TURKISH TREASURES: Ancient Crossroad of Europe + Asia 5-21 September 2014

Marieke first researched a tour of Turkey in 2002 and subsequently conducted and escorted a three-week tour to “this country to fall in love with” over the following four years. We are excited to announce that a revised and refined program will once again be offered in 2012 commencing in Istanbul late May to one of the most rewarding, culturally rich and diverse destinations available to the adventurous traveller.

Neither the capital, nor a European city, Istanbul has this year enjoyed the status as the European Capital of Culture, and “it bears this honorific as part of an effort to strengthen Europe’s belief in Turkey and Turkey’s European vocation. It is not just about making İstanbul feel more cultured but making both Europe and İstanbul itself understand that the city is an important custodian of an important tranche of Europe’s own heritage".

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

Istanbul is truly the bridge between Asia and Europe and one of the most thrilling cities to visit. Every civilization has swept through this vast and beautiful country leaving behind great works of art and the first three nights are spent here staying at the incomparable Four Seasons Hotel.
Further highlights of this program will include Anatolia's sweeping landscape as well as charming Ottoman villages.
Cappadocia's fairy tale landscapes of whimsical tufa chimneys, rock-hewn churches and wondrous canyons for gentle trekking can be explored over four nights from the immense comfort of charming and superbly atmospheric private houses overlooking the Pigeon Valley.

The magic allure of sailing the Turquoise coast of the Mediterranean with crystal clear waters, sunken ancient cities, magical islands and delightful little harbours, with soaring snow-capped Taurus mountains in the distance will be relished from the comfort of your own private luxury gulet for a further four nights.

Time is also spent visiting the most famous Hellenic and Graeco-Roman of sites such as Ephesus, Miletus, Priene and Termessos of mighty architectural ingenuity and grandeur. You also spend time in the pilgrimage town of Konya that is the burial home of the enlightened saint, Rumi, founder of the Mevlevi order of dervishes, commonly called the Whirling Dervishes whose poetic message of peace, love of God and one's fellow creatures, resounds to a far wider audience today than it did over 700 years ago when Rumî preached and taught in Konya, and whirled in ecstasy through its streets.

Beneath the mythic-poetic image of Turkey's mystery and oriental splendour and sun-drenched coastlines is a rapidly modernising democratic Republic (founded by Atatürk after Gallipoli and the War of Independence in 1923) and a secular society embarking on the 21st Century and angling for inclusion to the European community.

The people are hospitable and the cuisine is a rich heritage of many influences, wonderful fresh produce and great regional variety and dining on fine Turkish specialties and the freshest seafood is a great feature of this in-depth trip. There is also the opportunity for some shopping: stunning carpets and kilims, fascinating jewellery and leathergoods amongst the standouts of Turkish craft.

YOUR TOUR GUIDE
 Accompanying Marieke on this tour is her friend and preferred guide in Turkey, Fatih Babaoglu with whom she has maintained a marvellous relationship for over a decade. A proud Turk, Fatih is quite beyond compare. A PhD in Archaeology + Hittite Civilization from Ankara University, Fatih's thesis' site was Kaunos, founded in the 9th C and a reflection of both the Carian and Lycian civilizations in the Dalyan Delta. We have the opportunity to visit this site as a land excursion from the gulet.
 Annually, he continues his research, particularly at Patara.
 Erudite, knowledgeable, humorous, he is also a bon viveur, great food lover, keenly interested in music, and an excellent host whose care for our guests always goes beyond the call of duty. He enlivens his culture at every turn and is wonderful company.

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