Why people love to travel to Turkey?
Read Pete's interview;
Tell us abit about yourself..?
I'm 59 years old, married to Jan with three grown up children and three grandchildren. I'm a qualified Telecommunications engineer by trade, who moved into Health and Safety during my career with my last company, Vodafone. I gained my trade training serving in the Royal Signals, and Jan and I made 23 house moves in the 13 years I was in the service. In that time we've lived in Germany (Verden Aller 3 years and Wildenrath 5 years) and Malta (Msida 2 years). Jan enjoys gardening and embroidery, whilst I scuba dive, paint (in acrylics), bonsai trees love motor sports (especially F1) and generally keep amused.
What made you first decide to visit Turkey?
Actually, that wasn't really our choice, our eldest daughter was in the midst of a divorce and we'd obviously helped her and her daughter a fair bit during the proceedings. As a surprise thank you, she booked us a holiday for two weeks in Kusadasi in October of 1994. We didn't know what to expect, but immediately fell in love with the place and people and have been coming back to Turkey twice a year ever since (one of which is always Kusadasi).
Which cities have you visited in Turkey?
We've visited Side on the Mediterranean coast, enjoying its Roman legacy very much, life moves at a different pace from Kusadasi there, its also generally warmer than the Aegean resorts. We've also visited Marmaris and Icmeler, Marmaris is quite fast moving whilst Icmeler is very much a sleepy coastal suburb of Marmaris (albeit a few miles away) that wakes up when Marmaris does. We've also been on a gulet cruise taking in Fethiye and Olu Deniz (and a few other places), that was such a relaxing experience, everyone visiting Turkey should at some stage try it. We've also been to Antalya, but for us the hustle and bustle of a big city wasn't our scene, great for the younger generation though.
Would you like to visit again? If yes - What is it about Turkey that you love?
Not only would we like to visit again, but bowing to our Turkish friends enquiries about when we would become their neighbours we've taken early retirement and moved to Kusadasi on a permanent basis. That tells you a lot about the Turkish people, if you take the trouble to become really friendly with them, you immediately become a "Turk" yourself. Family and neighbours are very, very important to the Turkish people, so to have friends who want you to live near them is a whole different experience from just being on holiday.
Did you feel safe in Turkey?
Both Jan and I feel safer here than back in the UK. To give an example of why, my parents visited us over Christmas and during one of our expeditions into town my mum fell over, hurting her nose. We were soon surrounded by local Turkish people all wanting to help, one of whom was a Taxi driver who not only took us to the Hastane, but stayed with us (no charge) to ensure mum got the right treatment, and then brought us back home. Would that happen elsewhere in the world, I doubt it.
How were the Turkish people?
I think the example I've just given says it all, friendly, helpful, considerate, kind and justifiably proud are all adjectives that apply to the Turkish people in huge doses. Of course tourists will always get some hassle, after all they want to spend, and the locals have to earn money, but generally if visitors say no (preferrably in Turkish) they will be left alone.
Do you have any suggestions for new visitors to Turkey? Travel - tour tips? Can you recommend any specific places or advice?
Wow, that's one heck of a question, hmm, the best advice I can offer is lay back, relax and let the holiday happen, Turkish time is different to anywhere else and that is not a bad thing, it will ensure the visitor isn't rushed here, there and everywhere.
Turks are rightly proud of their heritage and especially where Ataturk is concerned. There are pictures of him to be found in every shop, bar or public office, so the very last thing visitors should consider doing is insulting him in any way, shape or form.
Visitors should also not confuse Turkish hospitality with attempts at getting the visitor's money out of them. A cup of tea in a shop is normal hospitality and not a sales ploy, so do try it (hint, its always useful to know where the tuvulets are if you visit a lot of shops and drink tea in each.....)
From Kusadasi, Ephesus is an obvious choice of venue to visit, personally, I prefer Aphrodisias which has amongst other things, a huge circus in very good condition. It also has the benefit of not having so many tourists wandering around as Ephesus does.......trips to both Ephesus and Aphrodisias are easily arranged through the many tour companies around town, or the visitor's own travel company. Or, for the adventurous visitor, a dolmus from Kusadasi to Selcuk goes right past the entrance to Ephesus.
Pamukale is always worth a visit for the wow factor, but Heropolis (behind Pamukale) is worth a few hours wander whilst there. Its not excavated as much as either Ephesus or Aphrodisias but has some interesting features anyway.
For the petrolheads visiting Turkey in August, a trip to the Otodrom at Istanbul is a must to watch the Turkish F1 GP.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. Peter