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Turtle, Ecuador

Reviews

Your Words – We tell it like it is! Holiday Reviews by previous Exodus travellers  

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Reviews

Cradle of civilisation

An extensive tour, taking in the most historic ancient and modern cities in Turkey. Countless UNESCO world heritage sites, wonderful cuisine, friendly people, fabulous weather, and every day was a school day. Educational and entertaining, I’d recommend this tour to any traveler.

Most Inspirational Moment

There were so many, Ephesus and the library of Celcus, Gallipoli, Aspendos, ballooning over Cappadocia and the magnificence of the Hagia Sofia.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Tolga was a great leader and tour guide. His knowledge and passion for Turkey was infectious, we wanted to know more. Every days drive would begin with our Turkish words of the day. Every site was spoken about with confidence and even on down time, he’d recommend things to do or places to dine. He felt like one of the group, rather than the person in charge. A gentleman.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Go with no preconceived notions, and be surprised and educated every day.

Suggestions

Add on 3 days at the end to explore Istanbul as I did. The organised tour takes in some sites but there’s so much more. Be aware that some sites do not allow photography or videotaping, but you’re not told that until after you’ve paid your admission fee.

An Excellent Introduction to Turkey

Turkey is a beautiful country with so many different regions all with their own unique culture and landscapes. This trip is an excellent way to get a taste of each region while visiting all of the highlights you picture when you think of Turkey (and some you’ve probably never heard of!). We absolutely loved every minute and learned so much more than we ever have on any other trip.

Most Inspirational Moment

The hot air balloon flight over Cappadocia - it was a very early morning for us, but it was so worth the wake-up call. The number of balloons up in the air at the same time all floating silently through the sunrise was incredible. I'm a bit afraid of heights but still opted to do the excursion and I'm so glad I did!

Thoughts on Group Leader

Alp is a walking encyclopedia when it comes to Turkey's history. The amount of knowledge he has on every site we visited was truly impressive and he is clearly very passionate about his country. He also cares deeply about the people on his tours and anytime someone expressed a particular interest in a destination, he made sure they had as much time as possible to explore and enjoy.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Each region we visited has its own local delicacies that you can't find everywhere - ask around and be sure to try as many as you can. Also, be sure to pack comfortable shoes for walking. Although there aren't massive amounts of walks, some of the sites have lots of stairs and uneven ground you definitely want to be prepared for.

An excellent holiday and guide

An excellent holiday exploring a country with a great depth of historical and cultural sites. The day visiting the 1915 Gallipoli battlefields was fascinating and our day there was the only one where we did not visit an UNESCO World Heritage site.

Most Inspirational Moment

Ephesus and the library of Celsus (third biggest after Alexandria {Egypt} and Pergamum) and its massive theatre, familiar to Saint Paul, who lived in Ephesus for a time. It was the largest theatre in the ancient world. After seeing the old harbour (now four miles from the sea; the silting up process explaining why Ephesus was abandoned in the sixth century), we had lunch of pancakes made fresh in a wood burning oven. Watching the three ladies making them was also fascinating.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Our guide Tolga was great, knowledgeable and amusing, a strong character and one with the confidence to read poetry that has moved him, written by the Sufi mystic, Mevlana, by his mausoleum and home of his Dervishes. We could not have been in better hands.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Because of the distances travelled in a very large country, take two novels too read in transit.

Suggestions

Four improvements: - 1. As usual, the arrangements for meeting the Exodus Representative in the “Meeting Lounge” went awry, as it was not manned. 2. It would be a good idea to give each traveller a small pin to wear, so we can recognise each other at the airport! 3. Istanbul Hotel - rather ludicrously I was woken at 0100 to be handed a sheet of paper about an orientation meeting at 0900. She first tried to open my room door, which I had secured, then knocked. Extraordinary! I thought it was something from the police but it was merely a note that should have been handed to us at check in. 4. During the welcome to the tour meeting, I was given a list for our party and asked to fill out my passport number- I was the only one with my details missing! However, I noticed my date of birth and passport number had been included but against someone else’s name. So, I drew an arrow and pointed out the discrepancy which meant that at least two errors (20%) had occurred and the whole document needed checking. My offer to do it was rejected because I would discover people’s ages. This recurring error caused problems at other hotels we visited and the juxtaposed passport numbers made Wi-Fi login impossible.

Two weeks in Turkey

The trip is varied with historical sites, geological wonders, cultural sites and scenic beauty. I particularly liked Pammukale, Cappadoccia, and the ancient cities.

Most Inspirational Moment

Walking through the scenery of Pammukale under a full moon.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Alp was very informative concerning the history and culture of the region. He was also patient and available to help us.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Prepare for hot weather and a substantial amount of walking.

Suggestions

I would recommend this trip to lovers of history. I would also recommend, doing as I did, arriving before the trip and staying after in order to spend time in Istanbul.

A varied tour...history,culture,swimming,great food...what more could you want!

This was our ninth Exodus tour and it didn’t disappoint. We saw so much in 2weeks..Gallipoli,Cannukale, Pammukale,Ephesus,Troy,Antalya and Kas, Capadoccia……..the list goes on….. so much interesting history ,architecture, beaches etc etc. There is a lot of travel so you need to expect that…..most was broken up with interesting visits. Our guide was so knowledgeable and we felt we really got the most out of our visits to the various sites. The driver was a lovely man… very safe. The hotels were on the whole good…some very nice eg Safronbolu ,Kas and Antalya. The food was excellent and varied…our guide took us each evening to great local restaurants and helped us choose local dishes. The final two days were full on travel so that was hard. A delay caused by an accident on the motorway meant we hit Istanbul rush hour traffic. We went two days early……worth it to see Istanbul but you need even more time! It is a fantastic city…very walkable although the Bosporus cruise is worth doing.

Most Inspirational Moment

Lots..... The boat trip at Kas to the sunken city .Enough members of our group went so we got a private boat. Ephesus Capadoccia...scenery and underground city Gallipoli Antalya...lovely town Sunsets Whirling dervish ceremony and the Rumi mausoleum in Konya The theatre at Aspendos Others in the group would say the hot air balloon ride.....it is very expensive...195 euros.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Emir was a five star leader.Our group was very varied with some young people as well as a variety of older people with varying levels of energy but Emir tried always to keep everyone happy. He was always patient and was great fun. His English was excellent and his knowledge and love of his country while remaining objective was amazing. He was very stimulating to be with. If he didn’t know the answer to a specific question he researched it.....he was keen to know everything. I have come home determined to read up about Greek gods etc. A real people person.....he seemed to know lots of people on every stop and they all loved to talk to him. He took us every evening for a group meal and that helped us enjoy the Turkish food and order confidently. The driver was such a nice man but not much English.....frustrating not to be able to chat to him. We did learn a bit of Turkish in the end!

Advice for Potential Travellers

Don’t bother to take walking boots...strong trainers are enough. None of us did the Lycian walk although we intended to do it. It was too hot and only a two hour walk so not really worth it. The boat trip was a better option. It is hot in August....take light clothes. There were opportunities to wash clothes. Go early or stay to see Istanbul. Take a head scarf...long shorts were fine. They give you a skirt if it is necessary. Loads of ATMs and change places. All hotels had hairdryers. Take swimming stuff...lots of chances to swim in pools and beaches.

Suggestions

You do need to be able to manage your own luggage at times....not all hotels have lifts so best to travel fairly light. Sometimes the bus can’t drive up to the hotel in the old parts of town. Several restaurants don’t serve alcohol if they are near a mosque....but they have good soft drinks and of course,tea!

A Comprehensive Tour

This is a very interesting and comprehensive tour of all the major sites in Turkey though with 11 different hotels in 14 days it’s not particularly “leisurely” and some hotels I would describe as “basic” rather than “comfortable”. Apart from the obvious (Ephesus, Cappodocia, Whirling Dervishes etc) my highlights were the lovely seaside resort of Kas where I had a free day to explore, the clean and bright Islamic town of Konya and the beautiful World Heritage town of Safranbolu where our hotel was a former Ottoman house. Many towns are cobbled, particularly in Safranbolu, where this could be a problem for anyone with less than perfect mobility. Be prepared for very hot temperatures in August and appropriate clothes for visits to the mosques which should not be missed. On this trip there is no time for sightseeing in Istanbul and despite arriving a day early 24 hours wasn’t enough. As the oldest in my group at 69 I thoroughly enjoyed this trip and am already planning to re-visit Istanbul. Highly recommended if you want to learn about Turkey’s amazing history.

Most Inspirational Moment

There were lots of highlights but the less obvious was the beautiful seaside resort of Kas where I had a day to relax and explore on my own and the lovely Islamic town of Konya. The floodlit mosque was stunning as was watching the sunset at Pamukkale with wine provided by our tour leader!

Thoughts on Group Leader

Emir was a lovely man and very knowledgable about all the gods and extensive history of Turkey as well as being fun.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Be prepared for 38C+ heat in August, take appropriate clothing for mosque visits, including headscarves for ladies, long trousers for men. Last 2 road journeys are long - ours were 9 hours plus including toilet and lunch stops. Driver is obliged to take at least a 45 minute break for Tachograph reasons so take plenty of music or reading material.

Great mix!

This trip is a great mix of man-made and nature-made. If you like ruins and nature it’s an amazing trip! The scenery was great, you can’t get bored and the ruins in Troy don’t look like the ones in Ephesus which don’t look like the ones in Bergama, which don’t look like the ones in Aspendos and so on…they are different and each one is unique and fabulous. It’s really hard to compare Cappadocia to anything else and the balloon ride over those interesting rock formations was absolutely wonderful!
I loved every moment of this trip!

Most Inspirational Moment

The underground city of Derinkuyu and Cappadocia.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Atahan did his best. His knowledge about Turkey was impressive and his organizational skills really good.

Turkey review

We visited all the places that we booked the trip to see and our excellent guide Ali also took us to a number of smaller less well known places. Although some of the coach journeys were long, they were split up as best as possible. A few times lunch and dinner were much later than expected.

Most Inspirational Moment

Seeing the candy mountains at Pamekalle and paddling in the warm spring water.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Ali was very informative amd knowledgeable about the history of all the places we visited. He was always considerate towards all the members of the group and treated us all equally.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Wear long sleeves and long trousers for the Lycian way walk in Kas and be prepared for a spot of mountain climbing!

Amazing country

Very good value for money, some amazing sights and scenery, hotels quite basic with the exception of one or two. Be prepared to lug cases around now and then. Hours of travel but the scenery helped the time go by and lots of stops included.

Most Inspirational Moment

Too many to mention.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Excellent knowledge and very good English, very professional.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Don’t expect great hotels and be prepared to carry/drag cases around now and then.

Suggestions

I would have been prepared to pay a little more for better hotels.

Hightlights of Turkey

A very comprehensive tour of this country travelling over 3000 km. Our guide was excellent, one of the best I have had. He was knowledgable and not only gave us the history of each place we visited, but also knew some fabulous restaurants where we could sample Turkish food and wine, not to mention some of the more unusual local drinks. I don’t think there was any meal that I didn’t enjoy (and the wine wasn’t bad either). Of course your fellow travellers can make or break a holiday. I was lucky that I was with a super group, all very considerate of each other. No one was late at meeting points and everyone was very friendly so thanks to them too.

I can thoroughly recommend this trip to anyone who would like to experience the true Turkey, visiting ancient sights, staying in old and new cities and towns and experimenting with different foods and drinks. I would have liked more time in Instanbul but perhaps I will save that for another visit. Something I would realy like to do.

Most Inspirational Moment

I think the best was when some of us visited a local hamman. It was very old but very beautiful inside the building. After being steamed, scrubbed and pummelled I realised that this is what people had been having for centuries, and now I myself had been able to participate in the experiance. being a bit of a history buff I loved the fact that I had been able to continure with a practice so old.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Excellent. I have travelled the world and before only 2 group leaders had made anygood impression, one in the Dolomites and one in Uzbekistan. Our tour leader was Ali Kartal and he has now joined as one of the best.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Be aware that you do spend a lot of time in a coach. However, your compensation is that you see a lot of the countryside and visit some wonderful sites.