Tour: QRL - 2013 (QRL) - 2013 / 2014

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Itinerary

DAY 1Arrive in Istanbul, Turkey

After arrival at Atatürk Airport, check into your hotel. The rest of the day is free to start soaking up the unique atmosphere of this city built on two continents. At 6:30 pm, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions for a welcome dinner at your hotel. (Dinner)

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DAY 2Istanbul

Founded by the Greeks as Byzantium more than 2,500 years ago, renamed Constantinople in 330 AD when Constantine the Great elected it the capital of the Roman Empire, and finally called Istanbul after the Ottoman conquest in the 15th century, the city on the Bosporus remains one of the most exciting places in the world. Its strategic location as gateway between Orient and Occident, the Islamic and the Christian worlds, and the Black Sea and the Mediterranean predestined it for a turbulent history. Guided sightseeing starts at TOPKAPI PALACE, the residence of the Ottoman Sultans. Admire the rich and spectacular kaftans of the Sultans, that were worn during the Ottoman period. Then, visit Sultan Ahmet’s BLUE MOSQUE followed by the ROMAN HIPPODROME, and tour the HAGIA SOPHIA and the Globus Local FavoriteGlobus Local Favorite SPICE BAZAAR with its tiny shops. For a taste of Turkish nightlife, join our optional dinner outing and discover the fascination of belly dancing. (Breakfast)

Flags strung across the streets of downtown Istanbul Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey and is historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople Blue Mosque 
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DAY 3Istanbul–Troy Area

Visit the colorful GRAND BAZAAR before setting out on your discovery tour of a country with the population of Britain and more than three times its size. Drive along the European shore of the Sea of Marmara and head westward through sunflower and olive groves to the Dardanelles. Visit the WWI battlefields on the Gallipoli peninsula, where Allied troops, mainly Australians and New Zealanders, suffered heavy casualties in a disastrous campaign. Pay tribute to the heroes of those tragic months of 1915 at the ANZAC CEMETERY and the LONE PINE MEMORIAL. Travel by ferry across the Dardanelles to the Troy area for your first overnight in Asia on the Aegean coast. (Breakfast, Dinner)

The Dardanelles, a long narrow strait along the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey 
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DAY 4Troy Area–Kusadasi

Call at TROY, the perfect place to brush up on Homer’s Trojan War–hollow wooden horse and all! Vistas of the Greek isle of Lesbos greet you as you follow the shores of the Bay of Edremit. Continue south to Pergamum, an ancient center of learning and the arts, and visit its MUSEUM. After lunch, visit the ASCLEPION, a shrine to the Greek god of medicine. Drive to Kusadasi for an overnight. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Kusadasi is on the Aegean coast and the center of the seaside district Discover the Turkish port of Kusadasi Kusadasi is a resort town on Turkeys Aegean coast 
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DAY 5Kusadasi–Ephesus–Pamukkale

Today, visit Ephesus, home of the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, and later, the capital of Roman Asia Minor. Visit the SITE OF ANCIENT RUINS and the CHAPEL marking the site where the Virgin Mary is believed to have spent her last days. At this beautiful location, a souvenir GROUP PICTURE will be taken.Then, travel along the Silk Road, and through the lush valley of the meandering Menderes River. Next, Pamukkale. The name means “Cotton Castle” and refers to the spectacular white lime cascades formed by its hot springs. At your hotel tonight, maybe a leisurely bath in a pool of hot thermal water might be just the way to relax after a busy touring day. (Breakfast, Dinner)

The ancient site of Ephesus with its fascinating library of Celcus The ancient site of Ephesus in Turkey The natural site of Pamukkale was formed from large amounts of calcium in the water The ancient site of Ephesus 
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DAY 6Pamukkale–Hierapolis–Bursa

This morning, visit the fascinating archaeological site of HIERAPOLIS, the thermal resort founded by a Pergamene king in 190 BC and greatly enlarged and embellished by the Romans. Then, enjoy the ever-changing cultivated landscapes and timeless scenes of rural life on your way to Bursa. Spot farmers working their fields or transporting produce in traditional horse-drawn carts. Bursa lies in the shade of the Uludag–also called Mount Olympus of Mysia—a 7,700-foot-high ski mountain surrounded by lovely orchards. Founded by the Greeks, like most ancient cities in this part of the world, and hotly contested during the Crusades, Bursa had its heyday as the first capital of the Ottoman Empire. In the afternoon, visit the GREAT MOSQUE (Ulu Camii). Also on the agenda, of course, the ANCIENT COVERED BAZAAR and the Silk Market. (Breakfast, Dinner)

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DAY 7Bursa–Iznik–Istanbul

Visit Iznik, site of the first Ecumenical Council. See its ancient city walls before visiting ST. SOPHIA CHURCH and the ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM. Later, return to Istanbul in style. Globus Local FavoriteGlobus Local Favorite Enjoy a leisurely private CRUISE on the Bosporus, the narrow strait that links the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara, and separates Asia from Europe. Take pictures of exquisite private residences along the scenic shoreline, and of strategically located castles that once protected the approaches of the city. Tonight, a farewell dinner with wine at a local restaurant celebrates the success of your Turkish adventure. (Breakfast, Dinner)

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DAY 8Istanbul (Embarkation)

Morning at leisure before embarkation. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

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DAY 9Cruising: Mykonos

Plenty of time this morning to relax on board while cruising towards Mykonos. This afternoon, discover the mountainous island of Mykonos with its characteristic windmills and dazzling white houses. Time to wander at whim through narrow paved streets lined with trendy boutiques and shady tavernas before returning on board. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Enjoy a spectacular sunset in Mykonos The gorgeous coastline in Mykonos 
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DAY 10Cruising: Mykonos

Hundreds of tiny chapels dot this blue and white-washed island with its beautiful windmills. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

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DAY 11Cruising: Patmos & Kusadasi, Turkey

Two ports of call today. First the tiny Greek island of Patmos where St. John the Divine wrote the Revelation. The 11th-century monastery with its valuable manuscript collections is well worth a visit. Next, is Kusadasi. An optional excursion is available to the fascinating Greek, Roman, and Byzantine excavations of Ephesus. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Explore the tiny Greek island of Patmos Ephesus is one of the most beautiful and ancient sites, once known as the capital of the Asian Province of the Roman Empire 
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DAY 12Cruising: Rhodes

All day is dedicated to the island of Rhodes. Explore the Old Town with its ramparts and palaces built by the Knights of St. John during the Crusades. An optional excursion is available to Lindos to see Athena’s fabulous temple, or, if sightseeing isn’t your thing, Rhodes’ sun-drenched public beaches and colorful shopping districts are within easy walking distance of the port. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

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DAY 13Cruising: Crete & Santorini

Early arrival in Heraklion on Crete. A few miles away is Knossos, the center of the 3000 BC Minoan civilization, and an optional excursion can be booked. This afternoon, call at Santorini (weather permitting), the “Black Pearl of the Aegean.” The optional shore excursion here takes you up to the cliff-top village of Thera for one of the world’s most breathtaking panoramas. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Visit Santorini, the “Black Pearl of the Aegean.” Discover Santorini, Greece, the Black Pearl of the Aegean Santorini, Greece Discover Santorini 
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DAY 14Lavrion (Disembarkation)–Athens

After breakfast on board, disembark at Lavrion and return to Athens. Sightseeing with a Local Guide features a visit to the Parthenon’s crowning beauty atop the ACROPOLIS, the Erechtheum with its Porch of Maidens, the beautifully preserved Theseum, Roman temple of Zeus, theater of Dionysus, and the Agora where Socrates taught. Vistas of the government buildings and elegant homes in the modern city provide a striking contrast to the remains of the glorious past. The remainder of the day is free to catch up on last-minute shopping. Enjoy an optional dinner in a romantic restaurant. (Breakfast)

The Parthenon The Parthenon is a temple to the Greek goddess Athena 
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DAY 15Athens

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)

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