Try Cruising Turkey
Some cruises of the Eastern Mediterranean and Aegean Seas include port calls in a country that many cruise travelers have yet to discover: Turkey. These cruises offer a look at a land where ancient roots mingle with modern sensibilities. While certainly nearby neighboring countries have been the subject of much civil unrest of late, Turkey is not appearing on the US State Departments Do Not Travel lists. For a complete listing of updated travel advisories click here.
Istanbul is a sprawling city where East literally meets West: the city lies on two continents, Europe and Asia, divided only by the Bosphorus Strait. Cruise ships dock in the city center, near the Galata Bridge that spans the romantically named Golden Horn estuary. Some of the many fabulous sights of the city include Topkapi Palace, home of sultans; the Hagia Sophia, (Church of Divine Wisdom), a marvel of engineering from the sixth century; and the Blue Mosque, with its beautiful minarets and cascading domes. You can browse 4,000 shops at the Grand Bazaar or enjoy the aromas of the Spice Market. There are many more historic sites within a short distance of Istanbul, including Bursa, the first capital of the Ottoman Empire, and Gallipoli, site of the World War I battle for control of the Dardanelles. In fact, there is so much to see that some ships dock at Istanbul for two days.
Kusadasi, once a sleepy fishing village, is now a bustling resort town on the Aegean. There are beaches to enjoy and a market to browse, but Kusadasi is also a perfect starting point for some memorable excursions. It’s only a mere 20 km inland to Ephesus, known as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, Ephesus is one of the best-preserved ancient Roman cities in the Mediterranean region. (Pirene, Miletus and Didyma are other places to see spectacular Roman ruins). Ephesus also features among its treasures the House of the Virgin Mary,(where it is widely held that at this house the virgin mother spent her final days). Artemis Temple (“Artemis” mythologically was to have been the twin sister of Apollo). The Basilica of St. John (believed to be the actual burial site of the most famous evangelist saint).
Izmir is a fast-growing city on Turkey’s northern Aegean coast. Known as being a gateway to Bergama, (which was famous in Roman times for its massive library and medical center) primarily for its two roads constructed in roman times which ran from Mt Pagos to both Ephesus and Sardis. There’s a fabulous view of the countryside from the ancient acropolis and its dramatic hillside theater. This area is served well by all forms of transportation including planes, trains, and rental automobiles which by prior arrangement can be picked up at the airport (a rarety for Turkey). There is even regular scheduled sea service to both Italy, and south to Istanbul from this northern Turkey Aegean port city.
In Antalya, on the Mediterranean coast, a modern city surrounds a small but charming historic neighborhood. Many of buildings there date from the Roman and Ottoman Empires, with some serving as inns, museums and restaurants today. The city features a picturesque “old quarter” featuring narrow streets, older wooden houses, and ancient city walls. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, you can take a break from antiquities on a hiking or river-rafting excursion to Koprulu Canyon National Park. The nearby Duden Waterfalls plunge directly into the Aegean Sea here. Within a mere 50 km from the heart of this bustling port city are featured year round outdoor sports and activities including Snow Skiing, Water Sports, Swimming, Sunbathing, and trail hiking. With a strict conservation program that affords even nature’s tourist including the mountain goats, and deer a vacation “refuge” from pesky humans!
To consider cruise itineraries that includes some of these Turkish ports, talk with your personal cruise expert.
For more information on Turkey and other interesting destination travel choices available, contact Mike via email firstname.lastname@example.org . You can tweet (or follow) Mike at http://www.twitter.com/cruisewithmike . To “Join” our Travel Club go to http://meetup.com/Sun-Cities-Travelers-Group/ Mikes web site can be found at www.mberryhill.cruiseholidays.com . Follow Mike’s blog (or subscribe to it) at http://www.cruisewithmike.com (or merely click on the subscribe button above to have daily delivery to your email). View all of Mikes uploaded Flickr Photo Galleries at http://www.flickr.com/photos/cruisewithmike/ . Mike also edits his own twice daily e-newspaper called “The Compass Headings” you can see (or subscribe to) it free! at http://paper.li/CruisewithMike
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