My Trip to Turkey, a Country on the Rise

by 607

By the time you read this I will be home from my vacation in Turkey. Although Turkey has its challenges like all countries, it definitely gives the impression of being a country on the rise. This was my first visit and I was extremely impressed with Istanbul as a top tier tourism city. One of my traveling companions was in Istanbul for the first time in over 25 years and was amazed at the transformation.

Having dinner on the Bosporus is a great touristic experience. Seeing the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia Museum, the Basilica Cistern, the mosaics at the St. Savior Church at Chora, the Grand Bazaar and Topkapi Palace in two days is a touristic treasure trove. It didn’t hurt that our guide was most likely the number one English-speaking guide in Turkey. I drilled him with questions and he answered everything except one – how were engineers educated in ancient times to be able to build such amazing buildings (and cisterns under buildings)? We loved dining in Istanbul, especially the restaurant Asitane which features Ottoman (not to be confused with modern Turkish) cuisine that the restaurant has painstakingly researched going back to 1471.

One thing I learned from our guide – there never was a Byzantine Empire like we learned at school. Later European scholars retrofitted this appellation on to the “Byzantines.” Back in the day, so our guide told us, there were the Western Romans (capital Rome) and the Eastern Romans (capital Constantinople). After Rome fell, the Eastern Romans carried on for nearly another 1,000 years until the Ottomans conquered Constantinople in 1453. If any history buffs want to comment, please feel free.

After Istanbul, we relocated to the southwest coast near the Mediterranean at Fethiye, which is in the region where the Lycians lived before Alexander the Great came through. We visited their pre-Greek ruins at Xanthos and Letoon. We spent most of our days on a small boat just offshore or in the water. It was very hot and very sunny throughout. I kept up my training and ran up some massive hills, twice running ever upwards for 18 – 20 minutes. The food was outstanding. The friendliness of the people was notable. Ramadan started in the middle of the week, which added an interesting twist. The best part, however, was hanging out with the other three families and their kids. The four husbands went to law school together. We get together somewhere in the world every two years and it is always a major highlight.

Hope you enjoy the videos.

  • Lisa langrell

    I lived in Southern Turkey (Adana) for 2 years back in 1985-87 while in the Air Force. Turkey is one of the best kept secret vacation destinations. Turkish people are incredibly friendly and the food is just amazing. While in turkey, I traveled throughout the country to Izmir, Ankara, Capadocia which is in Anatolia, the center of the country. I found the trip to Anatoloa a wonder all to itself with the excavation of an underground city, discovery of some of the first monasteies, strange and wonderous rock formations left from volcanos, and caves with christian paintings that still remain (hopefully since the 80’s). It is also one of the safest countries to travel in. I am glad you were able to get a taste of Turkey.

    • Adam

      Lisa, thank you so much for sharing your experience. Turkey is indeed a beautiful country and I feel very lucky to have been able to experience it.

  • eileen

    When will you be putting Johnny Rockets on Jewels of the seas?Most of your other ships have this 50’s theme Why not this one?I think your repositioning cruisers would love this extra WOW factor.I think next year would be Great.Thank you from a Royal Caribbean Cruiser.

    • Adam

      Eileen, thank you for your suggestion, we have taken note of it, and passed it on to the appropriate department for consideration.

  • Dana Reid

    We traveled to Turkey 2 years ago on Azamara and it was one of the most exciting trips I have taken. The country if full of history and exciting wonders. I believe that you must visit it several times before you have a good understanding of the many cultures and different people who lived there. The Turkish people are warm and friendly and love to share their country and information with travelers. Azamara was a great experience and I recommend it to all.

  • Ian Glenday

    It was great to hear your impressions of modern day Turkey. Have you considered a home port there? We would love to cruise from there so we could spend some time before or after the cruise there! Our family lived in Ankara for two years in the 70’s and we traveled throughout the country. When we cruise with RCL we enjoy talking with your folks who are from Turkey. We will be on Monarch on Monday and are looking forward to seeing our Turkish friends again.
    Thanks for sharing your family experiences!
    Ian and Linda

    • Adam

      Thank you, Ian. In regards to having a home port in Turkey, we will take your suggestion and pass it on to the appropriate department. We hope your trip on the Monarch of the Seas was an enjoyable one, and we hope to see you onboard with us again soon.