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Welcome to Urunlu Village in Turkey Welcome to Urunlu, a small Turkish village in the Taurus Mountains above the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. For the past 25 years we have been the invited guests of the Topkara family where we spend the night in their summer home en route from Cappadocia to the coast on our Turquoise Coast Odyssey. When we first made arrangements to stay with the Topkara family in their village home in 1989, the parents Shefika and her husband made all the arrangements and their young children were delighted to have foreign guests coming to stay. On one Wildland trip, when the multigenerational Whitmore family arrived with their 10 year old grandson at the front door, the Topkara's grandson Onur, who was also 10 at that time 10 years ago, he took his new American friend by the hand and they disappeared down cobblestone pathways to explore and play in the village together....

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Our Family Trip to Turkey Our family trip to Turkey was the first group departure we have taken, and it turned out to be one of the best trips. The reason it was so great was because of the excellent itinerary that Wildland put together. The knowledgeable and flexible leader we had, and the inter dynamics of our small group of 4 families. Turkey turned out to be the perfect combination of sights, and experiences, learning and fun. Sleeping within site of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul and hearing the muezzins wake up call to prayer was just the beginning of a cultural immersion in a fascinating country that is the cross roads of many civilizations. Our kids studies were reinforced every day, as we saw with our own eyes the remains of the Greek/Roman/Ottoman/and more rule. Our leader had a graduate degree in anthropology, and better yet, she was a mother of a teen,...

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2013 was a great year for tourism in Turkey, and Istanbul’s total number of international arrivals last year proved that.      Istanbul broke the all time record welcoming 10.474.867 tourists in 2013. The Tourism Directorate said that the number of foreign tourists visiting Istanbul increased 11.7 per cent compared to 2012.   The number of tourists visiting the city also increased 15.6 per cent in December compare to December 2012. 754.789 tourists arrived to Istanbul in December 2013.   Most of the visitors in Istanbul were from Germany with 1.179.397 tourists which is followed by Russia with 573.528, USA with 503.019 tourists is in 3rd, and France with 478.258 tourists in fourth and UK with 456.172 tourists made the 5th place.   I gave a presentation last weekend about our Wildland Adventures in Turkey and someone asked the same question we get every time: "Is it safe to travel...

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A theme I have been hearing lately from our alumni is how much they learned while traveling in Turkey and how after their adventure they understand so much more about the current social-political situation and cultural norms there. “I hope the country continues to move forward. The young people I met along the way want to see a better life with more freedom and equality. I am concerned the prime minister does not want to take the country in that direction. After my trip, I'm more interested in knowing what is happening in that part of the world.” L. O’Brien, September 2013 We all travel for many reasons and education is one of the most important of them. In Turkey you learn about Byzantine, Roman and Ottoman history while you wander in the ancient sites or the Seljuk buildings still in use in the cities. You increase your botanical knowledge...

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Wildland travelers hoofing in on the crowded Istiklal Cadessi pedestrian promenade of Istanbul. Several Wildland travelers have recently returned from our trips to Turkey and remind me how thrilling it is to walk the streets of Istanbul with Alper Ertubey, Deniz Kilic or any of our expert Turkish guides who are also culinary aficionados. The Anatolian plateau has been a crossroads of civilizations for millennia and as such its cuisine combines cultures and ingredients from far corners of the globe. Every dish in this crossroads of cultures is a luscious lesson in history as described by this Turkish poet: "Do not dismiss the dish saying that it is just, simply food. The blessed thing is an entire civilization in itself." - Abdulhak Sinasi     And, of course the street food is the most simple, fresh and diverse range of exotic taste treats that is the essence of the Istanbulli...
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