I first went nearly twenty years ago, as a backpacker roughing it in cheap hotels and traveling on the local buses. My wife and I traveled to Turkey before kids and we recently went back with our three kids, anxiously wondering how much the country had changed since our previous visit years ago.
Twenty years ago, Turkey was still travel on the edge - Istanbul was a major stop on European itieraries, but most tourists did not venture further east. At the time we went all the way to the far east of the country, seeing only a few tourists on the way, and having to speak to the locals in Turkish out of a phrasebook, as so few understood English. Turkey was exotic, with warm wonderful people, incredible food and mind blowing sights.
In summer 2010, English was everywhere, and tourists were everywhere as well. Hotels, which once cost $5 a night per person, now can't be had for under $100, and the people are very used to tourists. We wanted to see if anything of the old Turkey still remained and so I got down to work on the internet. Now, if you can't find a place listed on Tripadvisor, you know it's off the beaten track. And, if you can't communicate in email in English , you know for sure. I read one blog entry from about five years ago about a visit to a town called Cakraz on the Black Sea coast - I could not find anything else in English, and so took this as a sign that we should go there as part of a two week family trip last summer.
We loved Turkey, again. And Cakraz brought us back to the Turkey we so fondly remembered - we were the only English speakers in town, and the people welcomed us with open arms, probably very surprised to see us, so far off the beaten track. Everything was wonderful and and we would not have wanted to be anywhere else. Our kids loved every minute in Turkey - it is without doubt the friendliest country we have visited - and I am sure we will go back again. And if you search hard enough as I did, you will still find in some places an authentic, untouristed country.
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