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Trip Report Three Weeks in Turkey Short Trip Report

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We are wrapping up three weeks in Turkey and it has been a terrific experience. We are seniors and at this stage of life are into "soft" travel meaning with creature comforts etc. so if this isn't your travel style at this point, this might not be as helpful to you. (Please know that when we were younger, we used all public transportation, many B&Bs with shared baths, and those European bathtubs with the hose that required acrobatics to shampoo your hair!) It was also a splurge trip for us. We knew the language was impossible for us and the culture would be very different for us so we needed lots of help.

In Istanbul, we stayed at the Vault Hotel. It was a lovely property with views of the Bosphorus, access to many good restaurants within walking distance, easy to get to the Galata Bridge to walk (or take the tram) to the Old Town. Staff was very helpful and the breakfast spread was amazing. It is also near the funicular up to Ikstilal Street and on to Taksim Square. Enjoyed dinner at these restaurants: Ali Ocakbasi, Karakoy Lokantasi, Neolokal, and Topaz (very fine dining!) Experienced the Kilic Ali Pasa Hamam for my first Turkish bath and loved it. So much so that I just had another in the hamam at Sumahan Hotel on the Asian side.

We did use a guide some but also navigated around some on our own. Never had a moment of concern about safety except when crossing the street!

Flew to Cappadocia and stayed three nights at Yunak House in Urgup. Liked it very much (we had a cave room....I think for more money you could have had a cave room higher up and would have had an awesome view from your terrace.) We did the hot air balloon ride and it was worth getting up at 4am!!! Found Kaymakli amazing as was Goreme Open Air Museum. Also enjoyed hiking through Pigeon Valley. And seeing the Whirling Dervishes was more moving than I had anticipated.

Returned to Istanbul and then did have a rental car but one with a driver. We were glad we made that decision. Some roads in Turkey are wonderful and well marked but not all. It seems that sometimes you're going along just fine on a road and then suddenly construction appears or the road changes to nonpaved or the vehicle in front of you slows down to a crawl inexplicably. The Taurus Mountains are also challenging. I do recommend Opet for your stops: clean bathrooms and good supply of snack options.

We went to Edirne and found it interesting and enjoyed touring Sinan's masterpiece mosque but don't know if that would be right for everyone.

Next did Gallipoli and found that experience more than worthwhile and moving, especially since this was the 100th anniversary. Many visitors from Australia and New Zealand. Again, we are history buffs, have a fascination with Churchill and were in Australia last year on ANZAC day, so it depends upon your interests if a day walking all over battlefields and visiting cemeteries and memorials is right for you. We stayed at Gallipoli Houses and wish we had two nights there. Very peaceful.

We visited Troy and were glad we did but you kind of have to work at that to comprehend it because there are so many layers (Troy ! through Troy IX).

More to follow.....

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