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Bodrum Castle

Alan S from Chicago, USA.
Kris S from Washington, USA.
BP from Missouri, USA.
GB from the United Kingdom.
Yola Monakov from New York.
JH from Michigan, USA.

Name and
Alan S from:


















Food Guide



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1. Customized Tour of Turkey

You had asked me to send you a few paragraphs about how my perceptions of Turkey have changed since our visit in July. I'll do my best.

I had expected language to be a major problem for the four of us traveling mostly on our own. It was not. Generally, I found that people were so eager to help with directions, etc. that we were able to communicate. (Try that in Quebec some time!) I had expected to be accosted by people trying to sell me carpets and everything else you can imagine. And, of course that happened in Istanbul and other areas where tourists congregate. But, once we realized that the salesmen were genuinely friendly and that they usually backed off after a few attempts, it actually became somewhat of a game. I had also expected to be accosted by many beggars. That was not the case at all. I see more numerous and more aggressive beggars in Downtown Chicago! I had heard that the Turks were friendly. I never realized how friendly they are.

I would strongly recommend that anyone visiting Turkey make a determined effort to meet people. It is well worth dealing with the language issue. We hired a local guide in Cappadocia and told him we wanted to meet some Turks. He introduced us to a family in Ortahisar that invited us into their home and insisted that we try some of their yogurt, bread and honey. And there were the women drying apricots and making apricot jam. We saw them working in the courtyard of their home and asked if we could come in. They were delighted to have us watch them work and take pictures of them. And, of course there was Crazy Ali (that's what he calls himself!) who has a small antique store near the fortress in Ortahisar who speaks excellent English and who read us some of his poetry, in English.

Finally, there was the PKK terrorism question. I had expected to feel somewhat uncomfortable in areas where there were a lot of tourists. It just wasn't the case. I felt perfectly safe. And if you remember, I am the man who worries about everything! I would definitely recommend Turkey to anyone who wants an unusual vacation and is open to meeting people.

Cliff, I think you would want to know that I have strong positive recommendations on several of the hotels we stayed at: - 

  • Blue House (Mavi Ev) in Istanbul - Small, comfortable, clean and an excellent location in Sultanahmet. You can walk to the Blue Mosque, St.Sophia, Topkapi Palace, the Basilica Cistern, the Grand Bazaar, and the tram that will take you to the Spice Bazaar.
  • Tutav Turk in Antalya - Very unusual. Three Ottoman Houses beautifully converted and joined to form a hotel. Very nice small swimming pool. A great terrace bar and terrace restaurant with a fine view of the marina. A bit difficult to find, but well worth the effort.
  • Kismet in Kusadasi - A luxury resort at affordable prices. Very nice rooms with a view of the Aegean. Terrific large swimming pool. Cocktails on the lawn looking out at the marina was special.

Cliff I also have a restaurant to recommend. It is Rejans in Istanbul, in the Beyoglu district. It is one of Istanbul's oldest, established in 1920 by Russians. It still serves Russian food and if a tourist has become a little tired of Turkish food, this is an excellent choice. Great food, superior service. Make sure the hotel finds a cab driver who knows how to find the restaurant.

Thanks again for your help in planning this marvelous vacation.

AS from: Chicago Illinois USA

Customized Tour  Gulet Cabin Charter  Yacht Charter  Tourist Information  Moscow Times

August 04 1999
Name and
KS from:


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2. Gulet Cabin Charter

Just a note to say we are home safe and sound. It was a wonderful trip, everything went like clockwork. Thanks for all your efforts on our behalf, we hope to see you again.....

KS from: Tacoma Washington USA

Customized Tour  Gulet Cabin Charter  Yacht Charter  Tourist Information  Moscow Times

July 07 1999
Name and
BP from:









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3. Gulet Yacht Charter

My wife and I have been back in the States barely two weeks now. I think we've re-acclimated - unfortunately!

We both wanted to say that we were very pleased with you, and your agency, for the travel arrangements we made through you. (We've recommended you to several friends). The airport pickup and drop off was smooth. The Maya Hotel was quite pleasant - especially for the price. As you said, it is quiet, centrally located, and otherwise quite comfortable. (I didn't expect to find a swimming pool. I certainly used it.)

The boat, the "Selina," surpassed our expectations. It was a wonderful size, the rooms were well designed and remarkably spacious, the crew was quite attentive, and the food was fresh and tasty. We very much enjoyed the mix of people aboard. And, as someone who loves to swim, I found the gulet stops quite satisfying. My wife, who loves to read and lounge, was in heaven!

Also, I want to thank you again for your prompt and professional response to emails/ questions/ details before we came over to Turkey. And, to your prompt reply to my questions and concerns when I called you within Turkey. I don't know when we'll next be in Turkey, but we will certainly keep you in mind for next time. Meanwhile, as we show vacation photos to friends, we will certainly recommend you - and Turkey - to them. I hope the season is going okay for you.

Thanks again for your help in planning this marvelous vacation.

BP from: Belton Missouri USA

Customized Tour  Gulet Cabin Charter  Yacht Charter  Tourist Information  Moscow Times

August 03 1999
Name and
GB from:
United Kingdom









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4. Tourism Information Service

I think I will have to accept defeat since the price is very close to our limit and without the car hire it may not even be possible to make the final stage of the journey from Ankara to Kastamonu. You have been absolutely wonderful and if we decide to undertake car hire in the Kalkan region we will do it through you (small financial compensation!). I am so impressed with the quality of the information and advice you have supplied that I will certainly suggest that any friends wishing to visit Turkey should contact you first. By way of thanks I have submitted the following to the Lonely Planet website and hope that it will appear there and eventually direct some trade in your direction. Please feel free to add it as an unsolicited testimonial on your own website should you so wish.

"I have to recommend aegean TOUR TRAVEL, website at: They have been extremely helpful trying (unfortunately unsuccessfully) to get me from SW Turkey to the Eclipse path in an unfeasibly short time on a very limited budget. They have checked out car hire, flight times and hotel availability and have done much more than I could possibly have hoped. In all of this they have been unfailingly courteous and painstaking despite the fact that they know I am already booked to travel and stay in Turkey through another agent. Next time I will start with them."

Thanks for all your time and trouble - it is sincerely appreciated.

GB from: United Kingdom

Customized Tour  Gulet Cabin Charter  Yacht Charter  Tourist Information  Moscow Times

August 04 1999
Name and
Yola Monakov:
New York







































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As Seen in the Moscow Times

. . . . By the way, my article on the Bodrum Peninsula ran in the Moscow Times last Saturday. I'm attaching a copy of it. As you'll see, I direct readers to your web site.

Hope you guys are doing well, that the sun shines, the breeze whistles and that business is booming.


Tourism in Turkey has gone on vacation. Scanty bookings and overeager carpet salesmen indicate that potential visitors are being deterred by threats from the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party, the drama of the recent trial of Kurdish guerrilla leader Abdullah Ocalan and the general sense that in Turkey, political turmoil prevails above culture, sun and sea.

Not so. In fact, now is a perfect time for Turkish travel, because prices are low, crowds are small and, as revealed in a recent trip to the heart of the former Ottoman Empire, Turkey still plays host in splendid Mediterranean style. Its inhabitants are warm and upstanding and its streets feel instantly like your own. Never having been to Turkey before, I was quite surprised by the depth of its Westernization, symbolized by the ubiquitous image of Kemal Attaturk. This early 20th century reformer, who began by outlawing the fez, succeeded in transforming Turkey into the most modern and secular of Islamic nations, where the melodic ring of prayer call mingles with the din of commerce and city life.

For the traveler in search of a tan and a little rest, with a dose of adventure and history, it is well worth heading to the southern Turkish coast, where the Bodrum Peninsula lies opposite the Greek island of Kos. Rising like an amphitheater above the bay, the town of Bodrum, formerly called Halikarnassos and founded circa 1100 B.C. by Dorian Greeks, has undergone many incarnations that have taken it from Greek, Persian, Alexandrian, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman domination, to its current phase as a French Riveraesque resort town on the Aegean Sea. Once the proud home town of Herodotus, the proverbial Father of History, Bodrum is now a thriving tourist hub that gains its popular status from several converging features. It houses a marina of wooden yachts that face off every October in a regatta called the Bodrum Cup. At the tip of its bay sits Bodrum Kalesi, a gigantic Medieval fortress that once lodged the international order of the Knights Hospitalliers of St. John. Farther up in its winding streets are the remains of the original Mausoleum, built in posthumous homage by the wife and sister of Persian King Mausolos.

And at night, Bodrum offers a raucous and celibacy-defying club scene, marked most visibly by two leggy girls who glide daily along the harbor in the back of an open truck, brandishing their behinds to the pulse of disco pop to advertise Ladies Night at the Halikarnassos Nightclub. With Bodrum as its node and link to the rest of Turkey, the Bodrum Peninsula hosts a lush variety of different towns and environments, ranging from the picturesque and quiet harbor of Gumusluk and the lazy local swing of Turgutreis, to a string of pre-fab tourist villages and the rocking, neon zoo of Gumbet. When choosing a place to stay, it makes sense to consider the desired ratio of activity to rest.

As a general rule, the towns closest to Bodrum, starting with Gumbet and Bitez, will deliver night-time action, rows of restaurants, crowded beaches and a lively scene. Bitez, a windsurfing mecca, boasts a nice if slightly cluttered beach lined with rambunctious restaurants.

Yalikavak, a smaller and less developed version of Bodrum, retains its ancient village flavor with curving alleys, first-class harbor-side restaurants, daily boat charters and crowded outdoor cafes where local men play mahjong over glasses of Turkey's excellent Efes beer.

Heading outward from Bodrum, you find quieter areas where there is little to do but read, relax, sip wine in pleasant and inexpensive water-side restaurants, and venture past ancient walls and grazing cows to snorkel in secluded coves.

Gumusluk, where I stayed, is an enclosed bay, ringed in a sparkling blue haze of small islands. One of these, Rabbit Island, can be reached by foot by passing through a fish restaurant and walking along a rocky stretch of knee-deep water. Nearby, Feridun Boruk, the old and kindly local scuba master who rents snorkel gear for a song, will point out the neighboring sites of the ancient civilization of Myndos, which are now entirely undersea and reputed to be older than Odysseus himself.

At Turkish seaside restaurants, it is customary to walk over to the ice-box and point out the fish you desire, as you survey its eye for freshness and have it priced by weight. Dinner usually starts with mezes, tasty cold pre-cooked appetizers, also identified by pointing. Yakamoz Restaurant was a great favorite for its brimming atmosphere, late hours and gregarious waiters. You learn quickly in Turkey to be cautious with compliments, as the owner will invariably be compelled to give you the thing you praise. We had to protest vehemently and apologetically to prevent our waiter from giving away the phrasebook he used to be able to chat with us during our meals. Though there is an inexpensive hotel in Gumusluk right on the water, we enjoyed staying in an apartment overlooking the sea, just a short walk up the gentle hills.

In the last decade, there has been a flurry of development throughout Turkey and, thus, an abundance of vacation homes and apartments available for short-term rental.

Aegean Tours, a tourist agency that markets over the Internet at , offers various types of accommodations according to specific budgets, as well as boat charters and scuba rental. It is run by a nice couple, a Scottish expatriate' and a Bodrum native, who proved to be gracious and knowledgeable hosts.

As a handsome perk, Turkey also delivers an impressive amount of Greece. Just an hour-long ferry ride away from Bodrum lies the whitewashed and far more touristy island of Kos. Inland, about three hours driving, stretches a chain of archeological sites dating from Greek Ionian and Roman times, Euromos, Priene, Ephesus, Aphrodisias. Along with Troy, which is farther north, one of the most famous of these sites is Ephesus, a sprawling marble metropolis that once sat on a harbor that has long since filled with silt. With an amphitheater that can seat over a half-million people and an agora to rival America's greatest shopping malls, it stirs the imagination to muse on times when Rome was just a distant rumor and the Apostle Paul a voice in the dark.

Upon return to the Bodrum peninsula, the lights of disco row reach out in greeting with waving halogen beams that follow you down the winding road. Under the incandescent glow of Yalikavak’s minarets, the night rocks, the fish sizzles and white wine flows, fresh from a bountiful harvest. As you order, the Aegean sea laps at your side in a cool siren song of seduction. You raise your glass to the night. You'll always have Yalikavak.

Yola Monakov: New York USA

Customized Tour  Gulet Cabin Charter  Yacht Charter  Tourist Information  Moscow Times

August 05 1999
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