MAY 12-21, 2011
Kay King, Travel Director
May 12 – Overnight Flight from Texas to Frankfurt,
Germany; May 13 flight from Frankfurt to Istanbul.
May 13 – Istanbul. Afternoon reception at the beautiful
Mamara Hotel with Tahire Akder and her Turkish
business women friends, where we learned about the
lifestyles of professional women in Turkey. It was
surprising to learn how many more Turkish women were
now covering their heads.
May 14 – Istanbul. Full day
tour to Topkapi Palace,
residence of the Ottoman
Sultans, imperial treasury,
imperial costumes, sacred
Islamic relics, Chinese
porcelain, weapons, calligraphy
and the harem section; Haghia
Sophia, one of the greatest
marvels of architecture,
constructed as a basilica in the 6th
century by Emperor Justinian; the
Blue Mosque, famous for its blue
Iznik tiles and unique with six minarets, where we saw small
boys dressed like little princes for the rite of circumcision.
The Museum of
Turkish and Islamic Arts revealed
lovely historic costume and housing
May 15 – Istanbul. We visited Dolmabahçe Palace with its crystal staircase and harem rooms,
Rustempasha Mosque with its famous tiles and the Old Spice Market (the Egyptian Bazaar). Then a
private boat excursion
along the European and
Asian coasts of the Bosphorous, before a
tour of the magnificent Ottoman costumes
at the private Sadberk Hanim Museum.
Evening Anatolian folk dance dinner show.
May 16 – Cappadocia. Flight to Kayseri on Turkish Airlines. We visited
Özkonak, the least visited underground city; then Uçhisar, an old village up a
dead end valley with its huge honeycombed fortress and the Pigeon Valley
where we sighted
rocks like
mushroom caps
and fairy chimneys.
May 17 –
Happy Birthday,
Jane! A Hot Air
Balloon transported us over Cappadocia’s
fabulous rock formations. (16 in our basket
plus a female pilot) There were over 50
other balloons up with us as we rose up
over rock houses and churches and down
into spectacular rock valleys. Our fabulous
pilot landed the basket with a soft tap, dead
center on the trailer. Very strong men lifted
us out of the basket for a champagne
We visited
Avanos, the
center for
tapestry and
pottery for
centuries. The
Carpet Gallery
and Chez
Galip Pottery
Center tempted many of us to take home their
spectacular works of art. We toured the Goreme
Open-Air Museum with its famous chapels and
churches; then attended the evening religious ritual of
Sufism and Sema, Mevlevi dance (whirling dervishes)
with Sufi music.
May 18 – Ankara. We drove past Turkey’s huge Salt
Lake on our way to Ankara, Turkey’s capitol, where
we visited the country’s most famous museum, the
Museum of Anatolian Civilizations with its spectacular
Hittite treasures. An evening flight to Izmir followed.
May 19 – Izmir/Ephesus. We found the “real” handmade evil eyes at a local glass artisan’s workshop
and bought beautiful leather jackets from Kircilar, a
leather house that staged a fashion show just for us.
We visited the
magnificent ancient city of
Ephesus with its many
acres of excavated ruins
including the Library of
Celsus, the Temple of
Hadrian, the Theatre of
Mt. Pion, the House of the
Virgin Mary and the
recently opened Terrace
Villas with their beautiful
mosaic tiles. At 11:30 PM
that night, for about five
seconds, we felt the slight
tremor of an earthquake
90 kilometers from Izmir –
our beds were swaying!
May 20 – Izmir/Istanbul. Morning flight to Istanbul for our guided shopping tour of the Grand
Covered Bazaar, the biggest souk in the world with nearly 4000 indoor shops selling antiques,
jewelry, gold, carpets, leather wear and souvenirs. Not one of us got LOST! One Turkish Lira equaled
about $.60 during our visit, making prices very favorable to us. Some
travelers opted for the famous Turkish Baths and reported it was an
amazing experience. Our
coach transported us with all of
our purchases – designer
handbags, jewelry, spices,
extra luggage, apparel, textiles
and even a brass shoe shine
stand – to the Airport Hotel for
a gourmet farewell dinner.
Tulips originated in Turkey and were blooming everywhere during our visit to this magical place.
May 21 – Departure. The Airport Hotel provided us with a early morning breakfast and free shuttle
transfer service so we could make our 5:50 AM flight to Frankfurt with connecting flights to Texas.
The 2011 FHPW “Turkey Trotters” were Candi Clement, Shirley Flabiano, Genae Fields, Beverly
Freeman, Patti Gajdosik, Linda Higginbotham, Kay King, Myrleen Knott, Liz Maraist, Michelle Mew,
Jill Morell, Ruby Muller, Sheri Parrack, Caralee Smith, Connie Smith, Jane Tillinghast, Audrey
Waldrop, Teresa Waldrop and Carmen Walker.
Special thanks to Zekeriya Sen of FEST Travel for making spectacular accommodations for us at
every venue and to our outstanding guide, Serhan Gungor for his amazing historical knowledge, his
great wit and for arranging the best-ever lunches for the group.