First we'd like to thank your for making all the arrangements, and for making sure that we had good guides who were able to enhance the experience. We had a very good trip. Turkey is a remarkable place for tourists- it has just about everything one would want- history, entertainment, spectacular scenery, friendly people, good weather and more. We were very happy that we finally made the trip- we were thinking about it for a long time.
Every city we visited had something different to offer us, and we took advantage of all we could. Our days were packed with things to do all day. We returned back to the hotel tired but happy. We especially enjoyed Ephesus and Cappadocia. We had no idea how interesting these places could be. Our guides were very good, accommodating and willing to makes changes we desired, and you can inform Mr. Dervis of this. Sardis was so-so. We especially were happy to have Jewish guides in Istanbul and Izmir. Since they were knowledgeable about the Jewish communities and synagogues, we were able to visit many synagogues and places of Jewish interest in both cities. Without them we would never have gotten into the synagogues since security is very tight and people just cannot arrive unannounced and expect to be allowed in to visit them.
The only thing I would change in the itinerary was our visit to Ankara. Although our half -day tour was interesting and we did get a glimpse of Ankara, the 4-hour boring drive to Cappadocia from there was too much. It would have been better to skip Ankara and fly from Istanbul early in the AM directly to Cappadocia (Kayseri airport). We would then still have 1 1/2 days in Cappadocia, which is sufficient to see everything and would have cut out 1 day from the trip. Our guide in Cappadocia was also very good.
Our hotel in Istanbul was great. We arrived to Istanbul in the PM and our room overlooked the city. All the mosques and other buildings were lighted and the scene was breathtaking. It also was a very nice, very well run hotel. Breakfast was outstanding. The hotel in Izmir was fair- acceptable. However the cave hotel in Cappadocia was not satisfactory. It certainly was not a 4 star hotel- not by a long shot. The experience of sleeping in a cave was interesting but we could have easily missed the experience. The breakfast was stingy. The personnel, however, were very nice and accommodating.
One thing we'd like to add for your information when you book other tourists on trips to Turkey. We did not want to carry too much cash so we used ATM machines, and they were available, albeit one had to search for them. We also took American Express traveler's checks, and that was a disaster. We were unable, for some mysterious reason, to cash them anywhere we visited in Turkey. Even the banks did not accept them. We cashed some in our first hotel (at a poor rate) but the other hotels would not cash them or would only if they charged an exorbitant. However, we might have been able to pay for large purchases with checks. If you pay in US dollars you get a better rate than if you pay by credit cards. Very few places take American Express- Visa or Mastercard are preferred.
Thanks again for your effort in putting the trip together. We know it took a lot of work on your part. It was a pleasure working with you again.
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