Please help me explore Turkey!

Jan 3rd, 2012, 06:14 AM
  #41  
 
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Day 4 is going to be a long day. Maybe worth visiting Alacahöyük - http://www.hittitemonuments.com/alacahoyuk/ - and stay the night in Boğazkale after visiting Hattuşa and Yazılıkaya.

Day 8 - The neolithic site there is Aşıklı Höyük - http://www.asiklihoyuk.org/ - a nice little site next to the river. Seems like they've built a reconstruction of the habitations since I visited in 2008 (similar to the ones at Çatalhöyük - http://www.catalhoyuk.com/ - also worth seeing if you've got time).
You could probably visit Ağzıkarahan on the way from Göreme to Ihlara. And Sultanhanı on the way from Ihlara to Konya.
Croesus is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2012, 06:58 AM
  #42  
 
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We took a car ferry from Bursa to Istanbul, drops you off Yenikapi terminal.
Michel_Paris is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2012, 07:00 AM
  #43  
 
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P.S. 2 nice Hittite monuments near Beyşehir are Eflatun Pınarı and Fasilar (see the Hittite Monuments website - http://www.hittitemonuments.com/ ).

Day 20 - Akhan was locked up and undergoing renovation when I visited it in 2007, but still worth a quick look if you're passing.
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Jan 3rd, 2012, 07:20 PM
  #44  
kja
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Croesus - Thanks for mentioning Alacahöyük and directing me to another wonderful Web site! And for bringing the Hittite sites near Beysehir to my attention.

Good to know that day 4 might be too packed. If I stay in Boğazkale, will I have time to reach Ankara the next day with enough time to visit at least the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations and the Ataturk Mausoleum, and still reach Cappadocia before nightfall?

Aşıklı Höyük sounds fascinating, as does Çatalhöyük. If I have to choose between them (as I probably will), have you a recommendation?

And thanks for the warning about Ak Han. As you suggest, if I have a little extra time and am passing nearby, it might be worth checking out. The portal sounds quite remarkable.


Michel_Paris – That ferry sounds wonderful – thanks for mentioning it! I love traveling by water.
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Jan 4th, 2012, 03:36 AM
  #45  
 
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Choosing between Aşıklı Höyük and Çatalhöyük is a tricky one. Çatalhöyük is the more famous with two very interesting areas of excavation but it would be a bit off your route. So, I'd say go for Aşıklı Höyük since it's very close to the Ihlara Valley and in a nicer position next to the river with views of Hasan Dağı in the distance.

After leaving the Ihlara Valley you should be able to visit Aşıklı Höyük, Sultanhanı and the Mevlana Museum on your way to Beyşehir. If you're making good time approaching Konya, Zazadin Han, just off the main road, is also a nice one to visit.
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Jan 4th, 2012, 03:47 AM
  #46  
 
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It's about 2.5-3 hours drive from Boğazkale to Ankara and another 4-4.5 hours on a fast road onwards to Cappadocia, so you could possibly do that in 1 day if you start fairly early.
Croesus is offline  
Jan 4th, 2012, 04:43 AM
  #47  
 
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You will be adding 4 hours additional driving time plus all the time you will be spending in Ankara traffic if you include Ankara on your route from Bogazkale to Goreme.

I have some more questions:

- Must you visit Konya?

- seeing a couple of Han will give you enough of an idea unless you are deeply interested in han architecture. Because, basically they are two or three courtyards with rooms around them. Maybe a nice entrance but no other onamentation or carvings.

- Catalhoyuk is interesting and worth the trip if you also include the Manazan caves near Karaman and possibly Alahan at Mut. So going through Ermenek and Anamur with anemurium on the route can be more interesting than taking the traditional Beysehir route towards Antalya.

you probably should not be too greedy.

Decide:

- to be the slack-jawed tourist or not
- to be the archeology and history expert or not
- to be an architect or not
- to be an adventurer or not
- to not miss every place mentioned in major guide books or no
- to be always in search of photographic opportunities or not
- to be mostly a lover of nature and natural sights and formations or not
- to spend time with locals and be like a sociologist or not
- to try to empathize with the locals and think like a behavioral psychologist or not.
- to try to test your stamina on long drives, long hikes, or not

You cannot be all of the above, so you have to pick a few depending on your self-definition.

And finally, leave something for the next time, even if there may not be a next time. (I am still happily married to my first wife. But it does not mean that I cannot dream even at 67)
otherchelebi is offline  
Jan 4th, 2012, 08:09 PM
  #48  
 
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We passed through Konya, but did not stop as we were too rushed for time. I like the idea of flying from Cappadoccia to Antalya if you can work out the car drop, leaving more time for other sites. We did visit Bodrum, but if I had to do it over again, I would skip traveling all the way there as it took us out of the way and I wasn't enthralled with the city. We stopped at many of the sites you have proposed and they were lovely.
dgunbug is offline  
Jan 4th, 2012, 10:45 PM
  #49  
kja
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Croesus: Thanks for the additional information! I’ll plan on Aşıklı Höyük rather than Çatalhöyük unless other parts of my plan shift substantially. And thanks, too, for the driving time estimates - I really should have checked viamichelin or mappy before posting a possible plan. (BTW, have you found viamichelin and/or mappy estimates to be generally near the mark for driving times in Turkey? Is one more reliable than the other, or is there a better option?)


Otherchelebi: You have given me what I needed -- a dash of reality! Although my heart aches to find a way, my head knows that I can’t see even my pared-down wish-list in the time I have. Better to face that with your help than without!

At the risk of TMI: Traveling had been a goal for mine from as early as I can remember, but time and circumstance prevented me from doing so for most of my adult life. When I finally became able to travel with at least some regularity, I realized that even if I continue to take a 3 – 3 ½ week trip once a year, it will take me until I’m about 105 to see my A list. (There is SO much to see and experience in this world!) So while I still have energy and at least the delusion of reasonable fitness, I try to pack my trips with as much as I can. But I don’t wont to develop unrealistic plans, and I do want to ensure that I have the time and energy to experience the core things that I make part of any final itinerary in the way that made me want to visit them in the first place. So I’ll happily deviate from a plan whenever I feel the urge to do so, but I’d like to plan well enough that deviations are not common. So thank you (and everyone else!) for helping me hone my plan. And please feel free to keep reminding me that there is always that “next” trip – after all, I spent years thinking there would NEVER be a trip at all, let alone a next one.

(And if I may be so bold, otherchelebi, permit me to wish that your dreams and your realities only and always enhance each other, and permit me to offer the same wish to your 1st and only wife.)

As always, I take your advice very seriously. I will take Konya off my list (and I will feel particularly comfortable doing so because of dgunbug’s comment). I will visit at most 2 han (unless I just happen to be near one when I’m ready for a quick break from driving – I think I’m a safer driver if I stretch a bit at least every 2 hours or so).

I will do more research on the route from Cappadocia through Anamur rather than Beysehir. What appealed to me most about Beysehir, from what I read, was the scenery. I think I’ll see a lot of differient types of spectacular terrains, but I didn’t think I would otherwise have any time around Turkey’s lakes (with the possible exception of Iznik), and the lake regions sound lovely. Throw in a few recommendations to see the reputedly unusual wooden mosque in Beysehir, and I was sold! (At least until I read your comment.) But I had also been fascinated by many of the options you’ve described for a route from Cappadocia through Ermenek and Anamur, so I’ll re-investigate. I keep going back to the drawing board, but each time I go back, I do so with a little more information and somewhat better questions – and that’s what planning an itinerary is all about (in my experience).

As you and Croesus are pointing out, trying to see Ankara between Bogazkale and Goreme made little (if any) sense, so I’ll plan on staying overnight in Bogazkale if I do days 4 to 5 of the above itinerary. If I’m reading correctly, the flight from Istanbul to Ankara is only about an hour, so maybe I can fit in a day (with an overnight, if possible) to visit Ankara at either the beginning or the end of my trip. I would hate to miss either the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations or the Ataturk Mausoleum.

Perhaps I should clarify that long hikes are not on my agenda. I once fell while on a solo hike during the days when I was still quite fit. My injuries were minimal and my tiny 1st aid kit held what I needed, so I was able to keep going, but the trail was challenging and I couldn’t help but note that it was almost 2 hours before I ran into anyone else – what if my injuries had been more substantial? It was a gentle lessen about solo hikes. While I enjoy a relatively short hike now and then on paths that others hike (or that others know I’ll be hiking), I’m not looking for anything challenging, long, or isolated.

To return to your basic message, otherchelebi, and to mix metaphors a bit, you have hit the nail on the head: I don’t want to decide between all the various roles you list! Instead, I do want to experience the tremendous diversity that Turkey offers! And that is, indeed, the crux of my dilemma. I find that I have much clearer memories of the things I see and do on a particular trip when I see and experience a wide range of things (and, moverover, a range of things that differ markedly from those I’ve seen or done on other recent trips). So I do seek to include diverse experiences in my journeys. Yes, I need to drop some possible roles and experiences and places from my plans, but I want to include as rich a tapestry of as many different things as I can. And I am grateful that you and others are helping me set the loom for my tapestry.

The good news (and I do know this!) is that I’m going to love my time in Turkey, whatever I see or do there – I wouldn’t have chosen it for my next journey without absolute confidence that it will be a trip-of-a-life-time. I know that I am extraordinarily lucky to be able to travel, and no matter what I drop from my wishlist for Turkey, I’m going to have an amazing set of experiences and a lifetime’s supply of wonderful memories. And I’m really fortunate because I not only get to travel, but I get to plan my trips with the benefit of the wisdom and experience that you and so many Fodorites share so generously -- awesome!


dgunbug: t Thanks for these additional comments!

You and otherchelebi have persuaded to drop Konya from my plans.

I’m really glad you mentioned Bodrum. Your comments, and a recent post by otherchelebi, confirmed my worst “fears” about Bodrum. I think I would enjoy the museum and fort, but the rest of it, probably not so much…. Is there another spot that makes sense for an overnight stay between Kas and Selcuk (given the goals I outline for days 16 and 17 in the above itinerary)? (Otherchelebi’s photos of Datca inspired me, but I didn’t think I could get there conveniently.)

< How are you progressing with your plans to visit China? >



All of this information is SO helpful – many thanks to all of you, and please keep offering your wonderful insights and perspectives!
kja is offline  
Jan 5th, 2012, 01:08 PM
  #50  
 
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I'm afraid I didn't do a trip report on Turkey, but I just looked at pictures to review what we did. We had about 3 - 31/2 weeks and I don't know how we could have packed in more. We were moving. Like you, we don't do the "relaxing"...there's way too much to see and do. Basically the itinerary was as follows: Istanbul-Ankara (via overnight train)- went to museum which we could have skipped, Mausoleum (enjoyed)- picked up rental car and headed to Cappadocia (no stops). Stayed in Goreme. Be sure to get to Zelve & Derinkuyu to see underground city. Drove from Cappadocia to Antalya through Konya but did not stop. From Antalya visited Side one day. May have visited Aspendos & Perge as a day trip or on the way to Cirali. From Cirali took day trip to Phaselis. Visited Myra on the way to Fetheye - to Bodrum Stayed in Oludeniz (beach area) - Didyma, Miletos & Pyrene in one day - I think on the way to Kusadasi - we stayed there and were pleasantly surprised. Enjoyed the shops and talking to shop owners at night. Outside of Ephasis we visited Sirince - interesting small town. Visited ruins at Aphrodisias - good museum there, Pamukkale (long drive but interesting), Ancient Pergamum to Bergama - Behramkale - ruins at Assos overlook the town - then to Troy and back to Istanbul. (Troy could easily be skipped). I think you could skip Bodrum and drive from Fethiye to Kusadasi - but don't recall for sure.

China is coming along slowly, but we are getting a grasp on it. Will fill you in later.
dgunbug is offline  
Jan 6th, 2012, 11:05 AM
  #51  
 
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Dgunbug, how did you like Fethiye? Did you get to either Patara, Tlos or Kalkan while you were along the coast?
MinnBeef is offline  
Jan 6th, 2012, 05:36 PM
  #52  
 
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We enjoyed Fethiye. Did not get to the other cities you mention. Unfortunately, there's only so much that one can do in a short time.
dgunbug is offline  
Jan 6th, 2012, 07:49 PM
  #53  
kja
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dgunbug - thanks so much - this is very useful information!

MinnBeef - I'm currently thinking of skipping Fethiye, Patara, Tlos and Kalkan, so I'll be interested to hear what you decide.

To all - I'm now thinking of skipping Trabzon, Amasya, Konya, Bodrun, Didyma, Miletus, and Priene. That would mean that I would fly into Ankara and after a couple of nights, drive to Bogazkale, spend the night, and then go to Cappadocia ... later, I would go from Kas to Pamukkale (etc.) for a night and from there to Selcuk or some other location suitable for visiting Ephesus. Nothing is final yet, and I am still making a number of other decisions and choices. As always, comments are welcome!
kja is offline  
Jan 7th, 2012, 12:45 AM
  #54  
 
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"I would fly into Ankara and after a couple of nights, drive to Bogazkale, spend the night, and then go to Cappadocia "

Yes, that sounds better to me. Maybe have a quick look at Alişar Höyük on the way from Boğazkale to Cappadocia. It's only a slight detour and I'm not sure if there's much to see but it's a pretty important ancient site. I regret having gone straight past it once.

http://www.tayproject.org/TAYages.fm$Retrieve?CagNo=150&html=ages_detail_e.html&layout=web

Here - http://wikimapia.org/#lat=39.6059858...9&z=16&l=0&m=b
Croesus is offline  
Jan 7th, 2012, 07:49 AM
  #55  
 
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Kja, boy, from what I've read and seen, and also what othechelebi has said, I'd regret not getting to Sumela Monastery. It just sounds so mystical and magical-a wonderful combination of architecture, ruins, mosaics and nature.

Yes, the coastal portion of my planned trip is the piece I'm having the hardest time landing on, partly due to the perceived difficulty in getting around by public transport. I'm thinking of basing myself in Kalkan as it's central to many of the cities that interest me. I'm also thinking about taking a day boat to see the sunken ruins at Kekova.
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Jan 7th, 2012, 03:20 PM
  #56  
 
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We have just posted our photographs of the Black sea including a few of Sumela at:

http://community.webshots.com/user/esercelebiler

I have been too busy these days for in depth comments on new itineraries, but will do so soon, I hope.
otherchelebi is offline  
Jan 7th, 2012, 09:21 PM
  #57  
kja
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Croesus – I really like the idea of visiting Alişar Höyük on the way from Boğazkale to Cappadocia – thanks so much! And thanks for the additional Web links – you are a wonderful source of information!

MinnBeef – Yes, the Sumela Monastery does sound truly special; I sincerely hope to visit it one day. I haven’t made any irrevocable decisions yet, but there is a lot that I had hoped to see in eastern Turkey that I will be skipping on this trip, so adding Trabzon and the Sumela Monastery to my list of the places I hope to visit on a future trip to eastern Turkey seems worth considering to me, particularly given the time it would take for me to get there and back – and what I would have to give up to include it on this trip. But I continue to weigh options! Whatever our ultimate decisions about the Sumela Monastery and wherever we end up on the Turquoise Coast, I suspect we’ll each have amazing journeys. Still, it is difficult to choose, isn’t it?

Otherchelebi – Once again, my compliments to your wife on her incredible photographs – they are (as always) wonderful!


I’ve been focusing (when work permits) on trying to identify the greatest “redundancies” in my draft itinerary with an eye to eliminating some things that are "sufficiently" similar (whatever that means) to other things I’ll be visiting so that I can add in (or make more time for) some things I won’t otherwise experience. For example, I’m trying to figure out which primarily Roman sites I might forego so that I can fit in something like Anemurium, which I think – from what little I’ve learned so far – may be a bit different than anything else I would see. For example, I’m thinking of skipping Side (despite dgunbug’s recommendation – sorry about that!), since I plan on visiting a number of primairly Roman sites, including Aspendos, and (while I’m sure I would enjoy it) I’m not all that interested in seeing anything in Side other than its ruins. (I am, however, considering ways to make a few moments at the Manavgat waterfalls part of my travels.)

As a rule, I love planning my trips – but this phase, the whittling down – is definitely my least favorite. At least I have a wealth of information from all of you to help me do that!
kja is offline  
Jan 7th, 2012, 11:38 PM
  #58  
 
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I agree that, unless you have a huge desire to visit Sümela Monastery, skipping Trabzon and leaving it for another trip is a good idea. The problem is that it's a long way off your track and there are some very nice Christian frescoes in the cave churches of Cappadocia which you will probably be seeing anyway.

I must say I wasn't very impressed by Anemurium when I visited it in October. OK it's in a nice position next to the sea, but the ruins aren't very impressive.

By the way, you might be interested in the Megalithic Portal website (of which I'm a member). We've got quite a lot of Turkish historical sites listed - http://www.megalithic.co.uk/search.p...ry=&country=60
Croesus is offline  
Jan 9th, 2012, 07:32 PM
  #59  
kja
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Thanks, Croesus - and sorry for the delayed response. I hate when work interferes with life! But I'm very luck to have a job, not to mention a job that let's me travel, so no complaints.

Given the difficulty I had deciding (at least for now) to skip the Sümela Monastery, I especially appreciated your affirmation of my choice. I'm sure I would love to see it, and I even think I found a way to make productive use of the time it would take to get there and back (given that I'll have to deal with jet lag in any event), but at this point, I'm having real difficulty justifying the opportunity costs - there are just too many other things I want to see in the limited time I have for this trip!

Thanks, too, for sharing your impressions of Anemurium. My guidebooks don't generally give it much coverage, so your input is particularly helpful - the more information I have, the better able I'll be to make decisions!

And thanks for yet another great Web site! I've only seen a few megaliths, most of which were in Brittany - so fascinating and evocative! BTW, do you know the poster who goes by the name FrenchMystiqueTours? He's another megalith aficionado who offers incredibly helpful advice to Fodorites.

I'm still struggling with my choices, and struggling to find time outside of work to do the research I need to do to make my choices - but I'll get there, and I know I'll make better choices because of all the input you and others are so generously providing.

If you have any comments that would help me eliminate options because they are sufficiently similar to other places I'll see (so that it might make more sense for me to find time for somewhere/something else), please let me know! There are still some things I would love to fit in if I can, and my trip is still a day or two longer than I'd hoped. As examples, I mentioned that I'm considering skipping Side since I'll be visiting Aspendos. And I'm wondering whether Pergamum, as wonderful as I'm sure it is, might be similar enough to Ephesus to consider skipping.

Thanks again!
kja is offline  
Jan 13th, 2012, 03:28 AM
  #60  
 
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While logistics of the trip is important, if anyone would visit Gobeklitepe, believed to change the history ! a visit to Nemrut is feaseble than and interesting. Only downside of it your questions about Gobeklitepe will be unanswered Weather or not I will keep my questions but will be there very soon, can't wait to see this wonderful finding.

Happy travelling,
Murat
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