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Egypt,Turkey,Greece in April 2001-Help in itinerary

Egypt,Turkey,Greece in April 2001-Help in itinerary

Old Feb 15th, 2001, 11:01 AM
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Egypt,Turkey,Greece in April 2001-Help in itinerary

We are visiting Egypt, Turkey & Greece from 14th April to 5th May 2001 (21 days) most likely in that order.We are an architect couple (34 & 35 )planning a journey of 4000 years in 21 days;which is too little a time to do justice to these beautiful places.Can somebody suggest us an itinerary? May be 5days EGYPT,4 days TURKEY,9 days in GREECE(including 2days in SANTORINI-Greece is my dream & don't know much about the other two) Is Ephesus a must when one may visit other ruins in Greece much easily? Is Paulo or Patrick still in touch with the forum?Anybody who has seen it all....
Old Feb 15th, 2001, 11:22 AM
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Yes, I'm still in touch with this forum, but I certainly haven't seen it all! Haven't been to Egypt at all. As architects you will probably tire less easily than I do of ruins. I have a pretty vivid imagination, but frankly most ruins do all start to look alike after a while, but I think Ephesus stands in a class by itself, there is just so much there to see at once. And as a theatre person, the theatre at Aspendos is so splendidly preserved that it takes a whole lot less imagination to picture a play taking place there (and in fact they still do). I found most of the ruins in Turkey far more interesting than any I saw in Greece, although I have not visited Delphos or anything on the Peloponesian Pen., so I'm far from an expert. In fact, If I were you I'd be tempted to bypass a lot of Greek islands for a little more indepth look at the Turkish coast. I found the whitewashed hillside village of Bodrum in Turkey to be as splendid as any village in Greece, with the possible exception of Santorini which (although very touristy) is still in a class by itself so far as dramatic settings are concerned. You might make it your major stop in Greece other than some exploration on the mainland, mixing that with some of Turkey and Egypt. And as far as Turkey goes, the highlight for me was Cappodocia in the center. Architecturally it may not be especially important unless you count the incredible underground cities and the fascinating cities carved into the cliffs and hollowed out houses inside the "fairy chimneys". It was simply unique.
Old Feb 15th, 2001, 12:32 PM
George Holt
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I think you need to consider some of the practicalities of this rather grand tour. Three countries in three weeks would be quite a haul if they were adjacent and you could hire a car to drive from border to border. As it is you'll have to fly around so if your four days in Turkey include arriving and leaving you'll spend a day of that flying in and a day flying out, similarly on other steps on your itinerary.

I've never been to Egypt so I'll leave that for someone else.

Even given that you've a full four days in Turkey you'll be hard put to see much outside Istanbul. You'll need to fly in and out of Istanbul (almost certainly) as its the international hub of Turkey.

Kusadasi, for Ephesus, is about halfway down the coast and don't be fooled by the space Turkey takes up on a map of the Mediterranean, it is a BIG country. Istanbul to Kusadasi is probably a long day's bus trip or the best part of a day's flying to Izmir and bussing to Kusadasi. Ephesus is well worth a visit, there are plenty of reconstructed facades to admire and a large theatre. Whether its worth blowing your whole time in Turkey on is an entirely different matter.

Luckily Istanbul is worth squandering your entire Turkish visit on (although its not necessarily typical of Turkey) with plenty to pleasantly soak up perhaps three or four days (or more). Highlights include the area around the Hippodrome with the Blue Mosque, Aya Sofia, Topkapi Palace and the museums next door to Topkapi Palace - a good day's sightseeing. Another good day out is to spend time on the water. A ferry zig-zags up the Bosporus from Sikerci (near the Galata Bridge) to Rumeli Kavagi (near where the Bosporus runs into (or out of) the Black Sea). Other ferries cross to the Asian side for Uskudar (Skutari) and Hydarpasa. Another ferry runs up the Golden Horn from Sikerji to Eyup. Another popular maritime day out is to the Prince's Islands in the Sea of Marmara. Back on dry land a follow-up to the Hippodrome visit is to walk from the Hippodrome up Divan Yolu, through the Covered Bazaar, behind the University, into the Suleyman Mosque, on to Attaturk Bulvari to marvel at the Aqueduct of Valens, up the hill past the Fatih Mehmet Mosque and out to the city walls and the Kariye Museum. If your not ready for bed after that you're way fitter than I am. A useful long day excursion (bookable at the hotel or a local travel agency) is to Bursa.

I can't say Athens is as fascinating as Istanbul. The main sight clearly is the Parthenon on the Acropolis and the cafe and market area around its base called the Plaka District. Other places of interest are the Archaelogical Museum near Omonia Square and the Palace. The guards at the palace only wear their white uniforms with the pompomed slippers on Sundays and public holidays, the rest of the time they wear more practical khakis and hob nailed clogs. There are also scores of tiny art and icon museums all over Athens.

With Athens as a base its possible to visit Delphi in a day, but its probably more comfortable to spread it over two. With a few days to spare you could travel down the east of the Peloponese.

If this isn't literally the trip of a lifetime might I advise you to concetrate on two out of three, Maybe 21 days in Greece and Turkey now and say ten days in Egypt on a future occaision.
Old Feb 15th, 2001, 12:50 PM
Pam R
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I've been to all 3 places, though separately. It will be hard to combine all 3 on one trip, but if you have to, you have to. Personally, Egypt is my favorite. I've been there 3 times. As architects, I think you will love it. Don't miss Cairo, Luxor. I would skip the trip to Abu Simbel, unless you love it so much. It's a hassle to get there (by small plane), takes a lot of time, and I don't think it's as great as sites in Luxor. Ramses was into collossal, not perfection. I would go to Egypt first, as you thought. Egypt is hard to get around in. I would recommend a guide. You will not believe how intrusive people will become, trying to sell you things, help you, etc. (unless you frequent third world countries). But I still love it.
Your idea to spend the most time in Greece is good, too. We visited Athens, took a tour of the islands, then went to Delphi, then spent 4 days at Santorini. Delphi is amazing in terms of ruins and sacred feeling of the place--you can easily travel by bus from Athens in a couple of hours. I agree that Istanbul is great; we spent one day there and I regret we didn't have more time. Ephesus was great, but after you see the incredible sights in Egypt, I'm not sure you'll feel it's as necessary to go to as the others have suggested. It's always hard to say what someone else would love. I recommend looking at books on the various places and see what moves you. BTW, I personally would recommend getting tour from Luxor to see a couple of temples north of there (Abydos and Dendera). If there's any way you can take a Nile cruise, you should. Can't describe the feeling of sailing along this ancient waterway, seeing the bird fly out of the marshes at dawn, watching fishermen cast nets onto the water, seeing villagers washing their dishes and clothes, farmers in the fields. Very biblical. Sorry I have run on so much!
Old Feb 16th, 2001, 10:36 AM
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Thanks for all the suggestions.
I am getting Istambul as an extra stopover on my Cairo-Athens route at no extra cost,which is tempting me to add Turkey to my list.Istambul,being the oldest surviving city on earth ,is a great attraction.I intend to stretch myself a bit & compensate by relaxing at home after the trip.
PLEASE streamline my itinerary wherever reqd.
EGYPT--4 Days
(Cairo-Aswan-Cairo--2overnight train journeys to save my 2Days)
TURKEY--5 Full days
Istambul & ???
(Any overnight journeys possible? )
GREECE-- 9 Full days
Athens-2 /Delphi-1/Sounion-1/Napflio,Mycenae,Epidaurus-2/Santorini-2/Extra day -1
Total-21 DAYS
I am not specifically interested in ruins or temples,tombs; but would like it to be a combination of all--Great cities,live culture,scenic places,bit of history & monuments,wine-food & fun.
Want to spend the time in the best possible way without duplicating similar places like ruins or beaches/islands.
Old Feb 16th, 2001, 03:31 PM
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I have been to Egypt and have studied architecture .... you will have a problem dragging yourself away after only a few days! I spent 2 weeks there and would gladly have extended the visit.

My recommendations re "must sees" in Egypt are Giza, the Cairo Museum (takes at least 6 hours), Luxor and Dandera. One of the most extraordinary experiences of my life was watching the sun come up as I stood on "Moses' Mountain" in the Sinai - with a few days in Egypt, this might not be possible for you as it takes a day to get there from Cairo (you climb the mountain at midnight (do it around a full moon)) and then a day to travel back to Cairo. I believe that it is worth the trip .... any thoughts from others who have been there?


Pam is so right regarding a guide and a driver. You just can't do Egypt on your own unless you have both (or speak Arabic and know the culture). We were lucky enough to go there with a "local" and therefore avoided the limitations of travelling as part of a tour group. We met Egyptians and dined in their homes - they must be THE kindest, most charming people I have ever met.

Old Feb 17th, 2001, 09:41 AM
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With your specified itinerary, I wouldn't add any day trips from Istanbul, other than perhaps taking a standard ferry one day all the way up the Bosphorus to the Black Sea. You can stop at the last village and have a nice lunch and hike up to the ruins for a spectacular view over the Sea and back to the River, then take a ferry back to Istanbul. That will only leave you three full days for covering Istanbul which will go very fast.
Old Feb 22nd, 2001, 10:56 AM
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Looking at your itinerary for Egypt, I would skip Aswan and spend 2 days in Luxor. The market is better there, and there is much more to see. Aswan is mostly a "base" for Abu Simbel or a view of the dam. That trip eats up a lot of time and frankly, I don't think it's worth it. In Luxor you can see the Valley of the Kings and possibly Queens, Karnak, Luxor Temple (could take in a sound & light show, if you like). And get on a felucca and sail on the Nile. And spend time in the souk.

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