We got back home a little after midnight Sunday morning, so I just wanted to shoot you a quick email to let you know how everything went.
To sum it all up, the trip was awesome. Everyone was waiting for us at the airports, and the transfers to and from the hotels were perfect. The guide in Cappadocia was great as was the hotel. The hot air balloon ride was amazing and we were so happy it was able to be moved back a day since we didnt get to Kale Konak until very late.
There was a little confusion at Enterprise with the GPS while renting the car in Izmir, but everything worked out. Our agent called us right before we got to the hotel is Kusadasi to let us know they were having electrical issues and moving the guests to different hotels. The replacement hotel was awesome, right on the sea with a balcony and a great view. The guide that took us to Ephesus was great as well, and despite the heat we had a great day of tours.
Driving to Aphrodisias and Pamukkale was easy enough and both sites were beautiful. Except for the hornets in Aphrodisias. Yes, big hornets. While walking through the main gate, not the entrance gate but one of the first ruins you get to (I forget the exact name) both my girlfriend and I were stung on the ankles by huge hornets. We got away from them and were able to finish touring despite the pain, but we saw hornets in other areas of the site. I'm not sure if you have heard of this before, but it may be worth mentioning to other people to watch out for. Pamukkale was beautiful and we made it to the airport in Denizli with plenty of time to spare.
Istanbul was crazy. Just so many people, it got overwhelming at times. The driver had some trouble finding the apartment after picking us up from the airport, but we eventually made it. The guide in Istanbul was......interesting. He was nice enough, but it felt like we wasted a ton of time on the first day of touring. We didn't get to the first site until a little after noon that Wednesday, and spent most of the morning walking around neighborhoods and stopping for tea or coffee. It wasn't bad, but at one point my girlfriend asked if we were actually going to see something that day. He also didn't think it was a good use of time to go eat lunch at Ciya. I dont know enough to say whether he was right or wrong, but considering how much time it felt was wasted just walking around, it probably would not have hurt. Anyway, he was a nice guide (eccentric but nice), but I wanted to give you an honest evaluation of everything.
Cappadocia was probably our favorite stop with Ephesus a close second.
I would book the Istanbul hotel through Zicasso rather than booking on my own through Airbnb. The apartment we stayed at was fine and in a good location, but the price of the hotel was not that much more than the apartment and we would have enjoyed the benefit of hotel reception, someone to ask questions about directions, etc.
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