General advice and tip on travelling in Turkey

Buses
The bus is still in Turkey the main form of transportation. Every town, every area in Turkey can be reached from the bus station, the *otogar*. Otogar is a word combination, („Oto“ means car, „Gar“ comes from the French word Gare for station). Go there and you’ll find all bus companies – tickets can be obtained right here. A confusing picture sometimes as there are so many agencies – so do decide on a serious company. And specially in summertime do book in time.

All buses have good comfort and air conditioning and a stop on the way for having a meal is always arranged

The Dolmus (dolmush) is typically Turkish and can be found everywhere. These are mainly minibuses traveling relatively short distances. A dolmus usually waits and starts in the bus station () until it is full and then leaves. You can board a dolmus anywhere on its route by signaling it to stop for you. Similarly you can get off at a convenient point anywhere along the route. The destination of the dolmus is posted in the windscreen. This kind of public transport is cheap and efficient and works very well all over Turkey.

Money Matters
Turkish currency is the Lira (TL) and the inflation rate still is very high (between 70 and 80%.) So prices in this country change quickly. Don’t change at home, change in Turkey! The rate is a lot better here. Unless you’ve just won the lottery! Check your money and receipt before leaving the bank Get used to the color and denomination of the Turkish Lira (TL) before going out to spend them. Spread them out somewhere and have a good look (and a small gloat at the millions!). Calculate an exchange rate to fit each note, and round up or down so you can remember it. E.g.: 1,000,000TL (1 Million) is about half a pound – something like that. When you buy something, make sure you understand how many TL are needed, shopkeepers often write the sum down to avoid confusion, and count your notes out carefully. Anyhow many of the restaurant owners or shop keepers are used to western currencies.

National holidays
Official holidays are:
January 1st – New Year’s Day
April 23rd – Children’s Day
May 19th – Day of youth and sport
MIA 27th – Day of constitution
August 30th Victory Day.
October 29th Republic Day

Religious holidays
In Islam there are two big religious festivals. During the fasting time (Ramadan or Ramadan), Muslims are forbidden to eat, drink, smoke or have sexual intercourse between sunrise and sunset. Armada marks God’s revelation of the Koran, Islam’s holy book to the Prophet Mohammed. This 4 weeks fasting time is followed by the Sugar Fete (Seker Bayrami), when people visit each other and offering sweets.

About two months later Kurban Bayrami is celebrated – ‚The Festival of Sacrifice‘, which is Turkey’s longest religious and also secular holiday. This festival commemorates Abraham’s near sacrifice of his son Isaac (Koran Rura 37).

Following Islamic tradition, several million rams are sacrificed in Turkey every year. Every devout household who can effort it buys one. After morning prayers on the first day of the festival the sheep is killed, skinned and butchered for a feast later in the day. A sizable portion of the meat is given to the poor, and the skin is given to a charity organisation, which raises funds by selling the skins to leather factories.

The following days are spent visiting family and close friends, with Turks frequently traveling long distances to be with their families for the holiday. This means that all forms of public transport are fully booked, roads are very busy and accommodation of all types in the resorts will be scarce and expensive.

Roads
The roads all over Turkey have improved and are much better now then a couple of years ago.The time is over – when roads where classified in *dusty* and *non-dusty* roads. But to get good and detailed maps is still a problem here – not everywhere available. That pump stations sell a variety of maps, as you are used too, don’t expect that here. You better buy them at home.

Traffic
Your first impression of traffic in Turkey will be shocking: queue jumping and honking cars, specially taxis who are not bothered about traffic lights and over taking in most impossible places. Pedestrians appear to have suicidal tendencies. Bikes and motor-bikes without light and opposite the One-Way street – that’s absolute normal.

Statistics show that Turkey has the highest record of road accidents. The average driver drives without any consideration to other road users. Their primary weapon is their horn.

Rent a car – self drive
Coming to Turkey by plane and then rent a car is for sure a perfect way to spent your holidays. But prices compare to European countries or US are high. Be careful and drive the defensive way in Turkey.

Toilets
To find public toilets in Turkey is still a problem. Although the hotels have improved their standards, in little restaurants you will be shocked once in a while. A Tip: All mosques have public toilets (in Turkish „Tuvalet“). „Bay“ is man; „Bayan“ means lady.

Tipping
The service on bills is not specially indicated in hotels or restaurants, you should calculate 5 to 10%. In some of the existing travel guides the amount of 15% is recommended – (living here) this we found to high. Of course as for every service, tipping is expected and the salaries are very low in Turkey, so many people are dependent on this sort of extra income. If the car is standing nicely washed and polished in front of the hotel next morning – an English pound or two dollars would be just nice. In general – like everywhere all over the world: the right tipping can open doors – so it does in Turkey.

Drinking water
Water from the tap is mainly water for use, like for washing, you should not drink it. To have drinking water -we recommend the mineral water in those plastic bottles.This water has an outstandingly good quality all over Turkey.

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    Breckenridge is one of the most exciting and active spots to vacation in the United States. This city in Colorado offers world-class; skiing, rafting, biking, and a multitude of other activities. Breckenridge alone is home to 6 of the top ski destinations in the U.S., featuring terrain for beginners, intermediate, and advanced riders. A ski vacation to Breckenridge is definitely an experience we should all get to enjoy.

Skiing in Colorado (USA)

You’ll be welcome with open arms in Breckenridge, Colorado. Breckenridge ski resort offer the world’s finest powder and terrain anyone can imagine. Half of the slopes at Breckenridge ski and snowboard resort are for beginners, while the other half are for moderate to extreme skiing. Breckenridge is the only ski area to offer this much skiing for all types of ability levels.

The town of Breckenridge is just like you would dream about on the way to your ski vacation. The town has a Main st. with stores, restaurants, and variety. You won’t be disappointed as you stroll down Breckenridge’s Main Street; the main area is about ½-mile long and makes for a lovely walk during the daytime or nighttime.

As far as resorts go, you can stay in a classy hotel and pay big bucks, or you can stay just outside of town nestled in the Rockies. Many condos are located a few miles down the road on RT. 9 otherwise known as Main Street.

If you decide to book a condo out of town, you’ll get a better sense of what a mountain vacation is all about. On top of this advantage, you can also expect to pay significantly less than if you stay in the busy town of Breckenridge . Be prepared to breathe the fresh Colorado mountain air. It’s truly invigorating!

As the seasons change in Breckenridge, Colorado your outdoor options expand and contract. Once Spring comes, the skiing gets better and the temperature goes up. Yes, it still snows hard in the Spring time.

The only difference is the quality of the snow. It tends to be wetter than the winter when it is dry-fluffy snow. Either way, it’s great and you’ll love the Spring time snow as much as the Winter snow. After all, the base of Breckenridge in April is about 60 inches deep.

Summer time in Breckenridge is truly a beautiful time! You can fish the streams for Rocky Mountain trout or you can mountain bike, raft, boat (Lake Dillon) or just relax in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. There will never be a boring day during your Breckenridge ski or summer vacation.

Fly fishing is a very enjoyable sport to engage in during the Summer time. It seems like every stream or lake in the Rockies, houses some of the largest trout in the world. Since fishing season is only 5-months out of the year, the trout seem to jump right on to the hook. Just kidding of course! It’s not that easy to catch Trout, but if you use the right flies, you just might find the statement above to be true.

Mountain bike trails are everywhere, but be careful!! Be sure to have a map and enough food & water in case you get lost. The smartest thing to do is mark your course with sticks in the ground if you have any doubts about not getting back home or to your vehicle.

As long as you are sure of this, you’re going to have a great time. Breckenridge offers mountain bike trails that go to the tops of mountains and down to the valleys. The scenery is breathtaking and without a doubt, you’re going to love mountain biking in Breckenridge, CO.

As far as rafting goes, there are many options within 20-miles of Breckenridge. The water flows highest around mid-July because of all the snow which has melted from the mountains. There are plenty of guided trips who will help you navigate through the rivers.

Once you experience all the Breckeridge has to offer, you’ll surely come back every year to enjoy yourself again and again. Also, did you know the state of Colorado has more blue sky days than any other state in the U.S.? It’s true!

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When looking for a unique island to go to on your Greece vacation, you might want to try out the volcanic island of Santorini. This island is part of the Cyclades group of Greek islands and is located between the Ios and Anafi islands. Santorini has become quite popular for its stunning views, beautiful sunsets as well as its fantastic beaches.

The small island of Santorini contains a stunning variety of villages and landscapes. There are traditional architectures that can still be seen from its various small villages particularly in the village of Mesa Gonia. Another notable village is Pyrgos which still has some of the grand old houses as well as remnants of a Venetian castle and Byzantine churches.

The island’s capital is Fira, a place noted for the mixture of Venetian and Cycladic architecture evident in its various structures. Fira is also notable for its cobblestone streets that are lined with shops, taverns and hotels. This area is unique in that it clings at the side of the cliff 900 feet above its port. Going to the area can be done by taking the cable car from the port or by opting taking one of the hundreds of mules and travel up its over 588 zigzagging steps.

Just a bit above Fira is Ia, a town considered also as the highest point of the island. This town is known for its whitewashed walls and the magnificent sunset views which is considered as one of the world’s most beautiful.

Aside from the breathtaking view and scenery offered by the island’s many picturesque towns, there are also various beaches worth going to. There is the unique Kamari which is a black pebble beach. Perissa contains one of the island’s well-organized beaches as well as a popular for its Greek fish taverns. Monolithos is a nice shallow beach that is ideal for families with children.

Tourists can head to Santorini by air or by sea. From the air, tourists can get flights from Athens and is the fastest way to get into the island. Santorini has its own airport located at the Kamari village. Charter flights are also available from various European cities. The flight from Athens to the island of Santorini takes about 30 minutes.

The island can also be reached by ferry. There are ferries available from the port of Piraeus by way of Paros and Naxos. During high tourist season, there are also ferry schedules available from the port in Crete. The ferries dock at Athinios where there are buses and taxis available to take tourists to the different villages on the island.

The problem with taking the regular ferry is that it can take a considerable amount of time. A possible problem with taking the ferry is the occasional seasickness that most tourists with no sea legs may be prone to experiencing. A better alternative for such tourists aside from getting to the island by plane is to take the faster high speed catamarans that also service the island. A trip from Piraeus to Santorini on a high speed catamaran can take only four and a half hours.

For those tourists who wish to take a longer Greece vacation trip by sea with style, there are also cruise ships that venture to the island of Santorini but docks at the island’s old port, a couple of miles away from Athinios.

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Magical adventures in Croatia

Magical adventures in Croatia with hundreds of sparkling waterfalls and more than a thousand islands set amid the blue of the sea, green mountain rivers and streams, virgin canyons, wild karst and mellow plains.

Nestling between the Alps and the Adriatic Sea, in the south-eastern part of the European continent, Croatia jealously protects eight national parks, ten nature parks and a whole range of special reserves, including plant life, animals, geological formations, hydrological phenomena, all within a small but rich area that can be travelled by car from one end to another in a single day.

Many paths run between rivers, mountain peaks, tiny island ports and beaches, leading to Illyrian hill forts, to Roman ruins, to towns and cities that are themselves monuments, to ethno-entities of popular architecture.

Countless footpaths and trekking trails beckon you to venture into beauty and discover the magic of nature – in the mountains, river valleys and canyons, through karstic plains and dense forests, to rock-bound islands and lush green hills. Within this most diverse of reliefs walkers and hikers can reach even the most mysterious areas strewn between sea level and the highest peak on Dinara (1831 m): in nature parks, nature reserves, national parks and other areas with particular attractions from the aspect of adventure – in Slavonic and Baranja, Northern Croatia (Hrvatsko zagorje, Medimurje, Podravina), Gorski kotar, Istria, Dalmatia and Zagorje, on hundreds of isles and islands, and down the length of the Dinara range extending along the coastline. Then there are Ucka, Velebit, Mosor, Biokovo, Snijeznica in the far south – oil offering a wealth of challenges.

Sailing It is easy to capture favourable winds among such a number of islands as exist in Croatian territorial waters – whether blowing from the land or the sea. The strength of wind and waves is not unusually excessive, but should you have had enough just sail for the nearest sheltered bay. Fully equipped sailboats of various categories (with or without a skipper) can be hired from any one of the dozens of marinas situated up and down the coast and on the islands. Yachting clubs and marinas are numerous and well equipped. We are recommending sailing regio at Zadar, Sibenik und Dubrovnik.

Alpinists and freestyle climbers will find the right climbing environment in both the continental and littoral regions, with some climbing sites being located quite close to towns and popular Croatia holiday resorts (Zagreb, Ogulin, Rovinj, Paiin, Split, Ornls…]. Routes ranging from several meters long for beginners, to several hundred meters for specialists, are open to climbing enthusiasts on the rocks of Paklenica, Velebit, Ucka, in the Dinara range (including Dinara-Ornis), Mosor, Biokovo and others, and on the islands (Brac, Vis, Mljet). The best known climbing destinations in the continental parts of the country are on the mountains of Klek, Papuk, Kalnik, on Samarske stijene and Bijele stijene

Well, I think yell get a perfect Croatia holidays!

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