Travels in Turkey 2012

Last updated on February 7th, 2022

A couple of weeks exploring Turkey on a group tour let me see all sorts of amazing things. And left me wanting to return.

Springtime Turkey itinerary

Day 1: April 13

A First Glimpse of Istanbul

At the airport we pile into the bus, still mostly strangers and groggy from our trip – but from the bus window I can see that I will like it here.

The leaping dolphin greeting we receive simply re-enforces that impression.

Waiting at the Golden Horn Sultanahmet

t takes forever to get into our room at the Golden Horn Sultanahmet as they don’t have quite enough rooms ready when our group arrives. While a shower would be really nice after a trans-Atlantic flight, the lobby is beautiful and the views from the top-floor terrace restaurant are fabulous!

If one has to wait, this is a good place to do it.

The Hippodrome

Aya Sofya (Hagia Sophia)

Sultan Ahmet Camii (the Blue Mosque)

Back to the View from the Terrace

Hagia Sophia is to the left. . .

Night in the City

Day 2: April 14 Istanbul

Topkapi Palace

The Harem

Istanbul’s Archeological Museums

Kapalı Çarşı (The Grand Bazaar)

A Random Pastry Shop

Sweets are very popular in Turkey – and very beautiful.

Day: 3 April 15 – Istanbul and Around

We explore Christian churches, take a cruise on the Bosporus, visit the spice market and a mosque, and take a walk through trendy Taksim neighborhood.

The Chora Church Museum

Chora Church exterior

Greek Orthodox Easter

Greek Othodox Easter

A cruise on the Bosporus

The spice market

spice display in Istanbul

Rustem Pasha Mosque


Day 4: April 16 – South Along the Coast

The scenery changes dramatically once we leave Istanbul.

rural countryside




Gallipoli is the site of a bloody, pointless battle. But it’s also the place where the national identities of Turkey, Australia, and New Zealand were formed or strengthened. Today beachside cemeteries honor the memory of those who lost their lives here.

Read more at Revisiting Gallipoli’s Anzac Cove



Troy is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Read more about Troy, what it’s like to visit, and how to plan your visit  in my post for World Heritage Sites.


And we end the night along the lovely little harbor in Assos.

Day 5: April 17 – Along the Coast

Early morning in Assos (Behramkale)

Temple of Athena

view over the Turkish countryside

Roman pillars in the countryside


Pergamon is a UNESCO World Heritage site that includes Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman ruins. Among them are the ruins of the ancient acropolis and Asklepion, as well as sites from the Roman period forward within the modern city of Bergama.

Read more about Pergamon, what it’s like to visit, and how to plan your trip in my post for World Heritage Sites.

Asklepion at Pergamon

The Asklepion is an ancient medical facility — another Roman ruin and part of the Pergamon World Heritage site.

Roman pillars

Driving the winding backroads of Turkey

tiny coastal road in Turkey

sheep on a small rural road

Day 6: April 18 –Ephesus and Around

Church of St. John

House of the Virgin Mary


Temple of Artemis

Roman pillar

Ephesus museum


Day 7: April 19 – From Turkey to Greece

We leave Turkey for a few days in Samos, Greece.


Day 8: April 20 – Touring Samos

We are out and about on the island for the day.

landscape on Samos

harbor with boats

people at a winery

And we end the day back in our little town.


Day 9: April 21 – Leaving Samos


Day 10: April 22 – Hierapolis and Pamukkale

Roman ruins at Hierapolis


Festivities at Pamukkale


Day 11: April 23 – Central Anatolia

Along the road

rural village amid fields

agricultural landscape

equipment in a field


In Konya we visit the Mevlana Museum.


We are spending the night here too, in a hotel in the heart of the city.



Day 12: April 24 – Central Anatolia

We start the day with a drive through the countryside along the Silk Route, with a stop at one of the restored caravanserais.

elaborately carved doorway with courtyard behind

courtyard of a stone compound

Mostly the landscape looks a lot like North Dakota – but with a mountains in the distance.

hills with snow capped mountains


But there’s no thinking we are in North Dakota when we reach Cappadocia and the cave churches of Goreme.


A little shopping

You can’t go to Turkey without shopping for a rug!

rug shop with a man flipping a carpet


Day 13: April 25 – Cappadoccia


filling a hot air balloon

hot air balloons rising

balloons in air

Balloons over a rugged landscape

Exploring underground cities

ladder leading down into the cave city

moving through the cave village

Gawking at Uchisar village

Creating and shopping for pottery


Absorbing the surreal scenery

weird landscape

weird landscape

village amid weird landscapes

weird rock with windows

Waiting to watch the dervishes whirl


Turkish Tulip Mania (March 25, 2012)


Pomegranate Juice, Anyone?

Freshly squeezed fruit juice is available everywhere in Istanbul and vendors always prominently display the fruit they are using.

pomegranates and water bottles

Why buy a bottle of plain old water when you can have fresh pomegranate juice? Just remember that even the ripest pomegranates are pretty tart!

Where do they teach you these lines?

One thing you absolutely can’t escape when you are in Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar is the insistent calling of salesmen. It is an endless stream of “Hey, beautiful!” “Lovely lady, this [scarf, necklace, plate, etc.] is almost as beautiful as you are.” and on and on and on.

My favorite went something like this:

  • Salesman (mostly directed to my blond friend): “Ah, you are so beautiful. One look into your eyes and I know I am dead.”
  • My friend and I: “You’re dead?”
  • Salesman: “You are an angel and angels are only in heaven, so I must be dead.”
  • Me: “Do you all go to a special school where they teach you these lines?”
  • Salesman (without missing a beat): “Sometimes they work.”


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