Hotels in Turkey
We stayed in the following - all are recommended. Some are pensions, some are hotels, all had private bathrooms, some had cable TV. All had a/c.
Istanbul: the Sultan's Inn, on the edge of Sultanahmet. Smallish room but great roof garden and reasonable.
Goreme: the Kelebek Hotel
Egidir: the Lale pension
Kas: the Hilal pension
Fethiye: the Villa Daffodil, great value and Almila Cruises (www.beforelunch.com)
Selcuk: the Bella
Cannakale: the Maydos
Heathrow had been closed on the Tuesday but was fine on Thursday - we had expected security queues but there weren't any. Arrived in Istanbul late in the evening, very modern airport and were whisked off to our hotel, Sultan’s Inn, on the edge of Sultanahmet, but only a few minutes walk from the Blue Mosque. Roof gardens are very popular here and from the hotel one we could see the Marmara Sea and the Blue Mosque. Of course we were awoken by the mosques at 4.30am each day.
The drought busting conditions followed us as Friday was wet and quite cool but Saturday returned to hot and sunny! We spent two days seeing the sights which include the Blue Mosque, Aya Sophia, the Hippodrome, the viaduct, the ancient city walls, the Topkapi Palace, the Grand Bazaar (beats Bangkok for shopping but I am waiting to do that on our return through this city) and the Spice Market. The haggling and hassling is nowhere near as bad as India and you certainly feel safe.
First major drama caused by tour leader - as we got on the city sightseeing trip, I couldn't find the ticket. Which wasn't a problem as they had our name on the list but it was with the rail tickets for the sleeper to Ankara that night. As I couldn't be sure I'd hidden it in the suitcase, OR WORSE, thrown it out in the rubbish bin, the agency kindly shuttled us back to our hotel (where I frightened the maid by rifling through the rubbish in our room), ticket was in suitcase, we were shuttled back to rejoin tour! Tour group (John) very calm. Just another senior's moment.....
Saturday afternoon we just happened to sit down in a bar for some liquid refreshment to escape the heat. The waiter, Genghis, had the best Aussie accent, then we met a young Aussie called "Dingo" Dan and Bill, 61 from Denver, who'd both just come in on an overland trip from Egypt. Had a very pleasant afternoon and finally wandered off to get food about 6pm!
We then collected luggage in order to go to station for sleeper train to Ankara. John hailed a cab from our hotel, have to say he found the crankiest cabbie around. I thought I knew where the ferry went from and was determined that the cabbie not take us over the Galata Bridge into the newer city and then over the Bosphorous Bridge to the station, a much more expensive trip. But he went past the ferry station towards the Galata Bridge. We shouted stop and he swore and carried on and eventually dropped us off. I was convinced he was going for the long trip! However there were a few red faces when we were told at the ferry stop that our ferry did indeed leave from the other side of Galata and we had to get a second taxi to get there. Resolved to be more trusting.....
The sleeper trip went without incident and was an enjoyable experience. Arrived on time at Ankara at 8am. Decided to take the underground (quite a walk it turned out) to the bus station. There was no one else around early on a Sun morning so the Metro ticket man asked where we were from, welcomed us (in French) gave explicit instructions on which stairway and stop to take. Then the man on the ticket machine did the same in English and shook hands with us! Felt like visiting dignitaries.
The bus station at Ankara is more like an airport - upstairs to departures, huge electronic sign with a list of what bus goes where, 70 check in desks and a line of buses outside. Caught the 9am to Neveshir, the gate way to Cappadocia, renowned for its geological formation by volcano lava. On board they serve water, tea and coffee. At 1.30pm (with a half hour stop so the bus driver could have 10 cigarettes as they smoke like chimneys here) we arrive at Neveshir to change buses for the last 12 kms to Goreme, one of the main tourist centres. Two English speaking men helped us with our baggage, showed us into office and gave us the hard sell on tours!! KIDNAPPED! Once the free tea came out, I knew we'd been had. We said we had already booked with the hotel and he said he wanted to see the vouchers! At that point we got up and said we wanted to go to Goreme NOW! So they gave in, put us in a car and dropped us at our hotel. Resolved to be less trusting......
Goreme is very photogenic, reminds me of the Flintstones, with houses built into rock. And the hotel is lovely – the Kelebek. We have a room cut into the rock. Next morning we got up at 4.30am NOT to go to the mosque but to go ballooning. Had the best experience with Goreme Balloons, there were 14 balloons in the sky and this was followed by a glass of local champagne at 6.45am.........We had the chief pilot, Suat, who spoke great English and was fantastic company. In fact he personally dropped us back at the hotel. Those of you who have been on my email list on previous trips will appreciate that he received the Order of the Koala – small koalas awarded to people who help make our trip. The landing was hardly a bump and there is certainly a lot of skill involved. He then floated the balloon a few feet in order to park the basket on the back of a trailer.
After the balloon adventure we had a quiet day. Lazed around at the hotel and enjoyed the roof garden. Found a good restaurant for dinner and went back again the next night. Koala award issued. Next day took a day trip to the Ilhara Valley with a delightful guide, Dreya, more like a small canyon, and walked beside the river for an hour and a half, whilst exploring churches cut into the rock. Also went to a huge monastery cut into the rock and an underground city (where the Christians hid to avoid persecution).
Departing from Goreme, whilst waiting for our bus, I complained to the bus co about the "kidnappers"! They are aware of them but as the kidnappers don’t "beat us, leave us stranded or prevent us from leaving", the police can’t do anything!
We had a 3.5 hr bus trip across plains to the huge city of Konya, the mosques were every 100m. We changed buses and had another 3.5 trip to Lake Egidir. Stayed 3 nights in the Lale pension where you are treated like one of the family. The owner Ibrahim is a delightful, informative host who speaks excellent English. His wife does the cooking – excellent food - featuring fresh fish from the lake. John informed Ibrahim of his own fishing skills - with usual embelishments! Ibrahim wanted to take him fishing but alas we didn’t have time. His off-siders, Moslem and Ibrahim no 2, were great too.
The first day we walked round the place (huge market on) and JA swam in the lake. Gave a demo as according to him no one else there knew how to swim! Next day we did a 7km walk up a mountain, and back, along St Paul’s way up to a village overlooking the lake - St Paul is reputed to have walked these hills. More swimming by JA and soaking of feet by SA - the beaches are pebbly and you have to wear sandals! Had a picnic lunch by lake - local bread and fruit.
In arvo JA bought a leather waıstcoat - ordered yesterday and made especially. The vendor tried to sell him another, JA said he has one made of pig skin at home. Uh UH - mistake - apparently Moslems believe pig skin is unlucky! ...…so, does anyone want a pig skin jacket?!
"Kas to Fethiye"
From Antalya we take a smaller bus along the coast to the village of Kas where we send a relaxing couple of nights in another family run pension, the Hilal, where they really do welcome you like family. Suleyman hears on the grapevine that we have arrived at the otogar and comes to pick us up. We befriend a young family from Aspen (next holiday?!), Matt and Cathy. First swim in the Med. Much warmer than home! Also bumped into Dingo Dan who is doing his training run with a tour company called Fez Travel.
The next bus trip was only a couple of hours along the coast to Fethiye, a big town but with a very pleasant centre and marina. Our lovely hotel, Villa Daffodil, is 1km out of town but well served by a local minibus service. Great hotel with a pool, BBC World and Ottoman furnishings. We do a hike through the bush to the deserted village of Kaya Koy, the inspiration for Birds without Wings. (Of course, we’ve all heard about stupid tourists who head into the bush without enough water……get half way there and hit the main road, had to head back into Fethiye as we have run out and it is 35 degrees. Collapse into cafe/pension with stunning views of the bay and consume orange juice and water.
Next day we join our Turkish sailing boat (Before Lunch) for a 3 day cruise. There is a family of 6 Americans, 3 South African guys in their late 20s, a couple of Aussie girls, and three Frenchmen nicknamed the 3 Musketeers! Quite the UN. There is a variety of double and triple cabins, ours has an en suite. We spend three days going from swimming place to swimming place with a couple of sorties on to land for walks. We help ourselves to drinks from the fridge, swim, snorkel, read, doze and wait for the next meal!! We sleep on the mattresses on deck under the stars as the cabins are hot. All in all, heaven.
We docked on Saturday and headed back to the same hotel for a night – this worked well as we left most of our luggage there in storage whilst on the cruise. Had time to complete our trip to Kaya Koy – this time by minibus. Safer. Huge deserted village as the Turks sent all the Greek Christians back to Greece in 1924. They swapped with Turkish Moslems who lived in Greece but there were less of them, hence empty village.
Last night we met an Aussie lady who is married to a Turk, they have a bar in Fethiye. John was wearing his Fingal Beach Surf shirt from home and she came over and said she was from the country but spent all her Christmas holidays at Nelson Bay as a child! Her grandmother is at Shoal Bay nursing home (close to us). Coincidence...................
This morning, Sunday, we left and took a 6 hour bus trip north west to Selcuk. The Hotel Bella provided a great welcome and organised for us to go to Epheseus next day with 8 Kiwis who had gone to Pamukkale for the day. We are right opposite the St John Basilica which we visited in the arvo. There was a stork’s nest which the stork flew into at sunset. Dinner and drinks on the roof garden.
We spent Monday at Epheseus with a guide and 8 Kiwis, all working in England, who were staying in our hotel. Now known as K8. It was about 45 degrees but the ruins were great.
Tuesday we travelled in a minibus with K8, who we have now adopted, via Pergamum to Cannakale which is the place you stay to visit Gallipoli. I had just said how well all the arrangements have gone, and didn't expect any issues as this leg was to be with a tour group called Hassle Free! Wrong! Unfortunately K8 had not booked to do the Pergamum part of the trip, and we had which caused drama but ended well. Yesterday we all went to Troy in the morning (better than expected because we had an excellent guide) followed by all afternoon at Gallipoli. Lest we forget, what a bloody waste of so many lives. Suppose the Turks won because the Allies retreated but no one won. And guess what, we bumped into Dingo Dan on his first tour!
Then we drove 5 hours, arriving back in Istanbul at midnight. Next day we went to the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Bazaar and just enjoyed being somewhere we knew. Had fish sandwiches at Eminonu. In the evening we met up with the 'kids' K8 at their hotel and went for dinner at the Hamdi opposite the Galata Bridge. Took the tram.
On our last day we took the tram down to the Galata Bridge and walked over and up the Galata Tower which gives great views of the surroundings including Sultanahmet. Had a doner kebab up near Aya Sofya and departed for the airport about 2.30pm. The taxi driver drove like the wind and it only took 20 minutes. Paid him with a mix of our last Turkish lira and Euros.
Menemen (Turkish Breakfast) at Ekioglu's Place
One of the larger tomb entrances
Dalyan and rock tombs
A cluster of Lycian tombs
Guest House Needed in Fethiye
we are heading to Fethiye on 29-31 August.
We would like to stay in a guest house which you think, warm, friendly and inexpensive.
Its location also can be nearby.Being inside Fethiye is not must.
Re: Guest House Needed in Fethiye
you can try ideal pension, close to Fethyie town, friendly people as well. you can get them at www.idealpension.net.
Re: Guest House Needed in Fethiye
Or try the Hotel Villa Daffodil which is on the outskirts of Fethiye, in Karagozler, and has rooms overlooking the bay.
Re: Guest House Needed in Fethiye
If you could extend your budget Oyster Residences is a perfect place to stay. http://www.oysterresidences.com/ It is located in Oludeniz right in front of the sea. Great ambiance, good service...and worth the money.