Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Land Cruise in Turkey

With my Oldie came an offer of an eight day trip around S.E. Turkey for a derisory sum that included fares, hotel accommodation, guide but not the two main meals of the day. Catch somewhere? A few extras, that's all. So this Oldie went for it, my ever- loving tagged along (single beds only, no spacious ' matrimonial') and we had a really good week. The tour had as its highlight a visit to Ephesus which never fails to delight and amaze, three hours of sheer joy culminating in the double storey Library.

We travelled in a not quite full coach. The admin firm is German but our driver Ibrahim, handsome boy, and our guide Nazim were both local Turks. The quality of the guide can make all the difference. No praise would be too high for Nazim: totally literate with only the slightest of accents, no bothersome vocal bad habits and a command of English that not only told all you wanted to know but was capable of summarising Turkish history and politics and, moreover, making good jokes as if English were his mother tongue. And he saw to it that we were punctual even to the point of some pretty early starts.               
The hotels varied but were always adequate but were different each night but one. At one place we had amateur belly dancing but on our last evening we had a company which was not only outstanding but was tireless in its efforts. It is not easy to transmute physical energy into art but this troupe from Anatolia had the audience thoroughly stimulated and worked up.          

If there was a weak spot in the tour it was those lunches and dinners that we shelled out for. No one starved or lacked adequate nutrition.  But it was boring to have buffets all the time: chopped up salad to begin with followed by chicken or rather dry beef, plus rice and it all seemed to have been cooked and dished up the same way. I am sure that most of us have enjoyed excellent Turkish cuisine in England. I suppose it was to do with the costing of the tours. But each of the hotels was large with big restaurants serving many groups, all with these everlasting boring buffets.
If there is a repeat next year of a similar nature, we shall be on it.

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