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Turkey during the pandemic #237910
10/25/2020 05:06 AM
10/25/2020 05:06 AM
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 846
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Sunset_Sammy Offline OP
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Sunset_Sammy  Offline OP
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Joined: Jul 2009
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I'm currently in Turkey with my favorite sailors. After a decade of her being my favorite vacation destination and Dan & Em's home they sold Skyelark shortly after she was shipped back from Tahiti. Good news is they have purchased an Oyster 62, Skyelark II, and we will be sailing her back to the UK possibly as early as Thursday.

Turkey is open for business and considered a corridor country for Malta, our first stop and home port of the new yacht. Coming from the US I have to spend 14 days here to be allowed entry to Malta. It seems Turkey is a gateway to other countries as well; I met an Italian veterinarian who is supervising the construction of a horse hospital in Kuwait and coming from Italy he also has to be here for 14 days. Not a bad thing at all.

I spent my first week in Istanbul, a beautiful city that I won't ever tire of visiting. Tourist crowds are down but the streets are still lively and prices very reasonable with the exchange rate between the lira and out dollar, 7.9 to 1 at the Grand Bazaar. I stayed at a small older hotel ( the Basileus) in old town, just a 10 minute walk from the hippodrome. The ground level room was small but clean with lots of hot water and pressure in the shower, $17 US a night. I was hoping to enjoy a true Turkish breakfast, but since it is usually served as a buffet, they are not available at the restaurants due to the virus. I did find a great little place, just down the street from the hotel, the Three Partners Restaurant. The menu has a wide variety of Turkish specialties and portions are large. Both times I ate there, having an entree and salad, I could not finish the meal. Mezzies (appetizers) are complimentary even with breakfast. I wrote a review on trip advisor if you'd like more info. Service is fast and friendly and I met a bunch of great folks just sitting at the outside tables.

I took a dinner cruise on the Bosphorous 25€, included entertainment and transport from the hotel. Temperature checks were made prior to boarding and a health declaration had to be filled out. Individuals and parties are all sat at their own tables. Masks are required in public and when moving around the boat, the MC told everyone to keep their masks on the table as the marine police occasionally board the boats to check compliance, it's a 900 lira fine if aught without one. Covid standards are in place but not strictly adhered to dispute the threat of fined. Temperature checks are made upon entry to the Grand Bazaar, I only walked through quickly once as my strategy is to avoid large crowds.

My second week is in Marmaris, a resort beach town on the sea. I'm staying at the LaBranda Mares Marmaris, a highly rated all inclusive with 440 rooms. $53 US a night single or double occupancy. The food is typical of an AI, good selection but bland; I did have various lamb dishes for lunch on about half my days here. The staff follows the covid protocols diligently and the guest are encouraged to wear masks in public. Most seem to comply except for some Russians of which there are a lot of here. I would guess the hotel is at about 30% occupancy. One night when the dance floor got crowded the DJ had shut the music down early due to the lack of social distancing on the dance floor. The other night, after the Turkish dancing show they placed tables on the dance floor area and the DJ advised dancing would only be permitted at your table with your own party, no dancing with strangers.

It town the crowds are again smaller than I remember last time I was here, but it's probably like that everywhere.
The weather is great, mid 80's everyday, the sea is gin clear and calm for swimming.

The restrictions in place really haven't impacted my holiday, it does get sweaty with the mask on walking in the heat but no big deal. You do see people without them on the street, but on public transport everyone wears one.

I forgot my laptop so I can't do a proper report, but if you're looking for a winter getaway, without having to quarantine on arrival, Turkey wouldn't be a bad choice.

Stay safe everyone and enjoy your travels where ever they may take you.

Last edited by Carol_Hill; 10/25/2020 11:02 AM.

Drink all day at home, your friends worry about you; do it on vacation and they say "what a good time you're having". Save your friends needless worry, travel more!
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Re: Turkey during the pandemic [Re: Sunset_Sammy] #237931
10/25/2020 10:57 AM
10/25/2020 10:57 AM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 3,455
Virginia wishing STJ
TomB Offline
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TomB  Offline
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Virginia wishing STJ
Sammy so jealous!

Malta is one of our favorite places!
Valletta is a little busy for my taste, but the small towns just amazing.

Safe sailing and look forward to future reports... proper or not!

Thanks for the Turkey Tip if the germ continues there is an option!


“Every time I open a bottle of wine, it is an amazing trip somewhere!” José Andrés
Re: Turkey during the pandemic [Re: Sunset_Sammy] #237935
10/25/2020 11:05 AM
10/25/2020 11:05 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 83,261
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Central Florida!
Thanks so much for the report! I added some returns so it would be easier to read. If you are able to post some pictures at some point, that would be lovely!


Carol Hill
Re: Turkey during the pandemic [Re: Sunset_Sammy] #237939
10/25/2020 11:46 AM
10/25/2020 11:46 AM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 3,455
Virginia wishing STJ
TomB Offline
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TomB  Offline
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Virginia wishing STJ

Since Sammy does not have a laptop - here is a shot for entrance point back into the EU - Malta!

This was picture #1 many moons ago for the Where in the World Game!
With all of Sammy's travels he could some awesome destinations!

[Linked Image]

Let world travel begin! please........


“Every time I open a bottle of wine, it is an amazing trip somewhere!” José Andrés
Re: Turkey during the pandemic [Re: Sunset_Sammy] #237948
10/25/2020 02:03 PM
10/25/2020 02:03 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 929
Knoxville, Tennessee
Fred Offline
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Fred  Offline
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Knoxville, Tennessee
Sammy,
So glad for you to be doing this trip; especially after being shut down on your World ARC adventure shortly after you started. Sounds like you are having a great time already and I wish I was there to enjoy all those places you have been. I have Turkey on my bucket list so maybe I'll make it someday.
Please give my regards to Dan and Em and I know you will enjoy your trip on Skyelark II.
Regards,
Fred

Re: Turkey during the pandemic [Re: Sunset_Sammy] #241883
12/08/2020 06:36 AM
12/08/2020 06:36 AM
Joined: Aug 2012
Posts: 2,288
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PelicanPirate Offline
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Love Turkey, miss Istanbul, the old city and the Bosphorous which always reminds me of 007 Sean Connery and Danielle Bianchi in FRWL.

Can you share what hotel in istanbul you stayed at.

Also, were shorts permitted in Marmaris?

Re: Turkey during the pandemic [Re: Sunset_Sammy] #241890
12/08/2020 08:49 AM
12/08/2020 08:49 AM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,148
road town
sleepychef Offline
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sleepychef  Offline
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road town
Shorts? Marmaris is a tourist destination and has a great Marinia, both sides of the bridge.

Re: Turkey during the pandemic [Re: Sunset_Sammy] #242090
12/10/2020 08:26 AM
12/10/2020 08:26 AM
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 846
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Sunset_Sammy Offline OP
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Sunset_Sammy  Offline OP
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Hello all, we were delayed 3 weeks in Turkey awaiting paperwork from Malta, as a result between that and weather delays I had to leave the boat in Cascais, Portugal, beautiful place by the way.
I dod make an error in the previous post, it does get cod in Turkey in the winter so not a substitute for the sunny Caribbean. The weather in late October, early November was nice, we were looking for shade in the daytime but a light jacket was nice at night.
I stayed at the Basileus Hotel in Istanbul, very basic but good value for the money. In Marmaris I stayed at the LaBranda Mare (AI) nice and again good value.
No problem with shorts in Marmaris, you can even get pork products in the larger supermarkets or shops that cater to tourists from the UK.

Some restaurants advertise full English breakfast with bacon and pork sausage. At the hotel beach there was an English woman in a thong next to 2 women wearing burkinis. Pretty open minded society.
I didn't see anyone in a burka, which are common in Istanbul. Stretch pants are a common site on the street and giving the Turks love for sweet desserts the thought " your pants say yoga, but your hips say baklava" ran through my head often.
In Florida now visiting mom, hope to post pics and more reports once I'm home.
Cheers

Last edited by Sunset_Sammy; 12/10/2020 08:46 AM.

Drink all day at home, your friends worry about you; do it on vacation and they say "what a good time you're having". Save your friends needless worry, travel more!
Re: Turkey during the pandemic [Re: Sunset_Sammy] #242098
12/10/2020 09:35 AM
12/10/2020 09:35 AM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 929
Knoxville, Tennessee
Fred Offline
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Fred  Offline
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Knoxville, Tennessee
Sam, was your original plan to go to Southhampton? In these Covid times, what happens when you just show up in a port like Cascais and want to disembark and head to the airport? Any problem flying back to the US? Sounds like you had one heck of an adventure, but that's typical on Skyelark.
Fred

Re: Turkey during the pandemic [Re: Sunset_Sammy] #242102
12/10/2020 10:02 AM
12/10/2020 10:02 AM
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 846
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Sunset_Sammy Offline OP
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We got tested upon entry into Malta, the doctor came right out to the boat and we had the results in 24 hours. We couldn't leave the dock till then. No problem for the rsst of the crew as they all have EU passports, Turkey is on Maltas green list so since I was there for over 14 days I wad good otherwise I'd have had to quarantine.
Once in the EU, no problems especially since C&I didn't come out to the boat on our first stop in Spain. Malta doesn't clear yacht crew in so as not to count against the 90 day schengen time limit.
By the time we got to Cascais I had been in the EU for 14 days, that where I cleared in.
Interestingly we stopped for fuel in Gibraltar (non EU), just a quick stop at the fuel dock ( it's cheap there). If I would have cleared in thete I would have been denied entry back into the EU.
Original plan was to complete the trip, but with weather they might not get back before the 18th. Mom wants to move so I'm here to find her a new place and with the restrictions entering NY, I would have been home bound till after NYE.

Last edited by Sunset_Sammy; 12/10/2020 10:04 AM.

Drink all day at home, your friends worry about you; do it on vacation and they say "what a good time you're having". Save your friends needless worry, travel more!
Re: Turkey during the pandemic [Re: Sunset_Sammy] #242566
12/14/2020 08:12 PM
12/14/2020 08:12 PM
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PelicanPirate Offline
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Thanks, i love Turkey and typically wear long pants in Istanbul/Old City etc.

On my last visit, after security at Istanbul airport, I changed i to shorts to await my flight to Frankfurt. I was noddi g off and an older gentleman woke me up to show how offended he was by my bare legs in front of his wife. I has seen many short dresses and skirts on arrival at the airport and thought I was aok. Wanted to flash my legs at em when we got off the plane in Frankfurt but I was in a hurry.

Unfortunately, Turkey is slipping backwards a bit and Im sure they are feeling it.


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