Exploring the Back Roads of Ancient Turkey


Travel by the back roads into the heartland of Turkey on an in-depth cultural exploration offered by Seattle-based Wildland Adventures. The 14-day tour leaves Oct. 22 and April 21.

Traveling overland by train and private air-conditioned bus, passengers traverse the Anatolian plateau, through the forests and lakes of the Toros Mountains to the Mediterranean among villages hardly changed in centuries and the classic ancient sites of western Turkey, including Cappadocia. Leading the trip are local Turkish guides Mehlika Seval and Mamut Celik, who are scholars and guidebook authors.

They describe how the ancient civilizations of Anatolia live on in folklore, lifestyle and religion. Participants will meet locals including a holy man of a local mosque, residents of a nomadic tent camp, shopkeepers, farmers and several families in private homes. Participants also will take a day to go swimming and cruising on the Mediterranean coast in a traditional hand-built Turkish gulet . Accommodations are in homestyle inns and restored Ottoman residences.

Cost: $2,095 per person, double occupancy, including ground transportation, accommodations, all meals and tours. Not included: air fare to Turkey. Contact: Wildland Adventures, 3516 N.E. 155th St., Seattle, WA 98155; telephone (800) 345-4453.


Central Coast

Explore back roads and byways of rural California’s Central Coast on a two-day journey departing Sept. 15 from Santa Barbara. Guests visit small towns and hamlets from the Santa Ynez Valley to Cambria.

The itinerary includes a stop for lunch at Morro Bay, craft shops, art galleries and boutiques; a tour of an herb garden at an oak-shaded farm and a restored Queen Anne cottage with period furnishings; the 18th annual California Woodcarver’s Show, and sample cider or fresh-baked apple turnovers at a 120-year-old orchard. Guests will also attend a silent art auction and take an optional evening tour of Hearst Castle with costumed interpreters.

The tour is sponsored by the city of Santa Barbara, Parks and Recreation Department/Senior Recreation Services.

Cost: $275 per person, double occupancy, including accommodations, round-trip transportation from Santa Barbara, and four meals. Contact: Learned Journeys at P.O. Box 30626, Santa Barbara, CA 93130; tel. (800) 682-6191.

Southeast Asia’s Sky

Griffith Observatory director Edwin Krupp will lead a UCLA Extension tour to witness the solar eclipse in Southeast Asia, Oct. 16-26. This travel study tour, designed for astronomy enthusiasts seeking a prime viewing spot for a total eclipse of the sun Oct. 24, takes place aboard the 800-passenger Marco Polo.

The ship will be positioned at an optimum site to view the eclipse in its totality. Shore excursions include Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia and Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) in Vietnam.


Krupp will talk about the scientific aspects of the eclipse and the study of astronomical phenomena from prehistoric times.

Cost: $4,025 to $8,325 per person, double occupancy, including all air and land transportation, all meals and sightseeing excursions. Not included: $150 tuition fee.

Also in Southeast Asia and led by Krupp is “Climbing the Cosmic Mountain: Cosmos, Calendar and Kings in Java and Bali,” Oct. 8-16. This pre-cruise tour to Indonesia, limited to enrolled participants of the solar eclipse cruise, emphasizes remote sites where ancient peoples studied the skies.

The trip begins with a night in Singapore. Participants then move on to central Java to ascend Borobudur, an ancient Buddhist pyramid symbolizing a mountain that links the sky’s north pole to the heart of the world. The group then tours the Prambanan temples, the largest temples in central Java, including Candi Kalasan, built in the ninth Century to honor Tara, the female bodhisattva. The next day, participants visit a sultan’s palace, the Sobo Budoyo Museum of local arts, and a batik factory.

In southern Bali, guests get a performance of the theatrical Barong Dance, visit Pura Besakih (Bali’s “Mother of All Temples”) and, in Pejen, a tour of the Archaeological Museum and the Temple of the Crazy Water Buffalo, which features huge statues of divinities. The next day, the group visits a Hindu lake temple and a temple dedicated to a rice goddess. Next on the itinerary is the Garden Temple on the Water, one of the six royal temples of Bali, featuring a moat, elaborate pagodas and thrones for the gods. Also visits to the Monkey Forest, filled with monkeys said to be descended from the Monkey King of Hindu tradition. Cost of the pre-tour is $1,850, plus a $150 tuition fee.

Contact: The Sciences, UCLA Extension, 10995 LeConte Ave., Suite 714, Los Angeles, CA 90024; tel. (310) 825-7093.


Celtic History

A two-week tour of Ireland departs Dublin on Sept. 17, where participants stay at manor houses and stately homes in both Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Participants travel in a small group and stay at such landmark hotels as the Park Hotel in Kenmore and Gregen’s Castle in Ballyvaughan. Guests will walk the Burren, explore Dublin, shop in Waterford, view the Giant’s Causeway and drive around the Ring of Kerry. Also visited are Kylemore Abbey and County Sligo (Yeats country). Participants sample Bushmill’s Whiskey and shop in Belfast.

Cost: $2,500 per person, double occupancy, including accommodations, Irish breakfasts and some meals, ground transportation and guide. Not included: air fare to Ireland. Contact: Jennifer Luckow at CTN/Your Travel Center, 5652 Calle Real, Goleta, CA 93117; tel. (800) 874-8889.

Yacht Races

Far Horizons Archeological and Cultural Trips is taking guests to the 1995 Bodrum Cup, the only yacht regatta in Europe, on Oct. 10-22. Passengers will sail on a yacht and may double as crew if they wish.

This international yacht festival runs along southern Turkey’s Turquoise Coast. The racers, crews and passengers visit major stops along this route. Participants will sail in a chartered 10-passenger yacht for the regatta. Days will be spent exploring the scenic coast of Turkey and visiting ancient sites not accessible by land. Nights will be spent in secluded coves. There will be ample time to swim in the Mediterranean or rest on the deck of the yacht. Three nights in Istanbul and a visit to Ephesus, the best preserved city of ancient Turkey, are included.

Cost: $3,195 per person, double occupancy including round-trip air fare from New York, a space on board Far Horizons’ yacht during the Bodrum Cup, all hotels, most meals and entry fees. Not included: air fare to New York. Contact: Far Horizons, P.O. Box 91900, Albuquerque, NM 87199-1900; tel. (800) 552-4575.


The Times is not responsible for changes in prices, dates or itineraries. These should be confirmed with cruise lines, travel agents or tour operators.