* All the comments have been published as originally obtained - without any correction on punctuation and styles.

March 2020 | Manoucher K. (USA)

On behalf of Tyler Junior College, administrators, faculty, students, Mayor of Tyler, and other participants, I would like to express a hearty THANK YOU to you, and Ms. Maria K., Mrs. Artemis P., Miss KiKi, and Mr. Mikiss M. (driver) who hosted my group and provided us such a wonderful opportunity to visit Greece. This visit would not have been possible without your dedicated efforts on our behalf. The time you have invested in facilitating our visit of you must have been extraordinary, and we are truly thankful. My group members had ten or more glorious days in Greece. The choice of the guide, bus driver, greeter, hotels, sites and any other arrangements were superb. As saying goes, behind every successful tour is a wonderful travel agent.

Your and Maria’s special attention to Mr. Erwin B’s needs deserves a mega thanks. He is safely returned to NY. Greek people were amazingly kind and gracious during this tough time to us. We will never forget this trip ever. We have lots of good stories to tell about Greek hospitalities.

Despite the negative news about Coronavirus, twenty-eight different individuals departed their homes and lives on March 2020, to become part of the global education project in Greece. After ten days of intensive learning about Greece and exploring its rich heritage, diverse culture and people, we returned to our homes, our lives and institutions with different experiences beneath our belts. We glimpsed a country with a heritage and culture as diverse as its landscape. We have been befriended by Greeks who shared the love for their families, homes, food, fun, music, etc. that we have. The project was an incredible experience -- intellectually, physically and spiritually rewarding.

Once again, I thank you Mr. Konstantinos G. for giving us this lifetime educational opportunity to visit Greece. You, Gokhan, Maria, and Mikiss are the best!

November 2019 | Sunita S. (USA)


Our 9 Days Turkey Trip Visiting Istanbul, Cappadocia, Kusadasi, Pamukkale and Ephesus
We really loved Turkey and thanks to our exceptional guides and tours organized by Parasol Tours. Guides were very knowledgable and fluent in English. They knew their history very well and always want above and beyond taking care of our travel needs. Most of all, they were very courteous, reliable and on-time and drivers were safe and excellent in all kinds of traffic conditions. I highly recommend this company to any of my family and friends who are planning visit Turkey!

October 2019 | Muriel F. (USA)

Dear Mr. Korkmaz,

I received Parasol’s reimbursement check today. Thank you again for your professionalism, integrity, and concern for your customers. I have recommended Parasol to my personal travel agent in the US. Much appreciation. 

Sincerely, Muriel F.

We love Cappadocia! It’s amazing, our guide is great, and the hotel is paradise. Muriel& David ? Thank you!

September 2019 | Gina S. (USA)

Thank you

Our stay was wonderful!! Tour guides were very knowledgeable and the sites were breathtaking!

The balloon ride was such a treat as well! Amazing amazing time in Turkey!

August 2019 | Derrrick M. (USA)

I just wanted to send an email saying how incredibly amazing our guide Tezjin was here in Kusadasi.  He was so helpful, friendly, informational and full of joy. I would HEAVILY recommend him any time you could get him. Just wow. I really can't say enough about him. Adnan in Instanbul was great but Tez was even beyond that. 


June 2019 | Tamari K. (Georgia)

Thank you for your service, 

the tour was great! We enjoyed Istanbul.



June 2019 | Shaweta S. (USA)

First of all let me thank all of you for organizing a very well arranged tour for our family. All of us had a great time in Turkey all thanks to you guys and we sure do plan to come back.

It is quite unfortunate that we could not take the balloon flight but as you said maybe another reason to come back.

Thank you once again!

Best regards,


May 2019 | Stephanie D. (USA)

Hi Gokhan,

Thanks for letting me know about the below. I heard from the clients this morning that they had a great time and really enjoy Ali. Thank you once again for taking great care of our clients!



May 2019 | Ingrid B. (USA)

Good morning, it’s a really gorgeous morning here in bright and sunny beautiful Mykonos. ❤️❤️❤️??. Most relaxed of this beautiful vacation thus far- we’re on our own time ??. Enjoyed , enjoying thus far.

Most surprised and unexpected was the announcement of a birthday gift . Moreover, presented with this beautifully and big wrapped gift box had me all in smiles and chuckling with amazement- so very sweet of you guys and much much appreciated for your kind and thoughtful gesture. Thanks much ??❤️❤️?????.

Ingrid B.

November 2018 | Marsha R.C.. (USA)

The man who drove me from the Ankara airport to the Neva Palas Hotel in Ankara was extraordinary. I believe his name was Gurcen or Gurkan. Or something close to that, perhaps it began with Gul but it was only two syllables. Anyway, he was a gem, who did his utmost to help me. His courtesy and English were outstanding. The worst thing is I cannot remember if I tipped him. I feel badly about that. I’m not certain I had any Turkish lira on me at the time. Anyway I really want you to know what a kind person he was and please let him know how much I appreciated all he did for me.

July 2018 | Sarah H. (USA) 

Thank you for organising it and hunting everything down with such a short time frame and tight budget, especially for peak season!! The balloon ride was a highlight for me, and Naxos was a perfect choice for the kids as they loved the beach time. Our guide Ayse in Cappadocia was especially lovely (we ended up with a lovely souvenir picture of her and our daughter – she was great with the kids!), though the other guides were also very knowledgeable. The rest of our drivers were a little easier on the gas pedal than the airport transfer thankfully, although we did have a mishap with one driver sleeping in, though Mariana kindly called and gave him the hurry up (think there was confusion with swapped drivers in Athens) and we made the ferry without any drama. It was a full on 2 weeks, but one we thoroughly enjoyed!

Thanks again 


July 2018 | ChingWen C. (China) 

Dear Sir,

I hope this email finds you well. 

My name is ChingWen C, and I've joined the Cappadocia trip on July 13-14. The trip was really nice, and the tour guide, John, took many group photos for us. It will be great if you can send those photos to me. 

Thank you very much. 



July 2018 | Sabina O. (Albania) 

Dear Madam/Sir,  

I am writing in order to thank you for the well organized trip to Cappadocia. It was a very nice experience. Furthermore, our guide Can Ulusoy was very professional and kind. My colleagues and I would like to recommend him for further tours and also thank him for making our trip unforgettable.

Kind Regards,
Dr. Sabina O.

October 2017 | Stephanie D. (USA) 

Hi Gokhan, 

I just wanted to let you know that we heard from the clients that they had an amazing, fabulous trip. Thank you so much to you, your team and Ali for taking such great care of them!



January 2017 | Diana C. (Australia) 

Hello Gokhan 

I meant to email earlier to say the guide and driver in Cappadocia were very good ( as was the guide in Istanbul). All were very helpful and kind. 


The guide and driver today in Kusadasi were also good. 

Diana C.

July 2016 | Emily F. (USA) 

We had only one day to explore Istanbul on a recent trip to Turkey, but I feel like we were able to really experience a lot, and I credit that to the tour company that we booked under, Parasol Tours, and the absolutely wonderful guide they provided for us, Berrin Yavuz. Berrin took my husband and I on a private, walking tour to Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, the Hippodrome, the Blue Mosque, and the Spice Bazaar (at our request as we were less interested in the Grand Covered Bazaar). She was SO knowledgeable about each location and very passionate about sharing that knowledge with us. She had a great sense of humor and never made us feel like we were in a rush or that it was a bother if we needed to stop for a bit. In addition to the main locations mentioned above, she took us to a tile shop where we were able to see a ceramics demonstration using a manual pottery wheel and to a Turkish rug weaving shop where we visited an underground cistern to see a simulation of the Hippodrome in its glory days, watched a weaving demonstration, and had all sorts of beautiful rugs laid out to hear about the different materials and styles. Berrin even recommended local places for lunch and dinner for us, even though those were separate from the tour and dinner fell after the tour had already ended (she made sure we knew how to find the location before dropping us back off at our hotel). Both meals were absolutely delicious, and it was especially appreciated after being suckered into eating at a tourist restaurant the night before with much heftier prices and lower quality food. We were fortunate enough to travel all around Turke|y through this company, and I cannot recommend them enough. The drivers and guides are ALWAYS on time, if not early, and they will make the places you visit really come alive for you.

October 2015 | Kalpana D. (India)

Hi mr Go Khan.  We had wonderful stay in Turkey. Thanks for excellent arrangements. Now returning to the airport. Kalpana D.

September 2015 | Pete & Cathy M. (Australia)

We are having a great time and have just handed over the car. Everything has been wonderful. Hotels, guides. Pickups etc have been first class and we appreciate the efforts made by Parasol and Ms Nil in particular. Cheers Pete and Cathy

July 2015 | Roberto F. + Maria L. C. + Roberto S. + Maria E. H. (Chile)

“Antes que pase mas tiempo, y que los recuerdos se confundan con los sueños, quisiera hacer llegar a la Agencia de Guias Turca, nuestro agradecimiento por la atencion recibida desde que pisamos el suelo en ese maravilloso País. Los mejores recuerdos del Guia en Capadocia Serkan, sumanente atento y profesional.”

May 2015 | Margot C. (Australia)

Hi Gokhan,

The trip went extremely well. All our clients were extremely pleased with the experience. The hotels were great and Serdar was wonderful once again.

The absolute highlight was the Ephesus final dinner. I am so sorry we did not have a larger group but it was SO special . I would recommend you to offer it to any special groups. It is worth every dollar!!!

Best wishes until next we return. Margot

April 2015 | Cherre Z. (USA)

Hi Gokhan, 

We have heard from the teacher in charge for the school group. They were happy with all the services. The guides/escort were terrific. Hotels are centrally located and clean. 

Thank you for all your help and looking forward to another business in the future. 


October 2014 | Fernando K. (Brasil) 

Hi Gokhan, I just want you to thank you for the wonderfull experience that me and my wife had today. The balloon ride was amazing and K. Balloon is a fantastic company. The tour was awsome, specially because of the fantastic guide, Burcu. She is really nice, funny, polite and has a extensive knowledge about the history of Capadoccia. Be sure I will recomend you all to my brazilian friends. Regards, Fernando

October 2014 | Barbara B. (USA) 

Thanks Gokhan. You have handled all very professionally. I think you are a wonderful tour company. Barbara

October 2014 | Charron H. (Australia) 

Nil thank you for taking care of all the details of our trip. Your attention to detail guaranteed a smooth and wonderful vacation. Kind regards, Charron

June 2014 | Cynthia V. (USA)

Quoted From Trip Advisor: “Need a great guide for your trip to Turkey?” My husband and I have just returned from a 12 day trip to Turkey. Our journey began with three days in Istanbul, a day trip to the neolithic site of Gobekli Tepe, then on to Cappadocia, to Bodrum, Ephesus and back to Istanbul. Artisans of Leisure, the very fine firm that helped us organize our trip from New York, found us the best guide, Cemil K. His enthusiasm, knowledge and ever present smile and good humor made our trip even better than expected. He would often preface a statement with a thesis paper just read or a documentary just watched, indicating that his remarks were both thoughtful and current. He does not just give the basic facts but can easily dive into pretty deep depth on any subject related to the many and fascinating facets of Turkish culture and history. We strongly recommend him and A.O.L.

May 2014 | Richard & Valerie B. (USA) 

Dear Gokhan, 

I wanted to tell you what a wonderful tour Mr & Mrs B. had – they wrote me twice and called to say how perfect everything was! They absolutely loved Ali (of course). 

Thank you for all of your assistance with our very important clients, as always! 

All my best, 


January 2014 | Suhasini M. (India) 

Hi Tijen, this is Suhasini here {wife of Prasad}!! We reached India yesterday morning . We had a wonderful time at Turkey. It is a beautiful country and i really hope that i get an opportunity to visit it again ! I just want to thank you once again for being such a wonderful guide and explaining and telling us so much about your wonderful country.We all missed you a lot in Istanbul and we were wishing you would have been there with us . If you are planning to visit India , do let me know in advance.Once again thank you for making our trip so interesting and worthwhile, love, Suhasini

January 2014 | Mary E. (Australia) 

Thank you for all that you have done for us. You made our trip so memorable. As a Roman Catholic it was such an eye opener to visit your country. I hardly knew much of the existence of our faith in the region. Of course I knew my bible and knew of the names of the biblical areas but I didn't know it was in Turkey. Well I guess it was because Turkey only became a republic in 1923. Honestly I didn't even know that the Bosphorus separated the continents of Europe and Asia. It was the most educational trip that our family ventured into. Thanks again for your interesting commentaries.

June 2013 | Fardin Z. (USA) 

Dear Gokhan Bey, Just a quick note to say thank you so much for helping me organize my Turkey trip. And thank you so much Shirley for introducing  Gokhan Bey to me. My friend and I had a wonderful, super good and an unforgettable time in Turkey:)! All thank to to you both! It was one of the most memorable time of my life! Fardin

June 2013 | Natalia N. (Russia) 

Dear Gokhan I have just returned to Moscow. I enjoyed my visit to Ankara very much. I would even say that I prefer this city to Istanbul as it is by far less agitated, very authentic and no one disturbs you by trying to sell smth or making abusive introductions. Thank you for the enjoyable stay and for your help. Best wishes Natalia

April 2012 | Eliot C. (USA) 

I have travelled to Turkey twice leading photography tours.  In both cases Parasol Holidays provided all the services for the tour.  In a word they are marvelous.  Coordinating the locations, hotels and transportation is a major task and Parasol has excellent recommendations and follow through in every case.  Their choice of bus operators is the best and when special services have been needed on the bus they were readily provided.  We had good choices for hotels and they were always excellent and receptive to our needs. Our guide on both occasions has been superb and a great enhancement to our experience. There is so much to see and do, all amazing.  With Parasol Holidays as the provider we were able to focus on our photography and thoroughly enjoy our time in Turkey.

Eliot C.

April 2012 | M. Akram K. (Pakistan) 

We have just returned safely from our tour to Turkey. I am writing this to express my feeling of gratitude and joy for getting the opportunity of your guidance and management of the entire tour. We were extremely impressed by your management style, your fiendly attitude, your disciplined way of conducting the tour and your personal attention to the needs of the individual members of the grioup. We enjoyed each segment of the tour. 

May I also thank, through you, your company, Parasol and O. Tour who were behind all this good effort.

Akram K. & Mrs. A. Akram K.

April 2012 | M. & S. (USA) 

Our trip was amazing. We all had a wonderful time and enjoyed every minute. The way the local office was able to turn around plans for Wednesday night was pure magic. My niece's friend who comes from Istanbul told my niece that it took her months to make wedding plans at that same site. 

Yes, the weather on Wednesday was crazy! With broken glass and tiles flying in the air! I must say though that we really lucked out as the new venue your team in Turkey arranged for us (in under 4 hours!!) was a real treat. It was a beautiful place with gorgeous architecture and interior design overlooking the bosphorus river. We all enjoyed the evening very much and felt extremely taken care of especially when someone showed up with a highchair for N. from their own home! 

Turkish team's ability to adjust and come up with quick and successful solutions to our constantly changing agenda was definitely impressive. They also did a fantastic job arranging for a private restaurant for us Saturday night to have a debrief/ farewell dinner with all of our grantees. 

I am also very glad that we kept A. around during the conference days as we all enjoyed taking a few quick breaks with him to take-in Istanbul as much as possible. He is such a wonderful and knowledgeable tour guide that he quickly became one of the trip's main highlights. 

This was a great and enjoyable trip! I will have to come back one day to explore more of Turkey

April 2012 | Suzanne F. (USA) 

Hi Gokhan, 

Our trip to Turkey was wonderful. We enjoyed every place we went. I just gave your name to my friend, Steve S. as he and his wife are planning a trip to Turkey in the fall. Thanks again for all of your help.

Suzanne F

March 2012 | Mallory D. (USA) 

I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to travel with Dr. K. on his spring break trip to Turkey. Being twenty years old, I am blessed to say that I have traveled a good amount, to several countries. I can honestly say after all of these travels, this trip to Turkey has been the absolute best. I had no idea what to expect before we went, but I definitely did not plan on falling in love with the country and everything about it. I wanted to soak up everything I could, the landscape, the incredible history, the delicious food, the language, and more.  Now that we have returned, I feel like a new person, I look at different cultures with a different perspective and I want to travel as much as I can. I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to visit the amazing country of Turkey. I am now encouraging every other student and person I know to join Dr. K on his travels. I have already said I want to continue going on this trip each year and I hope I get the chance to travel to the eastern portion of the country as well. Thank you again for the most educational and enjoyable experience I will ever have! Sincerely, Mallory D.

March 2012 | Marilyn M. (USA) 

I am adjusting to the time. We got back about 4:00 p.m.yesterday and I was in bed by 6:30p.m. Will add more later but it was a wonderful trip. You are doing a lot of wonderful things for people on two --make that three--continents. All the best and many thanks, 


March 2012 | David S. (USA) 

I just wanted to tell you that I got home safe and sound in C. about 2 hours ago... 

Experiencing jet lag for the first time at my age is an life changing experience all in itself!  Words cannot begin to express what a wonderful gift that you have given me...I don't think that in ANY language I can fully describe to you the thanks and heart-felt appreciation that I owe to you.  I am a changed person/man for what you have given to me and what Turkey has given to me.  This experience has not only enlightened me in numerous ways, I also feel a bond has been made in friendship between us. 

Thank-you so very much for such a wonderful week that I will remember and cherish for the rest of my life.  If you EVER need or want a letter of recommendation concerning the impeccable quality of your trips to Turkey, please do not hesitate to ask. 

A New Friend and Family Member, David

February 2012 | D. Y. (USA)

You are what makes this business a little nicer. I am so glad my friend R. recommended you. Thank you and Happy Valentines Day!

December 2011 | Rudi & Lucia (USA)

When we arrived to Kayseri Airport there was a big smile waiting for us: Tijen our guide and Yilmaz. 

We drove for five unforgetable days visiting this wonderful country. Cappadocia, Konya, Kusadasi, etc. Long drives, interesting sightseeings - The enormous diversity of this country. 

It has been a wonderful experience, specially for me. I have to thank Rudi for his generosity to bring me here. He knew the country very well. 

There will always be a special place in our hearts for the two people who guided us. Thank you so much! 

Rudi and Lucia

November 2011 | Ashbindu S. (USA) 

Thanks for all the arrangements. We had a wonderful time in Turkey.

October 2011 | Helen L. (Australia) 

We had a wonderful day with our new guide. Thank you so much for organizing the change. Cheers Helen

October 2011 | Ross I. (Australia) 

Just a quick note to say thank you for organising our trip to Turkey. 

We had a wonderfull holiday and everything went as per our itinerary. 

The hotels you chose for us were above our expectations.  The Museum Hotel at Uchisar, Cappadocia is beautiful and well worth recommending to future clients. Parasol did an amazing job and all of our tour guides were great.  We were very impressed when the rental car was waiting for us on the dock at the end of our cruise at Marmaris. 

We have recommended you to friends who intend to holiday in Turkey and we will certainly be in touch for our next holiday. 


Ross I.

October 2011 | Cheryl A. (Australia) 

We are glad to be back, both of us were ready to come home when we had finished the Spain leg.  However we enjoyed ourselves and every thing went off like clock work.

Both of us found Turkey more interesting than Spain and the guys at Parasol never let us down.  They are a class act and all our accommodation was really good except for the Marmara Guest House in Istanbul, the one we chose.

September 2011 | Peter M. (Australia) 

Dear Sir/Madam 

This is to confirm that we requested a change in today's travel plans, which our guide Tigen agreed to. 

I would also like to take this opportunity to express, on behalf of the five of us, our satisfaction with the arrangements so far and, in particular, record our appreciation of the service, personality and knowledge of our guide Tigen O., along with our trust in our driver Mustafa. Both have contributed greatly in making this a very special and memorable holiday. 

Kind regards 

Peter M.

April 2011 | Rene F. (Mexico)

The tour was great and both guide and driver were great friends. Thank you very much.

March 2011 | Judy O. (USA) 

Dear Gokhan Bey, 

We have a large loose group of ex-pats who have an internet site to share information.  Someone asked for a travel agency and three of us recommended you!  I'm including their comments so you can see that your good work is appreciated! 

Sincerely, Judy O.

Hi,  I have had good experiences with Parasol Holidays.  They offered a wide variety of pricing options and were very responsive. Kind regards, Deena (P.)

I second Deena's recommendation. I have known the owner, Gökhan, of Parasol Travel for nearly a decade - very helpful and ethical in addition to what Deena has posted below.
Happy travels Marlene (E.) 

I too have used Parasol and found Gokhan Bey very helpful  We used him when my extended family and friend wanted to do a little tour of Turkey about 4 or 5 years ago and everything went very well.  The F.A. had used this agency several time for big groups of American teachers who have toured Turkey in the summer.  Again, their recommendations and reservations were all much more than satisfactory. I can highly recommend Parasol. 

Judy (O.)

March 2011 | Nivaldo F. (Brasil) 

.....We are very impressed with the work of Mr. Baris C. from Parasol. He is the best tour guide we ever had. He works for the love to his country and makes every small thing a great tourism attraction. Also takes much care about his guests in every aspect. All the places visited for lunch or road breaks were very interesting and sometimes exclusive. Did the complete itinerary and included some extras.....

January 2011 | Jarrett M. (USA) 

...My visit to Turkyee was a highlight of 2010 – and you helped to make it a blessing.  I marvel at the sights we saw – and as I told you on the bus, you did a commendable job addressing our individual needs and  pulling our little group of individual travelers together.  You sparked our interest with cultural and historical tidbits. I have returned to the internet every couple of weeks to search out additional information or clarification of some bit of history.  I have a new appreciation of the Turkish people and have encouraged many friends to consider travel in (with Parasol, of course!) and learning more about your remarkable homeland.  One of my friends gave me for Christmas a book on the Ottoman Centuries.  The author is Lord Kinross. I notice he also wrote a book on Ataturk.  I look forward to reading both of his books. 

I wish you well in 2011, Hafiz.  I hope it is a good year for you and your family.  Thank you for all you did to help make Gale’s and my tour of Turkyee memorable...

November 2009 | Evelyn B. (Canada) 

....I also would like to commend our guide from Ankara, where we landed and was picked up for the drive to Cappadocia, Mr. Serdar Toksoz, from Parasol Holidays of Ankara. He was able to maximize the time for our tour since it was a 4.5 hour travel from Ankara to Cappadocia. He is also very knowledgeable about the local Anatolian and general Turkish history and this was reflected from the details that he shared with us when we were at the Anatolian Civilization Museum, which was quite interesting and well worth the visit. For lunch he brought us to a nice rest stop that served delicious local Anatolian cuisine. Upon arrival to the Cappadocia region Serdar brought us to the Kayamakli Underground City, which was most interesting. This was apparently a replacement tour because Ataturk's Mausoleum was closed due to his death anniversary as this was on 10 Nov. To be honest, I think that was an excellent decision on Serdar's part to bring us to Kayamakli because it was truly our first time to experience an historic underground city. Here too, Serdar was very familiar of the history and background of this underground city. He then took us to Pigeon Valley for a different vantage point of the area and from there we were dropped off to Yunak Evleri. This is one of the truly memorable experience my husband and I have of this tour is to stay in a beautiful, luxurious with impeccable service cave hotel, also our first time to do so. The view was truly breathtaking, awesome and spectacular. All my friends were asking us details about this cave hotel. The staff were friendly and quick to respond to other needs. For us, it was a perfect stay at Yunak Evleri. Undoubtedly, when given the opportunity to visit Urgup again, we definitely would stay at Yunak Evleri again. 

Just for your information, Serdar offered us the hot-air balloon ride in Cappadocia, which he we took and by far this is the most breathtaking, exhilirating and exciting tour or event we did through Goreme Ballon Tours. I must say, the crew are all professionals, the activities were very organized and throughout they had safety in their minds for their guests, which we appreciated. Our balloon captain was very knowledgeable of the terrain and geography of Cappadocia and he provided information while piloting the hot-air balloon safely and expertly. After an hour of flight we touched down safely with everybody smiling and happy and the crew treated us to the customary champagne and given our hot-air balloon certificates. That was truly an unforgettable tour. In as far, as the local full-day tour in Cappadocia, it went relatively well and the guide was also infomative. We saw the interesting rock and cliff formations at the Goreme Open Air Museum, pottery making and carpet weaving from the different towns around Cappadocia. Again it was quite an interesting trip. Despite the seemingly hectic schedule in Cappadocia, my husband and I were able to manage to get some free time in the evening in downtown Urgup that afforded us to relax a little more as well. So the schedule of this tour, I would say was pretty balanced, not too fast and not too slow.....

September 2008 | Lorriane V.P. (USA) 

In September 2008, the photographers aimed their lenses at Turkey, beginning in the magical city of Byzantium. Transported back in time, we visited the famous Hagia Sophia, more than 1,400 years old, to photograph the surviving Christian mosaics. We visited one of the most famous religious buildings in the world, the Blue Mosque, which gets its name from the mostly blue Iznik tiles, which grace the interior. Another special photographic opportunity occurred in the cavernous underground vault that is the Basilica Cistern, which was built in 557 A.D. during the Roman occupation of the city. Topkapi Palace was an amazing complex of buildings, including a harem, and a treasury containing fabulous jewels. There were magical sunset and sunrise shots of these iconic buildings from nearby rooftops while enjoying the local cuisine. We toured the Grand Bazaar. And all of this occurred in our first two days in Istanbul, Turkey. This trek to Turkey was an action packed adventure from start to finish.

We flew to Izmir, in the heart of the Aegean region, where we visited what is believed to be the final home of Mary, mother of Jesus, near the city of Ephesus. We then toured Ephesus, one of the greatest ruined cities containing the restored facade of the Library of Celsus and the Gate of Hercules. We toured the Temple of Aphrodite in Aphrodisias. We photographed the white limestone terraces at Pamukkale at dusk, and waded in the warm hot springs that feed the graceful formations. Adjacent to Pamukkale is Hierapolis, a city destroyed by an earthquake in 60 A.D. A stop at the local police station produced a lost trekker. Rosanne P. called for an impromptu visit in an anonymous village on market day, which yielded marvelous portraits of the very friendly and accommodating Turks. That evening, we swam in the warm waters of the mineral pool at our hotel.

We visited Mevlana Museum, the lodge and school of the “whirling dervishes, founded by Rumi. We stopped at caravanserais, built to house and protect merchants and their caravans as they traveled around the country. At the end of a long day of sightseeing, we arrived in the fairy landscape that is Cappadocia precisely at sunset, and captured beautiful photos of the “fairy chimneys” in Urgup. Dawn of day 6 found many in the group floating gently above the landscape in hot air balloons. We toured the countryside to see the variety of land formations, the distinctly shaped elongated columns, the fairy chimneys, the mushroom shaped rocks, the soft ice cream tuff fields in cone shapes, the pedestal shapes, all created through erosion of volcanic rock resulting from eruptions over 30 million years ago. Later that day, we visited a factory where female artisans demonstrated the art of hand knotting to create the most magnificent carpets. We enjoyed apple tea as local artisans demonstrated pottery creation and decoration. On our way back to the hotel, the group paused for a photo in front of “the castle.” Then on to dinner dressed in local costume, followed by an evening performance of traditional dance. Early the next day we were airborne again, on our way back to modern Istanbul, where we toured the city and walked along the famous Istiklal Caddesi, home to many shops and restaurants. On Friday, we toured the Egyptian Market, and photographed the Spice Market, followed by a relaxing cruise on the Bosphorus. At the workshop close, Reed H. declared this the most photogenic of treks and the busiest one he had ever participated in. We were an exhausted and satisfied group, grateful to Rosanne P. and Reed H., for all their insights and assistance in capturing this memorable experience, and to Michelle C. and Erica J. for arranging such a complex and wonderful trip. Our guide, Ali K., expertly moved the group from photo op to eating op without falter. It was a great group of people, and together, we all learned how to use histograms, and when to use hissy fits, when polarizer's should be on, and more importantly, when polarizer's should be off. Overall, a phenomenal experience.

July 2007 | DDRS (Canada-Quoted from "Turkey Travel Planner") 

Just a public note to Sinan, and one that will hopefully help out the readers of this GREAT web site. Thank you, Sinan, for your recommendation of Gokan Kormaz from Parasol Holidays. He has been most helpful in arranging a very early morning transfer from Sabiha Gokcen to Taksim, and a later transfer from that airport to Ataturk. For those of you who need this kind of service, I'd recommend their services! www.parasolholidays.com;, Great and timely service, kind answers to stupid questions, and even a cell phone number in the case anything goes wrong. 

Thanks again, Sinan, and thanks Tom Brosnahan for making this site possible 


September 2006 | David S. M. (USA) 

The tour of Turkey that Parasol Holidays provided has made us lovers of your country! Of all the places we have visited none has given us more pleasure. Not the other trips have proved as interesting as this trip to Turkey. Although the whole trip was nearly perfect, we'd like to mention some favorite... 

Sights: • Cappadocia—fantastic geological formations seen from above by our ride, not on a flying carpet, but in a Kapadokya hot air Balloon, and from below in the caves carved out as shelters for beleaguered Christians • Ephesus— a most beautifully preserved Greek city, with its three roads, odeon, theater, library, latrine—and the Ephesus Museum • Aphrodisias—best preserved Roman city, with its odeon, theater, Tetrapylon, and huge stadium • The ancient Roman bath at Hierapolis, where we ourselves swam • Troy, with its destroyed and restored nine layers and its two Trojan Horses • Seljuk Turk caravanserai • Tuz Gölü • Ankara, with its two marvelous museums, where we learned so much about Turkish culture and the accomplishments of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk • And baby Berilsu C.! 

Accommodations: • The first-class hotels you arranged for us in Greece—the Hotel Stanley in Athens and the Hotel Mediterranean in Rhodes. • Antik Tiyatro Hotel, right across a busy street from an antique theater, charmingly furnished, with a view of the castle in the Bodrum harbor • The historical Nazlihan Hotel right on the Aegean (as was everything in Assos) • The lovely and conveniently located Yesil Ev in Istanbul, which you reserved for us on our friends' recommendation • And the fabulous Anatolian Houses—the historically themed suites, especially our Roman suite, with its four rooms, sunken bath, Roman columns, seven sumaks, and lighted niches with real Roman artifacts (urns, tear vases, oil lamps! 

Transportation: • The hydrofoil from Athens that "got us to the church [on Santorini] in time" for the wedding that same day • The ferry from Santorini to Rhodes and the luxury of a cabin, where we slept for about half the 21-hour trip • The King Sauron catamaran that took us from Rhodes to Marmaris • And the comfortable Mercedes vans, especially the "Pullman" van driven by Mustafa H. 

Guide and drivers: • All K. was a spectacular tour guide. His English (learned from skateboarders) was fluent and idiomatic. He was interactive and attuned to our preferences. He could make arrangements by cell phone (with you on the other end?), describe the passing sights, carry on a conversation about religions or Turkish politics, and pick up a desire for more water—all seemingly at the same time. He was knowledgeable about history, mythology, architecture, archaeology. And he was so charming that he made everything more fun. • Besides driving us safely, Mustafa H. and Ali K. added to our enjoyment of the tour, even though they didn't say much, by being friendly and helpful. 

Food: • We enjoyed getting to know the typical Turkish cuisine, especially that at the seaside restaurant Deniz in Gümüşlük • We also enjoyed the variety provided by the gourmet dinner at the Antik Tiyatro Oteli; the pizza, wine, and vodka lemonade at The House Cafe in Istanbul; the excellent cosmopolitan breakfast at the Ankara Hilton. 

It should be clear that we thoroughly enjoyed our tour of Turkey. Our experience showed us that none of the negative expectations that others had suggested to us—that Turkey was a poor, Third World country; that its government was strongly influenced by sharia law; that it had a arid, even desert climate—were true. 

We will recommend to our friends that they follow in our footsteps—again with your guidance. We are aware that you gave us extra consideration and that some special deals (for example, the "introductory rate" for the Roman suite at Anatolian Houses) will not be available to everyone. But we hope others can afford many of the pleasurable luxuries that you gave us (even though they may get "only" an unthemed room at Anatolian Houses). 

Please let us know how we can help you "get the word out" about the wonderful  travel opportunities in our new favorite country—Turkey. Sincerely,