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Visiting sites such as Kusadasi ~ Ephesus ~ Marmaris ~ Cappadocia ~ Istanbul ~ and MORE
with a Private 3-Masted Schooner Cruise on the Turquoise Coast

2017 – Dates to be announced

Nearly every culture has sought to honor the divine, the mysterious or the extraordinary in some way. Most often this happens at sacred sites – special places where the physical world seems to meet the spiritual world. These might be awe-inspiring natural places, sites connected to a god, a saint or a hero. Maybe places where miracles or visions were reported or buildings consecrated for worship or ritual.

Turkey is such a place. Explore the mysterious land of the Ottomans from ancient Ephesus to the bizarre landscapes of Pamukkale; Experience an evening with the Whirling Dervishes in Cappadocia; Marvel at Mehmet Aga’s masterpiece, the Blue Mosque; bargain for trinkets in Istanbul’s massive Grand Bazaar and savor delicious Turkish snacks and the country’s wonderful and unique cuisine.

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A special feature of this “Pilgrimage” will be discovering the underwater treasures of the Mediterranean on a relaxing Schooner cruise sailing past sunken cities, sandy beaches, white-washed old towns – all in a relaxed atmosphere that is only found by cruising (usually about 4 hours per day) on these special and unique waters.

The cruise includes all meals, all shore excursions and guided sightseeing tours. All cabins are comfortably appointed with private bathrooms and showers. The 3-masted Gulet also features a sun deck, onboard wi-fi, a canoe, snorkeling and basic fishing gear. There will be delicious local culinary specialties prepared by a private chef, and the attentive service you’ll only experience from being on our own schooner.

Add to this, visits to Kudasasi, Ephesus, Pamukkale, Cappadocia and Istanbul, and you have a uniquely magnificent Turkish travel adventure.

Note: Tour will be limited to 24 travelers in 12 cabins.

Our Deluxe Sailing Schooner – The Bahriyeli

Our sailing yacht is called a GULET (Turkish pronunciation: GOO-lett) and is a traditionally-designed wooden vessel built on the southwestern coast of Turkey for sailing the Turquoise Coast. The Bahriyeli was built in 2005 and has 12 cabins, all with bathrooms & showers. It is approximately 165 feet long and has a cruising speed of 7-9 sea miles/hour. The schooner has satellite TV and a music system with a CD player, as well as 220-volt electricity. There are two dining areas including one that’s outside, an outdoor lounge area and a large sun deck.

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Our Tour Includes:

  • All flights within Turkey
  • Round-trip airport/hotel transfers
  • Baggage handling at airports & hotels
  • Great hotels at Kusadasi, Cappadocia & Istanbul
  • Hotel taxes and service charges
  • Six day sailing cruise
  • Daily breakfast
  • 5 lunches and 6 dinners onboard our cruise
  • An additional 3 lunches & 4 dinners while land touring
  • Guided sightseeing including entrance fees while cruising

Added Features:

  • Welcome to Turkey dinner
  • Sightseeing tour of Ephesus
  • Sightseeing tour of Pamukkale & Hierpolis
  • Evening dinner and performance of the Whirling Dervishes in Cappadocia
  • Sightseeing tour of Istanbul
  • Farewell Dinner in Istanbul

Our Itinerary

Day 1-Tuesday, September 6, 2016: – Depart USA
Depart on your own to Turkey.  Please make sure you arrive in Istanbul on or before 10 am the following day as we depart from Istanbul to Izmir as a group.

Day 2-Wednesday, September 7, 2016: – Arrival Istanbul and connect to Izmir and on to Kusadasi (D)
Depart Istanbul by air for Izmir airport. Here we will be met and transferred to our hotel in Kusadasi, situated on the west coast of Turkey and one of the most attractive cities of the Aegean. Welcome dinner.

Day 3-Thursday, September 8, 2016: – In Kusadasi: Excursions to Ephesus (B/L/D)
Amphitheater EphesusMeet in the lobby as we depart for a very exciting day of touring. First we’ll visit Ephesus to explore this powerfully ancient city that was St. Paul’s home for three years and where we will find Greco-Roman and Christian ruins at what is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.  Just ahead of Ephesus, located on the top of the “Bulbul” mountain, we visit the Shrine of Virgin Mary. This tranquil, hidden, green place is where Mary is said to have lived her last days.  Indeed, she may have come here with Saint John, who spent several years in the area spreading Christianity.  We’ll also visit The House of Virgin Mary, made entirely of stones, which was built in the 4th century AD. We move on to The Basilica of St John. It is believed that the evangelist St. John, the writer of the Fourth Gospel and the Book of Revelation, spent his last years in the region around Ephesus and is buried in the southern slope of Ayosolug Hill, and introduced the worship of Virgin Mary.  Three hundred years after his death in the 4th century, a small chapel was constructed over the grave. The church of St. John was changed into a marvelous basilica during the reign of Emperor Justinian (527 – 565 AD). We conclude this morning’s touring with a visit to the Temple of Artemis, another one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. While only being able to see the ruins of the foundations of this historic construction of the Hellenistic Age that is made of entirely of marble and full of sculptured columns, it is still a marvel to look at.  Lunch will be followed by a tour of the actual city of Ephesus, which played a great role in ancient times, due to its strategic location, wealth and religious influence.  The Celcius Library in Ephesus was the third largest library (having had a volume of 12,000 scrolls) of the ancient world after the Alexandria and Pergamum.  The theater of Ephesus is a most magnificent structure and the largest in Anatolia, having capacity for 25,000 seats.  After visiting this outstanding site in mankind’s Mystical Heritage, we return to our hotel for dinner and our overnight.

Day 4-Friday, September 9, 2016: – In Kusadasi: Excursion to Denizili and Pamukkale (B/L/D)
After breakfast we depart for a visit to the city of Hierapolis (Holy City) and Aphrodisia and the remains of a Roman spa, one of the world’s first health complexes. In this area, we’ll visit the Travertine Terraces, Apollo Temple, Necropolis and the Hierapolis Theater. We then continue to Denizli, situated on the inner part of the Aegean Region and dating back to the Calcholithic age. This was the site of a settlement of the earliest communities and has changed hands continuously, thus becoming the center of various civilizations in different time periods.  Within the borders of Denizli, we find the ancient city of Laodikeia. After lunch, we end the day at Pamukkale, one of the most extraordinary natural wonders in the world. The big attraction is a vast, white cliff, sided with scallop-shaped basins of water and waterfalls.  It looks as if it’s made out of snow, or clouds or balls of cotton. For thousands of years a deep underground spring has been pouring out streams of hot, mineral-saturated water. As it flowed down the mountainside, the steaming water hollowed out enormous circular basins in the earth and the water’s rich mineral content has coated them in a smooth layer of dazzlingly white calcareous rock. The spring water at Pamukkale has therapeutic qualities and since antiquity has been said to cure rheumatism, kidney and heart diseases. This is also and area where St Paul traveled through spreading the ‘Good News.’ Return to our hotel in Kudasasi for dinner and our overnight.

Day 5-Saturday, September 10, 2016: – To Prienne, Miletus & Didyma & on to Bodrum for the Start of Our Cruise (B/L/D)
Didyma-templeWe leave Kudadasi and depart for Prienne, an ancient Greek city of Ionia (and a member of the Ionian League). Here we see the Temple of Athena, founded by Alexander the Great. Next is Miletus, near the coast of western Turkey. It was one of the most important cities in the ancient Greek world but eventually declined due to the silting of its harbors. St. Paul stopped at Miletus during his Third Missionary Journey on his way back to Jerusalem. We’ll visit many of the well-preserved ruins to be seen at the site, including the Temple of Apollo, a Byzantine church which also has an important inscription relating to Jews. Continue on to Didyma (“Didim” in Turkish), which was among the most famous oracles in the ancient world and equal in importance to the oracular temple at Delphi in Greece. It’s the southernmost of the three ancient sites (Priene, Miletus and Didyma). There has been a temple here since very early times, however, the older structure was destroyed by Cyrus of Persia in 494 BC. Construction began on the present, stupendous structure soon after. The Didymaion, as it was also called. was reached by a ‘Sacred Way’ from the harbor of Panormus. The huge white-marble temple is simply amazing, with a forest of 120 giant columns at the front porch. At the back of the porch, temple priests met petitioners in a huge portal to accept questions for the oracle.  We conclude today’s journey as we travel to Bodrum, located on the southern coast of Bodrum Peninsula and dominated by the spectacular Castle of St Peter. After a light late lunch at a seaside restaurant, we head for the pier to board our Gulet schooner. Dinner on board as we start our cruise.

Day 6-Sunday, September 11, 2016: – Cruising to Akvaryum and Kara Ada (B/L/D)
Bodrum-castleToday’s cruising will take us to Akvaryum and Kara Ada, (literally “Black Island” in Turkish), a small Turkish island in the Bay of Bodrum in the Aegean Sea.  In the Middle Ages the island, which the Greeks know under the name of Arkos, was taken over by the Knights of St. John Hospitaller, who also occupied Bodrum. It was conquered by the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century.  In 1919, it was occupied by the Italians. The 1932 Convention between Italy and Turkey assigned it to Turkey.

Day 7-Monday, September 12, 2016: – Cruising to Knidos and Palamutbuku (B/L/D)
harbourOur first stop is Knidos. Knidos, is a city of high antiquity. Along with Halicarnassus (present day Bodrum) and Kos, and the Rhodian cities of Lindos, Kamiros and Ialyssos it formed the Dorian Hexapolis, which celebrated games in honor of Apollo, Poseidon and the nymphs. Then we continue to Palamutbuku, on the Datça Peninsula, a small village with a long beautiful beach on the edge of an incredibly beautiful and clear sea. Here we will anchor for the evening. Dinner tonight will be at a local restaurant on shore.

Day 8-Tuesday, September 13, 2016: – Cruising Datca and Aktur (B/L/D)
cavesOur Gulet takes us through the long and narrow Datça Peninsula, whose outline follows the undulations of small bays and coves facing south or north all along its length.  The Datça district has nine villages scattered along the peninsula. The whole of the eastern half is bare, mountainous and scarcely inhabited. The western part rises in places over 3,000 feet, creating a beautifully contrasting cruise.

Day 9-Wednesday, September 14, 2016: – Cruising to Orhaniye and Selimiye (B/L/D)
gulet-aboveAlthough the bay in Orhaniye is marked on sea charts as “Keçibükü” or Goat Bay, all the locals refer to it by more poetic name of “Kızkumu,”  meaning Maiden’s Sands. There is a spit of sand reaching into the bay that you can walk across, giving the appearance of walking on water. We anchor tonight in Selimiye, a charming village on the Bozburun peninsula with its underwater remains of ancient quay. Dinner tonight will be at a local restaurant on shore.

Day 10-Thursday, September 15, 2016: – Cruising to Marmaris (B/L/D)
marmarisOur last day of cruising is along the Turquoise coast via Bozukkale. If we have time, we will visit the ancient ruins of Loryma which are scattered all around the citadel of Hellenistic origina Serce, where one of the most important boats from the 11th century was discovered. Continue to Marmaris, where we dock for the evening. Marmaris is a combination of Marbella, Spain crossed with South Beach, Florida and a perfect spot for shopping and independent exploration.

Day 11-Friday, September 16, 2016: – To Cappadocia (B/D)
We depart our Gulet and head for the airport in Dalaman as we fly via our connecting flights to Kayseri.  Upon our afternoon arrival, we transfer to our coach and travel to Cappadocia, for our overnight in this city of Mystical Christian Heritage. This evening we will have dinner and a performance of the famous Whirling Devishes. Return to our hotel for our overnight.

Day 12-Saturday, September 17, 2016: – In Cappadocia and Istanbul (B)
This will be a full day of touring Cappadocia, highlighted by our visit to its rock-carved cities and surrealistic landscapes where nature has sculpted the earth into fantastic shapes and fretted ravines, including some of the dozen rocked-carved churches that were painted with exquisite frescoes by early Christians more than 1,000 years ago. Highlights will be visits to the Cave of Goreme, the Byzantine churches of the area and the underground city of Kaymaki, where early Christians fleeing persecution lived undetected for months at a time. Return to our hotel for lunch on our own before we transfer to the airport for an early evening flight to Istanbul. Upon arrival, we will transfer to our hotel where we have dinner on our own. Overnight Istanbul.

Day 13-Sunday, September 18, 2016: – In Istanbul (B/D)
Depart to visit the famous Blue Mosque, with its mighty dome, and the only mosque in Istanbul with minarets.  This was built on the site of the Great Palace of Byzantium in the early 17th century.  The interior, with its lightness, spatial effect and color that has more than 20,000 blue Izik tiles that adorn the interior walls.  It is one of the finest creations of Turkish architecture.  Next is the St. Sofia Museum, formerly known as the Hagia Sofia (Holy Wisdom), a former Greek Orthodox Church that was converted to a mosque in 1453 by the Ottoman Empire.  This supreme achievement of Byzantine architecture is the city’s most celebrated monument.  Large numbers of columns were brought to Constantinople from temples in Asia Minor, Lebanon, Greece and Italy, and the finest marble and noblest metals were used.  We then visit the Archeological Museum, which contains an important collection of prehistoric Greek, Roman and Byzantine antiquities.  In the courtyard is the graceful Tiled Pavilion, one of the oldest surviving Turkish buildings in Istanbul.  Then off to Topkapi Palace, synonymous with Ottoman-style architecture and is one of Istanbul’s most historically relevant landmarks.  It is, in itself, a statement of Turkish progress from a once feudal society to a great empire, and possesses elements distinctly unique to its people.  Here we will see the Crown Jewels and Holy Relics including the Rod of Moses, the Turban of Abraham, the bones of John the Baptist and the Sword of David. Return to our hotel and dinner on our own at one of the city’s great restaurants.

Day 14-Monday, September 19, 2016: – In Istanbul (B/D)
Today is a full day at leisure for independent exploration. Perhaps go to the Grand Bazaar and explore this fantastic place independently. This is the largest oriental bazaar in the world. Not simply a building, nor a market, nor even a district, but is in truth a city. A separate urban area with its own alleys, thoroughfares and streets, a labyrinth of shops that is fascinating to explore. In the jewelers’ section of the Bazaar, are shops whose windows are teaming with jewelry of gold, diamonds, gems and precious stones. In another place you will see a shop in the form of a small kiosk, which was formerly the counter of a dairy.  Take the little spiral staircase to the upper floor and view the market spreading immediately below you.  Down the stairs and to the left you will arrive at the antiquities section of the Bazaar, where you will find objects in copper and bronze and every sort of souvenir you can imagine to tempt you – they know you are flying home, so part of the bargaining is the shipping! Make your own way back to relax a bit before dinner. In the evening, we meet for our Farewell Dinner.

Day 15-Tuesday, September 20 – Tour ends and back to the USA
After breakfast, there will be a transfer available to the airport for your flights home from Istanbul, based on a common departure time.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Our Gulet

Will I have a language problem?

No. Most of our crewmembers speak English and are generally Turkish or British. The Capitan speaks English.

Will I be able to make special requests?

Special dietary requests can be made to BMSJ prior to your cruise. If there is a specific beverage you would like to find at the bar or a certain dish you wish to try we can usually accommodate. Please advise BMSJ 8 weeks prior to our cruise. Meals are usually fish, vegetables and some meats. Please make sure that you advise BMSJ of any food allergies or medical conditions that require special attention.

Will I feel confined?

Not if you enjoy meeting the locals, viewing beautiful scenery from the various decks or sharing experiences with a congenial group of like-minded travelers on a journey more like a moving spiritual adventure of like-minded travelers. All of this in addition to the sightseeing tours en route. The Gulet is anchored at night, either in a marina or in a cove which has dedicated insomniacs having reported wonderful, restful sleep. It is the relaxed atmosphere on board, the friendly and helpful crew, the peace and tranquility of the country, the coast, together with the wonderful cuisine, lively conversation and interesting sightseeing that make it magical.

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Prices

Prices are based on current Land & Air costs, as well as today’s currency exchange rates. There is a possibility for a slight price increase should rates increase for 2016.  We expect the 2016 final rates by the end of November and should you want to cancel when the new rates are posted, your deposit is fully refundable until December 1, 2015. No deposit refund after December 1, 2015.  Naturally, travel insurance is also advisable.

Per Person Double Occupancy
$3,999 by check or money order
$4,209  by credit card via PayPal

Deposit
(Due as soon as possible in order to ensure a place on the tour as space is limited to 12 cabins)
Per Person Double Occupancy
$350 by check or money order
$369 by credit card via PayPal

Final Payment
(Due on or before July 1, 2016)
Per Person Double Occupancy
$3,649 by check or money order
$3,840 by credit card via PayPal

NOTE: Single Cabins. There are no single cabins onboard, however you can take a double cabin for single use for a supplement of $2,179 ($2,299 via credit card).

ROOMMATES: We will be happy to try to find a suitable roommate for those who are traveling alone and would like to share a room. Per our Terms and Conditions, registration for the tour will be held open until 30 days before the departure date in order to try to match everyone with a roommate. If by that date we have not been able to match you with a suitable roommate, you will be responsible to pay for the single supplement. An early registration will facilitate this process.

Please Read the Terms and Conditions for this Tour

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Travel Insurance

Body Mind Spirit Journeys highly recommends the purchase of Trip Cancellation/Interruption Travel Insurance, and we therefore provide you with an easy way to contact BMSJ’s preferred insurance provider, Allianz Global Assistance. If you need additional information or have questions, please call Allianz directly at 1-800-284-8300, and refer to code F025323.

For Flight Assistance and Ticketing, call: 631-459-1830
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All prices listed are in U.S. dollars