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Vacation in Spain, Portugal and Turkey

Just returned from Europe. We rented a car in Madrid, drove around Spain and Portugal, roads are good, drivers ok. Good weather. Advice in Rick's travel books are accurate and couldn't do without. Traveled to Córdoba, Seville, Beja, Evora, Fatima, Avila and Segovia. Left car in Madrid and flew to Izmir, Turkey and rented a car and drove around southwestern part of Turkey. Roads are well marked and well maintained and less traffic than Spain. Weather was gorgeous inland and on the coast at about 70 every day. Traveled to Buldan, Golhisar, Fethiye, Didim and Selcuk to get our Roman and Greek ruin saturation. Room rates were very cheap in Turkey averaging around $45/night including a full breakfast. These were all nice hotels, we were in off season. Turned car back in and flew to Istanbul for a week. Followed Rick Steves recommendation of Erten Konak hotel, they gave us a discount for 5 nights, picked us up at the airport, gave us a wonderful room. Their service is impeccable, arranging several other activities for us. Hotel is a 5 minute walk from Sophia Hagia, view of the sea. Everything is easy to walk to and public transportation easy if want to go down to waterfront or go to New Town. Would advise private tour guide for New Town, it is very confusing and not well signed. Found Turks very warm and friendly, very helpful, but in The tourist towns you usually do well to avoid help on the street instead talking to hotel and restaurant staff. Turks are a little aggressive about wanting to sell you stuff or give tours, you really have to ignore them as Rick Steves advises in his travel book. Food is all very good. There are warnings in every bathroom to not put toilet paper in toilet, which took getting used to and warning to not drink water. We were never sick at all. We used Turkish Airlines to fly from Madrid to Izmir to Istanbul. They feed you well and are very helpful pointing you in the right direction.

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