Turkey with FLO USA

The ad in ITN for FLO USA, Inc. (4044 W. Lake Mary Blvd., Unit 104-339, Lake Mary, FL 32746; 888/435-6872), caught our eye. My husband and I had been in Turkey in 1994 as part of an independent ’round-the-world trip and had often talked of returning. FLO USA’s 15-day tour that included the 2006 solar eclipse sounded almost too good to be true. When we checked their website and learned it also included several days in Cappadocia, we called and made our reservations for the March 19-April 2 trip.

This was our first trip as part of a tour group, and we couldn’t have been more satisfied. The price of $1,925 included airfare from New York’s JFK to Istanbul; hotels; all breakfasts and dinners; air-conditioned buses; tour guides, and an astronomer to help us better appreciate the eclipse.

We traveled in three buses, about 85 total travelers, with each bus having its own guide. Our guide, Sinan, was exceptionally good, with a broad knowledge of history, including that of both Islam and Christianity. He added so much to our appreciation of Istanbul, Troy, Pergamum, Ephesus, Hieropolis, etc.

An evening in an ancient caravanserai on the old Silk Road included a whirling dervish ceremony.

FLO USA had arranged — I’m not sure how — for us to have the exclusive use of an ancient, yet-to-be-excavated Roman ruin site the day of the eclipse, March 29. Several in the group had brought their high-powered telescopes, which they willingly shared with all of us. The weather cooperated beautifully to make my first total solar eclipse a truly memorable event.

The region of Cappadocia is unique and otherworldly. The strange rock formations that have served as homes and churches for many centuries are a sight and experience that cannot be easily described. An optional early-morning hot-air balloon ride over those formations was a fitting climax to this wonderful tour.

For an in-depth tour to learn more about the wonderful country of Turkey, we highly recommend FLO USA.

— Dorothy Feisel, St. Michaels, MD