Suggestions for travel stops

Feedback from travelers recently returned from Turkey: what's good, what's bad, what they found

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George
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Suggestions for travel stops

Post by George » Wed Dec 05, 2012 1:20 am

Planning my second visit to Turkey this Spring. I have learned that a common mistake is trying to cram too many stops into a short period of time, so I want to do slower travel to allow some exploring. I also have learned that there is so much to see I need help in setting priorities. I will be driving from Isnik to the Konya/Cappadocia area to spend 10 days. I will drive back from Ankara to Istanbul. I am allowing two days each way for travel. Any suggestions for sites to see along the way? An earlier post about Afyon has me more than a little intrigued. Any others?

Also I have heard the Museum of Anatolian Civilization may be closed this Spring for remodeling. Any truth to this? If true, will it be the entire museum or only some halls?

Thank you,

This is always a great source of useful info. Every time I come here I want to book a flight to Turkey when I log off.

George


SwampeastMike
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Re: Suggestions for travel stops

Post by SwampeastMike » Wed Dec 05, 2012 3:08 am

Do you mean Iznık (the town on the E shore of a lake by the same name) with the amazing defensive walls? If so I would suggest Afyon as a very good place to spend the night as it is about half way to Konya. The Black Opium Fortress perched on top of a small mountain sprouting up in the middle of Afyon is a sight to behold! The Temple of Zeus at Aizanoi http://www.turkeytravelplanner.com/gale ... s/008.html near Kutahya is a very worthwhile stop and not too far out of the way. If you visit and are using a GPS unit, it will probably find a "short-cut" to Afyon that avoids re-tracing the same route back to the main highway. I enjoyed the farm roads, villages and scenery along the route but such may not be your idea of "enjoyable". It's definitely shorter but not necessarily faster... A few kilometers is along a road that's barely a road but most of the rest is paved and two-lane. I'm not familiar with area between Iznık and Kutahya but suspect it's a reasonably attractive drive that may well have some brown signs to follow. This should make for a very nice day of driving.

Don't expect much in the way of scenery between Afyon and Konya. I'd consider spending the morning and having lunch in Afyon before departing for Konya.

Since you'll have benefit of private transportation from Ankara to Istanbul and two days for the journey, I would consider spending the night at Safranbolu even if it is about 70 km out of the way. With an early morning start from Ankara you should arrive at Safranbolu in the late morning. While the scenery between Ankara and Istanbul isn't bad and can be quite attractive at times, it's an easy journey for one day (the roads are excellent) and there's nothing I would call especially interesting as far as a place to stop for the night. While Safranbolu and the immediate area is a place that is very easy to spend two or three days, I wouldn't consider it rushing too badly provided you get an early start from Ankara.

More than half of the Museum of Anatolian Civilization was closed when I visited (for the 2nd time) in October, 2012. I have no idea when it will be fully open. When I visited only the center section which houses mainly Hittite artifacts and one side hall were open. The side hall that was open still housed the earliest artifacts even if the most spectacular ones I recall from the earlier visit were nowhere to be seen. Something tells me that the entire museum is undergoing a lengthy and much-needed reorganization as my only negative criticism from my first visit was poor organization as the result of too many "new" things added where they fit physically instead of logically. The Hittite artifacts are utterly amazing and the main reason I returned for another visit so I wasn't truly disappointed even if sections of the huge Hittite area were under reorganization and roped off.

Tavsan
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Re: Suggestions for travel stops

Post by Tavsan » Sun Dec 09, 2012 9:34 am

I'm a bit of a foodie fan so my travels in Turkey always seem to include great places to eat.

The Anatolian Museum in Ankara is worth it as is the Castle (Hisar). Zenger restaurant near the castle is pretty good.

The Roman Baths, Temple of Augustus, and the Column of Julian (while not jaw-dropping sites are worth it so long as your are in the neighborhood (Ulus) and you are to see the castle and the museum. Uludag is another great eatery there in Ulus. Ulus has great history.

Recep USTA restaurant overlooking the park in Dikmen has great food. A small park near Dikmen's larger park has a staged statue collection portraying Ataturk's arrival in Ankara. Practically no tourist knows it's there. Makes for a cool photograph or two.

I am also a sucker for Beypazari near Ankara. Love their bread and locum and the bazaar. The views aren't half bad either. Great little silver shop there can make you want to spend money on their jewelry.

I would hit (no pun intended) some of the Hittite spots such as Hatussas. Yozgat is a great area. Yozgat Kebap cooked in a clay jug then the jug is smashed at meal time with a hammer. Incredible if done right and it usually is. When we were in the Yozgat area I remember stopping at a restored Ottoman house there in the town itself. A gentleman hosted us, served us coffee ( a very interesting coffee too unique to Yozgat I believe), and played the Saz for us. Priceless. Both Hattusas an Yozgat are quite a ways from Ankara but on the way I believe to Cappadocia. The Midas Tomb and Gordion are pretty cool too. Also outside Ankara a ways. And yes you must eat at the Gordion Cafe (not a glamorous cafe but just a great place to grab something unique to eat, very basic) just to say you dined close to where Alexander cut the knot.

While in Cappadocia, the village of Avanos just north of Nevşehir about 10 or 11 miles is known for its pottery.

Afyon is great. Try their pismanye (think cotton candy). I think Afyon is the word for opium. Don't try the opium. :lol: When in Konya try the local pide. Also check out what is believed to be one of the most valuable carpets in the world at the Mevlana Museum. Loved all of the things I encountered related to Mevlana.

Between Ankara and Istanbul, Bolu is beautiful.

Geez in Istanbul what isn't great. Istanbul is amazing. Food-wise (and these aren't gourmet places but just great places to eat) I liked the Lale Pudding Shop (Old Hippie haunt from way back) Doy Doy cafe is great but my favorite there in the Sultanahmet area is the Rumist Cafe. The Arasta Bazaar is touristy but a great place to pass through. Rarely crowded I found. One place I was glad I checked out while in Istanbul was Chora Church. There are the ruins of an old Byzantine mansion within walking distance from there too. Chora Church was in a word, amazing. It's worth the taxi ride out there for certain.

I am hoping to visit the Castle of the Seven Towers next time I am in Istanbul which is coming up soon. Also, if anyone knows where the old Ottoman observatory once stood in Istanbul I would love to know.

Of course there are all the "it" tourist spots and palaces but venture to the places nobody flocks to. Just for fun you can now watch episodes of Magnificent Century (a Turkish TV show related to the Ottomans) on youtube (with English subtitles). There are a lot of great scenes that portray life at Topkapi Palace. Warning, it's pretty addictive. Speaking of addictive, Haci Bekir's original Turkish candy kitchen is such a great piece of Turkish history and well worth the trek.

Inci down on Istiklal Cadessi has incredible profiteroles (try one with an ice cold lemonade~trust me). There's a great silk shop nearby there called Ipek right on the main avenue. I hear the Pera Museum is a great little place to check out. St. Anthony's just off Istiklal a few feet is a beautiful church. Also, you must sip coffee and people watch when you are on Istiklal. Lebi Derya (Kumbaracı Yokuşu 57/6 Tünel, Beyoğlu) providing it is still located in the same spot has a great view but mid-day the food is a bit pricey. At night, forget it. Still the view is worth something.

Tavsan

suppiluliuma
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Re: Suggestions for travel stops

Post by suppiluliuma » Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:56 pm

Inci down on Istiklal Cadessi has incredible profiteroles (try one with an ice cold lemonade~trust me)
Unfortunately, İnci doesn't exist any more; just been taken down for a soulless restoration process, last week. :cry: :x
I can't tell how angry I am! I'm afraid we're losing all original, such symbolic venues of Istanbul one by one. Money talks in a very harsh way in this country.
Where next time? May be Çiçek Pasajı? :x :x :x
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just come as you are

suppiluliuma
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Re: Suggestions for travel stops

Post by suppiluliuma » Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:34 am

İnci is re-opening in Mis Sokak at İstiklal (Beyoğlu) in one month.
Good news, but nothing will be same as before, as usual.
It should exist at its original place forever.
OK, at least it will exist until next restoration, better than worst...
Come whoever you are...
just come as you are


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