Turkey with TEO

This item appears on page 31 of the August 2011 issue.
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Eight female friends and I took a private, nine-day tour of western Turkey, Nov. 2-10, 2010. The itinerary, organized by TEO World Culture Tours (New York, NY; 888/444-1110) and conducted by Tamer Teoman, was thrilling.

Tamer Teoman and our group of eight women at Asclepion, Pergamon.

We started in fascinating Cappadocia, continued to Ephesus, Pergamon and Troy and ended with the wonders of ancient Istanbul.

The tour was well organized and reasonably priced ($2,735 per person, including two flights within Turkey and all dinners; single supplement cost an additional $400). We traveled in a brand-new air-conditioned vehicle, and all of our hotels were great.

I expected a daily diet similar to what I had experienced in Morocco: stewed mutton with vegetables and more stewed mutton with vegetables, day after day. Much to my delight, we had exceptionally good food with lots of variety, including fresh fruits, vegetables and fish, plus homemade breads of all sorts and Turkish sweets, all in nice, clean restaurants.

Tamer talked about history, art, social customs, politics and many other aspects of past and present Turkey, bringing the country alive. Wherever we went, he was greeted warmly by the locals as an old and trusted friend, and that warmth rubbed off on us.

What impressed me most about Tamer was his honest, enthusiastic and infectious desire for us to experience the best his country had to offer. His attention to the little things added to the trip, like buying each of us an evil-eye pendant to keep us safe; introducing us to the pleasures of real Turkish tea, providing us well-timed bathroom breaks in clean bathrooms, and perking us up late one morning by buying a street snack for each of us from a vendor outside of Hagia Sophia. We even met his wife for dinner one night.

At Ephesus, we saw a part of the excavations that other visitors didn’t see, and he carefully scheduled our visits to avoid the crowds (which, by the way, were not very great when we were there).

Tamer even called ahead to beg a favor from an archaeologist friend, asking him to keep the gates of Troy open past closing so we had time to get there and see the ruins.

Surely, Tamer knew that he could have told us it was too late, that we didn’t have time for Troy. We’d seen so many breathtaking things that day that nobody would have complained, but his excitement was contagious. We loved that he really wanted so badly for us to see the walls of Troy, and they were, in fact, especially wonderful in the glowing light of the setting sun.

I greatly enjoyed this trip. I hope to go back to see the eastern part of the country with Tamer and TEO World Culture Tours.

CYNTHIA COALE
Ukiah, CA

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

Eight female friends and I took a private, nine-day tour of western Turkey, Nov. 2-10, 2010. The itinerary, organized by TEO World Culture Tours (New York, NY; 888/444-1110) and conducted by Tamer Teoman, was thrilling.

Tamer Teoman and our group of eight women at Asclepion, Pergamon.

We started in fascinating Cappadocia, continued to Ephesus, Pergamon and Troy and ended with the wonders of ancient Istanbul.

The tour was well organized and reasonably priced ($2,735 per person, including two flights within Turkey and all dinners; single supplement cost an additional $400). We traveled in a brand-new air-conditioned vehicle, and all of our hotels were great.

I expected a daily diet similar to what I had experienced in Morocco: stewed mutton with vegetables and more stewed mutton with vegetables, day after day. Much to my delight, we had exceptionally good food with lots of variety, including fresh fruits, vegetables and fish, plus homemade breads of all sorts and Turkish sweets, all in nice, clean restaurants.

Tamer talked about history, art, social customs, politics and many other aspects of past and present Turkey, bringing the country alive. Wherever we went, he was greeted warmly by the locals as an old and trusted friend, and that warmth rubbed off on us.

What impressed me most about Tamer was his honest, enthusiastic and infectious desire for us to experience the best his country had to offer. His attention to the little things added to the trip, like buying each of us an evil-eye pendant to keep us safe; introducing us to the pleasures of real Turkish tea, providing us well-timed bathroom breaks in clean bathrooms, and perking us up late one morning by buying a street snack for each of us from a vendor outside of Hagia Sophia. We even met his wife for dinner one night.

At Ephesus, we saw a part of the excavations that other visitors didn’t see, and he carefully scheduled our visits to avoid the crowds (which, by the way, were not very great when we were there).

Tamer even called ahead to beg a favor from an archaeologist friend, asking him to keep the gates of Troy open past closing so we had time to get there and see the ruins.

Surely, Tamer knew that he could have told us it was too late, that we didn’t have time for Troy. We’d seen so many breathtaking things that day that nobody would have complained, but his excitement was contagious. We loved that he really wanted so badly for us to see the walls of Troy, and they were, in fact, especially wonderful in the glowing light of the setting sun.

I greatly enjoyed this trip. I hope to go back to see the eastern part of the country with Tamer and TEO World Culture Tours.

CYNTHIA COALE
Ukiah, CA