3 week trip Western Turkey

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Jun 10th, 2013, 09:12 PM
  #21
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Day 16/17---Had left these 2 days unbooked as to see what weather was like and where we wanted to go. Decided to go to Simena Kekova/Kale for 1 or 2 nights as weather was sunny and hot. Sent email day before to Simena Pansyion and heard reply quickly. It is boat access (or trail along mainland) so we were told to drive to Ucagiz and park in square and tell them we are staying at Kale and they will call him (Yasin Can). As you approach Ucagiz you can see Kekova island /bay and ocean and is very beautiful. This was a Saturday but just barely into May so not super busy yet. The pansyion is Yasin and his wife Hatice's home as well. They have 4 rooms, modest but clean with nice decor. We were the only ones there. He also manages the family's Kale Inn. Very pretty setting but the constant drone of tour boats from late morning til around 5 in afternoon. They were very gracious hosts. We were able to swim and use lounges at the dock restaurant area at Kale inn. We went to one of the restaurants Rx in the lonely planet and we were the only customers. They wanted 100 lire for this little fish that was frozen solid. She kept saying it is fresh from fisherman yesterday. I said it is frozen solid and shes says I paid 80 lira for this fish and it is not very frozen. We declined and had some lamb shish elsewhere. We climbed up to the fortress above the town and hiked a little of the Lycian trail. Met a British couple who have retired to Samos, the Greek island. They were doing sections of the lycian trail where their luggage is moved and they just carry their needs for the day. It was 35 degrees celsius instead of around 25 for this time of year. I think it was world tours and they just pick the sections they want to do and move from accomdation to accomodation with transfers to trail head. Lycian trail is 500 km so doing a weeks worth of day hikes from select sections. Felt this section ending at Ucagiz was great as had gone through wonderful ruins in middle of nowhere with no people and had great water views. Tempting to do another time if not too hot. Yasin mentioned it goes up to 40-45 in August. We decided one night was enough and emailed ahead to Cirali to check on a place to stay. Everywhere we stayed had wi-fi so possible to email to check on booking places, as we did not have phone. More on this next leg later.
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Jun 17th, 2013, 07:04 PM
  #22
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We had a very good breakfast and some of the best cheese of our trip in Turkey. Yasin took us out in his boat for a tour of the area before the tour boats arrived. Great swim in a little bay on Kekova. There were a few sailboats anchored just outside the bay. We paid extra for this. The Simena Pansyion has a beautiful mosaic tile floor on the lower level where we ate. I asked Yasin if his place was called the Olive Grove before. He laughed and said about 8 years ago when he was getting ready to open a woman writing a guide book was there and as he had not named it yet she called it the Olive grove however he chose the present name. The new edition of Lonely planet still has it as the Olive Grove. Yasin took us back by boat to our car. I had the impression that he has mixed feelings about the popularity of his village to the tour boats route. So much of the day they are like part of the show with very little peace and quiet. Yet it enables them to make a living. He was very easy going and accommodating to our needs.
We then headed toward Cirali. Most of the drive was very scenic. We did stop at Myra briefly. We had decided to stay at Canada House in Cirali. We had a nice modern bungalow. This is up the road away from the beach. We drove to a parking lot at the end of the beach closest to Olympos and walked down the beach to the ruins. The beach is long and small rocks/pebbles not sand. The ruins are spread out and partially hidden throughout a forested area. This side of the pennisula is a little bit like a rain forest compared to the coast just north. We ate at the hotel around the pool and food was fine. Bungalows all have clothes lines so took advantage of that. The next morning we rode bikes through the length of Cirali village. Road was not as bad as I had read about. Bikes were not in the best of shape but we managed, quasi brakes. I had considered The Kibala hotel and noticed it had a lot of high end cars parked out front and looked nice. It was just down the road from Canada house and not on the beach either. We also thought Aida and Odile hotels looked pretty good as well and closer to beach. Arcadia was at far end of road. This area did have a 60's feel to it and I'm still looking for that elusive perfect beach. The sand at Patara was pretty close but it is a park and town of Patara at least 3/4 mile away inland.
We then drove towards Antalya thinking we might go to the ruins at Termessos to the north. Next thing we realized we were into Antalya and not far from old town section and not really organized with food and water to go hiking. It was around 35 degrees celsius, which is very hot for us so we decided to find our Hotel. When we went through gate of old town I asked where Dogan Hotel was and a fellow walked ahead of us and basically pointed the way. The hotel parked our car up a little dead end street just up in front of the hotel. We had very nice updated room overlooking the pool courtyard. They were doing some renovations in some wings of the hotel but never bothered us. It was very quiet at night. We headed down towards the water front and had lunch at the Mermerli Restaurant overlooking water and strip of beach with lounges and umbrellas. We walked around harbour and got an offer to go out in tour boat for a very cheap price we couldn't refuse. Was a pleasant diversion and gave a different view looking back at the shoreline. To continue-----
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Jun 22nd, 2013, 09:50 AM
  #23
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Day 18/19---Day 18 evening we walked out of old town area (Kaleici)into non tourist area. Very vibrant, full of locals and lots of young people. We ate at the Parlak Restaurant just off pedestrian Kazim Ozlap Caddesi. It was full of locals and a few tourists. Was very good. Famous for charcoal chicken and mezes. This area is just adjacent to Tram line. clock tower, Kale Kapisi (Fortress Gate) square, and TI. Heading east on Tramline st are some banks with ATMs. We walked around area after dinner as shops open late. Lots of shopping going on. Headed back into Kaleici which was fairly quiet as early May and not high tourist season yet. Day 19-We wandered Kaleici area. I bought a leatherand Kilim purse. Bargained for it, young man in store phoned his boss part way through. Boss threw up his arms eventually and said you have champagne taste with wine budget. I corrected him with beer budget, all done with good humour.We eventually agreed on price. Was made by Kilim arts from Istanbul which I eventually saw a store of theirs 2 blocks from our hotel in Sultanamet. I didn't go in as I didn't want o figure out whether I got good deal or not. I do like my purse tho. We decided to catch tram and go to Antalya museum. Easy to do and road runs parallel to shoreline. Enjoyed museum. Looks like some park and beach areas down this way. We passed on driving out of city to Termessos again deciding to spend day in Antalya. It was too smoking hot for us and would take better part of day so opted for day in Antalya. We eventually went down to small beach area at Merameli using our towels bought in Kalkan. Rented lounges and umbrellas and escaped the heat for awhile. Then back to Dogan to enjoy pool there. We decided to go to Yemenli restaurant in Kaleici, new restaurant by Sabah brothers who have hostel, apartments and arrange tours. I know someone who arrived here last fall with no reservation and instead of the Sabah hostel was offered an apartment at very low price. He then did bus tour to Cappadocia and back for cheap price as well. He paid 100 euros for tour and found out later others paid 75. He made great friends with some British and Russian women who each own homes on the coast so is back now visiting them. We enjoyed our dinner here and again waiter was very friendly. I finally discovered EFES dark beer which I had for rest of trip when available. Regular size bottle but same price as their large bottle efes but I liked dark much better.

Day 20--- Wandered around Antalya in morning. Flew back to Istanbul today. Returned car uneventfully as I hope no surprises later on my MC.Back in Sultanamet, as today was my Husbands Birthday we wandered up main street of tramline to eat at Faros. Ate inside away from smokers. Had a lovely dinner.

Day 21 Istanbul--Staying back at Tashkonak hotel again. Paid for 2 transfers out of the four we needed as 2 were included with hotel as we were there 7 nights. Cost 25 euros but convenience worth it and they arranged everything from hotel and every pick up was on time. Wandered up and did Cistern first thing. It is not on museum pass so left for later,found quite interesting. We then just wandered back to Grand Bazaar and did a little more shopping. Found our restaurant for lunch by accident that we ate at earlier in trip. We returned to it later in day and it was good once again. Wandered over to the large Suleyman Magnificul mosque. Street we wandered down was full of Nargili pipes for sale. Was a very impressive mosque and not as busy as Blue Mosque as liitle out of the way. We then went back to Grand bazaar and had lunch as not far away. We then just wandered the streets and found our way back to Spice bazaar. My husband was sure we were lost but heading downhill and slightly west we were fine. Took lots of pictures of street vendors and life in general. We then took local ferry to Kadikoy, friendly converstion with former university Professor on his way home. This is on Asian side and locals area. Wandered up into their market pedestrian area. Fabulous fish markets that I did not see in our area. Ate a light meal at Ciya Sofrasi as we had heard so much about it and bought some more Baklava at a shop for later. Ciya was very different but good, think more Syrian. Was fun day just absorbing the energy of the city. Caught tram from Eminou back to Sultanamet after returning ferry from Kadikoy. Good views of city from ferry. Istanbulkart was handy. Found that tourist area around Blue Mosque etc was even busier than when we started mid April. Was May 9th now.
Other restaurant we ate at near our Hotel were Buhara 93, good but basic, and Sultan Kosesi, ate here 4 times, lunch and dinner. I mentioned Faros earlier and Amedrus Cafe was excellent just down laneway from Faros. All theses are in tourist area so catering to tourists.
Day 21--- Day was not perfect(weather in Istanbul was around 16-19 degrees celsius with cool wind so layered) but decided to do Bosphorous cruise. Mix of sun and cloud to start. We did not get to harbour Eminou as early as I wanted as we made trip back to hotel unexpectedly to leave some money from ATM in safe and grab extra layer. We managed to get seat inside fairly close to window. Once we got moving I was able to find good spots out the back to take photos as people moved around. We took trip as far as Sariyer which we almost missed getting off at as they dropped one of their stops. Saw sign in time and got off. Didn't want to spend extra time at end of route. Had a nice seafood lunch is sawiyer and wandered around a bit. Sun and blue sky came out as we went up the strait. We caught bus 25E back to Kabatas then tram back to Sultanamet. My husband opted out of funicular up to New district so missed this area. Our last night in Istanbul so packed up then wandered up to enjoy lights of blue Mosque and Sophia Hagia at night time. Our hotel was not super fancy but were super friendly and helpful, storing small bag of clothes while we travelled in Turkey the middle of our trip to lighten our load for weight restrictions flying domestic.
Found a little sandwich place up by tram station to have lunch for later and our last baklava. We flew onto Paris mid afternoon for our next leg of 8 nights in an apartment.
Will add a few more insights later. Have to thank all the others who have written trip reports as takes time hence why this in bits and pieces. Hope otheres will appreciate some of my advice and mistakes as much as I was helped by other reports.
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Jun 22nd, 2013, 07:34 PM
  #24
 
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Thanks so much for the detailed report!
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Jun 23rd, 2013, 08:16 PM
  #25
kja
 
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> I actually got hit by a car .... My ribs are still sore over month later but didn't let it stop us from doing the rest of our trip.

OMG, WhistlerNorth! Sounds like you survived with your sense of humor intact - kudos! I hope your ribs have healed and all that remains is a story worth telling.

> Want to thank kja for tip about sink plugs missing. My husband brought some universal plugs along

I'm glad you found the tip useful and were able to plan accordingly! I've been traveling for the last month, so just now saw this message. It made for a nice moment in that not-so-nice process of ending a vacation - thanks!

> Turkish drivers are experts at small spaces and backing up.

LOL - Not a statement I would have expected, given your experience!!!

> The photo op I missed was an old man lying flat on a donkey carrying a load of branches along the side of the road.

I have a photo of something almost just like that, taken from above - I just happened to see it while looking out of a hotel room. It was an image that really spoke to me about the differences in lives and ways of living that I feel so fortunate to experience when traveling.

>so we walked back and did the 400+ stairs.

Bless your hearts! I'm SO glad I avoided that.

> I think we dodged a bullet as couldn't believe we forgot to check car first.

FYI, I always take pictures of the car from several angles upon both pick-up and return, which can often be done quickly enough to avoid problems when staff are in a hurry. Not that it will always work....


Sounds like you had quite a trip - thanks for posting!
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Jun 24th, 2013, 06:46 AM
  #26
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While writing my report I have read elsewhere about taking photos of rental car. Something I will do for sure in the future and hope I'm not opening any surprise charges in next few months on my credit card statements. As to expert drivers, was more what I witnessed by the taxis, shuttle drivers in small streets around our hotel in Sultanamet. Lots of streets were marked one way but did not matter. What happened to me out by old wall near Chora was what I hope was an one off. Ribs are better for the most part now.
Curious how was your trip to Switzerland as we spent 3 weeks there 3 years ago this fall. We did a lot of hiking but also spent time around Vevey on Lac Lehman walking vineyards and taking ferries ( Lake Geneva)
Sorting my pictures gradually of Turkey as I took a ton and realizing how many special moments we really had.
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Jun 24th, 2013, 04:01 PM
  #27
kja
 
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> Ribs are better for the most part now.

Glad to hear that!

> Curious how was your trip to Switzerland

It was wonderful! Thanks for asking. It might take me a while, but I will post some of my observations when I can.

> Sorting my pictures gradually of Turkey as I took a ton and realizing how many special moments we really had.

That's one of the wonderful things about going through one's pictures, isn't it?
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Jun 25th, 2013, 01:20 PM
  #28
 
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Thank you for such a great, detailed report. I have all but finished the bookings for our trip in September/October and will try to be disciplined about writing reports as others' are so helpful and interesting.
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Jul 5th, 2013, 01:54 PM
  #29
Ian
 
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Thanks for the report. We went to many of the same places 2 years ago - you brought back some nice memories.

Ian
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Aug 18th, 2013, 08:31 PM
  #30
 
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would you be willing to share Leah's contact details? We are staying at the Hotel Tashkonak in late September 2013 and would very much like a reputable guide to take us on a day tour similar to the one you mention. We would feel more comfortable with someone recommended and you do mention she does do private tours so hoping she is looking for clients??
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Aug 22nd, 2013, 08:09 PM
  #31
 
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Very helpful report! Thanks for taking the time to share your trip with us.
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Aug 24th, 2013, 05:00 PM
  #32
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Just happened to look at forum today as have not for awhile. Our guide was Leah Mortensen who has a spot on her mother's Catherine Mortensen's website. Just google her name with Istanbul. I have her email address elsewhere if this does not work. Catherine does 2 tours a year travelling around Turkey and imports rugs and textiles. Catherine was a great help to me organizing my trip to do independently. My brother's friends are friends of Catherine's and had done a tour with her last fall. On checking her website I realized from a blog she had written that I also had worked with, and have known her sister for years. Leah, her daughter, has lived in Istanbul for over 12 years and city tours are her business and we had a great time. I know she is quite busy but not sure if recent situation in Turkey has made a difference. I know at one point early on she was helping clients who had arrived off a cruise ship, relocate hotels as their one booked through cruise was near Taksim square though reassured by cruise sources that it would not be a problem. We liked Tashkonak Hotel , modest but clean and staff are great. Do take the transfer they offer to and from airport. We had room on 3rd floor on courtyard side and did not hear any street noise, think room 309. Of course you will hear call to prayer as you would anywhere but not as early as we were there in the spring. Probably good time to go as might be less busy than when we were there in spring.
Just curious WhistlerSue if you actually live in Whistler.
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Aug 25th, 2013, 07:50 PM
  #33
 
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yes, we have lived in whistler for 20 years! Do you live in Whistler? Thanks for your comments and feedback ... will try to track down Leah through her Mom's website. Will also ask for a courtyard side room at Tashkonak Hotel ... did you have twin beds or do they have queen sized beds? Cannot sleep with my husband in a double bed, so have booked twins in most places unless they note specifically that they have queens or kings!!
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Aug 25th, 2013, 08:02 PM
  #34
 
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Found Leah ... and have e-mailed her. Keeping our fingers crossed. thanx so much for sharing!
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Aug 26th, 2013, 06:32 AM
  #35
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As to bed size, don't remember not having queen size but stayed in so many places so not sure. Room was small but not much time there. Could see up to back part of Blue Mosque. Definitely remember we had twins at Dogan in Antalya. Never actually met the person at Tashkonak that we e mailed back and forth with, but they were very accommodating. Our last morning we walked down to seawalk park that is across main road below area we stayed in and went for walk. Lots of locals fishing. Just make sure you use crosswalk signal as very busy road. Actually the one you come in on probably. Was a respite from hub bub of Sultanahmet. This walk goes for miles in either direction , with lots of locals running and walking
I live most of my time in Whistler as well. Built home in early 80's in Alpine Meadows. Quite the co-incidence. Let me know if any more questions. Are you going elsewhere besides Istanbul?
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Aug 27th, 2013, 09:03 PM
  #36
 
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we land in Antalya, then head up the coast to Fethiye to catch the ferry across to Rhodes. From Rhodes we are headed back to Bodrum by ferry, then fly out to Kayseri. From Kayseri we are flying into Istanbul for 5 days before flying back to Gatwick and home. Will be in Turkey for 3 weeks.
After living on Easy Street in Tapleys for years we downsized in our retirement to one of the Mature Action Community senior's housing units in Cheakamus Crossing. Love it love it love it!
thanks for your tips from your travels ... have printed out your comments and will take it with us when we leave.
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Aug 28th, 2013, 07:48 PM
  #37
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Sounds like a great trip. It is all good and you'll really like Cappadocia and their hospitality. I would be interested on hearing your island adventure. I thought maybe another time we would do a Greece Turkey combo as well. Have fun.
On another note I have heard only positive feedback from people who have moved to Cheakamus Crossing. Might be a good option for us at some point too.
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Aug 29th, 2013, 02:59 PM
  #38
 
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will keep you posted!
Cheakamus Crossing is amazing ... any upcoming opportunities for seniors are always posted on the MAC website (if you are a member of MAC)or you can e-mail [email protected] for details anytime.
Have not heard back from Leah Mortensen ;>( so will ask at the hotel if they have any recommendations (cousins?! family members?! etc.)who can take us touring.
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