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Please help me explore Turkey!

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I’m in the very early states of planning a trip to Turkey and am feeling completely overwhelmed—there is WAY too much I want to see and do in a 3 week, or even 3.5 week, journey! And the things I’m most interested in seeing, at least at this early stage of planning, are so widespread that I’m not even sure what kind of route makes sense.

A bit about me:
• I enjoy art, architecture, museums, churches/mosques, castles, picturesque villages, lively city streets, ruins, parks and gardens, natural scenery, brief stops in markets (mostly to take a few pictures), food and wine, and the chance to see and experience other parts of the world.
• I don't particularly like shopping, but buy gifts for family and friends while away.
• I’m not seeking beach time (although I’ll probably spend a few hours walking along a beach somewhere) and I’m not seeking relaxation (I’m sure I’ll do plenty of that over dinners). Instead, I hope to take full advantage of the time I have to see and experience things.
• I don’t like getting up at the crack of dawn, but will do so if necessary to see or experience something that I would otherwise miss. For example, I suspect that I’ll get up at awful-‘o-clock-a.m. for a balloon ride over Cappadocia.
• I want my trips to include widely divergent experiences, and I try to make each trip as different from my last few trips as possible (which were, in reverse order: western France; northern China; Croatia and other areas that were once part of Yugoslavia; and the Yucatan penisula/Chiapas).
• I don’t mind changing lodging frequently, even every night or so.
• I’m open to various means of transportion between locations, although I prefer to keep my ecological footprint as small as possible. Bus and train are usually my 1st choice, unless doing so is not possible in a timely way. I’ll consider flying, given that this journey could involve some distances that would be prohibitive by surface transportation. As a solo traveler, I generally find driving less appealing than public transportation because it is difficult to watch the road, navigate, and see the scenery all at once. On the other hand, I greatly appreciate the flexibility a car provides, so I’m definitely open to renting a car for those segments of my trip when having one’s own vehicle will clearly enhance my ability to see things in a timely way.
• I’m a woman and will be traveling solo.
• I usually prefer to visit things at my own pace, but will join a group tour for a day or half-day if doing so makes it easier to visit specific places.
• I’ve never been to Turkey and don’t speak Turkish, but will do my best to learn at least a few basics before I go. (I’ve already started Pimsleur’s lessons).
• I expect to take this trip next May. As noted above, I’m aiming for 3 to 3.5 weeks.

I think Turkey fits my criteria for my next trip exceedingly well. Let me know if you disagree!

My “must-sees” include (in alphabetical order): Cappadocia & the Goreme Valley, Ephesus, Istanbul, Kas and nearby locations, and Pamukkale.

My other high priority sites include

• Ankara (mainly for a museum or two)
• Antalya and nearby sites
• Bogazkale (for Hattusa)
• Divrigi
• Edirne
• Gobekli Tepe
• Konya
• Nemrut Dagi
• Safranbolu
• Trabzon (including the monastery in Sumela and perhaps a day trip into the mountains)
• And one or more caravanserai.

There are many other places that have also caught my interest, but that I currently expect to include/exclude depending on whether they fit with my main itinerary.

So, what should I skip? What should I add? Is there a route that makes most sense (even if it involves "skipping around" to take advantage of flight options)? What types of transportation should I consider for specific segments? Any and all comments are welcome. Thanks so much in advance!

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