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Scenes and Stories around Turkey

This is a collection of some of the articles which appeared on our monthly newsletter . Some of them are sent by subscribers from US and Europe.

If you have any travel stories, comments and/or suggestions please contact us.

Impressions about Turkey - by Lee Miller

I have both lived and traveled in Turkiye now for almost thirty years and I have experienced and witnessed many changes. In all the time spent in Turkiye I had never traveled and explored the Southwestern area. In the early days of course the roads weren't the best so I avoided driving any further South on the Aegean than Bodrum and no further West than Kemer on the South Coast. On a visit in September of 1996 I drove from South from Izmir along the coast all the way to Antalya. It was a relaxed trip of nearly two weeks. I explored every nook and cranny along this beautiful and excitiing stretch of Turkish coast and I must say it was the highlight of all my travels. The tourists were gone and I had almost everything to myself. The small hotels and restaurants were clean, comfortable, and very inexpensive. What made the trip most memorable and fun were my Turkish hosts along the way. Since I had their undevided attention, it seemed that their single goal was to make me feel welcome and comfortable. I got to see some important antiquities, breathtaking geography and I made a lot of good friends in the process. I am looking forward to going back next year at the same time and reversing the trip. Just like Nasreddin Hodja, I will be able to see what I would have seen if I had traveled backward. If the traveler wants to relax, enjoy good food and company in small town and country atmosphere than this is the place to go. Lee Miller


A brunch in the Byzantine Monastery Gumusluk- by Mehmet Kurtkaya

Every Sunday, a brunch is being held in the ancient Byzantine Monastery in Gumusluk. The property is privately owned, and the tenants Mesut and girlfriend Cristel live there and run the place as a small cafe/exhition hall.

The location of the monastery is slightly on the hill about 200 meters (600 feet) from a gravel beach. Gumusluk is famous for fish restaurants and many travelers both Turkish and foreign visit this tiny village at the tip of the Bodrum peninsula for a lunch or even better a dinner at sunset.

I was invited to the brunch by the acclaimed Turkish jazz piano player Ali Perret, and he was to play famous tunes during two hours. The blue of the sky and sea along with jazz tunes were mixing to the delicious salads and pastries Kristel cooked.

I've met some famous Turkish figures such as movie directors, business executives who came to savour this beautiful atmosphere.

Paintings by the famous Turkish painters decorate the inside walls of the monastery. As long as the weather is good the places would be busy, I am told by Mesut. Later on, he added that the place had also hosted a painting workshop and he plans to invite musicians to come and play in this quiet and beautiful place, Iklesia.


Ski Centers in Turkey

Turkey is not a skiing destination, at least for now. But Europeans who love Turkey and skiing, or Turkish citizens living in European countries come over for week long stays.

The most popular destination is Uludag, because it is close to Istanbul and Ankara two biggest cities in Turkey. However, it is overcrowded especially during 2 week long high school break in Turkey which will last until February 7, 1997.

Abant, Bolu is similarly overcrowded. The two that offers less nightlife, more skiing are Erciyas, Kayseri and Palandoken, Erzurum. The latter has now a good hotel, Dedeman which offers comfortable rooms. Both are close to airports located in Kayseri and Erzurum, neighbooring cities.


Assos- sent by Bert Genzink :

Information on some things to do when in Assos, one hour south of Troy (by car)

Walks: Through the many narrow and steep alleys of the village (I haven't seen all of them, I think).

>From the Athena temple on top of the hill through the ruins (antique cemetry, huge city walls, agora, theatre...) down to the harbour or vice versa (besides, our neighbour Hueseyin, a 60 years old 'macho', (I hope it's not too harsh a condemnation, as I, as a man, can't complain - see for yourself!) is the 'bekci'-guardian of the ruins, and he leads tourists around, promised he could do a tour not only for Germans, but also in English - try him out!

Further: Both sides of the river Tuzla (antique Satnioeis) from the old Ottoman bridge to the East and West, up from the river valley through the antique and still used quarries to the Kadirga road.

>From the river valley to the ruins of the deserted village of Mentese: a beautiful and quiet place from where most inhabitants moved to Assos some decades ago, with a breathtaking view over Assos to the island of Lesbos.

>From the harbour along the campsites to Kadirga beach and along the coast to the west.

By car: The road west to Gülpinar (Apollo Smintheion temple), on to Babakale to an old fortress and to the two knife 'factories', as they were called: everything handmade, interesting to watch. I think one of them is Hueseyin, one of the 'bicakci's, working alone and producing 1 knife a day, whereas nearby 3 of them together make 'only' 2 knives a day (as I was told). Buy a knife as a souvenir.

To the north: the market in Ayvacik, Troy, Alexandria Troy, archeaological museum in Canakkale... .

To the west: to Bueyuekhusun, on to Sazli and then through a plane-tree valley through to Ayvacik. Or Kuecuekkuyu on the western coastal road (market) and on to Edremit.

Nice picnic sites near Bayramic and on the way to Edremit, museum 30 kms before Edremit (Etnografia), an old Turkish bath in the mountains north of Kuecuekkuyu (Afrodit).

Try the 'restaurants' and the cafes in the village and also at the harbour. I think the ones in the village are less expensive.

Buy some rugs from Recep or Ibrahim or young Yusuf, or just let them show you there 'depot'.

Change money into Liras in Ayvacik at the jeweller's at the town centre (banks are so slow), but not too much at a time (inflation!). Hotels also accept foreign cash. I hope this information can be of some use to you!


Different flavours of a Blue Cruise -by Mehmet Kurtkaya

A unique cruise and nature experience is the Blue Cruise which takes place in Southwest Turkish coast. Each itinerary is a different blend of nature and history.

The boats are 15-30 meters (45-75 feet) wooden boats with cabins in varying degree of comfort and space. The number of cabins can be anywhere from 2 to 12 depending on the boat and charter type.

Bodrum is where the cruise idea is born. The Gulf of Gokova is the destination for a cruise more on the sea and nature side. Silent bays, pine forests meeting the sea in small coves is what you should expect. Ancient Carian city of Kaunos may also be added to this itinerary if the cruise is done with a private charter.

Marmaris is the center for a cruise for a higher historic content. While nature and silent relaxing coves is still the key, Kaunos, is the major ancient Lycian city on this itinerary. The boat stays overnight in Fethiye harbour and this gives the opportunity to drive to neighboring ancient ruins, such as Tlos, and the canyon of Saklikent, a nice and refreshing place, as well the ancient theatre and the tombs carved in the rocky hills of Fethiye. Those who like nightlife can also enjoy the vibrant towns of Fethiye and Marmaris while the boat is anchored at those towns. There are many bars and discos, some run by foreigners from England, Australia etc. where you can dance to the tune of most recent hits !

Antalya cruises are less nature oriented as the sea does not offer as many coves and lake-like environment. This cruise rather for the history oriented traveler. The cruise is done in open-sea, so there are not as many small coves as there are in the other itineraries.


Outdoors in Turkey

Trekking is probably the most important outdoor travel choice for the traveler to Turkey. Kackar mountains, and Aladaglar are the most important trekking regions. There are rafting opportunities in the Coruh area where world championship was held a few years ago. For the more relaxed rafter, Antalya region, Koprulu Kanyon would be a nice choice. There are also rafting opportunities in the Fethiye region. There are also tours that combine, biking, rafting, and a daily cruise.

Though there are daily trekking tours out of Istanbul, these may not be satisfactory for the international traveler.

Paragliding has became popular especially in the gorgeous Oludeniz region. A new center is open for paragliding about one hour drive from Bodrum.

Cruises are also another choice for the nature and sea loving traveler. Top

Bursa, an old Ottoman Capital city

The city is one the largest cities in Turkey with not much appeal for living there permanently. But for a visitor, it has an Old Ottoman atmosphere to offer, at Yesil and neighborhood, at the quarter where you may see tiny wooden Ottoman style old houses.

Another major attraction in town are the thermal baths. Most of the baths are part of a hotel. The best bath, some dub it as the best Turkish Bath in Turkey, belongs to Kervansaray Termal, a 5 star hotel.

The city is also famous for its Iskender Kebap, a revolving meat around a vertical axis and chestnut sweet.

There is a "teleferik", cable car from the city to Uludag, the mountain with best ski resorts in Turkey. The ride to the hills offers spectacular mountain scenery and a view of the Bursa plain which was once a fertile land for agriculture, now full of manufacturing facilities from different industries.

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