Author: Anne berry-smith
Date of Trip: September 2013
Our 7 week trip to Europe last year actually started out as a trip to Turkey. Strange you might think, but in the planning process we received a wedding invitation to Germany, so that was the first stop, followed by a trip through Eastern Europe, a 10 day road trip through beautiful Croatia and culminating in a wonderful week in Turkey.
A week is not nearly long enough, but gave us an insight into this beautiful country, not unlike Australia, our homeland. The people are wonderful, the countryside diverse. Our whole tour was classed as a private tour, which In my opinion is the best way. This included being picked up by private car at the airport and being driven right around the country.
We started out by having a couple of days in Istanbul, what an interesting city. We had private tours and saw things we wouldn’t have normally seen. The guides were friendly, knowledgeable and love their country with a passion. We walked through the city and were told of the history and it was enlightening.
From Istanbul we flew down south to Izmir where we were picked up for a private tour of the ancient city of Ephesus which was amazing, then down to Kusadasi for the night. We were due to leave quite early that morning to head out to Pamukkale or the Cotton Castles. Whilst having breakfast on the terrace we saw three enormous cruise ships gently glide into the harbor …what an amazing site that was!
Soon on our way, to this phenomenon around 200ks away where spring water bubbles up out of the ground and forms calcified ledges down the side of the mountain. It is also the site of the ancient city of Hieropolis, although not much remains of the city. It was very hot and very crowded as we were in the height of tourist season, but we took time to wander away from the crowds and it was really lovely.
It had been a very busy few days, so the next stop was to be a welcome, relaxing time. From Pamukkale it was meant to be a three hour road trip, which turned into four, to the seaside resort of Ouldinez. The Oyster Residences was one of the loveliest I have stayed in, right on the beach and with its own pool. Here we lazed quite a bit as the days were warm, venturing out either early in the morning or later in the evening. There was a market area right round the corner and an easy walk from one end of the bay to the other. Hang gliders flew right overhead from sun up to sun down as this beautiful bay is surrounded by quite high hills. Here we had just two days before returning to Istanbul for a free couple of days, to do the obligatory shopping for spices, perfumes and other oddities to take back home to the family.
We only saw a snippet of this beautiful country, down the west coast and it has certainly whetted our appetite to return to explore more