Blanca & Ian's Travels


Trip Report - 2011


Ottoman Odyssey
aka “It’s just a Jumble of Rocks”

Istanbul, Ҫirali, Selçuk, Göreme, Istanbul - Reprise

Travelers:  50s something couple

Prerequisites:  We have vices.  We smoke & drink & we like to do both from the comfort of a balcony in the evening after dinner.  This was a major determining factor in hotel planning.  No balcony = no go.  Nice bathrooms are a big deal for my wife so I always try to accommodate this as well.  My wife also made a major point of wanting to avoid a lot of driving & in particular - twisty mountain roads.  Our trip to Sicily two years ago filled her quota adequately . . .  We both prefer the older areas of a city versus the new.  History & atmosphere win over discoes & vibrant happening scenes with us.  Of course, this also means touristy, but we were tourists after all & there is little we could do to hide this fact with attached cameras & a DK in my back pocket.

I started the planning of the trip over a year in advance.  Fodor’s Turkey Forum was consulted as well as Trip Advisor, Tom Brosnahan’s Turkey Travel Planner & the internet in general.  I read Lord Kinross’ The Ottoman Centuries for history & a couple of Orhan Pamuk’s depressing books for ‘feel’.  For some of the ancient mood, Gore Vidal’s Creation was my travel book - which I finished in Istanbul - The Reprise btw.

An abundance of Star Alliance points allowed for free First Class seating on Turkish Air to the tune of 200,000 points for the trans-Atlantic flights but this required very early booking to get what we wanted.  The hotels were booked about six months out & the internal flights about 4 months in advance.  Our total for all four internal flights was under $400 CDN.  I also had a shortlist of restaurants chosen for every location that I had parsed from Fodor’s Trip Reports & Trip Advisor.  And I had pre-arranged two dinners in Istanbul with forum acquaintances. 

I pre-booked with Backpacker’s Travel for all of the airport to hotel transfers in Istanbul.  See

Yes, I was organized . . .

The Final Itinerary

April 30 Depart Toronto Turkish Air
May 1 Arrive Istanbul Ataturk late afternoon
Hotel:  Empress Zoe
May 2, 3 Istanbul
May 4 Flight Istanbul (SAW) to Antalya via Pegasus Air
Auto Europe car rental
Drive to Cirali
Hotel:  Arcadia Hotel
May 5, 6 Sites in & around Cirali
May 7 Flight to Izmir via Ankara via Turkish Air
Auto Europe car rental
Drive to Selçuk
Hotel:  Urkmez Hotel
May 8 Ephesus & Selçuk
May 9 Flight to Kayseri
Transfer to Göreme
Hotel:  Kelebek Cave Hotel
May 10, 11, 12 Sites in Göreme
May 13 Flight to Istanbul (SAW)
Hotel:  Empress Zoe
May 14, 15 Istanbul
May 16 Depart Istanbul Turkish Air direct to YYZ


We used the Fodor’s Turkey Guide, DK’s Top 10 Istanbul & Michelin Turkey Map # 758 as our travelling references.   A TomTom GPS provided driving assistance & my Blackberry allowed for low usage ‘on the road’ communication.

A big thank you to various Fodorites for their trip reports must be noted with special thanks to otherchelebi for his ‘on the scene’ posts that helped fill in many of the blanks pre-trip.  Stay tuned for more on oc later in this narrative.

Turkey Trip Pages


East and west collide in raucous Istanbul


Ancient Beach of Pirates & Gods


Ruin'd Ephesus - in more ways than one


Bizarre Cappadocia

Istanbul - Reprise

Playing Catch Up

Restaurant Wrap-up & Conclusion



The places we visited.