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Turkey – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Author: allblack
Date of Trip: August 2010

Maybe I am being a bit harsh with the title! But the following should explain: We visited Kusadasi and Ephesus during a cruise of the eastern Mediterranean with Celebrity Equinox. As first time cruisers we were absolutely delighted with our experience and the way we could use the boat as a home base and retreat there when it just got too hot, we got sick of other tourists or something else annoyed us.

I’ll start with the ugly of our very brief visit to Turkey. For about an hour and a half we walked around the bazaars near the port and we were constantly assailed by the shopkeepers trying to get us into their stores to the point of annoyance. I don’t have a problem with people wanting to sell their wares but we found the attention aggressive and even intimidating, to the point that we retreated to the boat with Turkish currency unspent.

If they got you into their shop then they wouldn’t leave you alone. One got us into their shop when I stopped to look at some knock-off Lacoste shirts which had no prices. The shopkeeper said he would sell us Lacasote shirts for a quoted very low price. When the time came to pay for the shirts the price we paid was more than double that – he said he had quoted children’s sizes to us. Another who grabbed my wife’s hand to try and sell her something demanded to know her name and after she gave him a false name propelled her around the store calling her by the name while telling me he would pay 200 camels for her. Funny in a way, irritating in another.

The good was us going to a taxi rank and asking for the price to take four of us to Ephesus. I decided it was time to bargain and the driver agreed to my lower price while my wife gave me an embarrassed look. The driver, Amed, was fantastic. He drove safely without breaking speed limits, told us about himself and his family, some history of the area and other background, took us to the entrance to the historical site and then picked us up at the other end. My wife had commented on the fact that a streetside stall on the way to Ephesus was selling beautiful looking peaches and maybe we could buy some on the way back. We did better than that – our driver went and bought them for us and we powered our way through on the trip back to Kusadasi. The driver in his manner was completely different to the shopkeepers peddling shirts, carpets and gold to such an extent it put us off.

The bad in the trip was the sheer heat at Ephesus. Of course no shade and it must have been 40C. Serves us right for going in August.

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