Hi Rob - thank you for your time and these great replies. Yes, I have been referring to Lonely Planet for Istanbul and for Turkey, plus I've been using the website a lot as well - I've found most of my hotel recommendations there.
If it were you for your 1st trip would you skip another of the areas I'm trying to see in order to get to the Patara/Oludeniz/Feithe/Myra area? And which part of Turkey is more rewarding for the first time visitor? This section of the Mediteranean (Patara and the area around Feithye, Demre etc. ) or the Aegean area that covers Ephesus?
What do you think of these options below? I've tried to split things up a bit in terms of lodging.
I might post these as a separate itinerary thread as well - do you have suggestions on how to make an itinerary that works?
OPTION 1 - TROY
Day 1 - arrival into Turkey - ON Ist. (arrive early am, afternoon tour, free evening or work evening)
Day 2 - arrival into Turkey - ON Ist. (working day - evening sightseeing)
Day 3 - pick up car at airport - drive to Eceabet and cross on car ferry to Canakkale, drive to Troy - ON Assos or Ayvalik
Day 4 - drive to Pergamon and area in am and drive onto lodging near to Ephesus and other areas in afternoon ON Selcuk, Siring or Alcati (I know Alcati is out of the way but I'm really wanting to work it in somehow)
Day 5 - to Pammakule and Aphrodisias day - time later to see village or hang out - ON Selcuk, Siring or Alcati
Day 6 - to Ephesus during the day - time to hang out and explore then - ON Selcuk, Siring or Alcati
Day 7 - morning air transfer to Cappadocia from Izmir and exploration of area for the day, horseback in the evening - ON Cappa.
Day 8 - exploration of Cappodicia all day and hang out in the evening - ON Cappa.
Day 9 - hot air balloon ride in Cappa. then transfer to Istanbul by air late am or early afternoon - afternoon/evening Istanbul - ON Istan.
Day 10 - Istanbul all day - tour in am followed by free afternoon and Dervish show in evening - ON Istan.
Day 11 - fly home in the am, international flight at 11
This gives 2 nights (I), 1 night (near Troy), 3 nights (near Ephe.), 2 in Cappo., and 2 in Istanbul.
Another option involves flying out from Izmir late in the day on the Ephesus day instead of turning back into the hotel - this would provide a two rather than a three night stay in the Ephesus area.
Since the flight I was on has been cancelled, the Troy portion really impacts the itinerary.
Another option is to leave out Troy completely and spend the extra day either in Istanbul, or Cappadocia or the Aegean. If I did this, I would fly directly to Izmir - much easier (but I did really want to see Troy).
OPTION 2 - NO TROY
Day 1 - arrival into Turkey, day in Istanbul etc. - ON Ist.
Day 2 - Istanbul all day - ON Ist. (working day - evening sightseeing)
Day 3 - to airport - fly to Izmir to pick up car - drive to back toward Pergamon area then back to lodging nearer to Ephesus a- ON Selcuk, Siring or Alcati (Alacati isn't much further from Pergamon than Selcuk and Sirince)
Day 4 - to Pammakule and Aphrodisias day - time later to see village or hang out - ON Selcuk, Siring or Alcati
Day 5 - to Ephesus during the day - time to hang out and explore then - ON Selcuk, Siring or Alcati
Day 6 - morning air transfer to Cappadocia from Izmir and exploration of area etc. - ON Cappa.
Day 7 - exploration of Cappodicia etc. - ON Cappa.
Day 8 - hot air balloon ride in Cappa. then transfer to Istanbul late in day - ON Istan.
Day 9 - Istanbul all day - etc. - ON Istan.
Day 10 - Istanbul all day - ON Istan.
Day 11 - fly home in the am
This plan adds an extra day in Istanbul at the end - but as an alternative, the extra day could fall at the end - what would work better?