If your impressions of Turkey are influenced by ‘Midnight Express’ then think again as Turkey is a stunningly scenic country to visit, rich with cultural history and home to two of the Seven Wonders of the World. The Turkish people are most welcoming and friendly, the food is excellent and the lilting calls of the Mosques provide another world experience. Beaches are excellent in Turkey. For first time travelers to Turkey here are some tips to prepare you.
Turkey can become incredibly hot in the summer and the beautiful long beaches of white sand can become as hot as hot coals you could fry eggs on, so don’t be tempted to run across the sands barefoot. The ocean beckons though to cool you down, whilst when traveling the Turkish way to cool down is a lemon hand cologne which gives instant refreshment.
The roads can be daunting so unless you really need to drive then hop on a local Dolmus to get around, the yellow mini buses which are everywhere. Don’t be surprised when local teenagers stand to offer you their seats as their manners can be impeccable.
Whilst Turkey truly is a wonderful country to visit you should be prepared for the very off putting toilet system you will encounter especially in rural areas and even at such magnificent sites as Ephesus. As the country attracts more tourists plumbing is becoming more westernized but don’t be surprised if all you can find is a hole in the floor Turkish toilet.
Turkey is a shopper’s paradise, especially for spices, leather and cheap jeans. If you like to shop and haggle then you will be in your element and make sure you leave plenty of room in your luggage for the bargains you can snap up. Look for a local market and the stalls will be packed with beautiful leather handbags, travel bags, belts and leather jackets. The best jeans I ever bought were on Turkish market stalls where they invited me to sit down with a cup of mint tea whilst they turned up the new jeans for no extra charge: absolutely wonderful service.
The bazaars offer a wonderful experience and do haggle as it is perfectly accepted. However once you do ask the price of an item you will find it difficult to walk away as the seller will likely follow you out of his store offering lower and lower prices as you walk away. Unless you have a notion to actually buy then don’t ask the price.
Shopping for Turkish carpets is a great way to spend some time and there is some incredibly beautiful handiwork displayed, especially the silk rugs.