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Turkey tour March 2014

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Aug 1st, 2013, 07:16 PM
  #1
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Turkey tour March 2014

My husband and I are planning the above with my cousin and her husband. If there is anyone who may have been there around the same time who would care to share their experiences, especially do's and don'ts, we would be very appreciative. This is our first group guided tour, and our first time to this part of the world. Most of our travel abroad has been cruising and individual travel to South America. Many thanks!
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Aug 1st, 2013, 07:59 PM
  #2
 
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Turkey can easily be visited by those with travel experience. The people are generous and open.

Besides following the general rules for being a good guest, follow the rules for visiting a mosque.

Do not make jokes or derisive comments about Ataturk the first President of Turkey.

Never point the sole of shoe at someone.

Our OK sign with or fingers means homosexual.
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Aug 2nd, 2013, 12:47 AM
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<< Our OK sign with or fingers means homosexual. >>

A thumbs up means homosexual?

There are really not many things to know before visiting Turkey in terms of dos and don'ts. Since you're taking a guided tour I would direct particular questions to your tour guide who should give you an overall view of Turkey as well as information on specific sights.

Your pre-trip tour information should give all particulars.

In case you don't read the information given, you should arrive in Turkey with cash to buy a visa at the airport before exiting baggage claim. The amount of the visa depends on your nationality.

I can't think about anything special about going to Turkey in March. I went in May but you really only want to hear from people who went to Turkey in March. I'm not sure why.
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Aug 2nd, 2013, 06:18 AM
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The circular OK sign with the thumb and pointing finger.
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Aug 2nd, 2013, 07:33 AM
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Got it BigA - this must be a cultural thing as I've never used it.

Do try the apple tea - not the tea bag stuff which is common everywhere but the powdered stuff. It's delicious, although probably lots of chemicals.

Eat pancakes made on the streets of Istanbul.

Buy some nice silver jewelry and pashminas.

Eat lots of the delicious yogurt.

Take a boat ride on the Bosporus.
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Aug 2nd, 2013, 07:44 AM
  #6
 
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You do not see much these days but just in case....

Mezzes gives someone an opportunity to try many different dishes without ordering a full entree.

Try the unusual texture (for Americans) of their ice cream
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Aug 2nd, 2013, 09:09 AM
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When your bus stops on the highways at rest areas there are wonderful things to buy in large bins - try the nuts with sesame and honey. Dried fruit is freshly dried and not tough as old shoes so get some of that as well.

Turkish Delight is a don't - it's rubbery and tasteless.

In the rest rooms go beyond the turkish toilets for the western type toilets where there is actually a toilet.

Adrienne who visited Turkey in May
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Aug 2nd, 2013, 09:21 AM
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adrienne -- is the Turkish Delight there different that what we are used to? We'll be there in September and I was so looking forward to pigging out on it and going to a factory to see it made!

eve
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Aug 2nd, 2013, 09:49 AM
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Get Turkish delight at reputable pastry shops or pre-packaged, like :

Haci Bekir (the oldest and most traditional)

Hafiz Mustafa (also old )

Koska (new but excellent quality)

Divan (an excellent name in pastries, restaurants and hotels)


Local Anatolian Turkish delight is not very good. It was always an imperial specialty of Istanbul because of the cost of the ingredients.

There are the larger, softer, less chewy and more flavorful types and the smaller, chewier ones. The smaller ones are better with nuts or mastic. The large ones are good with pistachios, shredded coconut, almonds, rose, mastic and lemon. I would not get other flavors because those are usually made with artificial flavors.

The ice cream Big Al mentions is Maras Dondurmasi which is somewhat chewy and very milky.

Also try "Kaymak" for breakfast (with honey) or on your dessert. It is water buffalo cream and is highly prized.
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Aug 2nd, 2013, 09:56 AM
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Thank you, otherchelebi. I've printed that out. Yum.

Looking forward to trying "Kaymak". Didn't know about that. I had water buffalo yogurt in India, made by our guide's grandmother. Heavenly.
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Aug 2nd, 2013, 10:51 AM
  #11
 
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I guess I had the inferior Turkish Delight because it was totally gross. Big blobby squares with some powdery stuff on top and no flavor. I'd never had it before so I don't know if it's the same in the US.
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Aug 2nd, 2013, 01:16 PM
  #12
 
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We bought Turkish Delight and hlavah for gifts, per OC's suggestion and they were very very good.
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Aug 3rd, 2013, 06:22 PM
  #13
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Wow, thanks everyone for all the responses! And you're right, Adrienne, I didn't want to restrict responses just to folks who had been there in March, although we are trying to get a feel for what the temps & weather may be like at that time. Big Al, many thanks for the warning on hand signals! We will try to sit on our hands. Sounds like we have a lot to look forward to trying as far as food. Big Al, what are mezzes?

Again, many thanks all, for your very helpful tips. Keep 'em coming as other things occur to you!
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Aug 3rd, 2013, 06:34 PM
  #14
 
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Mezzes are small dishes. Somethimes they are free when ordering a meal and other times they are purchased. They vary substantial in what they can.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meze

https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&...64.SEgPp8s-F4Q
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Aug 3rd, 2013, 07:00 PM
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Women should bring a scarf or something to cover their heads for entering mosques (or buy one there.) Everyone takes off their shoes to enter mosques so you may want to be sure you don't have socks with holes!
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Aug 3rd, 2013, 07:05 PM
  #16
 
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Oh, the aggressive sales people (carpet sellers and the like) initially intimidated me but after a while I learned to smile and joke with them and they would smile and joke back.
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Aug 4th, 2013, 04:55 AM
  #17
 
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<< Everyone takes off their shoes to enter mosques so you may want to be sure you don't have socks with holes! >>

In the larger mosques, such as the Blue Mosque, you are given plastic booties that go over your shoes.

Do try to see some of the smaller mosques such as the Yeni and 2 others that are nearby. It's a different feeling without any people around and you can get up close to the beautiful tiles. In these mosques you do leave your shoes at the door.
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Aug 6th, 2013, 01:50 PM
  #18
 
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What Tour company are you booked with?
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Aug 7th, 2013, 01:17 PM
  #19
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robrick - Gate 1

Does anyone know if we will be able to swim in the hot springs at Pamukkale? I've heard conflicting reports about that.

Also, i understand about keeping our shoulders/heads covered (women) in the mosques, and also about the shoes/socks. We are wondering if at the time of year we are going (late March), if long pants, shirts, light jackets, etc., will be OK or too warm, not warm enough, etc? Thanks!

Any other suggestions on food/drink that we should/shouldn't try? I heard we should take our own hairdryer for the hotels? Any other suggestions on things you wished you'd taken or wish you had left at home?

Many thanks!
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Aug 7th, 2013, 05:13 PM
  #20
kja
 
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> Does anyone know if we will be able to swim in the hot springs at Pamukkale? I've heard conflicting reports about that

Perhaps you are confusing the thermal baths (indoors) with the travertine pools (outdoors, not thermal)? I can't say for sure, but I suspect that you would be able to enter the thermal baths, assuming you reach the building during its opening hours. I don't believe swimming is allowed in the travertines and am not even sure that it would be possible as most (if not all) are very shallow. As a rule, you can walk through one line of travertine pools as long as you remove your shoes.

> We are wondering if at the time of year we are going (late March), if long pants, shirts, light jackets, etc., will be OK or too warm, not warm enough, etc?

I'm not sure how to answer that. I wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts year round, but then I'm very sensitive to sun and so have clothing that blocks UV rays. In general, I think that layering is always best. You might look up weather info for Denizli, which I think is the nearest city.
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