Overnight trip to Safranbolu

Trip Start Jun 19, 2008
Trip End Sep 04, 2008

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Flag of Turkey  , Karabuk,
Friday, August 1, 2008

We departed at 8:30am for what was to be our 7-hour bus ride to Safranbolu.  I am certain that it only takes 4 hours by car, but with our POS bus and multiple breaks, we got there around 3:30pm and by the time we were done with late lunch, it was already nearing 5..... so much for efficiency.  Thankfully Christoph did not lead this tour; we had a professional tour guide.  The whole city of Safranbolu is a UNESCO World Heritage site, which means half of the city is a historical site and the other half is hotels and restaurants.  Blocks of quaint Ottoman buildings and pebblestone streets stretched out in front of green mountains.  We checked in at a colossal Ottoman mansion with gigantic rooms.  There were rose gardens and vine leaves, and the staff said we could have whatever drink we want from the stacked-up fridge.  We saw the price list on the fridge door, but the staff told us it's free for us!  He also lent me his laptop- how hospitable!  We then took off for our tour.  Of the few tourists, more seemed to be domestic tourists than foreign ones.  We visited a museum and walked around the town until it got dark.  The Ottoman buildings seemed very well-preserved.  We climbed to the top of a mountain and had free drinks.  I got a bright yellow Safran tea that tasted like a diluted chamomile tea.  Safran is an expensive herb that costs about $11/gram. 

After the bootlegged tour, a bunch of us decided to go to the hamam.  It was only 12 ytl for a scrub + 5 ytl for a massage!  That is less than half of what we paid at the famous hamam in Istanbul! ...And we got what we paid for.  The hamam was definitely not picturesque and clean like the Sinan hamam.  It was a lot smaller and confined.  Instead of sunbathing on a large platform, we sat around on the side by the sinks.  Most of the girls were very intimidated by the scene and kept the towels around the whole time.  My roommate really did not feel comfortable and locked herself up in the sauna room.  Of course I was the first one to get scrubbed.  I laid down on the marble slab while the lady put on a used mitten.  She didn't even do the signature bubble-maker move!  So I am not sure if this is the place you want to come if you are a western tourist who wants to get a nice, clean experience, but I liked how the hamam lady scrubbed me very thoroughly.  She was scrubbing to really get the dirt off my skin, rather than to give me a sensual experience of Turkish bath.  It was pretty stressful nonetheless, just because others were so tense and uncomfortable

We came outside of the hamam and met up with the boys, who only got a massage from some old Turkish guy in the hamam.  We were waiting on others when a group of Italian guys came up and asked us about the local night life.  We told them the name of the bar we were going to and that they could meet us up there.  I liked them immediately because 1) they spoke good English, 2) they are young Italians, and 3) one of them was wearing a Big Lebowski sweatshirt.  The tour guide had pointed out this bar earlier, saying that it had "live music".  It was just two people singing Turkish pop on a karaoke machine... either way, we pulled up a lot of tables and chairs to seat everyone in our group and the Italian group.  I of course bargained down the beer price for everyone.  We were particularly befuddled by one menu item that said, "Cocktail with alcohol".  What??  Anyway, we had a really good time hanging out there.  Very relaxing. 
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I went to Turkey for 2 nights and 3 days and ı made an arrangement with this company for a package tour and ı spent a good time in Istanbul. We visited the beauty places of this marvelous city. First day we went on a dinner cruise on Bosphorus and ı had a lot of fun with so many kinds of dance shows and good dinner too. I loved the mezzes. Second day we went on a tour and visited the Sultanahmet aria www.privatetoursinistanbul.com Every corner looks like a part of history. Hagia Sophia and Chora Church are very beautiful museums. The mosaics of these basilicas are very good protected. I was fascinated. I badly recommend you to go on a cruise on Bosphorus at night. Istanbul looks very different at night is shining. I had a very enjoyable Dinner cruise on Bosphorus accompanied by Turkish Shows. I will definitely visit again Turkey. Thank you for your services.

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