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TURKEY
These pages document my time spent flying balloons in Kapadokya . . .
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Chapter 32
Go West Young Man!
Joanne and I had many a discussion (and believe it or not, no arguments!) about what to do and where to go during our final week in Turkey. One thing was a given: we were going to see someplace other than Kapadokya. One of our original plans was to take a bus tour (most likely out of Ankara, since that's where we were flying out of on our trip home) , thinking that we wouldn't have to stress about driving and finding our way about, or about having to find places to stay and trying to make the reservations (especially when you don't know the language) . No doubt, had this been in the United States, we would have just winged it, and rented a car and taken a route that allowed us to see as much as possible. With an actual tour, most things like lodging and some if not most meals are all taken care of, so we were thinking we could just relax and enjoy the vacation. We were not having the best of luck finding information on the internet, so we ended up going into Ürgüp and talking with a travel agency there. At least they could give us some ideas and steer us in the right direction.

Before I had come to Turkey, I had found myself using one particular website quite a bit in any research I did. If it didn't have the information, it was at least a good starting point. For anyone planning on travelling to Turkey, I highly recommend the Turkey Travel Planner website. Lots of really good information about a lot of different aspects of the country. Anyway, this website had mentioned a particular travel agency located in Ürgüp, Argeus Tourism & Travel. So that's where we went, because I trusted the website. I have to say, the folks at Argeus were fantastic! Right off the bat I need to compliment both the travel office and the Turkey Travel Planner website for recommending them!
When we got to the travel office, we only had a basic idea of the kind of tour we were looking for. But they sat down with us, went over our list of what we wanted to see and why we wanted to see it, listened to our individual likes and dislikes and recommended what we should see and what we should skip. That was a big help, because really, we wanted to see more than what our one week would allow. The staff at Argeus was very knowledgeable, extremely helpful and courteous, and seemed to be genuinely interested in making our wishes come true. It started with the fact that we had at least 5 pieces of luggage (not including the 3 boxes of souvenirs that we had already sent home, which is a story unto itself, in fact it's the next chapter, so read on!) that we thought we were going to have to lug around with us for a week. Well, thanks to the travel agent, we didn't. Because we were going to spend our last night in Ankara (so we could catch our early morning flight home) they arranged for all of our luggage except what we needed for our weeklong trip, to go directly to the hotel in Ankara where it would be waiting for us at the end of the week. Oh yeah... at no cost! How cool is that?!! To make a long story shorter, here is what we wound up doing:
First, on the 25th, we would take a flight out of Kayseri and land in Izmir. Pick up in Uçhisar and transport to the Kayseri airport included at no charge. Once in Izmir, we rent a car and drive south to Selçuk. We would arrive in Selçuk, and the next day, take a small driving tour even further south to visit Prienne, Miletos and Didym. Three of the better sites for ancient Greek ruins. The next day, we would visit St Johns Basillica, located only a couple of blocks from where we are staying, then go to the site of the Temple Of Artemis ruins, which was one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The Temple of Artemis is about a mile from the hotel and right on the way to the ancient city of Ephesus, which is only about 3 miles away. An easy walking tour with an entire day to do it. The following day, we would then take the car back to Izmir, and fly to Istanbul, where we would stay in the Sultanahmet district. Basically in the middle of where everything we want to see is. Within walking distance of the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia, the Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar. We will have two days there before flying back to Ankara in time to get a little shut eye before leaving for the States early the next morning.
This labeled map shows our itinerary
Really all it took was for Joanne and I to make a few decisions based on the agents input and the next thing you know, we're walking out with all of our reservations and tickets and everything. It couldn't have taken three hours. I was so impressed. Not only impressed, but extremely excited now that I knew exactly what we were going to be doing. However, at that time, we still had almost a week left in Kapadokya.
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