A tour of the hidden treasures of Turkey
The Sunken City of Simena
Our first trip was a breeze down the coast to Myra on a comfortable air-conditioned coach. We visited the tomb of St Nicholas – the historic ancestor of our Father Christmas – famed for his miracles and secret gift-giving. Afterward we took an amazing glass bottomed boat tour of the sunken city known as Simena or Kekova. The weather was beautiful and we spent a few hours anchored here to swim and explore the coastal ruins. At the end of the day we journeyed onward along the coast up to Fethiye, where we checked in at a five star hotel along with the rest of our travel party.
Cruising with Caretta Caretta Turtles
We had the great opportunity to travel along the Dalyan River on a cruise lead by Emir, our guide. It was a tranquil morning and afternoon with photo opportunities galore, the most impressive of which was a viewing of the Caretta Caretta turtles, or loggerhead turtles as they are more commonly known. An equally pleasant evening was spent in Kusadasi, known as “Bird Island” where we spent time relaxing in the five star complex before venturing out into the city to take in the cultural atmosphere.
The Ancient Site of Ephesus
Back on the coach for day four and we were off to visit the ancient site of Ephesus. We explored the fallen city and learned much for our guide as we hopped between the shadows cast by the gigantic ruins before venturing up “Bulbul” mountain to get a glimpse of the shrine to the Virgin Mary where it is believed she spent her last days. We finished the day with wine tasting in Sirince a traditional Turkish village before returning to the comfort of our hotel in Kusadasi.
Pamukkale’s Thermal Springs
Emir promised us a treat for our fifth day of sightseeing in Turkey and he didn’t disappoint! The breath-taking area of Hieropolis with its tier of thermal springs in Pamukkale was one of the most beautiful natural sights any of us had seen! The day was for relaxing and chatting with our new friends about cultural and natural wonders we’d experienced over the first days with Emir. The spa hotel provided a delightful three course meal in the evening – a wonderful day in Turkey.
We visited the Handcraft Exhibition on our sixth day were traditional rug making was demonstrated to us. One or two bought impressive Anatolian rugs before we were back on the coach towards Antalya, taking in the scenic route along the Taurus Mountains. We spent the evening at yet another five star hotel feeling very spoilt and taken care of!
The Historical Turkish Riviera
Our last day of sightseeing was based in what Emir called the Turkish Riviera! He brought the group around the city, taking in the hidden beauty of the Three Gates – a fantastic example of arch building – and the Old Castle of the city, before taking our lunch along the historic harbour. The final trip was to the Karpuz Kaldiran waterfall an awesome sight, even in the dry season! With a few of us leaving on early flights, we said out goodbyes with an early evening meal at the luxurious hotel in Antalya before turning in for the night.
The next day, with our transfers thoughtfully arranged in advance by Emir, we said our last goodbyes at breakfast before leaving Turkey behind! We will surely be back to visit more of this wonderful country’s hidden treasures!
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