In September/October of 2013, I traveled to Turkey on a Rick Steves Tour. This turned out to be one of the most memorable trips of my life. It was full of amazing sights, fascinating people, and many surprises. It was also a great learning experience. I'll try to share some of this with you as you follow my travels in this electronic scrapbook.

Why Turkey?

OK, to be honest, Turkey was never really high on my list of places to visit -- that is, until I read about the "underground cities" of Cappadocia. Once I read about them (and started doing some research) I was hooked. My attitude changed to: I've got to go there!

In the past, I've always traveled alone. I've traveled a lot, but I've never taken a tour before. I had no idea what to expect in Turkey. It seemed like a strange enough place that I decided I wanted to go with a tour. I didn't know a single word of the language, and since it is a Moslem country, I was a bit worried about traveling as a woman alone. The first big surprise of this trip was how friendly and helpful Turkish people were.

I'm now a convert. I will definitely travel with a tour again. I visited places I would never have gone on my own. I also learned a lot more about the people than I would have without a tour guide.

Background Information

Turkey is a country at the crossroads, quite literally. It is partially in Europe and partially in Asia. Istanbul actually straddles both continents. It is a Moslem country but the government is secular -- they are very proud of their "separation of Mosque and state". It's also at the crossroads of the past and the future. Parts are very modern and parts are not. Here's a map showing of the area:

As you can see, Turkey and Greece are quite close to each other. I decided that as long as I was going that far, I'd spend a few days in Greece afterwards. I've included some pictures and thoughts from Greece too, because it makes an interesting contrast to my tour of Turkey (and a contrast between a Rick Steves tour and a tour with another company[*]).


Here's a quick summary of my itinerary, along with links to the appropriate parts of this scrapbook.

Pre-tour   Tour   Post-tour
Istanbul2 days Istanbul2 nights Greece4 days
  Ankara1 night Athens 
Cappadocia3 nights Delphi 
Konya1 night Meteora 
Antalya2 nights  
Pamukkale1 night
Kuşadası2 nights