Impressed at Insight’s tour leader
That the 16-day “Treasures of Turkey” tour of Insight (Rye, NY; 888/680-1241) was sold out and there would be 40 travelers plus a tour director and driver on the motorbus was daunting news.
Not to worry! The tour members turned out to be a very interesting and diverse group of travelers, with nary a complainer among them. The other English-speaking tour members came from eight countries.
Including airfare from New York’s JFK Airport, airport transfers, single supplement and a 2-night extension on my own in Istanbul, the cost of my trip, Nov. 7-20, 2011, was $3,670.
Our tour director, Daghan (Han) Erdogdu, was a big, jovial fellow with a toothy grin who ran a tight ship, smoothly. Instructions were clear as to times for the wakeup call, breakfast, luggage pickup and bus departure. At each hotel, room keys were almost immediately ready, and at historical sites, entry tickets usually were at hand without our having to wait.
While free time was allotted, when I didn’t get back to the bus precisely on schedule at Hierapolis, Han only grinned and stated that a group member was allowed to be late… once.
Breakfasts and dinners were included, for the most part, while lunches were on our own. We stopped at dining places used to handling groups. At times, Han even got behind cafeteria line counters and instructed servers as to what each of us wanted.
Seating on the bus was rotated daily, but when another fellow and I got seats with little legroom, Han got us into seats where we could stretch our legs with their poor circulation.
When next to no one signed up for an optional farewell dinner in Istanbul, Han arranged a free fish dinner at a glassed-in restaurant on the shore of the Bosphorus.
True to its motto, touring with Insight was “traveling in style.” Many of the hotels were even a bit overly opulent, for my conservative tastes, though I felt they often were located some distance from city centers.
This trip with Han at the helm was one of my best trips ever.
DAVID J. PATTEN
Saint Petersburg, FL