Balloon ride day! After breakfast at Les Maisons de Cappadoce, we went to Avanos and visited the ceramic factory followed by lunch at Aravan House. We visited the Goreme Open-Air Museum in the afternoon. We then went back to the hotel for some rest and relaxation before heading to the rooftop for a güzleme demonstration (and eating!) followed by our farewell dinner. It was warm enough in the evening to eat outdoors, so it was a splendid end to the day and to the trip.
Today we had visits to Zelve, Uchisar Fortress, and other stops to see various unique structures. Our cooking class at was at Lil'a was such fun. We also visited a rug factory. Dinner at the Argos was lovely, and just a short walk from our hotel.
Off to Kayseri, in Cappadocia, by way of Istanbul. The group visited Ozkonak Underground City and then attended an optional Dervish dance performance. Our dinner afterwards was at the Somine Restaurant, which still stands out as one of the best in the area. We stayed at our usual cave hotel, Les Maisons de Cappadoce which always pleases.
Today we left Bodrum and drove to Izmir. On the way we stopped at an olive museum and had lunch at the Degirmen restaurant in Kusadasi, a lovely place with acres and acres of gardens full of animals. We then headed to the ruins of Ephesus, an ancient Greek city on the coast of Ionia. It was built in the 10th century BC on the site of the former Arzawan capital by Attic and Ionian Greek colonists. We finished our day at the beautiful vineyards of Urlice. We ate outdoors on the patio. The weather, food and Urlice family were a delightful combination.
This morning we had a very early start to catch the 6:45 flight to Bodrum. After we checked into the hotel, we toured a local market and then visited the Bodrum Castle/Museum. We had a wonderful lunch at the Marina Club Restaurant before heading out on our own private gullet for the afternoon. The boat we had was named Dilara, the same as our beautiful guide! It was the best boat we've had on the Aegean or Mediterranean and it won't be hard to remember the boat for next time. Dinner was on our own. A small group of us had dinner at a quaint restaurant not far from the hotel.
Today we hopped on a boat and headed up the Bosphorus towards the Black Sea. We saw beautiful summer homes, palaces and restaurants along the way. We ended our boat trip with lunch at İsmail’in Yeri Fish restaurant in the village of Anadolu Kavaǧı. After lunch we drove up to Yoros castle which was was a wonderful location to see the entrance to the Black Sea. We drove down the Asian side and stopped to see the Beylerbeyi Palace, the summer palace of the sultans. Dinner was at Akdeniz Hatay Sofrası. The restaurant specializes in food from the southeastern region of Turkey (Hatay).
Istanbul - Day 2. Started our day at my favorite mosque, Rustem Pasha. Explored the Spice Market and Grand Bazaar, toured a baklava factory and finished with dinner featuring the cuisine from the Black Sea region.
Today we walked along Istiklal Street taking in all the sights, smells and tastes. We stopped for tea before heading to our cooking class. Afterwards we went to the Suleymaniye Mosque and finished off the day with dinner at a restaurant that features recipes made for the Ottoman sultans.