A SPECIAL JOURNEY TO TURKEY
Visiting Ephesus ~ Cappadocia ~ Marmaris ~ Istanbul ~ and MORE
Including a Private 3-Masted Schooner Cruise on the Turquoise Coast
Hosted by Deborah Thompson
Turkey is a place where you explore the mysterious land of the Ottomans from ancient Ephesus to the bizarre landscapes of Pamukkale; Experience an evening with the Whirling Dervishes in Cappadocia; Marvel at Mehmet Aga’s masterpiece, the Blue Mosque; Bargain for trinkets in Istanbul’s massive Grand Bazaar and savor delicious Turkish snacks and the country’s wonderful and unique cuisine.
A special feature of this tour will be discovering the underwater treasures of the Mediterranean on a relaxing Schooner cruise sailing past sunken cities, sandy beaches, white-washed old towns — all in a relaxed atmosphere that is only found by cruising (usually about four hours per day) on these special and unique waters.
The Schooner cruise includes all meals, all shore excursions and guided sightseeing tours. All cabins are comfortably appointed and have private bathrooms and showers. The three-masted Gulet also features a sun deck, onboard wi-fi, a canoe, snorkeling and basic fishing gear. There will be delicious local culinary specialties prepared by a private chef, accompanied by the attentive service you’ll only experience from being on our own schooner.
Note: Tour will be limited to 24 travelers in 12 cabins
Our Tour Includes
- Roundtrip flights between New York and Istanbul
- All flights within Turkey
- Round-trip airport/hotel transfers
- Baggage handling at airports & hotels
- Great hotels at Kusadasi, Cappadocia, Marmaris & Istanbul
- Hotel taxes and service charges
- One-week sailing cruise
- Daily breakfast
- 5 lunches and 6 dinners onboard our cruise
- An additional 3 lunches & 4 dinners while land touring
- Guided sightseeing including entrance fees while cruising
- Welcome dinner
- Sightseeing tour of Ephesus
- Morning at Pamukkale Spa (or optional carpet purchasing program)
- Sightseeing tour of Pamukkale & Hierpolis
- Evening dinner and performance of the Whirling Dervishes in Cappadocia
- Sightseeing tour of Istanbul
- Farewell Dinner in Istanbul
Day 1 – Saturday, April 25: Depart USA
Depart from JFK this evening.
Day 2 – Sunday, April 26: Arrival Istanbul and connect to Kayseri and on to Cappadocia (D)
Arrival in Istanbul where we connect to our flight to Kayseri. Here we will be met and transferred to our hotel in Cappadocia, for our overnight in this city of mystical heritage. Welcome dinner.
Day 3 – Monday, April 27: In Cappadocia (B/L/D)
This will be a full day of touring Cappadocia, highlighted by our visit to its rock-carved cities and surrealistic landscapes where nature has sculpted the earth into fantastic shapes and fretted ravines, including some of the dozen rocked-carved churches that were painted with exquisite frescoes by early Christians more than 1,000 years ago. Highlights will be visits to the Cave of Goreme, the Byzantine churches of the area and the underground city of Kaymaki, where early Christians fleeing persecution lived undetected for months at a time. After lunch, we return to our hotel, where this evening we will have dinner and enjoy a performance by the famous Whirling Dervishes. Overnight in Cappadocia.
Day 4 – Tuesday, April 28: To Izmir and onto Kusadasi (B/D)
Our morning is free for independent exploration, or to take an Optional balloon ride over this unique city (cost $175). In the afternoon, we transfer to the airport and take our connecting flight to Izmir. On arrival, we transfer to Kusadasi for our dinner and overnight.
Day 5 – Wednesdays, April 29: Morning Excursions to Pamukkale & Hierapolis (B/L/D)
Meet in the lobby as we depart for a very special day of touring to Pamukkale, one of the most extraordinary natural wonders in the world. We start the morning with a visit to the SPA for a dip in the sulfur baths. The spring water at Pamukkale has therapeutic qualities and since antiquity has been said to cure rheumatism, kidney and heart diseases. After lunch at the Spa, we are off to the ruins at Hierapolis that cover an extensive area. To the ancients such beauty could only mean that the place was sacred to the gods. Then it’s to the big attraction and that is a vast white cliff side with scallop-shaped basins of water and waterfalls. It looks as if it’s made out of snow, or clouds, or balls of cotton. For thousands of years a deep underground spring has been pouring out streams of hot, mineral-saturated water. As it has flowed down the mountainside, the steaming water has hollowed enormous circular basins in the earth, and the water’s rich mineral content has coated them in a smooth layer of dazzlingly-white calcareous rock. Here we will do a most unusual (and easy) walk down the mountain to our coach and back to our hotel for dinner and out overnight.
Day 6 – Thursday, April 30: To Ephesus and on to Marmaris
A full day as we start with a tour of the ancient city of Ephesus. Depart for our tour to Ephesus the best preserved classical city of the Eastern Mediterranean, and among the best places in the world enabling one to genuinely soak in the atmosphere of Roman times. The site of a succession of great ancient civilizations, Ephesus, on the south-west coast of modern Turkey, embodied a peculiarly fertile synthesis of architecture and culture and what is one of the seven wonders of the world. Just ahead of Ephesus, located on the top of the “Bulbul” mountain, we visit the shrine of Virgin Mary enjoys a marvelous atmosphere hidden in the green. It is the place where Mary may have spent her last days. Indeed, she may have come in the area together with Saint John, Then to the House of Virgin Mary, entirely made of stones. In the 4th century AD, a church, combining her house and grave, was been built. Another interesting place is the “Water of Mary,” a source to be found at the exit of the church area and where a rather salty water, said to have curative properties, can be drunk by all. Onto the Basilica of St. John. It is believed that he spent his last years in the region around Ephesus and is buried in the southern slope of Ayosolug Hill. Three hundred years after St. John’s death, a small chapel was constructed over the grave in the 4th century. This is followed by a tour of the actual city of Ephesus that played a great role in the ancient times with its strategic location, wealth and it religious influence. The Celcius Library in Ephesus was the third largest library after the Alexandra and Pergamum and had a capacity of 12,000 scrolls. The theater of the Ephesus is one of the most magnificent structure in Ephesus and the largest in Anatolia having the capacity of 25,000 seats. After lunch, we continue to Marmaris and our hotel accommodations by the sea. Dinner this evening will be at the hotel’s rooftop steak restaurant.
Day 7 – Friday, May 1: To Ephesus and onto Marmaris
A full day to relax by the pool or the beach – or maybe explore the harbor with its great shops. Dinner on your own at one of the wonderful harbor-side restaurants.
Day 8 – Saturday, May 2: In Marmaris – To start our cruise (B/D)
Breakfast at leisure and the balance of the morning to relax at the beach or pool and have lunch on your own. In the late afternoon, we transfer to our 3-masted schooner and start our cruise of the Turquoise Coast. Upon arrival, we will be assigned our cabins. With its people, lifestyle, culture and most importantly, its history and nature, this Aegean region has witnessed almost every period of Anatolia, and is heir to the culture of centuries with dozens of settlements who filled the pages of history. Our cruise first arrives in Turunc. Like all other places in the area, Turunç has been a continuous settlement from Hellen to Byzantine times. After lunch, we continue to Kadirga, a perfect harbor for docking. This beach here is quite beautiful, long and fairly isolated. The spot is called Iskele (dock, wharf), which is located at the edge of the Aegean Sea. This charming place is dotted with old stone houses that are used as inns and restaurants. If we have time, some other must-sees of Assos (Behramkale, Asos) are the Amphitheatre, ancient watchtowers, etc. Dinner onboard.
Day 9-Sunday, May 3: To Ekincik Bay and Kadirga (B/L/D
The cruise now moves towards the Ekincik Gulf, where we will depart from our Gulet into small boats called piyade, to cruise to Caretta-Caretta (turtle) Beach and enjoy the natural beauty of the Delta as we cruise along the river. A fishing village called Dalyan will be our final destination before we return by piyade boat to our schooner. Dinner and an overnight stay will be in the Gulf of Ekincik.
Day 10 – Monday, May 4: To Oludeniz (the Dead Sea) and Gemiler Island (B/L/D)
Early morning departure (when the sea is calmest) to reach the world-famous Oludeniz Bay. Our Gulet will be anchored in Oludeniz for lunch and a swimming break. The next stop will be Gemiler Island, where we have an early evening walk on Gemiler Island and pay a visit to the Church of St. Nicholas (Santa Claus),that remains from the Bysantine time and located at the top of the island. Dinner and an overnight stay will be in the Gemiler Strait
Day 11 – Tuesday, May 5: To Fethiye (B/L/D)
After breakfast, we will cruise to Turunc Pinari for lunch and a swimming break. Afternoon arrival at Fethiye Harbor. Fethiye, which was known as Telmessos in the ancient times, was the most important city situated on Lycia’s western border with Caria. It is believed that the city’s name comes from Apollon’s son Telmessos. As the name suggests, it was the city of light and famous for its Prophets. Fethiye stretches in a half circle along the bay protected by 12 Islands. Before dinner, we will have a chance to explore the city and the famous tombs that are carved into the side of a Turkish mountain that looks to be the entrances to countless temples, but are in fact the ornate facade of ancient Lycian tombs. Afternoon time for shopping and dinner at a local restaurant before returning to our Gulet.
Day 12 – Wednesday, May 6: To Gocek Islands (B/L/D)
Breakfast at our own leisure. After breakfast, we will cruise to world-famous Gocek Gulf. We will be sailing through uniquely beautiful islands to anchor at Yassica Islands. Lunch will be taken in this beautiful chain of little islands. We then continue and anchor at Tersane Island for tea-time. This naturally protected harbor was used as the shipyard in Byzantine and Ottoman times. For dinner and overnight stay we will cruise and anchor in Bedri Rahmi Bay. Bedri Rahmi is a famous Turkish artist who made one of the first ‘Blue Cruises’ in Turkey. Following his visit the bay was named after him. Time to explore a bit before returning to our Gulet for dinner.
Day 13 – Thursday, May 7: To Istanbul (B)
Early breakfast and depart for the airport. Upon arrival, we will transfer to the city with a sightseeing tour of the city on the way to our reserved accommodations. Highlights will be a visit to the famous Blue Mosque, with its mighty dome, and the only mosque in Istanbul with minarets. This was built on the site of the Great Palace of Byzantium in the early 17th century. Today it is a working mosque and is therefore closed to non-worshippers during the five daily prayers. The interior, with its lightness, spatial effect and color, is one of the finest creations of Turkish architecture. Next is the St. Sophia Museum, formerly known as the Hagia Sofia (Holy Wisdom), a former Greek Orthodox church that was converted to a mosque in 1453 by the Ottoman Empire. This is the supreme achievement of Byzantine architecture, and it’s the city’s most celebrated monument. If time, we then visit the Archeological Museum, which contains an important collection of prehistoric Greek, Roman and Byzantine antiquities. In the courtyard is the graceful Tiled Pavilion, one of the oldest surviving Turkish buildings in Istanbul. Return to our hotel and dinner on our own.
Day 14 – Friday, May 8: In Istanbul: (B/D)
After breakfast we have the day free for independent exploring and shopping. One place that is a “must” is the Grand Bazaar. This is the largest oriental bazaar in the world. This is not simply a building, nor a market, nor even a district, but is sort of a city itself, a separate urban area with its own alleys, thoroughfares and streets, a labyrinth of shops that are fascinating to explore. There are shops with windows teaming with gold and diamonds in the jewelers section of the Bazaar and where you will find jewelry in gold, silver platinum, cut diamonds, and other gems and precious stones. In one place you will see a shop in the form of a small kiosk, which was formerly the counter of a dairy; take the little spiral staircase to the upper floor and a chance to take a look at the market spreading immediately below you. Then down the stairs and to the left you will arrive at the antiquities section of the Bazaar, where you will find objects in copper and bronze, with every sort of souvenir you can imagine to tempt you. Make your own way back to relax a bit before our farewell dinner on Galatasaray Island, a small private island on the Bosporus – between two Continents –with a view of both the city and Bosporus. Meet in the lobby to transfer to the pier for a five-minute shuttle boat ride from town. Here we will have dinner at one of the local restaurants before ferrying back to our hotel.
Day 15 – Saturday, May 9: To JFK (B)
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight back to JFK.
Our Deluxe Sailing Schooner – The Bahriyeli
Our sailing yacht is called a Gulet – (Turkish pronunciation: GOO-lett) and is a traditionally-designed wooden vessel built on the southwestern coast of Turkey for sailing the Turquoise Coast. The Bahriyeli was built in 2005 and has 12 cabins, all with bathrooms and showers. It is approximately 165 feet long and has a cruising speed of seven to nine sea miles/hour. The schooner has satellite TV and a music system with a CD player, as well as 220-volt electricity. There are two dining areas including one that’s outside, an outdoor lounge area and a large sun deck.
Frequently Asked Questions About Our Gulet
Will I have a language problem?
No. Most of our crew members speak English and are generally Turkish or British. The Captain speaks English.
Will I be able to make special requests?
Special dietary requests can be made to RMC prior to your cruise. If there is a specific beverage you would like to find at the bar or a certain dish you wish to try we can usually accommodate. Please advise RMC eight weeks prior to our cruise. Meals are usually fish, vegetables and some meats. Please make sure that you advise RMC of any food allergies or medical conditions that require special attention.
Will I feel confined?
Not if you enjoy meeting the locals, viewing beautiful scenery from the various decks or sharing experiences with a congenial group of like-minded travelers on a journey more like a moving spiritual adventure of like-minded travelers. All of this in addition to the sightseeing tours en route. The Gulet is anchored at night, either in a marina or in a cove which has dedicated insomniacs having reported wonderful, restful sleep. It is the relaxed atmosphere on board, the friendly and helpful crew, the peace and tranquility of the country, the coast, together with the wonderful cuisine, lively conversation and interesting sightseeing that make it magical.
Please read our RMC Travel Terms and Conditions.
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Due on or before February 25, 2015
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