I booked two private tours at Izmir (Ephesus etc.) and Istanbul (the works) with Byzas Tours / Tours Istanbul. Their service was impeccable. Booking was a breeze and the actual excursions went perfectly. Very knowledgeable guides, practically brand new vehicles, punctuality, no hidden costs. If I could, I would even attribute the good weather on the days to them but obviously, that was just good luck.
My husband and I were visiting ruins on Kadifekale (Mt.Pagus) during the day. I was separated from my husband for a short while, and he was surrounded in the car by a group of teenage boys who pretended to be friendly at first. There was no-one around and they quickly turned aggressive, trying to force their way into the car and grabbing at our belongings. My husband distracted them by throwing something out of the car, and locked himself in, and then drove through them to get to me. They banged and kicked the car, and chased him through the fortress gate. He sped up to me and shouted for me to get in. We then turned around and had to drive through them. One pretended we had run him over, and others smashed on the car. We had been warned by the Lonely Planet Guide to Turkey that this was a rough area at night, but be warned! We felt very unsafe in the day.
We then went down to the ruins of the Agora, and got out to walk around the old bazaar. We thought this would be a lot safer as their were a lot of people around. However, a well dressed Turkish man came up to us and told us, in a very urgent manner, that we were not safe and should get back in the car and go! We thanked him and promptly obeyed!
We have been to Turkey many times and love the country and its people, but we definitely felt unsafe in Izmir even before the incident. We felt hostility from passers-by and a restaurant owner during the short time we were there.
Kadifekale and the Agora Bazaar, Izmir
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