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Travelling in Turkey by Liz Canham

#263 - 24 - 13 - Travelling in Turkey by Liz Canham
[ 2008-03-23 02:20:29 ] - lizc

Turkey is geographically unique in that it falls between two continents, Europe and Asia, he part west of the Bosphorous being part of Europe. Turkey has an area of some 780 sq. kms. and is bordered by Greece, Bulgaria, the Black Sea, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, the Mediterranean Sea and the Aegean Sea.
Although Turkish is the official language, you may also hear Armenian, Kurdish, Greek and Arabic spoken.

Dependent upon what passport a tourist to Turkey holds, an entry visa may be required. Some passport holders can obtain their visa upon arrival in Turkey while others will need to get theirs in advance. It is best to consult the Turkish Embassy or Consulate website for your country of nationality.

Although it is possible to enter Turkey by road or rail from Europe, the practicalities make it more sensible to opt for air travel and there are a number of airports to choose from which serve the major cities as well as Bodrum, Dalaman, Antalya and Izmir which between them serve the tourist destinations of the south. Taxis and buses are widely available at the airports for onward transportation if your tour company hasn't provided a means of reaching your resort or hotel.

Hire cars are available in Turkey but the roads are poorly maintained and the accident rate is very high. Defensive driving and situational awareness is a must as locals frequently stop or turn without prior indication.

There is plenty to see and do in Turkey if lying on a beach or by a pool isn't for you. I won't touch on the major cities as each one probably deserves their own article but some of the following may be of interest.

Visit Ephasus, the ruined ancient Roman city in the province of Izmir, is the largest and best preserved of its kind on the Mediterranean. Of course there are many other historical sites, including Troy.

Travel to Pamukkale, although a city with an interesting history, is better known for its fantastic limestone landscape. The name translates as cotton castle and the reflection of the setting sun on the calcium deposits has to be seen to be believed.

For those of an adventurous nature, in this country of diverse lanscapes, one can go skiing, scuba diving, mountaineering, river rafting, hunting, hot air balooning or yachting.

There are hot springs and spas, national parks where it may be possible to see wild boar or bears as well as smaller wildlife and a variety of birds of prey. Generally, the scenery is a joy and there are many species of wild trees and flowers.

A gulet cruise may appeal to those who like the sea. A gulet is a traditional Turkish sailing boad with a wide flat stern, a high bow and two masts, although nowadays most gulets have diesel engines as well as sails. Gulets have plenty of space on deck because of the broadness of their beams.

Gulets come in all different sizes, ranging from fifteen to thirty three metres long, which may have three to twelve double cabins able to accommodate six to twenty four people. These vary in luxuriousness from air conditioned cabins with private facilities including a shower, to those with communal shower and toilet facilities (if indeed there is a shower at all).

The cuisine of Turkey has a mixture of influences from ancient Persian to modern Mediterranean. Vegetables such as peppers, courgettes and aubergines are commonly found, sometimes fried or stuffed or made into a tasty salad. Lamb is a staple and the kebab is ubiquitous and spices are widely used. Turkey, although predominantly Muslim, is a secular country which permits the consumption of alcohol although Turkish coffee is also a popular drink.

There doesn't appear to be any prescribed dress code and in the tourist resorts, you will see the usual shorts and t-shirts on display, however, in the cities it is recommended that the proprieties be observed in that men should wear long trousers when out and about and women should wear clothing at least to the knee and certainly if visiting sites of religious significance, cover the shoulders and head as well.

Turkey is a diverse country with plenty to see and do and is well worth a visit.

Liz Canham

As well as a passion for Travellers' Tales Liz has a love of Asian Food and Cookery.
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The Attractions of Turkey by Liz Canham

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