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Turkey: 7 - 9 days

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I will have from 7-9 days to visit Turkey in early July (yes, unfortunately, peak tourist season). I know I want to spend some time in the SultanAhmet (Old City) area. (the Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, Topkai Palace, Grand Bazar) I've read a little about Tahtakale and the Egyptian Bazaar (spice market), which I would be interested in - I believe this is also close to the old city

I've read about the Galata tower - but many of the "tours" have that as a incidental note to a Bosphorus Cruise (which I'm not interested in).

Cappadocia is appealing (the fairy chimney, icons rock churches, and the Kaymakli underground city are of interest.

Ephesus and its monuments are of interest to me, and I think it would be worth the flight and a couple of days.

For the most part, I avoid "tours," not liking large groups (that tend to move very slowly), and travel to get immersed in history and culture. I have just started my research, and I have several questions:
• Is there an advantage to working with a GOOD (recommendations that I can verify would be appreciated) travel / tour company, or am I better off arranging my Istanbul lodging in advance and selecting an Istanbul guide when I arrive, and selecting a different one for Cappadocia and again for Ephesus?
• Will there be any difficulty arranging for travel to Cappadocia without pre-purchased tickets?
• What about the flight to Ephesus?
I'll be traveling alone, would be willing to join a small group, but don't know if it would be necessary, or if it would be better to just hire a private guide once I'm there. I've corresponded with a couple of "well-reviewed" tour companies, but all they want to do is push pre-arranged packages without any sensitivity to what I want.
Thanks in advance.

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