Turkey Travelogue 2003
by Bob Peterson
The following pages are a log of my trip to Turkey. I took my tiny old Cassiopia Fiva laptop and wrote notes in my journal about what we did every day. When we got back home, I inserted pictures from my digital camera into the text so you can follow along and see what I saw. I took 1399 photos, all at near-photograph quality. Each file is approximately 2.5MB in size, but for the purposes of the travelogue, I have inserted only a dozen or so photos for each day, and I’ve reduced the quality so that people with a slow Internet connection can view them. If you would like a copy of any of the source photos, I can e-mail them to you. To read my journal entries, click on the links below:
Total photos taken on the digital camera: 1399, plus 22 rolls of conventional 35mm film.
Advice for Travelers to Turkey:
To do this trip, we paid a great deal of money to Hellenic Adventures in Minneapolis. Hellenic paid a lot less to get the services of Dutilh, a Turkish travel company. In turn, Dutilh paid even less money to get the services of Vamos travel, who, in turn, paid Mete and Tendu, who are both private contract guides. My recommendation, therefore, is to save yourself a great deal of money by cutting out Hellenic, cutting out Dutilh, cutting out Vamos, and by getting a personalized tour by the guides themselves. Mrs. Tendu Meric may be reached directly on her cell phone: dial the country code for Turkey, then 0 (532) 274-6095. Mr. Mete Babayigit may be reached directly on his cell phone: dial the country code for Turkey, then 0 (532) 424-6167. They both have an excellent command of the English language, and can make the hotel reservations for you. They can tailor the trip to your needs and however much time you have to spend in Turkey. And you can save an enormous amount of money by cutting out the middle man.
We brought about two hundred dollars in one-dollar bills for tipping, and that worked well. Everyone in Turkey works for tips, so this is necessary. We used every single dollar. We also brought about $550 in travelers checks, but this was cumbersome, because cashing them turned out to be an inconvenience. I ended up using them for things like tipping the guides and buying goods. Very few were actually cashed at an exchange place. Also, this was not enough money. Most of our daily spending money came from using ATM machines, which is very easy and apparently the best exchange rate too.
Be prepared to take lots of photos, because Turkey has an incredibly rich history and thousands of sites, all of which merit photos. We brought a lot of film, but even so, this is the first vacation where we actually ran out of film and had to buy more. As I did in Africa, I brought my laptop computer, and there were many times I had to clear off space to make room for more photos. To give you an idea, I took 1399 photos in Turkey using my digital camera, and I was using a very good quality setting, where each photo averaged 2.5MB of space. Therefore, I needed about 3GB of hard drive space. I just barely fit it all, because my laptop has a 10GB hard drive, and that is divided into a Windows and a Linux parition. I was constantly transferring photos from the flash card to the Windows partition, and moving the photos from the Windows to the Linux partition because I had more free space there. Good thing I’m also a Linux hacker.