CCR - Cappadocia Cave Resorts || travel photographer

when i was in turkey shootin for Lonely Planet Philippines magazine, our schedule was jam packed full of wonderfulness! :) one of the areas we toured in was Cappadocia, in the heart of the country. here lie the magical fair chimney homes and it feels like you are in a completely different world.

CCR, or Cappadocia Cave Resorts is one of THE premier cave resorts in cappadocia. When we drove up the winding hill and could see the caves, it was so very magical. In fact EVERYTHING about cappadocia, or as the locals call it, kapadokya, is magical.

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we were first brought to the restaurant for a turkish lunch. the views from the restaurant were ABSOLUTELY breathtaking - fairy chimney hills in the distance - so delightful!

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the food at Padishah restaurant in the CCR resort was AMAZING. the stew cooks for 24 hours underground. and it gets opened right in front of you! the salads so fresh and the pumpkin desserts - oh my word!

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 after a leisurely and most appetizing lunch we began our tour of this grand resort.

first, of course, the spa. because everyone knows that one thing the turks do most excellently is a turkish bath!

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 the salt room below was something i have never seen before! salt therapy has been around for centuries and the effects of being in such a room are really good, healthwise!

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 the pool is so steamy, and has a view of the valley..i could have stayed here forever..except my camera lens starting fogging up!

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 there were massage rooms upon massage rooms..

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 and of course yoga rooms to rejuvenate after your body has been pampered!

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 another pool - this time, outdoors…with breathtaking valley views…so good for the body and soul!

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next we went through the underground tunnel that connected the top and the lower portions of the resort…seems strange? not really..remember, we are at a cave resort!

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 a model displayed in the tunnel so you can see exactly what the resort looks like in its entirety.

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 and then we saw the guest cave rooms…. with gardens and patios overlooking the valley…i seriously could live here forever..

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we were shown several types of rooms..all of which i would have no trouble sleeping in.. ;)

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as we walked back to the main lobby and reception area, i took in the last bits of this magical resort.

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 yes, CCR is definitely a “don’t miss while you’re in cappadocia” type of place. you can check out their website for complete details!

turkey is one of my favorite places…i am organizing a tour this coming sept 22-29..i would love to have you along. go to our travel site Follow Your Heart Tours, for all the details on this very affordable tour!

until next post - la dolce vita!

xotracey

St Paul's Journey & the 7 Churches | Biblical Historical Tour of Turkey - September 22-29, 2013

St Paul’s Journey & the 7 Churches
September 22-29, 2013

Imagine walking thru the cities that the Apostle Paul walked through where the 7 churches of the New Testament were? It is written in the Bible:

…I was caught up in spirit on the Lord’s day and heard behind me a voice as loud as a trumpet, ‘Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. (Rev 1:10-11)

It is these 7 churches we will visit and explore, along with my husband, Pastor Jonathan Heppner, giving some insight and teachings along the way…

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THE ITINERARY

Sunday Sept 22 - Day 1 – ISTANBUL / NICEA / BURSA
(Meals on board / L / D)
Upon arrival at Istanbul in the morning, meet at the airport and we drive to embark ferry boat to Yalova. Drive to Iznik, formerly known as Nicea. The city was founded around 1000 BC. In 325 AD, the First Ecumenical Council was held here for the purpose of condemning the heresy of Arianism. The Seventh Ecumenical Council was also held here in the St Sophia Church, which we will visit. The church was built in the 4th century and has a mosaic floor which dates to the 6th century. All gates and walls date from the Byzantine times. Later we proceed to Bursa for dinner and overnight.

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Monday Sept 23 - Day 2 - BURSA / THYATIRA / SARDIS / PHILADELPHIA / PAMUKKALE
(B/L/D)
After breakfast drive to Pamukkale. We will stop by Thyteria to see the remains of the church. This was one of the principle towns where Christianity spread quickly. Then we will drive to Sardis whose history dates back to 12th century B.C. Sardis felt the influence of Christianity very early and was included in the Seven Churches of the Apocalypse. During the Byzantine times it was the seat of a bishopric. Highlights will be a Synagogue, Gymnasium, Byzantine Church and the Temple of Artemis. Next on our itinerary is Philadelphia which was an important Christian centre during Byzantine times. We will see the Basilica and several interesting mosques. Dinner and overnight in Pamukkale.
You will find all the information you need to know about this tour in the following pages – itineraries, photos, what to pack, the cost and more.

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Tuesday Sept 24 - Day 3 – PAMUKKALE / HIERAPOLIS / LAODICEA / KUSADASI
(B/L/D)
In the morning we visit Hierapolis, which was founded by Pergamon King Telephons and named after his wife, Hiera. During the Byzantine period, the city became the seat of diocese with a large Christian Church dedicated to St Philip, who was martyred there in 80 AD. Highlights include the Roman Baths, , the Theatre and the famous white calcium cascades of Pamukkale (the white “Cotton Castles”). Then we will visit Laodicea, where we will find a Theatre, a large Stadium, a Water Tower and an Odeon. This city is supposed to have been named by Antiochus II in honour of his wife, Laodicea. Thereafter, we proceed to Kusadasi. Dinner and overnight in Kusadasi.

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Wednesday Sept 25 - Day 4 - KUSADASI / EPHESUS / KUSADASI
(B/L/D )
Then drive to Selcuk town, we will visit the famous ancient city of Ephesus, one of the world’s finest archaeological sites. Our tour will begin with the Basilica of St John “the Evangelist” who came here with the Virgin Mary and wrote his Gospel in Ephesus. Highlights include the Library of Celcius, the Temple of Hadrian, the Fountain of Trajan and the Theatre. We will also stop by the House of Virgin Mary (on top of Mt Coressos). She was believed to have spent her last years in this area. On 18 August 1961, Pope John XXII proclaimed this place to be sacred. Overnight in Kusadasi.

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Thursday Sept 26 - Day 5 - KUSADASI / IZMIR / PERGAMON / AYVALIK
(B/L/D )
After breakfast drive to Izmir and visit Church of Smyra. Then we drive to the hauntingly beautiful Pergamon. Among the impressive structures of this city, dating from 399 B.C., we will see the Altar of Zeus, Temple of Dionysus and the 200,000 volume library which was surpassed only by that found in Alexandria at the time. The Asclepieum of Pergamon was a famous health centre where methods of treatment included blood transfusions, music therapy and meditation. Thereafter, we proceed to Ayvalik. Dinner and overnight in Ayvalik.

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Friday Sept 27 - Day 6 - AYVALIK / ASSOS / TROY / CANAKKALE / ISTANBUL
(B/L/D )
We leave this morning for Troas and Assos. Troas was a busy port situated on the north-west coast of Asia Minor. During his stay in Troas, St. Paul had a dream in which he saw a vision of a man asking him to “come over to Macedonia and help us” after which he decided to go to Europe. Assos perched high on a cliff overlooking the Aegean and the Island of Lesbos is breathtaking. Its Acropolis carries the impressive Temple of Athena. Arriving at Assos on foot from Troas, St. Paul preached here and climbed down to the little port on the shore to board the boat on his return journey to Jerusalem. Then we proceed to Troy to see the legendary city and the replica of the Trojan Horse. Drive to Istanbul for overnight.

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Saturday Sept 28 - Day 7 – ISTANBUL
(B / L / D)
After breakfast we drive to the ‘Old City’. Our first stop is the Hippodrome of Constantinople, the centre of Byzantine civic life, where horse and chariot races used to take place. We then travel towards the Blue Mosque, known for the impressive blue tiles lining its walls. The Basilica of Haggia Sophia (Divine Wisdom), now called the Ayasofya Museum, is unquestionably one of the finest buildings of all time. Built by Constantine the Great, it was reconstructed by Justinian in the 6th century. Last stop at Spice Bazaar, where the smells of cinnamon, cloves and thyme rise from hundreds of colourful muslin bags at every store-front. Dinner and overnight in Istanbul.

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Sunday Sept 29 - Day 8 - ISTANBUL Departure
(B/L/….. )
After breakfast, check-out from the hotel. Than embark the Bosphorus Cruise Boat. A scenic journey along the Bosphorus between two continents, Asia and Europe. Lunch at a sea food restaurant. In the afternoon, we visit the famous Topkapi Palace, which was home to the sultans between the 15th and 19th centuries. It is now a museum exhibiting imperial collections of crystal, silver, Chinese porcelain and imperial costumes. Then transfer to the airport for International flight.

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THE DETAILS
This Biblical Tour of St. Paul’s Journey & the 7 Churches is and 8 day/ 7 night tour, beginning and ending in Istanbul.
The Tour dates are Sept 22 – 29, 2013

Your tour package includes:
Hotel accommodation 4 star hotels (see hotel list at end)
Meals as specified in the itineraries (B-Breakfast, L-Lunch, D-Dinner) English speaking Turkish guide
Private air-conditioned coach
Entrance fees
Tips to hotels and restaurants
Baggage handling at hotels and airport

What is does not include:
Tips to guide and driver
Personal expenses
Airline tickets to and from Turkey

REGISTRATION

COST: Tour cost is $1025 USD per person/double occupancy. Single participants will be paired in gender specific rooms.
(You can request your own room for additional $300).

DEADLINE: The last date to sign up for the early bird fee at $1025 is April 30, 2013. May 1 the price goes up to $1225, until closing date of July 1st, as we have to reserve the hotel and other arrangements to be made for the tour.

PARTICIPANTS: There are 30 spots opened for this tour.
Please double-check your schedule for any conflicts with this event before moving forward with this transaction.

TERMS:
A non-refundable 30% deposit is due to reserve your spot.
Balance is due by August 30, 2013 and is non-refundable after this date.
The tour is guaranteed to go ahead when all 20 spots are taken and a deposit has been placed.

PAYMENT: Payments can be made via email transfer (from Canada) or Paypal or Cash deposited into bank account (Philippines).

I hope I have answered most of your questions. If you have any questions you cannot find the answer for in here, please feel free to contact me. All of my contact info is at the bottom of this page and I can send you the full info package.

See you in Turkey!
Tracey

[e] tracey@traceylheppner.com
[p] 63.917.819.3607 Manila / 604.628.0252 Canada
[w] www.followyourhearttours.com
[t] www.twitter.com/fyhtours
[fb] www.facebook.com/followyourhearttours



photos courtesty of the interweb.

tristan & charmaine - the ceremony & portraits || second shooting with pilar tuason

a long pause between this post and the getting ready shots of tristan and charmaine’s wedding! sorry friends!

this wedding was abosolutely wonderful on all fronts..i had so much fun second shooting with pilar… :)

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their stunning reception at Angel’s Fields in Tagayatay is coming up next… :)

fly, so high, in the sky...in turkey || travel photographer

when i first was in turkey the first time, part of my gig was to do a hot air balloon ride for the article.

maybe i’ll just take photos from the ground”. except i realized the cost of it, that the company was paying for me to do, so guilt quickly set in. i HAD to do it - it was expected i was going up.

CRAP.

so i bundled up at 4 am with warm clothes and all the courage i could muster and then began one of the most amazing experiences of my life….

 it starts early… REALLY early. why? well…early morning is to be the calmest, if no wind, to fly hot air balloons..marry that with watching the sunrise…. ya i was anticipating…

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it really blew my mind the amount of balloons there were!

and how quiet it was…all you heard was the hot air being blown up into the balloon..craziest thing.. and when the sun began to creep over the horizon…wow. NOTHING like it. and it didn’t even feel like i was FREAKING high. it was so smooth. it was so very surreal.

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yes…i was glad i gave in and got a little courage. it was one of the most divine experiences..so magical..so beautiful. i definitely recommend it. :)

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want to fly high in turkey? am leading a biblical historical tour through out turkey this coming septemeber. check the details HERE… you wont want to miss it!

xotracey

venice...you still have my heart || travel photographer

these are some of my most favorite photos i’ve taken in venice - from my first trip back in 2008.

and until today, i thought i had lost these forever. so when i happened upon them in my time machine’s backups, to say i was thrilled is an understatement.

venice, you will always have a piece of my heart. i simply cannot wait til the next time…

xotracey 

tristan & charmaine - getting ready || second shooting with pilar tuason

 the first installment of tristan and charmaine’s gorgeous out-of-town destination wedding in tagaytay at angel’s fields, that i second shot last year with my dear friend and amazing photog, pilar…

xotracey

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stay tuned for the next post - their beautiful ceremony & portraits… :)

a wave is coming || travel & lifestyle photographer

no, no…not a tsunami.. :)

a wave of blog posts - i have SO MUCH STUFF to blog… and i’m getting it all ready to blog in some scheduled posts..

so beware! you may get soaked. ;)

xotracey

coming up next - the wedding of trish & charm…a second shooting gig with my beloved friend pilar..here’s one to keep you satisfied. :)

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flavors of india || travel photography

i recently went on a quick trip over to india from the philippines. 6 days actually. and in those six days i took 7 flights, stayed in 3 hotels, drove by bus, van, taxi, auto (3 wheel trike), train and walked a ton.

the trip was for the main purpose of documenting for an NGO that will be opening a girls home/orphanage sometime this year, outside of chennai, tamil nadu.

then we went to mumbai for 2 days and then to nagercoil fro the last two.

what i didn’t know is that my world would be completely rocked in mumbai.

mumbai 10:30pm – i have no words to describe what i saw. all i know if that i will never be the same. and i will not be silent.

driving through the infamous “cages of mumbai”,  in amongst pimps by the hundreds, lie dozens of streets upon streets of what look like residences. except they are not. we are in amongst the biggest known brothel of the world. women and children, stolen & bought into sex slavery. they say there are over 200,000 people living in this area.

when my eyes wandered thru the crowds as we slowly drove thru this hell on earth, I saw one–one young lady sitting, waiting. and as we drove past her, I saw her eyes meet mine and all there was was dark loneliness screaming for hope, or someone to love them. as we drove past and onto the next street, a couple of young children no older than 5 playing at 11pm at night in the streets, in the middle of this hopeless death.

I am only one. and I am not sure what one like myself can do. but I know I came here for a reason. more than one reason. and I, in my own brokenness and frailty, will now begin to search out where it is I fit in all this…because I know one thing–I cannot be silent after what I saw tonight.”

i have always had a heart for india. and in recent years been more and more aware of the the reality of the sex slavery that goes on in our world in this day and age.

i loved every single moment i spent in mumbai. those two days solidified something in my heart: i could DEFINITELY live here, smog and all.

and so as i am back in my home in manila, philippines, i see those girls in my dreams, i see them daily. and i anticipate the days ahead when i can go back…and do more.

xotracey

ps - here are a few of the snaps i took from the trip :)

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victoria & cardo - reception || second shooting with Pilar Tuason

The third installment of Victoria and Cardo’s wedding will be their lovely reception! Held at the Blue Leaf Pavillion in McKinley Hill,  near the Fort, it was the perfect background for this lovely affair… Enjoy their celebration!

xotracey

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Victoria & Cardo - the portraits || second shooting with Pilar Tuason

the fourth and final installment of victoria and cardo’s lovely wedding.

we had a good lot of time to take their bridal portraits. and the venues were divine - outside san antonio church in forbes park, makati and then at the home of cardo’s parents, also forbes park.

these two are simply stunning! and you can see their adoration of each other in their photos. so awesome to photograph couples like this!

enjoy!

xotracey

 

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