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Thread: Istanbul, Bodrum and Santorini September October 2015 trip report

  1. #1
    debd is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2005 CT Posts: 1,122

    Istanbul, Bodrum and Santorini September October 2015 trip report

    We exited the airport and entered the car to hear no American music playing, something that can occur with regular frequency in other foreign countries we have visited. We also quickly realized that the driver spoke almost no English. As we drove through the streets, we heard the first of many calls to prayer. We had arrived in Istanbul, and this was just the beginning of an experience unlike any other for us. The sounds, the music, the colors, the food, the tastes, the smells…..like nothing we had ever experienced, let alone the magnitude of the history of the area and the mostly non-English speaking population.

    Thank you to all on the SBH site who helped us with our planning. Infi, we unfortunately did not have the opportunity to visit Ephesus, Caves of Zeus , Temple of Artemis, House of the Virgin Mary or the Asian side, but we were able to do just about everything else and then some. One of our finds was the Fatih market, one that was about a five plus mile walk from our base, but well worth the walk. It is not on the tourist attraction list, but it seems it is where anyone who is not a tourist goes to shop on Wednesdays. Our “oversights” were not familiarizing ourselves with the Turkish word for markets, a word no one there seemed to know, even those who were quite proficient in English. Also, if you ask a car with three policeman for directions, you may get three different answers.

    Thanks for the Sirkeci Mansion recommendation, a wonderful place to stay, in all respects – the accommodations, the location, the food, the customer focus, the Haman. An added treat was that the hotel offered the opportunity to cook a meal with the non-English speaking chef whose skill and sense of humor was quiet apparent through the interpreter, and our meal was just delicious. We found some wonderful local places to eat, and thoroughly enjoyed the many food offerings such as the cig kofte, kokorec, ichlee kofta, adana kebap, pide, and more.

    Bodrum was interesting. We stated at the El Vino, which was fine – pretty setting, decent location, quote a breakfast spread. We also learned that wedding celebrations there are multi-day events, and that in the days leading up to the wedding, the street where the parents live is closed off and large crowds of people are invited to come and eat with the family. That occurred over two of the three days we were there. While we were advised that the wedding (an all night affair) would be at a different location, that location was actually just two streets down. Interesting to learn of the traditions. Not so restful. We weren’t really knocked over by the harbor, and were quite surprised to learn when we made arrangements for a full day of sailing, that not only did we not sail, there weren’t even sails aboard!! Bodrum was interesting to see for the contrast from the Turkish culture in Istanbul. It isn’t a place I would necessarily recommend although there are others who speak its praises, and we are not the clubbing sort, so we chose to not participate in that scene.

    We spent 6 nights in istanbul, three in Bodrum, and the last 5 in Santorini which was just exquisite. I can’t say enough about the Anastasis Apartments. We have stayed in some pretty swell places, but the way this place is run is quite something. Just glorious in every way. No attention to detail left unattended to, yet with absolutely no sense of intrusiveness. This place was just wonderful. Its location afforded us the opportunity to be away from the main tourist spots and get in some hiking. Renting an ATV for the day provided for us to visit Vineyards, beaches, archeological sites, the summit of the island, and the Donkey Brewing company. GayleR, thank you for the dining recommendations. We also found another wonderful spot called Psaraki in the lovely little fishing harbor of Vlichada.

    Thanks also to Katva, stbarthopper, GramChop, seasalt, DaveM, marybeth, Jeanette.

  2. #2
    amyb is online now
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2008 Glen Cove,L. I., NY Posts: 27,581
    Deb thank you for this report of your recent trip. You have taken me to unknown ports of call and I loved seeing it all through your eyes.
    Remember Yesterday, Dream About Tomorrow, But Live Today.

  3. #3
    marybeth is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2004 Pittsburgh, PA Posts: 3,464
    Lovely trip report, sounds like you had a great time. We also thought Santorini was exquisite. We also stayed in Imerovigli and enjoyed a long hike to Oia. Would definitely go back.

  4. #4
    katva is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Nov 2009 Posts: 4,764
    Nice report! I can't wait to go to Istanbul. But you're the second person I've heard so-so reviews about Bodrum from (the other one is a girlfriend of mine who lives in SBH, so it must be hard to compare!). She went all over Turkey, and her photos of Kapadokya were absolutely amazing!
    We also will go back to Santorini-----Vlichada was our favorite beach, and we probably ate at that restaurant! Absolutely loved it there!
    If you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room :)

  5. #5
    GramChop is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2007 Austin, Texas Posts: 17,557
    Nice report, y'all. It sounds as though you made some more amazing travel memories.
    The waves of the sea bring me back to me.

  6. #6
    debd is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2005 CT Posts: 1,122
    Quote Originally Posted by katva View Post
    Nice report! I can't wait to go to Istanbul. But you're the second person I've heard so-so reviews about Bodrum from (the other one is a girlfriend of mine who lives in SBH, so it must be hard to compare!). She went all over Turkey, and her photos of Kapadokya were absolutely amazing!
    We also will go back to Santorini-----Vlichada was our favorite beach, and we probably ate at that restaurant! Absolutely loved it there!
    Katva, the restaurant was in the fishing harbor on the way to the beaches, probably 10 minutes or so before you get to the "beaches."

  7. #7
    katva is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Nov 2009 Posts: 4,764
    Quote Originally Posted by debd View Post
    Katva, the restaurant was in the fishing harbor on the way to the beaches, probably 10 minutes or so before you get to the "beaches."
    Yes! that's it:) Tom took these photos, and I think the one was taken in the marina there. Such a beautiful place. We ate there several times, and it was my go-to public wi-fi on that side of the island (the marina had free wi-fi)
    5047952674_c598ca040d_z.jpg
    5068131576_62debda500_z.jpg
    If you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room :)

  8. #8
    stbartshopper is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2013 Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A. Posts: 9,674
    Thank you for sharing.

  9. #9
    debd is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2005 CT Posts: 1,122

    some pictures


  10. #10
    debd is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Dec 2005 CT Posts: 1,122
    Quote Originally Posted by katva View Post
    Yes! that's it:) Tom took these photos, and I think the one was taken in the marina there.
    5068131576_62debda500_z.jpg
    Yes. That's it.

  11. #11
    marybeth is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2004 Pittsburgh, PA Posts: 3,464
    <sigh>
    I never got tired to photographing those blue-roofed churches....

  12. #12
    KevinS is offline
    Senior Insider Joined: Jul 2003 Posts: 21,050
    Nice, Deb! Thanks for sharing.

  13. #13
    katva is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Nov 2009 Posts: 4,764
    Gorgeous photos!!!!
    If you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room :)

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