Carol Billings, Turkey

A Turquoise Coast Odyssey

Turkey is a fascinating and safe destination that should be on everyones must-see list. We especially enjoyed the stay in the village. (I still cannot believe that I had a marvelous time in a place where twelve people shared one bathroom.) The hike to the grotto and the grotto itself were glorious. We particularly enjoyed hiking around Goreme in Cappadocia and the spectacular formations and caves with remnants of frescoes. All the hikes were grand adventures both physically and aesthetically.

To say we liked the food is an understatement. We enjoyed the Turkish cuisine, especially breakfast at the hotels and our village homestay, our farewell dinner, our picnic lunches, all the meals aboard the gulet. We also loved every minute on board the gulet, swimming in the Mediterranean, sleeping on deck, mooring in a quiet and secluded Simena and near Gemilar Island. The extra trip to Xanthus and Tlos was spectacular as we arrived very early in the morning in time for sunrise over the ruins.

It takes a separate paragraph to describe how highly we all thought of Alper Ertuby, who was our guide. It is great to find someone who is so gracious, enthusiastic, knowledgeable and thoughtful. Alper anticipates the needs of the people in his group and to cater to these needs and wishes without being unctuous. He taught us a great deal about Turkish history as well as current politics. All of his descriptions and background information were presented as though he were telling it all for the first time, fresh and new, not some kind of rote spiel. He was consistently in search of new and better information about the places we visited, answered all of our (sometimes stupid) questions. He also has a delightful sense of humor and open friendliness which made all of us on the tour feel as though we had been together forever.