Twice today I was asked, “Where’s your next big trip?” This query might come up a dozen times in any given month from clients and friends. I think they really want to know and I’m definitely up for a big throw-me-off-my-routine exciting trip. So this Sunday, I push off with my husband for a two-week adventure through Turkey. This year I’m trading gravy, turkey and stuffing for baklava, kebaps and mezes.
I’m not a completely “fly by the seat of your pants” type of traveler. I like to have my transportation and accommodations arranged, with some idea of what to see and do. We’re flying non-stop from Washington Dulles to Istanbul on Turkish Airlines—11hrs in a tiny coach seat so it’s a good thing I’ll have my No Jet-Lag, eye mask, Bucky neck pillow, blanket, a good book, and an iPod loaded with tunes.
I know we’ll visit the typical sites in Istanbul including the Grand Bazaar, Spice Market, Blue Mosque, Aya Sofia, sail the Bosphorus between Europe and Asia, and relax at a local haman, but mostly I’m looking forward to wandering, trying all sorts of Turkish cuisine and meeting locals. I’ve heard Turks are extremely friendly by nature.
Next up we fly onto Izmir to pick up our rental car and head south to Selcuk, a smallish farming town that also serves as a jumping off point for Ephesus. After a couple of days there we’ll drive onto Pamukkale stopping along the way to see Aphrodisias, the impressive Roman ruins built about 260 AD and named after Aphrodite. Pamukkale is a tiny village, famous for the gleaming white calcite shelves overrunning with warm, mineral rich waters on the mountain above it, the so-called Cotton Castle. From here we’ll push off to the Cappadocia region, specifically Goreme, for its magnificent landscape, underground cities and outdoor pursuits. I’m thrilled that we’re staying in a traditional cave hotel.
What am I most looking forward to is getting lost, literally and figuratively; learning more about the culture and history; exploring Cappadocia and our hot air balloon ride; and, hearing the call to prayer at sunrise. It will be wonderful to sit on the Pamakkule ledges at sunset, eat local food, walk for hours a day, smell the markets and bazaars, and share it all with my husband. –Rochelle, November, 2013