Mid March is a busy time for us in Istanbul. Rick Steves’ tours in Turkey start usually around this time of the year. First of the 2015 Best of Turkey tours started last week and the first Istanbul tour started yesterday.
Both tours have two common components which stand out, that is the location of hotels, they are right at the very heart of the Old Town and a very short walk to major highlights of the city; and the headsets.
One of our hotels for Istanbul, small, traditional and well located.
Cobbled stone street our hotel is located. Small houses all side by side, just it was about a century ago!
We pick small family run hotels, and we make sure they offer the comfort our travelers are looking for. In case of the hotels we use in Istanbul, I especially like the accommodating staff who knows expectations of our travelers, this make life more pleasant for all of us. I must also mention the view they offer from the breakfast room at their terrace; Bosphorus, Sea of Marmara, Islands in the Sea of Marmara and Asia! Yes, that is right, there is the view of another continent from the terrace! The view is like a wide panorama photo you can look at for a long time.
The view of Bosphorus and Asian continent from our hotel.
When the group assembles for the first time as tour starts, we congregate in this room. This is when participants warm up to one another and their guide. All of our tours start with a brief welcome meeting, both the guide and the participants introduce themselves. Then, the guide lays out basics of the tour and “our style” of touring which is significantly different than the main market tours. Compared to main market, our tours are like “un-tours”!
Our guide, Yaren, and tour members at the welcome meeting.
Trying the headsets.
Headsets are very valuable to have in crowded museums and city squares, however we use them beyond the museums, but for all of the activities, not just in one museum or another, but even when we are enjoying city walks in Istanbul. This enables guide to carry on providing information while walking without stopping for each single item. These small gadgets simply become one of our limbs. Before we head out for the first activity of the tour, we learn how to use our headsets and try them. Then, we take off to discover Istanbul…
During a city walk