Turkey Leaves Visitors Awestruck After Origins of Civilization Adventure

Nicole Churchill, INCA’s Director of Sales, visited Turkey in October with a group of INCA guests on a private Origins of Civilization adventure. She reports the following on her experience.

“My travels in Turkey last month moved me in a way that I had not expected. It was the type of travel experience that seeps under your skin and into your memory bank, leaving you in a daze of wonderment and delight and with an appetite for more.”

“The photos and videos that I have perused over the years with images of fairy chimneys and pigeon hotels in Cappadocia, the grand façade of the Library of Celsus in Ephesus, and the ornately tiled domed mosques in Istanbul, did not do justice to the actual overwhelming beauty of the country. I often heard myself sigh as I took in another sight that was stunning beyond belief. Needless to say, I am relieved that I brought along a large enough memory card, as I found myself taking photos of everything!”

“Cappadocia from above, afoot and below. From UL:Nicole and other travelers getting ready to fly; hot-air balloons at sunrise floating over Cappadocia; Cave wine cellar at Argos Hotel; walking amongst the fairy chimneys.”

“What surprised me the most during my travels through Turkey was the incredible diversity of the land. The country really does offer something for everyone; high desert planes, expansive salt lakes, deep canyons with the palette of complex watercolor paintings and towering jagged limestone peaks that jut abruptly from pine forests and the warm, aquamarine waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Nestled within this land of geographic diversity are some of the oldest remnants of human civilization and a city of such vibrancy, culture and history that the French writer Alphonse de Lamartine is quoted as saying, ‘If one had but a single glance to give the world, one should gaze on Istanbul’.”

“And the daily history lessons! Our guide shared with us his wealth of knowledge of Turkey’s complicated and complex history that traces back to the Paleolithic age. We were able to see evidence of many of these civilizations as we toured from Ankara to Istanbul.”

“Turkey’s history is dense and rich and can literally be seen in the layers of the earth. We were given a cut away, stratified view of past civilizations and their predecessors as new cities were often built atop the remnants of previous ones. Still much remains to be excavated and new discoveries are made almost daily. The areas that have been excavated, give visitors like us a window into the past lives of the Hittites, the Greeks, the Romans, the Ottomans and the many other civilizations that existed on this land.”

“We spent 5 delightful days cruising the Turquoise coast aboard the elegant Serenity 86, an 86 foot traditional two-masted wooden sailing vessel called a gulet. Our mornings began with a refreshing swim in the Mediterranean water and then we spent the afternoons wandering through small charming towns of Kas and Gocek or hiking into the hills to explore the ruined remains of Byzantine and Lycian villages. At day’s end, we anchored in calm, serene coves and were treated to exquisite feasts of fresh caught fish and local vegetables and fruit.”

“Life on the gulet. From UL: Sunset meditations; Turkish cuisine on the fantail; one of our luxury gulets, Serenity 86; swimming in the Turquoise sea over ruins.”

“We all agreed, there was not enough time in Istanbul! We spent two full days visiting the must see sites: the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Bosphorus by boat, the Topkapi Palace, the underground cistern and the Spice and Grand bazaars. I stayed in a flat in the Galata District and spent the evenings winding down the side streets off of Istikal. This hip and revitalized part of Istanbul pulses with a vibrancy and artistic flare that can only be experienced here. Thousands of people walk this avenue, streaming into clothing shops, cafes, bars and high end clubs. This neighborhood is a melting pot of Turkish Culture, with the convergence of the traditional and the new, the young and old. ”

“This past trip has left me with a sense of heavy wanderlust, so much that I am already planning my next adventure there next year! It has been the kind of experience that leaves you forever changed and with a renewed view on life.”

International Nature & Cultural Adventures , www.inca1.com

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