Phil D

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Phil D

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Sep192010

Tour/Activity

Istanbul in One Day Sightseeing Tour: Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar

Istanbul, Turkey

My Rating
3 star rating: Worth doing

My Review
Disappointing. The guide took us inside the sites, then, standing in one spot, provided general information that duplicated information I'd read in guide books before coming to Istanbul. After this introduction, we were told to explore the site on our own instead of being taken around it and having features pointed out. Consequently, some members of the group overlooked unique and interesting aspects of the sites. Note: the hareem at Topkapi was not included in this tour, which I feel is a major omission. Lunch (average) required a time-consuming bus ride away from the areas of interest and then back again. Other groups ate at the restaurant at Topkapi; a nicer experience than we had and a great time-saver.

Sep152010

Tour/Activity

Day Trip to Pergamum and Asklepion from Izmir

Izmir, Turkey

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review
The guide, Tayfun Yalcin, was outstanding and the tour (which turned out to be private) was well-planned and totally enjoyable and worthwhile. Tayfun was knowledgeable, eloquent, and interesting -- as well as personable. He helped one imagine how glorious the sites once were. (It also was instructive to have visited the Pergamon Museum in Berlin.) Even though many of the temples and monuments have been removed or destroyed, the sites, Pergamon in particular, remain awesome and memorable. Logistically, this tour made it convenient to visit these relatively remote sites, which otherwise would have been somewhat difficult to access. I believe that anyone who is interested in ancient cities and monuments would, as I did, find this tour a highlight of a visit to Turkey.

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