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Grand Circle Travel Magazin - 2008
Review of Magical Hideaways Trip
Published date: 10.22.09
"Fantastic" describes our Turkey's Magical Hideaways Trip (Sept 12-28, 2009) - the best of all or our 7 OAT trips. Everything was excellent including the archeology, culture, country friendliness, fellow travelers, guide, architecture, cleanliness, history, scenery, air travel, and weather. Istanbul, Cappadocia, Antalya, Aegean Sea, Ephesus, and many towns and lesser archeological sites were wonderful. It doesn't get any better. Apart from the standard tourist experiences, we really enjoyed interacting with the Turkish people as described below.

Our guide, Ovunc, was absolutely outstanding. In addition to her enthusiasm, attention to detail, knowledge and care for her guests, she provided many unique "discoveries". She often charmed strangers, smoothly interpreting our questions and the answers, and drawing out fascinating information - she's a truly gifted tour guide.

Some examples. Three 25ish jovial Kurdish males at a countryside petrol station were invited onto our bus to answer our questions. Two elderly praying ladies in a mosque very willingly answered questions as we and they sat on the floor. During an afternoon hike in Cappadocia, we stumble unto a lady farmer with two children working in a field (more like a desert). After some friendly, engaging conversation, we were gifted some fresh tomatoes. Farther on, on a new hike for our guide, we engaged a man on a remote hillside. After some pleasantries, we continued on when suddenly unforgettable melodic flute music echoed amongst the hills. On another hike, this one on very challenging uneven terrain, we visited with a goat herder family living far from civilization. On two occasions we spoke with groups of "retired" men as they were playing table games at roadside cafes. An afternoon visit with a town mayor and other town leaders was intriguing. Our guide, Ovunc, brilliantly interpreted each fascinating encounter.

During the longer bus rides, our guide was willing to almost continually provide a historical narrative of the area and culture. We really appreciated the background information. And during any free time in the cities, she offered to stroll neighborhoods with us to engage people and admire the architecture. And we did. I'm sure other travelers to Turkey with OAT have had a similar wonderful experience. OAT has outstanding guides and excellent itineraries. We highly recommend Turkey as a delightful, fascinating travel destination.

Jerry from Saint Paul, MN traveled

September 12, 2009

Hello Ovunc,

We arrived back safely and we all wanted to thank you for the lovely day we spent together. Your company was very enjoyable and your knowledge of the history of everything we saw was fabulous! The most important thing though was that we had FUN..................we hope you did too!! From my personal aspect, I will certainly suggest to clients that I have travelling to Istanbul that they contact you for a personal guided tour. Once again, thank you for helping us have a wonderful stay in Istanbul.

Best wishes,

Laurence, Martha, David and Glynis

March 2009



I know what the star on the Turkish flag represents. To me it will always be the beaming smile and unstoppable exuberance of my Turkish daughter 'Strong Ovunc'.

Thank you so much for the energy you put into making all of our days in Turkey the ''most perfect ever''. Your professionalism, knowledge and gentle way with people make you the finest ambassador your country could ask for. Time after time you showed supurb social skills in dealing with issues as well as the barriors others threw in the way of making our days go smoothly. Turkey has come alive in my hearth and i owe it all to you.

Seldom to people find a position for which they are ideally suited. You have found one for you. I know the future will present other adventures that will divert your attentions from guiding. When that happens, the tourist industry and Turkey will feel the loss.

I pray that you always maintain the balance in your life that keeps the Turkish star shining.

Bill & Katie Enewold
53 Tucker Road Royal Oaks, CA 95076
Tel: 831.763.0520


Dear Ovunc,

Thanks to your wisdom and knowledge. We understood better the history of Turkey. Thanks to you ve enjoyed our visit.

All the best, and Good Luck!

Zeev Schiff

Defense Editor

Haretz Daily, Tel-Aviv ISRAEL.


Thank you for giving us such an enjoyable introduction to Turkey. We have been impressed by your depth of knowledge on so many topics and the passion and enthusiasm with which you deliver it.

You are a wonderful advertisement for your country.

Kathy McNally

Dear Ovunc,

Thank you so much for your warm and kind hospitality and information on Ephesus and life in Turkey. A friendly and charming person makes a great difference in the quality of a trip.

Good luck with your learning about the wonderful history of Turkey and your singing.

Thank you for not loosing Tom onthe tour. If you ever come to California please visit us.



You really made the world of Ephesus come alive; you described the scenes so vividly that without much difficulty we could imagine what life must have looked like and sounded like-remember the fountains, and even smelled like-remember the spice shop when Ephesus was at the peak of its power. This was the most rewarding tour and your enthusiasm contagious. Thank you very much.


Hello Ovunc,

Now that we’ve been home a couple of weeks and the short term memories have had a chance to sift themselves into longer term memory or into the trash can, I wanted to send you a note to say how much the Wilson family appreciated your work to make our holiday enjoyable and educational. I know that I speak for all five of us when I say that we were very thankful for all your attention.

Our time in Istanbul went too quickly and from the Aya Sophia to the Cagologlu Hammam I know we were just scratching the surface. The Topkapi Palace stands out as one of the highlights of this or any other trip; the setting, architecture and contents are spectacular. We were glad to be taken to Istaklal Street and the Metrocity shopping mall to get a broader picture of the city, and your descriptions of the municipal government structure and the achievements of the recent mayor gave us a context that we could never otherwise have had.

The Gallipoli visit was very successful. Visiting the heights at Sari Bair and the beaches below and at Helles gave us a perspective on this campaign that eluded us in our reading. I have had occasion to discuss Gallipoli with a friend since we got back, using this new-to-me information. I have also rediscovered a long-neglected book written about the landings in 1915(!), and I know Christopher was able to increase his understanding of this unhappy part of WWI. Truly it is said that campaigns are won by those who make the fewest mistakes. Our best memory of Troy is definitely your story of Hera, Aphrodite, and the golden apple (was it really a quince?).

Ephesus is magnificent, a place that would be fun to revisit in a few years to see what else has been dug up. Our time in Pamukkale was worth the drive, and we were glad of the opportunities afforded by the shopping stop just below the cliffs.

The restaurants and the food were diverse, and we particularly appreciated being shown the wide range of traditional and contemporary settings. All the hotels were well chosen Our preparation during the time you were guiding us helped us a lot when we were without you. The arrangements for pickup and at the hotel went perfectly, and it was a relief not to have to worry about them. In fact all of the arrangements went without a hitch, and I know that does not happen by chance. You are a very good organiser.

We are recommending to our friends that they visit Turkey, just as two couples had recommended it to us. Our memories are happy, the sights were impressive, the weather was perfect, everyone we met was hospitable, and in many ways our understanding has increased. Thank you for helping to make it that way.

Best wishes

Robert Wilson