First, I really enjoyed my entire time in Turkey. I found Turkey to be an interesting and fun learning experience offering a wide variety of opportunities. I was surprised at how little I knew about the cultural and religious history of the area. The areas I visited were great for a first timer: Istanbul, Cappadocia and Ephesus. Each is so different from the others which made it a nice combination.
Our travel agent was completely accommodating when putting together my itinerary; we made numerous changes/edits to the itinerary from the first received. Our agent asked what I liked to do and made recommendations accordingly. Once the itinerary was decided I worked with another agent on the financing and tour finalization; she too was very easy to work with.
All three of my guides were very knowledgeable and easy to understand. As soon as they figured out what I liked (or didn't like, as in shopping), they made adjustments to the schedule. I most appreciated our guide, who was with me in Cappadocia. He clearly loves Turkey and wants to share his country with others.
I want to mention that my contact who met me when I arrived in Turkey, went above and beyond when I first arrived in Istanbul. My baggage did not make it on the flight and I asked him to adjust my schedule as I didn't have toiletries or clothing. He made the adjustment without question, but also took the tracking number for my bag, and called the airlines to ensure it was located and delivered.
I want to thank everyone who put time and effort into my trip. It was a quality excursion where I met some great people and a great land. I plan to visit again in the future and will highly recommend your company to anyone thinking about visiting Turkey.
The food selections (specifically lunch) were also quite nice; I most appreciated the Old Greek House in Cappadocia and the restaurant in Ephesus. Both were family style restaurants which offered great authentic foods.
I particularly enjoyed my stay at the Kale Konak Hotel in Cappadocia; the rooms were very nice, the staff friendly and accommodating, and the location phenomenal. When I first arrived, most of the rooms were filled and I ended in a small room on the bottom floor with no view to speak of. As soon as a room opened up, Abdul moved me upstairs into a large open room with a view of the valley (without me asking).
I enjoyed all of the activities selected for me; whirling dervish ceremony, hot air balloon ride, and trekking.
Cappadocia will always remain a favorite place for me; so much to see and do (if you like the outdoors), yet so restful and peaceful. The balloon ride is so worth the early wake-up call.
My only possible suggestion for an improvement would be to use a different hotel in the Ephesus area. Hotel Kalehan is becoming run down, is not very clean, and its location is a bit suspect. The lighting in the room was quite poor and the bathroom was dingy (hair in the sink and shower when I arrived). This was also the only hotel of the three which didn't offer bottled water in the room. And, as I walked to a restaurant in the town's center this was the only time I felt uncomfortable while in Turkey. The men sitting outside the cafes stared at me and I actually crossed the street to get away from them. That said, the hotel staff was friendly, they had a great breakfast, and the proximity to the sights was very nice.
And, on another note, as my primary purpose of the visit was photography, it would have been a good idea to use alternate tour times (early morning and late afternoons) to get the best sun for photos. I got some great shots, but too often I had to work within the limitations provided by the shadows.
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