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AP6380's Trip Report: Turkey and Southern Italy (Calabria)

AP6380's Trip Report: Turkey and Southern Italy (Calabria)

Jul 12th, 2005, 02:25 AM
  #21  
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Thanks for the compliments! Here are the rest of my Turkey pics and some Calabria, Italy pics (mostly gorgeous Tropea. Again, Make sure you select "slideshow settings," then "small." You should then be able to read my captions below each pic.

http://www.kodakgallery.com/I.jsp?c=...&x=0&y=-js0tf6


AP6380 is offline  
Jul 15th, 2005, 05:20 AM
  #22  
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Slowly but surely....

Day 6

We drove to Xanthos. I found this archaeological site to be very poorly signed. Here we had our 2nd experience with an impromptu tour guide that we couldn't shake, an elderly gentlemen. He couldn't convey too much to us, as he didn't speak English. In Xanthos they have "pillar tombs," which are the oldest Lycian tombs. There was another site nearby that we didn't go to, I believe it was Letoon. It was driving in this area where we kept seeing turtles crossing the road, and being the bleeding hearts that we were we stopped and put one or two on the side of the road they were headed to. They must be pretty smart, as I never saw any turtle roadkill.

After this we headed to Patara beach. We rented some lounge chairs and umbrellas and relaxed for a bit. That evening we ate at a restaurant that was out of the way of the main tourist drag, this is where I had "Firinda manti," which I guess could be described as Turkish ravioli with a yoghurt sauce. I can't find the business card of this restaurant right now, but it had rooftop seating. I'll post if I find it!
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Jul 15th, 2005, 07:07 AM
  #23  
 
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Ap, that was wonderful and whetted my appetite for my trip in September/October.

Question for WJ1: If I post my e-mail address will you send me the Turkey info you gathered? Thanks so much!
ekscrunchy is online now  
Jul 15th, 2005, 10:07 AM
  #24  
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ekscrunchy:

Sure.
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Jul 15th, 2005, 11:20 AM
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I think maybe Kalkan is a victim of its own success. We were there in September 2000 and loved it. It doesn't sound as appealing now, and I'm glad I stayed there when I did.

I've made note of your restaurant recommendations for Istanbul - thanks!
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Jul 15th, 2005, 11:36 AM
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WJ 1:

That would be great! [email protected]

Thanks very much.
ekscrunchy is online now  
Jul 15th, 2005, 01:33 PM
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Can I have the Turkey info too please??

[email protected].

Many thanks!
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Jul 15th, 2005, 08:55 PM
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Hi AP6380!

I, of course, am facinated by your trip report! You are doing a wonderful job - so many great details! We cannot wait for our September trip and seeing yours in pictures just somehow helps move our trip from the abstract to the real.

Softie for cats are you??? Me too. Have two of the little hairballs here at home that I really miss when we travel.

I am printing this out for your restaurant suggestions. I like your idea of having the hotel do the ressies. We are staying at the Empress Zoe and I think I will ask them to help us out. I am a bit worried about ording - wish I could find a Marling Menu Master in Turkish!

Wj1 - pretty please, may I have your restaurant list too?? I am afraid I am not nearly as organized as you and don't have much of anything prepared for the trip besides car rental and accomodations. We just took a last minute trip to Germany and France so I was caught up in that for a month or so, but know I have to get my ducks in a row.

Please send to [email protected]

Thank you both and can't wait to hear the rest of the report!

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Jul 18th, 2005, 04:46 AM
  #29  
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We left Kalkan to drive to Bodrum. I had seen so many pictures of the Oludeniz Lagoon, so I really wanted to stop by. We made it to that area, but I believe we would have had to pay to get into the park where the lagoon was. I was also somewhat anxious about how much longer I would be driving so we bypassed it. I was very happy to find the Fethiye tombs, I had also seen so may pictures of these Lycian tombs cut into the rock.

We stopped at a roadside casual restaurant, where we finally had our first doner! It's amazing how the prices dip when you aren't in tourist-land, we had 2 doners, 2 sodas, bottled water & ice cream for 12 Turkish Lira. Once we got past this stop, we were in the area where you could turn off to go to Marmaris or turn to head toward Bodrum. The direction toward Bodrum was blocked off, we got re-routed through the hills, it was an awful 2 lane road. I had to keep passing people by going into the oncoming lane. My heart still skips a little everytime I do this, even though I should be used to it from Italy! This detour took an hour or so. If we hadn't made stops or had the detour the ride to Kalkan probably would have been about 5 hours; for us, it was around 8.

My mind must have played a trick on me, because I thought that the Su Hotel was in Turgetreis, not right in Bodrum (come to find out it was on Turgutreis St. in Bodrum). I unfortunately drove all the way out to Turgutreis before realizing this. Once we backtracked to Bodrum, we felt like we were lost in a maze. The tiny streets were complicated, it took us awhile to find the hotel.

The Su Hotel is tucked away on a side street that is quiet. It is gorgeous on the outside. I think if we had a room facing the pool, which had balconies, we would have liked the room better. Ours was TINY and dark. I also never understood that this hotel had no TVs or phones! I never even thought of asking this, I guess I assumed unless you're in a hostel or something this is a common thing. I would stay again, but ask for a much larger room (if there are any) facing the pool.

Bodrum, even though it was mid-June, was already quite crowded. We ate at "Babadan"? where we ate really good but overpriced kebabs. This is the point on the trip where I gave in to my urge to feed the cats hovering around. Up until this point I tried to restrain myself, because I've had experiences in the past where you will start with one cat, but then end up with 10. Sometimes the owners really don't seem to appreciate people feeding animals.
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Jul 19th, 2005, 07:34 PM
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So AP6380, would you have chosen Kas over Kalkan to stay in if you had to do it again? You were not thrilled with the Pirat in Kalkan but did you see any other places that looked great?

I absolutely could not find anything on the web that appealed to me at all there (except for Villa Mahal-$$$- which is exclusively booked for a British package co as far as I can tell)and ended up with a reservation at Owlsland up above Kalkan in Bezirgan Village. Did you get up there at all? The B&B is highly spoken of in the Open Road Publishing "Turkey Guide" and Nisanyan.net. As I understand, Bezirgan Village is NOT touristy. At All. I had corresponded back and forth with the owner, Pauline, and I must say that she has been THE most delightful B&B owner I have ever worked with. It also sounds as if they serve some awesome food in the evenings.
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Jul 19th, 2005, 08:42 PM
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John, mon cher, just for the record - I actually nurse both male and female patients.
Hope you are awash with wonder and unassailed by the capris and Keds set.
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Jul 20th, 2005, 02:34 AM
  #32  
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That's a tough question Happy..... Kalkan was visually more appealing and seemed larger than Kas. What Kas had going for it was that the tourist's appeared to be more diverse, and if you're not going in the high season they seemed to have more boat trip options. I didn't walk around Kas, just a bit by the port. I probably would stay in Kalkan again, but at a higher-end hotel. Or, if I found a great hotel in Kas, I would try that for something different.

Check out http://www.clubpatara.com/
For June 11th-14th I was quoted for a standard room aith a balcony and sea view 44 GBP/bb. Definitely pricey!

I wanted to go to Bezirgan Village but we never made it. I guess it depends on the experience you want- touristy & convenient or somewhat authentic?
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Jul 25th, 2005, 05:18 AM
  #33  
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Day 8

Bodrum

We went to the Mausoleum, which was very close to the hotel. There's not much left, but I really enjoyed the grounds and envisioning what once was. Afterwards, we went to the Castle of St. Peter. We had a great time for several hours just wandering around and taking great pictures. It really is a magnificent site.

After the castle we walked along the water and spoke to a captain who would have taken just the two of us out for swimming in several different areas for 100 Turkish lira. I thought this was a good deal, but my father wasn't feeling up to swimming in the middle of nowhere, he preferred a beach. We took the hotel shuttle to "Ortakent," which was a small, pebbley beach not too far away. They picked us up several hours later, I forget what the cost was, but it was reasonable.

I asked the owner of the Su Hotel if they had a phone I could use with a calling card, and he said no which I thought was weird. The shower was also cold most of the time. Even though I have several negative comments about the hotel, I would consider staying there again as the location was good and the property beautiful.

Day 9- Kusadasi

We drove to our hotel outside Kusadasi, "Hotel Kismet." They first showed us a beautiful room with a great balcony overlooking the water, but the room had only one bed. They then showed us 2 others with 2 beds. We chose one on the 3rd floor, facing the front of the hotel. It was a suite with 2 baths, a sitting room and bedroom and 2 separate balconies! It couldn't have come at a better time, because of course my father & I were somewhat agitated with one another by this point They did not charge us anymore, we paid US $125 per night, and it is a 5 star hotel. The breakfast was great. The grounds were absolutely stunning, I took many pics of just their gardens. They have a cute African Grey Parrot nammed "Jack" or "Jackie," (they are not sure of it's sex). It's in a large cage outside during the day.

That afternoon we drove to Dilek State Park. The sign says "Milli Parki." The website is http://www.dilekyarimadasi.com We drove to the 2nd beach in, Aydinlik Koyu. We were told that the further we drove in, the nicer the beaches would be. The one we went to was very nice, with small stones, and quite peaceful. There was a good restaurant right on the beach. Later that evening we ate at the hotel, the food was very good and upscale.
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Aug 4th, 2005, 01:58 AM
  #34  
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I thought I would top this after seeing all the Turkey posts this am. I will finally be finishing this tomorrow, as I actually will have a weekday off!!!!
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Aug 5th, 2005, 04:38 AM
  #35  
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Day 10

Kusadasi

We drove to Ephesus from Kusadasi. At the gate there were guides who wanted 50 TL for a 1 1/2 tour, but we decided to do it alone. We parked at the bottom, by the theater which was the opposite (I think) of what most people do. It worked out for us though as I was able to get pictures of the Library of Celsus with not too many people around. After that we were fighting the tour crowds going uphill, as they were all going downhill. I rented one of those audio guides for the first time, I actually found it helpful. The heat, in mid-June, was unbelievable. We bought several beverages there, it was impossible not to.

We are not very religious, but I still wanted to see "Mary's House." The setting is very nice & people seemed to make pilgrimages here. As you pass through the house, people were kissing the pictures of St. Mary & St. John and lighting candles.

We ended up at Kusadasi's "Ladies Beach," which wasn't too pleasant. It had a lot of sea weed and was very crowded with chairs and people. On the way back to the hotel we pulled off the road and had 2 pide, 2 cokes, beer & a salad for 18 TL, yet again the prices were so different out the main tourist areas. That evening I just walked around the grounds of Hotel Kismet, used the internet, and hung out on the wonderful balcony.
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Aug 8th, 2005, 04:08 AM
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Day 11- Kusadasi

We drove to Pammukale from Kusadasi. It was 3 hours each way!!! It definitely was a lot of driving for me, as I never encourage my dad to drive on these trips. It was worth it though. We parked by the southern entrance and walked up the plateau. You're supposed to walk barefoot, but due to my father's blisters that he got the first few days in Istanbul, he had to wear his sneakers going up. I was surprised to see that they do let you go into the travertine pools, as I thought I read that you couldn't. I think there may have been certain pools that were off-limits.

I swam in the really warm water of Pamukkale Termal, which has submerged fragments of marble columns. Afterwards, I tried to convince my father to relax at a cafe at the bottom of the hill on the way up to Hieropolis, he wouldn't hear of it. We saw a lot of tour groups at the theatre, but as we wandered around the rest of the site is was pretty empty. We headed uphill to the Martyrium of St. Philip, which was built in the 5th century AD, which is on the site where the apostle was crucified and stoned in AD 80.

Once we got back to kusadasi, we decided to eat at one of the restaurants just outside the gate of Hotel Kismet, Antepli Et Lokantasi, the food was good and the desserts were excellent.

Day 12

We were up at the crack of dawn (4:30 I think) to drive to Izmir airport to return our car and get our flight to Istanbul. I didn't know how to return the rental car, as the company we used did not have any signs. Finally I thought about how we got the car (the man just meeting us at the airport) so I decided to just pull up in front of the entrance. Low and behold, a man came up to me to get the car. Once inside the airport we were told that our flight was full and we would have to wait a few hours until the next one! A few minutes later a few seats opened up and we were able to board.

Once back in Istanbul my father was completely spent, so he relaxed & I took a taxi to Chora Church. There are beautiful Byzantine Mosaics and frescoes here. Getting a taxi back to Sulanahmet was a bit difficult, but I finally got one. Thinking back on it, I'm surprised I took taxis alone because we had a few bad experiences with them early on, and that was when I had my dad with me. I then went to the Archaeology museum. I spent a few hours wandering around, my favorite exhibit was the Alexander Sarcophagus, from the 4th century BC. We ate at Hamdi that night, and it was delicious.

Day 13

We went to the Grand Bazaar. I felt we were able to brush off some of the more annoying vendors, but my father had a few run-ins. We were buying Turkish Delight, and my dad was haggling endlessly with the vendor. He said to my father, "Sir, are you a J**?" Apparently insinuating that my father was cheap, I found the remark tactless. I guess based on what I heard it was to be expected that we would get some rude comments.

I bought a Rose Quartz necklace, a leather purse for my mother, framed tiles and some other odds & ends. We then headed to the Spice Bazaar. My father wanted to buy pillowcases for our family in Italy, but the vendor wouldn't negotiate much. My father walked out of the store, and the man yelled after us "You don't want us Turkish people to make any money!!!!! You must think we make a lot of money!!!!!" My favorite display here was the "Turkish Viagra," there's a picture of that in my online albums.

We then headed to the Suleymanye Mosque. The area surrounding it is a little seedy, and when we were looking for a taxi back, we ended up in that area. All of a sudden 3 little kids were all around us asking for money, and the one looked like she was about to go into my purse. My dad, of course, scared them away.

My last installment will be most likely a brief one on my time in Calabria, Italy.
AP6380 is offline  
Sep 27th, 2005, 09:59 PM
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Love your report, so I thought I would top it for anyone interested. Did you ever post about Calabria? I don't know how I missed this the first time around. Thank you for telling me about it.
SeaUrchin is offline  
Sep 28th, 2005, 02:04 AM
  #38  
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I didn't SeaUrchin, but thanks for reminding me!!!! I have other ones that include previous trips to Calabria:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34449517

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34526714
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Nov 29th, 2005, 07:04 AM
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Where is a good beach place in Italy?
honeymooninitaly is offline  
Nov 29th, 2005, 07:50 AM
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The best beaches that I have been to in Italy were on the island of Sardinia. They have every conceivable kind, sandy, rocky, etc.

The second best were around Tropea in Calabria, really stunningly clear water and beautiful scenery.
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