What a fantastic trip. The usual Riviera organisation meant we travelled effortlessly through time and country. Noel the rep, and Omar the driver were excellent but worth 5 stars was Mehmet who imparted information and enhanced each visit with his input. We were chastened by Gallipoli and the loss of life on both sides, and stunned by the sights of Ephesus and Troy and Istanbul.. Go and see for yourself and go with Riviera.
Review by: Linda and John Upham on 15/10/2018
Seven days, six nights, and you are on the go all the time. Airport security was considerable and there are added checks at all the historic sights. It felt safe. The people are welcoming and the strong £ against the Turkish Lira was helpful. A thriving road building scheme allows smooth coach travel from Izmir during the next three days.
In Ephesus, Pergamon and Troy we walked through history, endlessly counted by Noel our Riviera tour manager; Ahmed, human dynamo and Turkish guide and Mustafa our hard working driver. We were insanely lucky with this particular trio, you all went beyond the call of duty. Good humour, efficiency and knowledge galore. What didn’t we discuss about this country?
Leaving Troy the blue skies turned to gunmetal grey. As we crossed the Dardanelles Strait the weather changed with torrential rain and motorway flooding later in the day. The Gallipoli Peninsula is the scene of one of the most wasteful WW1 campaigns where over 35,000 allies died in nine months. The Lone Pine Memorial and Anzac Cove are particularly poignant and sombre places, embraced by the spoken words of Atatürk on the memorial to the fallen. We shared a tear; it’s that kind of place.
Whatever your expectation of Istanbul the reality of the Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar and Basilica Cistern is overwhelming. On one level the concrete, traffic and footfall make it any city anywhere, but the moment we were on our much needed sit down and cruise around the Golden Horn and Bosphorus, history and culture all come into place. An evening meal in a local haunt just off Taksim Square offered a different perspective and brought us right up close to the politics and people of this country.
Guys, you were great! Mustafa, may your horn go with you; Ahmed, you made our week; and Noel, live long and sprinkle! A great group of fellow travellers. Riviera, you exceeded our expectations!
Review by: Carol & Michael Hallett on 10/09/2018
We thoroughly enjoyed the trip to Istanbul, Ephesus and Troy. Our Riviera Tour Manager- Noel, Local Guide - Ahmet and driver - Mustapha, made an excellent team and we felt in very safe hands throughout the trip.
There was a really good mix of activities and visits. The tour manager and local guide were very knowledgeable and made the trip really interesting - and fun. The optional activities - boat trip on the Bosphorus and evening visit to Taksin Square and restaurant - were really worth doing.
Review by: Jill Young on 10/09/2018
We have just returned from this tour and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Noel, our tour leader, was professional, caring and informative. Ahmed [I hope I spelled this correctly] was our local guide, who was so knowledgeable and answered endless questions with grace, charm and humour, even if he is a Galatasaray fan. I would recommend this to anyone who does not mind tramping around archaeological sites. I found this hard but rewarding and everyone was so considerate of my slowness.
Review by: Carole Graham on 10/09/2018