Felt welcomed, safe in Turkey

I returned Nov. 24, ’03, from a fantastic 19-day tour through western Turkey with Grand Circle Travel (phone 800/221-2610 or visit www.gct.com). In light of the Nov. 15 bombings in Istanbul, I thought some readers would be interested in the safety issues facing American tourists.

Although we were not in Istanbul when the bombings occurred, many people on our tour were encouraged to e-mail their families that they were safe. In actuality, I found that the Turks were more concerned about our feelings of safety than we were. We traveled some 2,000 miles by motorcoach, and in every city we visited the people we met were sure to tell us how very much they miss the Americans, who have not traveled there since 9/11.

I have traveled a lot in the last few years as a tourist and have never been made to feel more welcome than I was in Turkey, and because of the wonderful attitude toward us I always felt safe. Many people spoke English there, and the sites of antiquities all had English translations, even in the museums.

We all now know that bombing incidents can happen anywhere and at any time. That being said, if you are contemplating a trip to Turkey, know that you are more than welcome there. Don’t let an isolated incident rain on your parade.

San Diego, CA