Izmir, Sanliurfa, gaziantep, Izmir, Bergama, Assos, Izmir

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

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sally
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Izmir, Sanliurfa, gaziantep, Izmir, Bergama, Assos, Izmir

Post by sally » Thu May 09, 2013 7:24 pm

We flew with Pegasus from Stansted to Izmir (Baylan Otel) and then on the following day to Sanliurfa where we stayed for four nights in the Otel Kilim where the services barely worked and the men on Reception smoked continuously below the No Smoking sign. Abraham's Pool was magical in the early morning and frenetic later in the day on Children's Day. Kurdish women sparkled in velvet and sequins (even out in the country minding their cows) and men wore long gowns and Arab head dresses.

We took a taxi to Göbeklı Tepe (80 lira return with a two hour wait). A fascinating site with good interpretation boards. A Visitor Centre is being built and apparently the excavation team is under pressure from the Turkish authorities to hurry up!

We went to Harran by dolmus and loved it. The weather was perfect and it was refreshing to get away from the bustling city and walk without worrying about traffic and uneven pavements. I made the mistake of sitting on the ground near some camels and later found that I had become host to a tick!

From Urfa to Antep by coach for the next four nights. Another eastern city but much more westernised in dress. Otel Velic was well placed and hospitable for four nights. First stop was the Zeugma Mosaic Museum which was quite crowded with school parties and terribly noisy. The mosaics are beautifully presented and the audio guide very informative. The film was rather a waste of time but a relief to sit quietly for a bit.

With the thermometer creeping towards an unseasonable 30, a day on the water appealed so we took the coach that leaves from Urfa theatre and cultural centre every Sunday at 10am to go to Nizip pierby the baraj. A boat took us up the Euphrates to historic Rumkale. Beautiful for a cost of 30 lira pp. We were on the water for three hours. Our coach brought us back from Halfeti which looked like a very relaxing place where one could stay, walk and take short boat trips. The reservoir has yet to be spoiled by tourism! We bought pistachios and a beautiful nickel on copper Syrian style jug.

We flew back to Izmir where Cizgi car hire entrusted us with a month old Fiat diesel for 19tl a day. We spent a night in the most hospitable and relaxing (a garden) Pansiyon Athena in Bergama. The archeological sites seemed very overpriced since most of the remains are in Berlin. We drove on to the Cicekli Bahce Motel near ancient Assos for three nights. Individual huts and a restaurant right on the sea where we swam with the fishes. Cicekli serves the most delicious food - at breakfast 8 cheeses and 8 home made jams not to mention home baked rolls, omelettes etc. The cost was 90tl per person half board. We paid up and visited the top of Assos where there is very little to see and then found that we could walk through a gate at the bottom near the theatre for free where there are quite substantial remains. Ayvacik Friday market provided most of the goodies to bring home - olives, tea, walnuts, soap, sparkly baggy trousers, hand knitted socks and homespun knitting wool.

Our final night was in the comfortable Hotel Baylan by Basmane Station in Izmir.

Turkish people are so welcoming. We are already discussing next year's trip. Perhaps back to the East and hiring a car to visit some of the less accessible sites.


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David Morgan
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Re: Izmir, Sanliurfa, gaziantep, Izmir, Bergama, Assos, Izmi

Post by David Morgan » Fri May 10, 2013 10:10 am

Sounds great, Sally. That rental car was a total bargain! Is it correct that you don't actually disembark at Rumkale and it's just a rather pleasant boat trip?
What about the Temple of Athena at the top of Assos?

I must get to Göbekli Tepe one day. I stupidly missed it in '04 when I stayed a night in Urfa - could have easily got to it on my motorbike.

Thanks for the accommodation info. I've bookmarked the Çiçekli Bahçe, looks good. I stayed at the harbour when I visited.

sally
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Re: Izmir, Sanliurfa, gaziantep, Izmir, Bergama, Assos, Izmi

Post by sally » Fri May 10, 2013 10:39 am

No you don' t disembark at Rumkale. I read somewhere that a large amount of money has recently been allocated to make it safe and develop it for tourism over the next few years.

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David Morgan
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Re: Izmir, Sanliurfa, gaziantep, Izmir, Bergama, Assos, Izmi

Post by David Morgan » Fri May 10, 2013 10:48 am

Yes, there's an article in Hürriyet about developing Rumkale for tourism.

SwampeastMike
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Re: Izmir, Sanliurfa, gaziantep, Izmir, Bergama, Assos, Izmi

Post by SwampeastMike » Sat May 11, 2013 10:44 pm

That rental price for a Diesel was a fantastic bargain! Did you take the back road from Bergama that I suggested earlier? When we visited the mosaic museum in Gaziantep it had just opened and our group of three were the only visitors.

sally
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Re: Izmir, Sanliurfa, gaziantep, Izmir, Bergama, Assos, Izmi

Post by sally » Sun May 12, 2013 10:53 pm

We did take your back road and it was lovely. Thanks for the tip.

Our cars from Cizgi in the past have always been fairly dilapidated so this new one was quite a shock. One of the reasons we like Cizgi, apart from the price, is that it is a cash transaction so no possibility of aggravation with credit cards. I notice that the same car costs twice as much from them in Dalaman as in Gaziantep or Izmir. Why?


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