Overseas Adventure Travel’s Turkey’s Magical Hideaways Tour
September 17, 2021 through October 4, 2021

 

Due to the length of the review, it is in four parts to help with the download time. The links to the other pages are at the top and bottom of each page.


Page 1:  Istanbul
Page 2: Cappadocia
Page 3: Antalya
Page 4:  Turkish Gulet Cruise
Page 5: Kusadasi

 

Day 15 - Overland to Kusadasi

Last night we stayed in a cove close to where we would disembark in the town of Fetitya. The boat ride took less than 30 minutes to get to this pretty coastline city. There were so many boats there. Our van was waiting for us on the dock.

   

We disembarked after saying our goodbyes.  We were then very happy to say hello to our driver Ali whom we hadn’t seen for four days. 

After about four hours, we got close to our destination for the next two nights, Kusadasi, around lunchtime. Rather than eating there Ahmet took us to a popular Turkish tourist destination, Sirince. It looked like a very cute town. 

   

   

We went to one of Ahmet’s favorite restaurants. I now understand why. I enjoyed watching the women making their pita bread.

The view was gorgeous from our outdoor table. We could also see a view of the homes on the hill, but it was obstructed by a tree, so no photo.

   

   

When they brought our appetizers, it was really apparent why Ahmet brought us there. In addition to the bread and olives, there was a delicious seaweed dish, pumpkin flowers stuffed with rice, goat cheese stuffed peppers and stuffed grape leaves, an eggplant dish and salad. We didn’t need a main course after that. But we got one. I had a meatball dish. Dessert was Turkish baklava, which isn’t as sweet as Greek and some very sweet honeydew and watermelon.

   

Two cute cats were anxiously waiting for me to drop some food or give them something. There are lots of freeloading cats around when eating outside in Turkey.

When we walked into the restaurant someone was squeezing pomegranates for juice, so on the way out they squeezed me a water bottle full to take with me. It couldn’t be fresher squeezed than that.

I was ready for a nap after that meal; but I needed to check out the town a little bit first. The narrow cobblestone streets were lined with cute shops and restaurants.

   

   

The one photo I wanted to get was of the houses on the hill. Ahmet told us that the homes we saw in the ghost town of Kayakoy the previous day would have looked like these if they hadn’t been abandoned. Quite a difference. 

After about a half hour drive, we finally got to our hotel, the La Vista Boutique Hotel.  It was a very nice place with only 39 rooms.  It sure looked like it had more. 

   

The view from the outdoor grounds was really nice with the small peninsula in front of the hotel.

It looked even better the next morning with sun shining on it.


 Both the inside and outside dining/bar areas were well done.

 

   

But the star of the show was the gorgeous infinity pool.

The room was just outstanding.  Large and well appointed, with plenty of storage.  Perhaps it seemed even better after being in the small boat cabin.

   

   

The bathroom was also a pleasure with a very large shower.  It was a shame we were only going to be there for 2 nights

After dropping off my luggage I took a walk to the port. Close to the hotel I could look down to Kusadasi Castle on Pigeon Island.  Ahmet said that the exterior was the main thing to see, and it wasn’t worth spending time inside of it.

   

I walked around the port area for a while.  Without needing to shop for anything, there really wasn’t much else to do, so I returned to the hotel.  I was able to get a nice sunset pic from my balcony before heading down to dinner.

   

The next day would be a busy one, starting off with a PCR test for my flight home on Monday.

 

Day 16 - Kusadasi

Right after breakfast, we had a PCR test. We couldn’t believe the EMT’s came to our hotel to administer it. The test was the painless one, thank goodness.  The results were back right after dinner. It only cost $35 per person for the house call. A great deal!

This was the last day of touring and we did a bunch. I’m sure some folks are tired of seeing photos of ancient ruins; but they are amazing in Turkey. We spent the day around Ephesus, a place with so much history and 2nd to 4th century AD historic structures.  The first thing we saw when we entered the grounds was the Odeon Concert Hall in the distance. 

The first major venue we went to was a small theater.  It was used for musicians and political meetings.

   

There had been a lot of changes to Ephesus since my first visit 14 years earlier.  Some paths were restricted to protect the sites.  Viewing platforms had been constructed to allow great views of the area, which I really appreciated.  It allowed for shots covering large areas of the grounds.  The main road, Curetes Street, leads to the most photographed building, the Library of Celsus.

I was also able to get a nice photo from the platform of the enclosure protecting the terrace houses we would visit later.
There are so many interesting and beautiful things to focus on that it can be overwhelming at times.  We could only spen
d so much time in each area, but Ahmet did a great job of showing us the major items and telling us about them.

One of the most known is the stone carving of the goddess Nike.

There are many other beautiful things close to her that I have no names for.

   

We continued down the original roads of the town.  It is a shame that they can’t be protected from the millions of visitors that come to this place and walk all over them.

   

The Temple of Hadrian is probably the second most beautiful structure in Ephesus.  The reliefs and friezes arch are amazing.

   

   

   

One of the more popular photo opps is the large water closet area.

Ahmet took us to an area in one of the structures where we were able to take great photo of the Library of Celsus at a higher angle.  Loved it!

   

We then turned entered the Terrace Houses before continuing down the street.  These houses were owned by the richest Ephesians.  They were luxurious and commanded a great view of the city and harbor area before it was filled with silt.  A protective structure was erected through international contributions for the project.  They didn’t want these precious houses to be destroyed like the ones next to them that didn’t make it.  I took a photo of a picture in the building showing them.

The full tour is done on elevated stainless-steel platforms with glass floors.  It allows you to see around and under your feet as you pass through these lovely homes.  I can’t remember what everything is in the building, and it really doesn’t matter, so I will put in my favorite photos of the Terrace Houses without explanation.  They do speak for themselves.

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

I was particularly fond of the well preserved floor art.  It is hard to believe that it is almost 2,000 years old and still looks this good

   

   

The exit from the Terrace Houses is at the top high up on the hill, so there are great views of the city from there.

   

We then walked right in front of one of the most famous buildings in the world, the Library of Celsus. 

   

   

It is unfortunate that all that is left of the building is the entrance.  There really isn’t anything to see when you walk through the doors.

   

I was looking forward to some close ups of this magnificent structure.  The detail displays such incredible workmanship and is so beautiful.  My neck was hurting from looking up so much.

   

   

We walked down Marble Street seeing all the columns lining it.

   

I looked back to see a different view of the Terraces Houses. 

Soon we were entering the Grand Theater.  This theater was designed for many different events.  The best front row seats were much higher up than we had previously seen, since it was also used for gladiator and animal fights.  One wouldn’t want a Royal getting mistaken for a lion’s dinner.

   

The theater is obviously very large, holding 25,000 people.  But it is also steep and high.  Not the most pleasant theater to walk up to the nose blead section.

The tunnels would be used for the gladiators or lions’ victims to enter the stage.  Not a passageway I would want to experience back in the day.

As we headed for the exit, we were able to look back and get a wider view of the massive theater.

After lunch we visited the Ephesus Museum. It is a small one that contains treasures found in the Ephesus area. Even though small, the museum has some wonderful pieces.  I will include photos of some of them below

   

   

   

The most famous pieces are the two statues of Artemis that were originally in one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Temple of Artemis. Only one column remains from that structure that was 2.5 times larger than Greece’s Parthenon. A model of the temple is in the museum.  In the middle of it is a statue of Artemis.  Both statues in the museum would have been in that location at different times.

   

This one is from the 1st century AD.  It has two lions at her feet to protect her.

        

This one was from the 2nd century AD.  Both statues are just magnificent pieces.

     

We then drove to the House of the Virgin Mary. It is purported to be on the foundation where Mary lived out her final years. It is a small home and photos aren’t permitted inside. Visiting there is a very moving experience for many people.

   

We left to return to our hotel to have a little free time before our farewell dinner.  I spent some of the time backing up my many photos and beginning to pack for the flight home.  I was ready to get back to a normal life with my girlfriend, at least for a little while before next month’s European cruise.

The dinner was at a lovely restaurant with a great ocean view and delicious food.

Our last touring day of the trip had been a great one.  Actually, all of them were.

 

Day 17 - Return to the U.S.
We woke up early for our van ride to the Izmir airport.  It was a very nice almost new airport.  It was most refreshing when I purchased a bottle of water and it only cost $1.  Much better than the $4 or more in US airports.  The flight left on time and once again Turkish Airlines provided a meal for the hour and fifteen-minute flight to Istanbul.
I had almost a 4-hour layover at the very nice, almost new Istanbul Airport.  The time went quickly.  We were allowed to go to the gate 2 hours before the flight.  It was a good thing, since they had a very thorough security screening.  Everything was taken of carryon bags and pockets and looked at.  It did take a while to do.  I was not complaining at all.  I am fine with them protecting me and the other passengers.  The 12-hour direct flight to Miami was as pleasant as one that long can be.  It was better than having to stop in another country for a layover like many people must do.
It was good to be home.

 


Recap
With this being my first OAT trip, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  All my friends that had used them raved about them and I expected that I would too.  They were right.  This was such a fantastic experience with such diverse activities and cultural involvement in an awesome country.  I was going to say that this was one of my best trips ever; but I have to say it was THE best trip ever.  I was blessed with an incredible Tour Director, Ahmet, who made every day an exciting, educational and fun day.  Being in a group with only one other couple was certainly an unusual thing and it gave each of us more personal attention.  I believe that Ahmet is just as good with larger groups, since that is what he usually has.  Being with only one other couple is a good thing, if the couple is a good one.  Cam and Derby were a very good one and just a pleasure to share the trip with.  They are a unique couple who love being with each other and they are always in a good mood.

During the trip I was surprised at how many amazing sights I saw that I had never heard of before.  Turkey is a much better tourist destination than so many much more popular countries in the world.  They really need to spread the word so more people can enjoy Turkey.

I already have three more OAT trips planned.  I am looking forward to each of them much more now.  I’m ready for another one to take over first place.  Bring it on!

 

 

© 2021 ThePreismans.com • All Rights Reserved