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Some Observations on a Fantastic Journey through Western Turkey

Some Observations on a Fantastic Journey through Western Turkey

Old Jun 15th, 2012, 03:32 PM
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kja
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I did stay at the Ali Bilir Otel, Croesus - a room with a small balcony and view of the lake. And I enjoyed my visit to the lovely Esrefoglu Camii very much. Maybe you can answer a question I had: As I drove out of town, I saw a long stretch of trees along the lakeshore that had been partially flooded, with water covering at least a foot or more of their bases. I wondered whether it was a temporary or seasonal thing or something more permanent. Any idea?
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Old Jun 20th, 2012, 06:55 AM
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Minnbeef,

I don't know if you have left yet or if you will see this but - good call on the longer balloon ride! We took the "Beyond" ride with Butterfly and it was SO worth the extra money. You wont want to end and if Royal is like Butterfly, you will have less people in your basket with you. My BF, who hates to fly, LOVED the balloon ride.
Also, I loved the hamam way more than I thought I would. I did a locals one recommended by Jennifer (a Canadian) who owns Jennifer's Hamam (a shop worth checking out by the way). It wasn't fancy but it was only 40 Lira and I really liked it!
You will have an AWESOME time in Turkey!
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Old Jun 21st, 2012, 04:31 PM
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Hi not_enuf_vaca

No, I have not left yet. Two more months--I leave Aug. 24th and I totally CAN'T WAIT!

Glad to hear you loved the longer balloon ride. For me, the decision was an easy one as I figured the balloon was probably something I'd never again do in my life, so what's an extra $100 or whatever it was, in exchange for hopefully a life time memory. At this stage, I think the balloon is the single thing I'm most looking forward to on my trip. (And that's saying a lot as I can't wait to get back to Istanbul to see the Chora Church and take a Golden Horn ferry ride, along with visiting Sumela Monastery)

Jennifer's Hamam is on my to do list as I hope to find great Turkish bath towels there. May I ask-where did you do your hamam and did your BF do the hamam also? I have researched the major Istanbul hamamas (Cemberlitas and Cagaloglu)on Trip Advisor. While the reviews are mediocre overall, they seem to be pretty bad on the men's side of these hamams while the ladies seem to enjoy their experience more. How would that compare for the two of you?

MB
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Old Jun 21st, 2012, 04:38 PM
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> I can't wait to get back to Istanbul to see the Chora Church and take a Golden Horn ferry ride

The Chora Church is wonderful! And before your Golden Horn ferry ride, take the cable car to the Pierre Loti Cafe, preferably at a time that will allow you to will sip your tea as the muezzins's calls fill the air, then walk through the cemetery to the ferry dock. VERY nice!
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Old Jun 21st, 2012, 07:27 PM
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I went to a locals place that Jennifer from Jennifer's Hamam recommended. It was about 15 minute walk from her store. It isn't fancy like the tourists baths and they spoke no English but I loved it! My lady took good care of me. And it was only 40 Lira!
BF stayed back at the hotel in the AC

The Chora Church is nice - we got there right before it closed so we had it almost to ourselves (I guess it can get pretty crowded). The taxi at rush hour was a little steep - but the bus ride there is long. Also it close an hour earlier than the guide books listed.

Not sure if you are a shopper (as in clothing) - but there a bunch of cute little boutiques up by Galata Tower.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 09:29 AM
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kja,

I totally cannot wait for the Chora Church and for that matter, my whole exploration of the Fenner and related neighborhoods. I did not get to that part of Istanbul at all when I was there last Sept. I want to visit St. Stephen's Bulgarian Orthodox church, the Fethiye Mosque, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Chora Church, the Eyup Sultan Mosque/Cemetary and yes, Pierre Loti Cafe. Not to mention have lunch at Asitane in the middle of all that. I have that itinerary budgeted for one full day. I think it might be my most exciting day in Istanbul.

not_enuf_vaca,

Thanks for the info. on the hamam. I'm really on the fence about doing one. I might see if my hotel (Witt Istanbul) strongly recommends any particular place. I will also ask Jennifer. I do like shopping although not a cute little boutique kinda guy. <G>. There are 3 things that I would love to buy in Istanbul. I would love to find a nice spring/fall-weight leather jacket. I plan to check out both Prens Leather just outside the Grand Bazaar (fantastic Trip Advisor review) along with Trust Leather in the Arasta Bazaar. Also, if I could find a 6x9 or 8x10 carpet that moved me and was at a price less than what I could buy one here, I'd love one. I have one last space in my loft that could acommodate a rug that size. Finally on the low end, I want to get a couple of Istanbul 2020 Candidate City t-shirts in the hopes that Istanbul wins the race for the 2020 Olympics.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 10:35 AM
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Ah - got you on the boutiques - sorry about that

Walked by Prens - looked very nice. A guy stopped to talk to us but did not pressure us in the slightest. We have too many leather jackets from Argentina and Italy so we passed.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 11:34 AM
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By the way, I recall that early in your trip planning you were considering going to Rhodes. Did you go there? I'm thinking about doing it as a day trip from Fethiye. I'd have about 5 hours of exploring time, which would probably be enough to see the Old Town and perhaps the Acropolis of Rhodes. If you went, how did you like Rhodes?
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Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 12:05 PM
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No - we ended up doing Crete and Santorini.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2012, 08:51 AM
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Minn

we reached Rhodes by ferry from Marmaris. where I had turned in the car. The walled Old Town, the harbor, the statues placed where the Colossus "might" have been, etc. kept us busily striding about 6 hours...took a late evening flight to Santorini. The Acropolis is in Lindos on the southern coast, and time may be too tight to fit in a bus ride.
stu
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Old Jun 23rd, 2012, 02:37 PM
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Thanks Tower. I believe there is also an Acropolis just outside of the Old Town of Rhodes but I think the one at Lindos is the bigger, more touristic one. If you hadn't needed to get to Rhodes to fly to Santorini, would you have considered the Old Town "worth it" for one of your Turkish Riviera days?
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Old Jun 24th, 2012, 07:32 AM
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yes, there is an Acropolis just outside of the old town except there is not too much to see at that one. We were disappointed. Outside of that acropolis you can hop on the double- decker tourist bus that goes in circular motion, that bus passes a nice long beach in the new town which might come in handy if you fancy a dip.
We were there in mid May, the weather while pleasant was really warm, both days I ended the walk early to go back the hotel for a swim in the swimming pool.
Is Rhodes worth it? Yes indeed, the old town was very interesting and well-preserved. We had 2.5 day in Rhodes and I had originally planned on going to Lindo, we ended up just spending most the time in old town and we also had 2 long dinners in a restaurant in new town near our hotel.
From Rhodes we took the speed boat to Marmaris, then went north to Pamukkale and Izmir and so forth. I really regret not able to see Datca Peninsula which was in the plan and doing the costal drive to Kas. I am kind of flirting with the idea of going back in the winter.
yes, 5 hours can get you a good feel of the old town, make sure you have a good map, it's pretty big and spread out there. Study the map before you go so you don't backtrack. Also don't let the salesmen distract you.
I personnally would not plan so tight and only allow 5 hours for a place like Rhodes, that's just me.
Sorry kja for hijacking your post,
Sorry Turkish forum for talking about Greece.
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Old Jun 26th, 2012, 07:36 AM
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Wow kja, you sure had and exciting trip! And thanks a ton for taking the time to write this detailed TR, am bookmarking it for future reference, we're looking at a trip next May, unfortunately can't do more than 15 days in Turkey though

not_enuf-vaca, did you go to Santorini from Fethiye, if so how?
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Old Jun 26th, 2012, 08:37 AM
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Geetika,

We actually flew from Santorini to Athens (check-in at the Santorini airport was interesting ) and spent 2 days in Athens and then flew to Izmir direct.
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Old Jun 26th, 2012, 05:05 PM
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I did have a wonderful time, geetika, and I'm sure you will, too. In a country like Turkey, I can't imagine that you won't!
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Old Jun 26th, 2012, 07:45 PM
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<i> If you hadn't needed to get to Rhodes to fly to Santorini, would you have considered the Old Town "worth it" for one of your Turkish Riviera days?</i>
Minn:
It was my second trip to Turkey and I didn't feel we gave up anything by going to Rhodes. I got all I planned to out of this visit to Turkey...besides I had an ulterior motive for going to Rhodes. There is a still-active little synagogue in Old Town, and a friend of our's family was deported by the occupying Nazi's during the war. I wanted to visit the building and take a picture of the stone plaque naming each of the deported families, most never to be heard from again. The kind woman custodian in her 80's who hosted us indeed remembered the family. There is a small monument in the square commemorating the 2,000 deported. There is a small Rhodosian Sephardic community in L.A.
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Old Jun 26th, 2012, 08:02 PM
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Tower

I hadn't realized what a rich history the Jews had in Istanbul and was sad I hadn't arranged ahead of time (it takes four days for approval) to do a walking tour of the Synagogues and Jewish quarter there I guess maybe for my next trip. Are you an Angeleno?
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Old Jun 26th, 2012, 08:03 PM
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kja...don't know if i've alerted you..Syd will not be playing in Fredrick...gig was cancelled for some reason. Next year he'll be back.
stu
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Old Jun 26th, 2012, 08:17 PM
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Thanks for letting me know, stu. I hadn't given up on finding a way to get there; I know I would enjoy seeing him/them again. I hope they are all well and that the reason for the cancellation is nothing more than a very temporary inconvenience.

And thanks for sharing your moving memories of the synagogue in Rhodes.
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Old Jun 27th, 2012, 06:01 AM
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kja: strictly a business decision between Cafe Nola and Syd's band. As for the Rhodes synagogue, I have a list of over 100 synagogues I've visited worldwide. If you'd like to see it, please write. [email protected]

not-enuf-vaca: yes, I am a proud Angelino since 1957. Off Beverly Glen and Mulholland 90077..and you?
stu
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