2 week Trip to Turkey (Istanbul; Antalya to Ephesus)

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Jeanne
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Re: 2 week Trip to Turkey

Post by Jeanne » Wed May 14, 2008 10:40 am

Hi Sue,
I have never heard before that people go camping in Turkey, of course I am sure it is possible. Be aware for a few things, the soil can be extremely hard, rocky, not leveled, if it rains, and so far it did like still on 1 day in June it rains a lot. There are bugs in the grass, also other creatures. And it will be already pretty hot. A very cheap option is going to pensions, or 'camp' in tree houses, your kids would love that.
On your itinerary I know there are tree houses in Olympos, near Tlos/Saklikent along the river, Faralya in George House, this is close to Fethiye (Oludeniz up the mountains overlooking Butterfly Valley).
Further your itinerary is fine, but you do not give yourself really time to explore places, coming and going, you will miss a lot of the local beauty. I would say stay longer on certain places and skip others.
That is my opinion, hope it does not confuse you too much!


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Re: 2 week Trip to Turkey

Post by margaretp » Wed May 14, 2008 3:10 pm

Just to say that the book Tom recommends is great and not too unwieldy to travel with. I have a copy, but it is in our house in Turkey, not here in UK (very stupid of me I know, because I often want to refer to it while browsing on this site!). There are also some other good Lycian guidebooks available locally and I have a great map covering the Lycian region (both bought in Fethiye, but sure they must be available in other major towns in the area). I have found that usually as soon as I arrive at an ancient site I seek out a shop selling tourist stuff and get the relevent books/maps, I know this means you can't preplan but have found that one place usually leads to another!!

Re Arykanda, there is a small village on the main road before you turn off for the site, there may be a pension there. Ask at the site, the caretaker is extremely helpful and may be able to point you in the direction of rooms. There will be students excavating at the site July/August and they may be using all the available rooms!
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Re: 2 week Trip to Turkey

Post by SueDinWAUSA » Wed May 14, 2008 9:40 pm

Hello David, Carrie, Jeanne, and Margaret! Thank you for your input!

I decided to get the book "Lycia" from Tom's website, as I'm definitely interested in the ruins! We now plan on camping near Termessos on the 29th (Yesil Vadi Pension-Camping or in the park if possible), then travelling to Elmali for market day, as well as to explore the area (waterfalls, etc), and staying overnight (30th).
Further your itinerary is fine, but you do not give yourself really time to explore places, coming and going, you will miss a lot of the local beauty. I would say stay longer on certain places and skip others.
I'm hoping that i'll get suggestions as to which to drop (I know that is subjective, but maybe i'll be told its basically duplicated elsewhere)! I haven't made accommodation plans for each night, since we're hoping to have the flexibility to linger or move on. We're hoping that we either find a pension or domatia on the spot, or stay in the tent somewhere if that fails.

I just reorganized the end of the trip, dropping off the rental car in Kusadasi in the afternoon of the 7th and spending the nights of the 7th and 8th in Selcuk, and taking a bus back to Kusadasi on the morning of the 9th for the ferry to Samos at 8:30. This means that we can explore Priene, Didyma and Miletus on the 7th before returning the car. So, I now have a free day to roam... and i'll leave it free so that we can stay longer somewhere else earlier in the trip.

Does anyone think adding Pamukkale and Hierapolis is worthwhile? We decided to drop it based on friend's suggestions (just to reduce the amount of driving, plus they felt it was overrated). Will we regret that decision? Or, am I once again trying to go to too many places???

thank you again!

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Re: 2 week Trip to Turkey

Post by David Morgan » Thu May 15, 2008 12:38 pm

SueDinWAUSA wrote:Does anyone think adding Pamukkale and Hierapolis is worthwhile? We decided to drop it based on friend's suggestions (just to reduce the amount of driving, plus they felt it was overrated). Will we regret that decision? Or, am I once again trying to go to too many places???
I've been to Pamukkale 3 times now and stayed a total of 13 nights there, and I'm always amazed that some people aren't impressed by the place. You've got this wonderful natural feature right next to extensive ruins - I can see that sometimes it can be over touristed, but do people say Ephesus is overrated?
It's only 240km (3-4 hours?) from Fethiye (check out Kibyra en route?), and then Pamukkale to Selçuk is only 175km and you could visit Aphrodisias (and maybe Nysa, too) on the way.

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Re: 2 week Trip to Turkey

Post by margaretp » Thu May 15, 2008 2:37 pm

The question is, will you ever visit Turkey again? If the answer is probably not, then don't miss Pamukkale. I believe a lot of work has been done in the last year or so to try and reverse the damage that had been caused, so it really depends when your friends saw it? Then also worth while seeing Aphrodisias, only an hour or so from Pamukkale. Check out some of the earlier threads for routes, you will enjoy the scenery. You can double back towards Mugla to continue with your original plans.
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Re: 2 week Trip to Turkey

Post by carrie » Thu May 15, 2008 4:10 pm

I am quoting my good friend Karyn..who is a Pamukkale resident from another forum and I dont think she will mind me posting her thoughts here...
May 04, 2007
why Pamukkale is different to what you might see in the photographs or travel shows, here's the explanation;

About 15 years ago, there were five big hotels built above the travertine area, they were syphoning the water out of the travertines for their swimming pools and sectioning off other areas to the excusive use of their guests, which led to over use. To add to this, to allow direct access to the hotels for cars, a road was carved right through the middle of the site, which led to more pollution and degredation of the area.

Finally, in 1997 I think, UNESCO declared the site world heritage and tore down the hotels, but environmental damage had been done, so channeling system was introduced to allow water in some areas for some days, and then redirected to other areas on other days (there is a big sign on top of the site explaning this, although currently only in Turkish) to stop the pollution, algae and moss from reforming, which had occured after so many years of mis-use.

It is still possible for the water to flow freely over all of the travertines and it is done occasionally, because unlike the suggestions of some guide books, the water source is not drying up - it's a part of a sub-terranian source that is all through the valley here, but the information coming from the scientists currently monitoring the site from Pamukkale University in Denizli, is that this is the best way to help the site recover. Likewise, I have heard other stories that the hotels here are 'stealing' the water, which is again untrue - all of the hotels in the area are now downhill from the travertine site and the excess water from the irrigation system is channeled into different parts of the town on different days, people use it for their swimming pools, for watering their gardens and then it goes further into the valley for use in agriculture.

The stories of the 'fake pools' are true - there are concrete pools where the carved road used to be, but the fake pools are a vast improvment on what was there. As for the painting - if you leave anything with the calcium water running over it for just a couple of days, it will turn white - I've heard of people calcifying beer bottles that way! and the locals use it to white wash their stone garden walls - why use paint when there's a natural source there?

The locals here would prefer for the site to go back to it's more natural state, because since the systems were put in, the area got a bad reputation through lack of explanation or understanding by tourists of what was happening, this led to the tourist industry, which is the source of income for most of the families here, to suffer hugely and for the villiage to become like a ghost town.

I apologise for the extra long posting here, but it saddens me to hear about what Pamukkale was like before all this happened, what it became because of it, but I also hear about the plans for what it can be. There are plans for a new museum, excavation is continuing by teams of Italian archeologists, the car park was moved from the centre of the site, to the sides, to help the environmental recovery, the top of the ridge has been re landscaped where the hotels were and there is lake at the bottom where there used to be just swamp land and rubble.

Yes it is different to what you expect but it is beautiful - every time I go up there I see something that amazes me. And if you walk away from the crowds, around the corner, often there will be a beautiful pool, with no one around, you can dip your toe in (if the security guards aren't around!) and enjoy the sunset in a place, you're unlikely to see anywhere else in the world.

Karyn
I too have visited Pamukkale 3 times..the first was in 1992..it was wonderful..then again in 1994..it was terrible..no longer white like 2 years prior..but then again we visited after they had taken all the conservatory measures..( ie.. not walking all over the traverins ) and it has greatly improved...we were there in about 2003 or 2004..cannot remember the excat year...since living not too far away from this site..it is easy for me to go on a weekend during the winter and I have wanted to do it again..especially with taking up photography again..it is supposed to be lovely at sunset...
Carrie Akkelle
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http://www.canadahotel.net/en/index.htm

my photo site;
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Re: 2 week Trip to Turkey

Post by SueDinWAUSA » Fri May 16, 2008 9:45 am

Well, I sure got a lot of positive responses to go to Pamukkale and Hieropolis (although i'd also include Aphrodisias)! At this point, we probably will just keep the options open and see how the trip goes. One of the reasons we planned to go inland after visiting Termessos, through Korkuteli, Elmali, and Arykanda, to Finike was to experience something other than the touristed areas of the coast. We're trying not to make long driving days, so that is our hesitation to go to Pamukkale. We've also been warned about the hazards of driving in Turkey, so we don't want to push our chances with even more driving. However, if we feel we have the time to liesurely view the sites as well as time to "smell the roses", we'll swing inland to see these sites. I don't like missing great ruins! I don't feel too bad about the travertines, since we have been to Yellowstone and seen "equivalent" scenery.

I'm hoping that the "Lycia" book will help us choose the ruins/sites we really want to see in person (as a "collector", i'd love to see them all). However, does anyone have an opinion about visiting the ruins between Finike and Fethiye, and the ruins near Kusadasi (Priene, Didyma, etc)? Are there some that could be dropped in favor of going inland to Aphrodisias and Hieropolis?

Thank you for all of your opinions - they really do help!
/sue

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David Morgan
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Re: 2 week Trip to Turkey

Post by David Morgan » Fri May 16, 2008 12:29 pm

SueDinWAUSA wrote:However, does anyone have an opinion about visiting the ruins between Finike and Fethiye, and the ruins near Kusadasi (Priene, Didyma, etc)? Are there some that could be dropped in favor of going inland to Aphrodisias and Hieropolis?
The main ones are Patara, Xanthos, Letoon, Pinara, Tlos - all of which you must see. Others worth seeing are Limyra, Myra, Cyanae, Antiphellos, Kadyanda.
If you choose not to go to Pamukkale, but take the coast/southern route round to Selçuk, you could visit Kaunos, Labranda, Euromos and Heracleia before getting to Didyma, Miletus and Priene.
Last edited by David Morgan on Fri May 16, 2008 1:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 2 week Trip to Turkey (Antalya to Ephesus)

Post by margaretp » Fri May 16, 2008 12:56 pm

Can I just add Myra and Kekova to David's list, however they do suffer from being on the coast and therefore tend to be more touristy and crowded, but particularly the sunken city at Kekova would be a great experience for your kids (you travel over the ruins by boat).

Once you get the book, you will be able to pick out the ones that appeal.

Sorry David just noticed Myra was on your list!!
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Re: 2 week Trip to Turkey (Antalya to Ephesus)

Post by David Morgan » Fri May 16, 2008 1:14 pm

So, including Arykanda and Telmessos (Fethiye), that's 13 Lycian sites for you to visit. As I said, you'll be ruined out! There are over 50 altogether, I've seen only 20 of them.


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