Mar 20th, 2012 | By James E Becker | Category: Senior Travel

Seniors Visit the Big Island in Turkey

Büyükada (meaning “Big Island” in Turkish and also meaning “Prince” or “Foremost”) is the largest of the nine so-called Princes’ Islands in the Sea of Marmara, near Istanbul, with an area of about two square miles.  A recent tourist wrote…”During my last visit, I was intoxicated by the romance of the place” so I just had to see why and here invite seniors to check it out for yourself. The ferry from Istanbul costs less than $5.

The population of the island today is about 7,000 people. As on the other eight islands, motorized vehicles – except service vehicles – are forbidden, so visitors explore the island by foot, bicycle, in horse-drawn carriages, or by riding donkeys. Visitors can take the ‘small tour’ of the island by buggy, leading to this point, from where it is a strenuous climb to Ayia Yorgi, a tiny church with a cafe on the grounds serving wine, chips and sausage sandwiches, this being part of the “classic” Ayia Yorgi (St. George, in Greek Άγιος Γεώργιος) experience. The Greek language is not all that difficult once you learn the alphabet and it is fun to try to read the signs there.

Senior Visitors Discover a Little Paradise

Virtual Tourist provides a nice overview of what you will experience on your visit with plenty of neat things to see and do. Explore the city on your own with this guide. The New York Times Travel section called it “A Turkish Idyll Lost in Time” and these photos help to explain what they mean.

It is a little paradise and once you set foot on Büyükada is to enter a living diorama of the past, wholly preserved. There are no skyscrapers here, no cars; only bicycles, horse-drawn buggies (called faytons), filigreed mansions and tile-roofed villas set amid flowery lanes, and emerald hillsides that drop down to rugged beaches. The place seems to team with mansions as these photos show. Pick up a few phrases in Turkish like hello, thank you and goodbye here.

TripAdvisor’s Travel Guide to the area will help you with hotels and much more to make your visit a total success. Bone up on the Turkish goodies here so that you know what to order. jeb

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