Currency: Turkish Lira (1.33 Lira = 1USD)
Turkish breakfast of feta cheese, bread, tomatoes, olives, and seasoned scrambled eggs.
Chicken kabobs with Turkish rice and vegetables.
Bean and rice soup
All of Zanep’s cooking.
Cost of Goods and Services
Mid class double room with bath in Istanbul: 45.00, includes breakfast
Average double room with bath in Goreme: 27, includes breakfast
Ferry ride in Istanbul: 1 lira, kids under 12 free
Internet in Istanbul: 3 lira, in Antalya. .75
Coffee or chai: 2 lira in Istanbul.
Ave. dinner was around 21 lira. We rarely ate lunch at a restaurant. We would just by fresh bread, feta cheese, peanuts,fruit,etc for around 3 lira total each day and we looked for hotel rooms that included breakfast in the price of the room.
Reflections of Turkey
The crisp air of early spring in Istanbul; understanding the history of Istanbul and of all Turkey; observing the Blue Mosque and Aya Sophia throughout the day to see the different light contrasts of the magnificent buildings; observing European and Asian Istanbul from the ferry; the food; the cobblestone streets; the incredible sandwiches being sold by the street vendors; the bizarre landscape of Cappadocia; seeing the shades of darkness, then total darkness of total eclipse of the sun from our hilltop observation site; the incredible hiking opportunities around Cappadocia; our 8km walk from the stone ghost town of Kaya over the hills and seeing the striking blue Oludeniz lagoon and taking a refreshing dip in the Mediterraean Sea for the first time; the ruins of Ephesus.
Because we arrived early in the tourist season, early April, there were few ferries from Turkey to Greece. Because the Cyclades, Naxos and Santorini, were on our itinerary, taking a ferry out of Kushadasi to Samos, Greece was our best option. The people at Jimmy’s pension in Selcuk gave was a free ride to the port and a discount on the kids. There are also ferries form Boldrum to Kos, which does give many options during the main season and Marmaris to Rhodes if you desire to take in the southern islands of Rhodes and Crete.
Istanbul was immaculate and a stark contrast from a majority of our travels. We stayed in the area of sultanahmet - a very touristy area, but with many significant sites and walking possibilities. The magnificent Blue Mosque and Aya Sophia are next to this area. We also did plenty of walking around Istanbul and to cut costs ate at the numerous street side vendors for lunch. We went to see sites in Taksim and rode the very inexpensive ferry to the asian side of Istanbul. The ferry is a great way to see the city. From Istanbul, we took a night bus to the Cappadocia area. The buses in Turkey are the finest we have had on this trip.
We say pictures of this region before we arrived, but the photos can not duplicate the incredible beauty and unique landscape of this volcanic soil region that has been transformed over the millinuem be natures eroding forces. For us, because of our love of hiking and seeing natures wonderous works, Cappadocia is a must see. Nature provided us a rarity only 3 hours into our stay in Cappadocia by showing us a total eclipse of the sun. Standing on top of a hill and watching the shades of darkness, then total darkness was extraordinary and a top highlight of our trip. We centered ourselves in Goreme and concentrated on all the numerous hikes around the town. The city of Goreme has many hotels and restaurants and the setting of this small town is as unique as the surrounding landscape. We hiked the 4 major valleys around the town, visited the UNESCO open air museum, walked to Cauvison and Pasabag, to see the fairy chimneys, and to Uschisar to see the incredible rock citadels. Also, forget the tours and concentrate on the hiking possibilities around Goreme.
Antayla is a larger town situated on the Mediterranean Sea and a great place to stay awhile after long travels through central Turkey. We stayed in a more residential area and we were able to save money. Antayla has several beautiful parks along the coast line and adjacent to the center of town. In addition, there are many street side cafes scattered along every street and alley way and numerous street side vendors serving up cheap gyros and sandwiches. All this makes Antalya a great place to walk and see the sights.
A coastal resort town along the Blue Coast of the Aegean Sea is the prime embarkation point for the 4 day Blue cruises along the section of the coast. In addition, the area is going through a major real estate boom, as northern European vacations and retirees transplant to this beautiful area. In our stay, we went to the stone ghost town of Kaya, which is virtually intact from a 1930’s transfer of people between Greece and Turkey. From this town, which takes about 2 hours to walk around, is a fabulous 8km day hike to the stunning peninsula beach of Oludeniz. Coming over the mountain to this lagoon, you are hit with the striking blue of the water and the green mountains descending to the beach. There are numerous cheap pensions over the marina at the far west end of Fethiye. Each comes with a good view and a great Turkish breakfast. For dinner, we walked to the center of town and for lunch bought tasty fresh bread, feta cheese, fruits and drinks for a cheap lunch.
Selcuk and Ephesus
Our next and final stop in Turkey was the town of Selcuk, which is the closest town to visit the Roman ruins of Ephesus. Seluck is a very comfortable town with pensions, small streets side cafes. Much of Ephesus is intact and is a fabulous display of early Roman architecture. The historical importance is well known to Catholics, because of Paul’s talks to the Ephesians. In addition, there is a house that is claimed to be the retirement home of the Virgin Mary.