There is much to like in the daily walks unfortunately, much of the rest of the experience was below expectations.
- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
- Summiting, albeit a minor mountain and without having to make the downward return, was still the best bit!
- What did you think of your group leader?
Most of the 'poor' experience was caused by decisions made by the guide. He seemed unable to pace the day, steaming off on day 1 at 11m/min vertical ascent. Ironically, previous treks I have taken always seemed to be too slow. This pace was, in fact, ok by me and at least one other of the party - there were only five of us. But, the pace wasn't maintained and a lot of the extra walk-time seemed as if it was because of the guide smoke breaks.
It is not pleasant to have smoking on a trek, especially by the guide.
The initial pace prevented two of the party taking the summit walk because of predicted bad weather, walk length and difficulty. None of these happened - it was a truly beautiful day with minimal cloud up top (and a gondola and cafe if it wasn't!), the walk was only five hours and of only reasonable difficulty, certainly less difficult than day 1.
On the last day, we got no advice about what we might see in Antalya, given the flight time, there was actually time to do quite a lot if it was planned. No mention was made of the beautiful, gigantic waterfall cascading into the sea near to or hotel, everyone did find it but none-the-less, we should have been told.
Also, we were picked up and dropped at the airport with more than 3 hours to spare - much, much too early since we stayed near to the airport and traffic couldn't seriously be an issue. We arrived before the check-ins even opened, time wasted we could have used in the city as well as our bags being last off the plane at Gatwick, probably causing one of our party to miss his onward flight.
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
The camping day didn't happen (the weather was bad that day and stayed that way) - I wish, along with the others that I hadn't taken the mat and the sleeping bag (both new). The tour company had mats, it is more logical for them to lend you one for a small fee than for everyone to fill their kit bag with one.
The rain, which apparently, should have been worse at that time of year requires that you use a special purpose waterproof 'phone bag, like an Overboard bag rather than a 'waterproof' coat pocket or plastic bag or rucksack pocket.
There is wifi at many of the places along the way, use it to get independant weather forceasts so you have an idea at least, the guide kept saying it would rain despite the evidence (and forecasts I looked at) to the contrary. He even cancelled our summit trek because of the 'risk' of thunderstorms, all news to the many people we met on the route (which we obviously did do, after a serious argument by me) and, as said before, which did not even come close to happening.
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
This was a disappionting trip overall, despite most of the walks being good, one day was all on road tracks, not at all enjoyable. Turkey does not seem to want to make visitors welcome, people drink alcohol (Turkish people that is) but no (recognisable) meat was available at the very poor breakfasts. Also, there was very often, no 'English' tea at breakfast either. Both Turkish Tea and Coffee are a seriously aquired taste few would enjoy so thi smade breakfasts unenjoyable.
Carrying separate 'picnic' items up mountains was not sensible either, a packed lunch of some kind would have been much more practical, and lighter for some of us. The bread was very nice however.
If you are interested in using the last day better, check out morning tours perhaps with a drop-off at the airport rather than using the local guide.
The 'beach' day was more enjoyable for taking a snorkel if you like snorkelling, they sell them in the village but it saves 10 pounds if you have your own. Some kind of water-shoes are a must though, stones are everywhere.
Exodus focus heavily on the quality of our trips. As such we are working with our local partners to make improvements to this trip for next year, including small changes to the itinerary and further support for our local guides to ensure they are best prepared to deliver a high quality trip.