The Hesterís Trip to Turkey and Munich,
October 14 - November 10, 2007
By William Hester
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness."
- Mark Twain.
Our trip through Turkey, and Germany-Austria, was made special for us by the assistance and services of some excellent hotels and tour companies.
I have described them below, along with their website links.
We have no business affiliation with any of them, except as satisfied customers.
Given our good experiences, we want to share them with you.
Our hotel in Istanbul was The Blue House (Mavi Ev in Turkish),
which was booked for us by the tour company which we used to arrange our trip through the interior of Turkey (see information below).
This hotel is located in the older part of Istanbul, on the European side of The Bosphorous.
The famous Blue Mosque, and the Aya Sofia, are only a block from the hotel.
The Topkapi Palace is within a 10 min. walk. The Blue House is in the same neighborhood as the high-end Four Seasons Hotel.
The Blue House is a very nice, moderately priced, hotel with a good breakfast and clean rooms.
We arranged for the hotel to pick us up and take us back to the airport in their van.
Here is the link to their webpage: The Blue House Hotel
We used Rick Steves' Turkey guide book the most of all while
We walked, or used the "light rail" public transport to many of the places in Istanbul.
His book was also a valuable guide to the interesting areas in the countryside of Turkey during the driving portion of our visit.
Here is the link to Rick's website: Rick Steves' Europe Through the Backdoor
We found a really good tour company located in the interior of Turkey:
Argeus Tourism & Travel.
They were able to modify their Fly and Drive tour; to extend and customize our driving trip for the major attractions which we wanted to see outside of Istanbul.
Argeus Tourism & Travel is located in the town of Urgurp.
We picked up our automobile at the airport in Kayseri and drove to Urgurp to meet with Ozgur Guker, our travel agent who had arranged our itinerary and made all our hotel arrangements for our two week driving tour.
He was very enthusiastic, excellent to work with, and very motivated to make sure that we were happy with our trip.
We can highly recommend Argeus and Ozgur.
Here is the link to the website: Argeus Tourism & Travel
One of the big highlights, and surprises, of our trip was the Sacred House Hotel in Urgup.
We were booked into "Anka's Lair", an intimate cave room, which included a combination shower and Jacuzzi hot tub for two. :-)
The hotel has only seven rooms, and our gormet breakfast was fabulous each morning!
The hotel is very close to Urgup's town center, so walking to several great restaurants was easy.
Here is the link: Sacred House Hotel, Urgup
We also stayed at another cave hotel, with a different style of architecture and room interiors: the Esbelli Evi Cave Hotel, located just outside of Urgurp.
We enjoyed exploring around the hotel and eating outside on their breakfast terrace - overlooking a beautiful view.
The hospitality and friendliness of everyone at the hotel made us feel right at home and comfortable.
Their website: Esbelli Evi Hotel
Another smaller hotel, which Argeus Tourism also booked for us, is the very pretty and nice Hotel Su, located in Bodrum.
This one was a little bit hard for us to find at first. But after stopping at a gas station and asking an English speaking truck driver, and a shop keeper, we found it.
Again, the location was good for us, with an easy walk down through the main town and on to the picturesque harbor area.
By now, you have probably realized that we like the smaller hotels where we can walk to restaurants, etc.
The website is: Hotel Su
A very comprehensive website, which we found most helpful in planning our trip (this is where we found Argeus Tourism's 15 day Fly and Drive offer), is Tom Brosnahan's site.
Tom really knows Turkey - in depth! In his youth, he was a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Turkey and he came to love the country, its people and cultures.
If you are interested in learning about the cultures of Turkey, we recommend that you read his famous book about his experiences: "Turkey: Bright Sun, Strong Tea".
Here is the link to Tom's site: Tom Brosnahan's Turkey Travel Planner
From our short five day visit to Munich, we have several things to recommend:
First, our hotel was the Hotel Eder.
It is moderately priced, clean, and very conveniently located only a couple of blocks from the train station in Munich. No taxi needed if you take the inexpensive Lufthansa coach from the airport to the train station.
It is an easy walk into the main old town plaza. The access to both surface and underground public transport is also good.
The hotel's website is: Hotel Eder, Munich
We did our three day-trip tours (to Dachau, Neuswanstein, and Salzburg) using Radius Tours and Bike Rental.
This is a small tour company located in the main Munich train terminal (the Hauptbahnhof).
They specialize in day trips using the train system, local public buses, and walking. No big tour coaches used.
We really liked the guides. They were all very well versed in the history of each attraction - and they also provided good insight into the culture.
The tours are great value for the money and fun to do because of the use of public transportation and walking.
Their website is: Radius Tours and Bike Rental
Finally, if you are an engineer, technician, or a geek, I can highly recommend spending a day at the Deutches Museum, which is unforgettable.
This museum's theme is engineering and technology, and is extremely comprehensive with many important historical items and outstanding educational displays.
The website, in German & English, is: Deutches Museum, Munich
For comments or questions concerning this webpage, you may e-mail to Susan Parrino Hester at:
Please put "Turkey2007" in the subject line. Thank you.
© The entire contents of this document, including photos, are copyright by Susan Parrino Hester and William R. Hester, 2008.
No copies, nor any use other than personal viewing, are permitted without express written permission.