After kicking him away from me, the road became wider and there was more traffic. When I was thinking where I had to sleep, one car stopped. The lady on a car asked me “Do you need help??” I said “I need the place to put my tent”, because I saw there were children and adult on a car, so I felt safe to say this.
Their house was 3 km (1.87 mi) far from the main road. When I arrived there, they have already bread on their oven. I was so excited to see it, because I just got enter to Turkey.
Young married couple had a baby. The baby loved me and she called me “Sister”. What a cute girl!
I was invited at the dinner. There were fresh bread and soup. Above all, it was really interesting that they gave me lots of yogurt. Maybe Turkish love yogurt, I guessed. Everything was new that I was so interested to see new things.
At the next day, I passed small city. It was really interesting to see ATM from different banks lined up. I thought I was just like a baby at that time because I just enter a new continet that I could be excited at any small thing on the street or from the people.
I started cycling early morning, so I became hungry quickly. I went to a restaurant and saw everybody had the same thing. So, this was the thing which everybody had on the restaurant. I got big bread for free again. I guessed I would not die with hunger in Turkey with free big bread.
There were too many street dogs together at the center. Maybe they were so close friend to each other.
The way to sell sausage
I stopped and bought banana milk to take the rest at a gas station. Then the worker bought chocolate for me. Wow! I thought it was my first time the worker at a gas station bought something for me. Thanks!
I just came to Turkey that I could figure out what is different from other countries. I saw the product with pistachio very often at the super market. I guessed that Turkish had big pistachio farm and people love to eat it with everything.
There was the highway to go to Istanbul. But I saw the sign that a bicycle was forbidden. I thought it would be no problem, because I was out of Europe.
But I decided to cycle on the second road. It took much time and the road was too narrow.
I could see black see far away.
It was really weird harmony at the side. The apartment was at the middle of the farm.
I went to a restaurant for lunch.
These days I was trying to take the video of food. But at this time it was too windy to take the video well.
There was strong head wind and hilly road. It was too much traffic that I got stress.
It was too horrible to cycle on the second road with the traffic that I just entered to the highway. It was really good choice that the shoulder was very wide. But before entering Istanbul, the highway became too complicated to cycle. I checked the map, but I could not find the way easily on the other road.
There were nice shoㅠpping mall and apartments around Istanbul. I didn’t know that Istanbul was very developed city. But to enter to Istanbul was too difficult ever. I had to go near the center, but there were too many small roads because it was hilly area. I would remember Istanbul as the most difficult city to enter ever.
I made a call to my friend who would host me in Istanbul around 8 pm just before the dark. I asked her “Is it safe to cycle in the night?”. She said “Yeah.. it is fine”
She was not a local people, but a traveler like me. So the way to feel about safety to her was not much sensitive. I trusted her and cycled until late night. The road was extremely complicated on hills, so I arrived very late at her house.
Her name is “Anya” and I’ve met her on the ferry which was going to Egypt from Sudan along the Nile River.
Let’s go back to that time
There was no way to go to Egypt on the land that I must take the ferry to Egypt from Sudan. I saw only one traveler on the ferry, which was actually weird. She talked to me first and we became friend. We even stayed for a few days together in Egypt. And we kept in touch. Recently I got an email that she was staying in Istanbul and she could give me the place to stay.
I’ve met her again after one and half year later since I met her in Africa. Anya was at the right side on the picture. She was Russian, but she didn’t look like Russian because she spoke very good English. She loved Istanbul that she had lived in Istanbul around three months. It looked like she was very easy going that she had no plan and had lots of freedom. I really liked her free spirit.
I had to stay for three days in Istanbul and then take a plane to meet my mom in Europe. Thank to her, I could leave my bicycle and things I didn’t need at her house. Even she borrowed me a big backpack.
At the weekend there was some event at the bar, so I followed them. Just normal people sang and other friend enjoyed. The first performance was my dear friend, Anya and her friend. She also sang the song of the movie of Into the wild. It was my favorite music. I liked that she and I had common things to share as a traveler who doesn’t know where home is.
We went out just to have the dinner for the break. What an interesting was that everything was vegetarian thing!
On this picture there were seven nationalities!! Yup! Istanbul was the international city. There were many exchange students and English teachers. Many of people I’ve met were English teachers, which was totally like Korea. Most of foreigner you would face in Korea would be English teacher.
After we had dinner, we went back to the bar. The most interesting thing was people read poem in their language such as Turkish, Iranian, and English. One of friend suggested me to speak Korean poem. I was shy that I made excuse “I am only Korean that it would be useless to speak.”, which was actually true. Maybe if I have the chance at the next time, I would love to try!
One of interesting poem was from the girl from the U.S and the man from Iran. They were in relationship over three years in Istanbul. Unfortunately my English was not good enough to understand well. But I could feel or guess what it was meant. Maybe something like “The love cannot be affected by different nations or any other barrier.”
In Anay’s house, there were so many people. There were five rooms, but only one bathroom. At least there were six or seven people at the house. It was not noisy teenager house, but quiet house. Also there were two cats. The gray one was a bit snob that she denied to touch her.
It was male cat, but friendlier.
There were Russian, American, and Iranian at the house. Iranian guy showed me something that he told me it was very expensive spice. He told me only this small one, maybe 10g (0.35 ounce), was around 30$. It was my first time to see expensive spice.
Although it was really hard to prepare the other trip for mom while traveling, most of things were ready. I left my bicycle at their house and had backpack which I borrowed from Anya. I had to take the flight from Istanbul to Rome to meet mom.
I’ve never been back to South Korea since I left, so it was really long time no see my mom. Thanks that she came to Rome without any problem by herself.
When she was preparing the luggage in Korea, I told her “Do not bring Kimch which is smelling if it is leaking.”
She said “Do not worry.”
I thought it meant “Do not worry I will not bring it”. But when I met my mom, I realized that it meant “Do not worry I will pack very well Kimchi.”
I found the place to stay through Airbnb. I thought that it would be nice to cook and eat at the house. So we rent whole flat for 46$ per night. The accommodation which is near the center was too expensive, so I rented the house which was 40 minutes far from the center. Actually there was the problem with Airbnb from the beginning that I really didn’t like Airbnb. I only used this site because of my mom.
I wanted to pay whole this trip fee. But I didn’t have enough money that my mom would pay first, then I would pay back to her when I started working after the trip.
Over six years I’ve never gotten money from my mom that I didn’t feel comfortable about which she would pay everything for the trip. Hm… I must give it back once I settle down. Sorry mom! (I paid only my planes from Istanbul to Rome and Paris to Istanbul. It was about 200$.)
Except my fly ticket, we had spent 3,000$. The airplane tickets for mom was almost 1,500$, because Korea was too far.
It was extremly hot when we visited Vatikan.
To enter the church was free. Many people started taking photo. I thought Pop came out. So, I asked a security guy. Then he laughed and told that if there is Pop, here would be full of people. Last year (or this year) Pop visited South Korea. I was shocked when I saw the picture of visiting. ‘Is Korea Catholic country since when?’ And then one foreigner told me that Pop is the most popular person in the world more than any pop singer.
Maybe they were having some service.
There were many things to see that I bought Rome Pass. It was included of free transportation for four days and two (or three?) museum free, and discount for other museums. But I thought I didn’t save much money. Just it was comfortable because we didn’t need to buy bus and subway ticket every time.
Although we had Rome Pass, we had to wait long line quite often almost every times. Maybe because many of people had Pass.
I liked to walk and look around slowly and my mom liked this traveling way. My mom was sixty one years old. I was supposed to see my mom last year, but she had big injured with her back. Thanks that my mom got better this year, so she could walk well again. Actually she was very good condition on the trip although it was too hot. The problem was me. I got heat and became very tired easily on the day time.
I booked the train ticket on online to go to Firenze. What interesting was that price was way different by the time. If I bought the ticket on offline, I must pay more.
The accommodation was very expensive because it was busy season. One month ago the hotel was around 30~40 Euros. I thought I would book two weeks before. Then when I checked again it was over 50 Euros. In Rome, our accommodation was far that it took more than one hour to get to the city. So I decided to have the hotel near the center in Florence at this time. In the hotel the toilet was on the corridor ,but the room was not bad. But we found the problem when we got the room. An air conditioner was broken and fan didn’t help to cool down the room at all. I felt I would die soon in the room with the heat. I asked the worker to fix it. But he told that he cannot call a mechanic, because it was not working time. He suggested that we could move to their other hotel for free.
Above the picture it was taken on the room we moved!! The hotel was just at the square!! There was triple layer windows that it was not noisy. It was the most center place I’ve ever slept. At the next day we had to move to the other room at the same hotel. It was no problem because anyway it was only room changing. Air conditioner worked well and toilet was at the inside as well. It was upgrade!
When I visited Florence last year, I felt in love. I loved to stay longer, but I didn’t have the time. I wished to visit again at that time. And here the dream came true. But I didn’t feel much special about the city when I came back again. It was not like last time. Maybe if I didn’t visit again, Florence would remain very special city to me.
I lived in a very small village when I was 7 years old. In my memory, it remained as very special place. Maybe I will never visit that place again, because if I visit again, then I would be disappointed like Florence. Sometimes it is better to leave special place in the memory.
We could not cook in Florence in the hotel that we had to buy the food all the time. My mom missed Korean food that I found Korean restaurant for her. There were two Korean restaurants in Firenze. One was a bit expensive and luxury. The other was small and even they served food on disposable container. Taste was actually quite good that she and I liked it.
We took the train to move to Venice. Venice was also my favorite city. There was a bit different thing between Florence and Venice. When I visited Florence, I was not excited anymore. But I was still excited about Venice. Although it was not same feeling as the first time, I still liked Venice.
After Venice, we took the airplane to Paris. We woke up early morning to take a bus to the airport. And then we had to take the bus and subway again after Paris airport. It was very tiring schedule. Actually I was considering to put Prague on our plan. (Because I wanted to see….) But then I decided not to go because it could be very exhausted to take a plane for three times in two weeks trip.
I rented a flat again in Paris. The picture of the room was not good on the website, but actually it was quite clean and nice flat when I went there. I knew that usually many flats on Paris are extremely small. But it was bigger than my expectation that I was happy. We bought some meat and ate with Korean way.
We tried to have a local food. It was much bigger snail than I had in Spain and Portugal. I had snail with a toothpick in Portugal and Spain. But France has very special tool. I really liked the sauce and taste. It was similar taste like Spanish one. But my mom didn’t like that much.
The one who gave me place last year in Paris received and kept lots of my order from Ebay. I bought Gopro because I wanted to invest my youtube channel.
I bought drone as well. I expected that I could have a good video and increase many subscribers.
Here unboxing video
I had iphone4, but I did need ipad mini2 to see the screen for my drone. I bought on England ebay. The dealer wrote that it is secondhand with ‘A’ good condition. But when I opened the box, it was horribly bad. I could not push button well.
There was scratch at the inside of screen around Control Center. Even touch didn’t work well.
There was scratch as well at the corner. Even the glass was not well attached. What the cheater ever I saw!! After talking on a phone, I returned. I gave negative reference. But it was so funny. I saw at least five negative on his profile. But after few days he had no any negative reference on ebay. He had only 10,000 positive reference. What a cheating ebay site!!! The dealer didn’t pay for my shipping fee for a month that I had to fight. At the end, I could not trust Ebay at all.
I must need tablet to control drone. So, I just buy on the shop. The funniest was it was only 30 Euros different between this new ipad mini 2 and horrible broken second hand ipad mini2.
I bought also portable printer. I usually set up tent at local people’s house for my safety. I wanted to pay back to them. I thought to print the picture as a gift for them would be nice. I love to take the picture and I also thought that I had to share my picture with them. It was another reason I bought.
I had spent too much money on buying Drone, Gopro, Gopro’s accessories, Ipad mini2 and a few more things. I minded buying a portable printer actually because it was too much money in one time. But then I told myself “Do you want to live only for yourself? You have to share! You already bought Gopro and Drone for yourself. So, buy printer for other people!” I forced myself to buy it .
I bought expensive things such as gopro and drone actually to invest my youtube channel. I am not sure I can make good youtube channel and make money through it. I would see.
One of my hobby was to collect the stamps. I would give my mom all stamp for safety in case I lose on the way.
I am also collecting ticket and other things.
To collect coins is another fun.
The stamp I bought on this trip.
My mom went back to South Korea after 15 days touring together. I was actually worried about she took the plane alone to Europe. So, I was very happy when I saw she was coming out from arriving place in Rome. I felt thankful that she was healthy during the trip. On the way back she took Korean company airplane that it was much easier to go back home than come to Rome for her. After having farewell with mom, I went to other airport, slept there, and took the airplane in the next morning.
I learned one thing about my mom during the trip that she loved the plant so much. When I pointed at the sculpture as saying “Look at that. Isn’t it amazing?” Then she answer “Yeah that is true. Look at that tall tree and green leaf. How come that tall beautiful tree is.” So many times she talk about flowers, trees, and plants. When we took the train, she was talking about farming of Europe. “Oh, Europe have this kind of farm? That’s interesting.” She knew many name of farm, which I didn’t know at all except corn.
My mom has traveled South Asia and Turkey, but she has never been Europe that this trip was about showing her what Europe looks likes. If we have the change to travel again, I would like to choose more nature place. I hope I can make some money with youtube or other things so that we can travel again. It was my first time to travel with only my mom. The thing I thought after trip was ‘I want to travel with my mom again.’ I am not sure I can travel with my mom again during trip or I would never have the chance again to see her until I get home.
My father passed away when I was 17 years old. During a funeral, I had thought too many things. One of things was I did regret that I didn’t say to my father “I love you, dad.” That was my biggest regret in my life. (I didn’t have any problem to say “I love you” to ex-boyfriend. But it was too difficult to do to my parents. I didn’t know why it was too difficult.) On the funeral, I promised myself that I would say to my mom often “I love you, mom.” I also thought that I would buy expensive car for my mom when I grow up and I would try to make my mom happiest mom. Unfortunately I didn’t have money to buy expensive car although I was already grown up. I didn’t say my mom “I love you” for a while even. One time I got the courage that I told my mom “I love you” on the phone. Since that time, I have said mom all the time “I love you” at the end of call.
I love you, mom…I can keep travel because you exist in my world. Hope you are healthy and happy although I am far for a while. Thank you…..
When I came back to Istanbul, Anya was not at home because she was visiting Russia. She came back after few days. I told her “You know what? Oh my goodness. Seriously she brought Kimchi from Korea. That’s my mom!! hahaha”
It was time to test my drone. We chose the university for the place. Drone was too expensive that my heart was too pounding. But actually it was a bit easy at the beginning. If I didn’t touch remote control, it was hovering by itself.
First video with the drone (Phantom 3 Advanced) – No editing.
After testing fyling, I was very happy and excited.
First flight of the drone
It was very heavy than my expectation. I didn’t have money to buy hard case and even this bag was not for Phantom3, but Phantom2. So it was not fit well. I was a bit worried how I can carry this one on a bicycle safely.
University was very big and good.
I passed her my drone for fun. She controlled my drone well also.
My beautiful bird
Another testing video
Let’s start touring in Istanbul!
One day I went out with Anya and other roommate. One dog was following us for 10 minutes although we didn’t feed. The dog had something on the ear. Maybe the city took care of street dog.
Street market was very clean and pretty.
They sell all kind of things. I was wondering what kind of taste on all that jar would be.
It was Ramadan, which is fasting time from sun rising to sunset for Muslim. During day, they do not drink and eat at all. But Istanbul is international city that Ramadan is not that important. So, I could buy food or eat on the street without any problem.
(Iftar video I made.)
There were five times praying from Mosque. At the last prayer, people start driking and eating. When family start eating together after fifth praying, it is called Iftar. It was very interesting to see Iftar at the center of Istanbul.
Zanzibar Island in Tanzania is very religious place. When I stayed there, it was Ramadan. The restaurant closed during day and it was not possible to drink water even on the street. Iftar was very different between Istanbul and Tanzania.
Let’s go back to Africa just for a second to check it out.
This was Iftar in Tanzania. What was difference? Istanbul’s Iftar was well organized and very clean! Tanzania one was just chaos.
There were so many families and people around Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, who enjoyed beautiful night.
We went a restaurant to have tea. Lucky that we could watch traditional dance for free.
Beautiful Istanbul view
I had the hardest time to enter Istanbul with bad traffic that I didn’t feel good at Istanbul at the beginning. But the more I stayed, the more I found the beauty of Istanbul.
Around the tower, I found some interesting thing. It is said Silk Road starts from Korea and finishes in Istanbul.
I’ve met my facebook page’s follower, who lived in the U.S. He was traveling Istanbul. He bought very delicious food for me.
There was Galata tower in front of the restaurant. I wanted to pay for this one. Then I realized it was a bit expensive. Anyway we watched beautiful sunset.
Some funny telephone booth
There were many beautiful parks around the old town.
Hagia Sophia was located at the center of the old town. It looked like Mosque or Church. When I saw the history, then I could understand why it looked like both.
Hagia Sophia is a former Christian patriarchal basilica (church), later an imperial mosque, and now a museum. From 537 to 1453, it served as a Greek Orthodox cathedral. The building was a mosque from 29 May 1453 until 1931. It was then secularized and opened as a museum on 1 February 1935. Worship (mosque or church) is strictly prohibited.
When I looked around the top, I found people were at the second floor. I walked around to find the stair. Actually there was no stair. I felt like I was walking on cave to go up to the second floor.
At the opposite of Hagia Sophia, there was Blue Mosque. Actually the original name was Sultan Ahmed Mosque, but it was called more Blue Mosque for the blue tiles adorning the walls of its interior. It was built from 1609 to 1616, during Ottoman Empire.
It was forbidden to enter at praying time. There was time limit at morning and afternoon. So it was better to know the time schedule to be on the time. Before entrance, they gave me a big scarf. Also man had to hide if they wore short pants.
The ceiling was very high that I was impressed.
It was interesting to see their service.
The yard was big and the view was nice.
Around Blue Mosque, there was very famous touristic place which is called Basilica Cistern. The Basilica Cistern is the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city of Istanbul. But the entrance looked very simple building above the picture, so you cannot get any idea from the building.
Once I entered after paying entrance fee, I could feel cold air. Outside was too hot that I was happy to have cool place. The stair was not deep and I could see tall and big pillars.
I could not believe that they have this place for many years at underground.
Many big fish was swimming under the water.
The cistern was built in the 6th century during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I. The enlarged cistern provided a water filtration system for the Great Palace of Constantinople and other buildings on the First Hill, and continued to provide water to the Topkapi Palace after the Ottoman conquest in 1453 and into modern times.
There were many pillars and a few of them were really special. One of them above the picture was called Hen’s Eye, which looked like tears coming down. It was said that this pillar was for the slave who were died while building this place.
Another famous pillar was Medusa’s head.
One was placed at the side way and the other one was placed upside down way. People guessed that it was because of Medusa’s theory, which was if you saw eye, you become stone. Another guessing was to prevent bad luck.
It remained one of impressed touristic place in my mind.
I went to Asia side. There was small canal which separated Istanbul. People called left Istanbul “European Istanbul” and right Istanbul “Asian Istanbul”. In Asia Istanbul, there was a bicycle shop for a traveler. I bought some new parts for my panniers. And then I found some Korean note on the guest book. I was keeping touch with him for years on online that it was funny to find his note.
Asia Istanbul was busy as well.
The sun set was very beautiful. Specially night ferry was fantastic that I loved it. The price was same as taking bus.
Topkapi Palace was also very famous touristic place. It was used as a palace during Ottoman Empire from 15 century to 19 century.
It was my first time to visit Ottoman palace that I was impressed.
The view from Palace was so beautiful. Maybe that’s why Palace was located here.
There were so many street cats. Even there was the park which was called cat park, because there were every where cats. Turkish put water and food on the street for dogs and cat.
There were many interesting stores on the old town. When I checked the information about Istanbul on online, I read that there were lots of tout. But actually it was very peaceful when I walked there. Only some people from restaurants tried to talk for promoting. It was unexpected thing that people in Istanbul didn’t bother me. I felt like I was still in Europe because of it.
I tried some street food.
Here I made Istanbul street food video!
Night view of Galata tower
There were MacDonald and many fast food on Taksim street, which was a new town. The street was very busy all day.
There was common thing between Anay and me that we went to the bed very late between 3 and 5 am. When I was in Istanbul, it was Ramadan. Around 2 am, we could hear the sound of drum every night!?!?!? She and I were curious all the time. Four days before I left we went out to find out. But we missed because the streets were complicated in Istanbul. We failed to find out for three nights. At the last day before I left, finally we found people who playing on the street. Maybe he made people wake up to let eat something before fasting.
In Istanbul it was really good that I met Anay again. I’ve spent only a few days with her in Egypt. I found some new things about her during staying Istanbul that I had really good time with her. I enjoyed chatting and laughing with her.
I’ve traveled with my mom for two weeks, and I stayed in Istanbul for two weeks. Already June was gone. My plan was to cycle on Central Asia before winter coming. So, I had to hurry that I was about to take the bus to Pamukkale and Cappadocia. Then I felt like to take the bus was not good idea. These days I really didn’t like to take the car with a bicycle. So, I decided to cycle harder to get there on time.
Anyway let’s cycle on Asia finally!