index Arrival Istanbul Cappdoce Efes Return end
The trip is called 'Circuit La Turquie à Grande Vitesse', organised by Marmara, 7 days, and some 2,700 kilometres.
Taking in Day 1: Depart Paris (CDG) LFPG to Izmir LTBJ, onto Bodrum, Day 2: via Ephese, Pamukkale, 180 KM to Denizli, Day 3: via Konya 840 KM to Cappadoce, Day 5: via Ankara, Bolu, 850 KM to Istanbul, Day 6: in Istanbul, Day 7: via Bursa 850 KM back to Bodrum, Day 8: Bodrum to Izmir LTBJ, depart to Paris (CDG) LFPG.
And all that in an image -
An automatic Slide Show, 14 images, each 4 seconds, as provided by Marmara, or in a fixed table format.
After the trip... If you want to quickly review the images taken, by Annie, and by Geoff. They tell it all. Annie took some 484 with her Panasonic, and Geoff 135 with Cink Slim mobile. The view is of 'thumbnail' images, but clicking on any image will open the full image.
In actual fact the direction of the trip was done in REVERSE... that is starting with Istanbul, then onwards to Bolu, Ankara, etc... Not sure why this reverse direction was chosen for this particular tour.
The first day began with an early flight from LFPG (Charles De Gaulle) to LTBJ (Izmir Adnan Menderes). The flight time was about 3 hours, 15 minutes, with a 1 hour time change.
We found our Marmara bus, #37, driver and guide, and were off on our journey. The interior of the bus was quite comfortable.
But having risen at about 4:30 AM to head for the CDG airport the first part of the trip is now a little blurry. We were informed that we would be headed first towards Istanbul, but our first stop was the Hitit Hotel and Restaurant, or , appears South of Izmir, where I think we stayed the night. Perhaps this was to collect some others that flew into Bodrum airport. Not sure...
But soon we were headed North towards Istanbul. Our bus took a little ferry, , across the sea of Marmara, at Altinova, I think, which cuts about 100 km off the trip, and we were soon headed into Istanbul , crossing a beautiful suspension bridge over the Bosphorus strait. We stayed two nights in Istanbul.
The next day was very busy, well as were most days on this trip. A visit to the principal monuments of the city, starting with the palace Tokapi - we were the first group to enter that day - followed quite quickly by some 5,000 to 10,000 visitors per day. Compare these two shots where the day starts with no one in sight, to the crowds arriving as we were leaving.
Then on to mosquee Blue and the basilique Sainte-Sophie, and Ayasofyz Museum, ,. A tour of the Grand Bazaar, and a boat trip, , on the Bosphorus.
A walk up the principal street with thousands of others. This is our guide pointing out something of interest to our group. Two things happened on this walk. First, in this sea of heads I lost our group when they turned onto a side street. Initially I was quite scared since I did not even know the name or anything about our hotel, so really pondered how I was to find my way. Anyway, after continuing forward for quite a way and not seeing anyone I understood they must have turned off, so back-tracked to about where I last saw them.
Phew, Annie and 2 others were waiting on a corner for me. The second thing was that I had omitted to do a pee-pee at the last stop, and things were getting desperate. On asking the guide he tried to urge me to wait until we reached the restaurant where we were to eat. But things were more desparate than that, so I pushed him to divert into a metro station, much to my relief. And as it turned out, also for many others in our group.
The next day was an early start to a long haul to Cappadoce, via Bolu and Ankara, the capital, with several stops on the way. The main one being to the musee des Civilistaion Antoliennes.
They had lots of interesting exhibitions, and one that struck me as quite surprising was some gold ear plugs. Since I hardly think they were to block out say loud music, or screaming cars as a race track, did these ancients also need ear plugs to block out the snoring of their partner?
We also stopped so we could paddle in a salt lake, and in Ankara passed by a statue of Ataturk, Turkey's first president.
Also a quick visit to an underground village before arriving at our hotel in Cappadoce for the night.
Again the next day was a very early start for those of us who had chosen the balloon ride, and Annie took great many images. At a price of 150 Euro per head, only 5 from our group of 40 had chosen this additional excursion. But for us it was perhaps the best event, with over 50 balloons, all taking off in that early morning sunrise.
These were the biggest balloon I had ever seen, with a suspended basket that can carry 20 to 30 passengers. That is like some 1200 people taking off that day, and I understood each day is like this, weather permitting of course.
And naturally they finished with the traditional glass of bubbly, and the presentation of a ' Flight Certificate' for everybody. A FANTASTIC voyage!
This region of relatively soft volcanic ash compressed into rock allows the wind, water and ice erosion to sculpt some interesting shapes, like these two spines with harder rock balanced in the points. Or at Goreme (Treasures of Turkey), , where a whole set of small 'churches' have been carved into the rocks.
Next was a visit to a carpet weaving factory, , where the movements of the weavers hands are too fast to see. The strand is taken around the back of two vertical strands, formed into a double knot, and cut, all in it seems less than a second. As well as wool the carpets can be woven from silk, , thanks to the cocoon built by the little silk worms.
As well as the predominant patterned carpets, they can be of personage, like Ataturk, or a war scene, etc. It finished with a small beverage and a display of many carpet, where we learned the price of these all hand woven treasures  &  to our group.
We continued to see the shapes carved by nature, commencing with one shaped like a camel, ending with a coffee and a photo of Annie & Sylvie sandwiching a funny little Turk. Then back to our hotel where I got the chance to take a quick dip in the pool. It seemed only about 3 of us braved this quite cold water, maybe 20-21 degrees C.
The evening was off to a folklorique show, which included the spinning derviches. Unfortunately neither camera captured these low light scenes very well, but the show was very impressive.
The next day we were off towards Konya, Denizi, Aydin, Efes... This is just a shot of a pee-pee stop along the way, which occurred about each 2 hours.
We stopped for a visit to the museum of Mevlana, founder of the order of the spinning derviches. There were many wonderful exhibits, including how they train to do the spinning, which is supposed to bring them closer to God.
A stop for lunch, and the inevitable smokers brigade. This group, including myself were almost always last back to the bus.
A brief picture stop, , before arriving at the hot springs at Pamukkale. Me paddling in the warn water. And on the hillside the ruins Roman village of Hierapolis, now nicely landscaped for the tourist trade. I read on wikipedia that tourism contributes over 10% of the Turkish GDP.
On to a brief visit to a leather.  vendor where they had some old cars in the garden, and I bought a leather belt. Annie nearly bought a nice leather jacket
Lunch at yet another nice restaurant. While one would not rave about the food - it was after all an all inclusive, excluding drinks, relatively cheap trip - we paid just 600 Euro each - the food was adequate. Most were buffet style so there was always plenty to eat.
While most took just water, at a Euro per bottle - while Turkey has its own currency, the Lira - 1 lira = 0.35 euro, 1 euro about 2.8 lira - everywhere we went they would accept euros as well. A small number took beer, but I, in every case, sampled the red wine of the country. While I would not rave about it, it was certainly drinkable. I can not recall the name, but quickly found a favorite.
After lunch was the big visit to ruins of Ephese. This was a few kilometre walk through the ruins. This is a nice picture of our group taking a small repose.
That was followed by a visit to the gold centre. Lots of nice 'expensive' stuff.
Finally onto our final hotel where we visited the beach, , , on the Aegean sea, where I was able to take a small swim.
The next morning was another quite early departure from the hotel, since our flight back to Paris lifted off around 7:30 AM.
We arrived back at Charles de Gaulle, and since we were quite tied, decided to take a taxi, but that turned out to be a BAD move. There were the remnants of a rail strike, and an accident on the A86, so the roads were blocked with traffic. After about an hour plus in the cab, and still only just reaching the outskirts of northern Paris, and the meter already over 60 Euros, we quit the cab at St Denis.
Strangely, there after we were quite lucky. As we arrived on the St Denis station a train arrived headed to Gare du Nord. And there, after descending two levels was a train that took us back to Antony.
Wow, what a vacation!. Brief, just one week, quite tiring, but marvelous and educational (tres etonnant). Would do it again in a heart beat. I MUST remind myself next time to take a small note book and pencil, just to jot down names, dates, places, etc. It has been quite hard to reconstruct this journey just from memory and images.
As previously stated here are all the images taken by Annie, and by Geoff.