Alumni Travelers Eat, Sightsee, Shop Through Turkey

Turkey is a spectacular mix of history and architecture, rich culture and culinary delights. To tour with lead Mei-mei Zane ’84 Engel and native guide Mert Taner is to understand the significance behind the can’t-miss sites, and be introduced to their favorite artisans, authentic cuisine and hidden hotspots. This 14-day excursion, set against some of the world’s most historic and significant locales, provided lifetime memories and new friendships for each lucky traveler.

The ancient amphitheater in Aphrodisias, a small Greek Hellenistic city, is Turkey’s best-preserved archaeological site. We listened intently to guide Mert Taner, while enjoying a beautiful, clear day against the backdrop of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Temple of Aphrodite dates to 3rd century BC, and the city of Aphrodisias was built one century later. On the day of our visit, we were the only group at the idyllic site. Such a treasure!
Cheese and meat pide (pictured forefront), is often referred to as Turkish pizza. It is shaped in elongated ovals with a crispy crust. Our mezze (appetizers) included
Turkish shakshuka, eggplant, potatoes and peppers topped with tomato sauce and smoked eggplant. For dessert, thick yogurt with honey, candied pumpkin and sesame helva.
The bustling seaside town of Bodrum was the departing point for the daylong sail on the Aegean Sea. Crystal clear blue water mirrored the azure sky.
After a homemade lunch of fresh seafood and Mediterranean salads and a relaxing day on the Aegean Sea, alumni loosen up as the group makes its way back to shore.
As if it had been perfectly planned, a buff ‘n blue hot air balloon descended into the viewing area we had just arrived at in Pamukkale. Welcome, Punahou alumni!
Our boutique hotel in Bodrum, El Vino, offered a breathtaking view and a perfect perch for dinner from its hilltop terrace.
The village of Etrim Halicilik shared its aloha with our alumni as artisans told of their family history and culture of Turkish rug making. Whether wool on cotton or pure silk, the craftsmanship of these handmade rugs was impeccable, stunning and purely breathtaking.
Decisions, decisions. It was hard to pick just one from the beautiful assortment of handmade rugs.
Many of our alumni shipped home more than one special piece.
A true traditional feast! Villagers in Etrim taught us how to prepare a few of their traditional Turkish dishes, and then prepared the rest of the meal for us to indulge in.
A group photo and a final farewell to Estrim and its villagers, our gracious hosts for the day.
Alumni from the Classes of 1984, 1969, 1972, 2007 and 1974 pose at the ruins of Hierapolis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site adjacent to modern Pamukkale.
Returning to Istanbul, the group stopped at a famed Egyptian spice market, where the group went crazy for nuts, teas, spices and sweets.
It wouldn’t be a trip to Turkey without Turkish Delight! True eye candy, this vendor offered flavors from pomegranate to pistachio.

Related post:
Alumni Travel Program in Turkey

Join us: Vietnam and Cambodia

Punahou Alumni Travel is planning its 2020 trip to Vietnam and Cambodia. Rich with an eclectic mix of ancient temples, bustling street markets, hill tribe villages and breathtaking natural scenery, this 20-day adventure in November 2020, includes options to customize trip lengths by choosing land-tour and river cruise itineraries. View the full trip itinerary

Registration is now open, and space is limited. Questions? Contact Alumni Programs Officer Patti Horii ’84 Oshiro at or call 808.944.5730.

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