This week’s broadcast of Eye on Travel comes from the Ciragan Palace Kempinski in Istanbul, Turkey. I’ll have all the travel news updates — country closings and openings, a look at how airfares are now trending upwards, and the latest on vaccination passports. We’ll get an update from Travis Levius on the lockdown situation in South Africa; from Forbes’ Dan Reed on the return of the U.S. airline fleet from storage; we’ll answer your emails and calls. And then, while we’re at it, we’ll immerse ourselves in Turkey with author and guide Saffet Emre Tonguc, and his argument — and mine — on why Turkey is one of the most underrated countries in the world. There’s all this and more on this week’s Eye on Travel from Istanbul.
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Serdar Gulgun, Ottoman Art Historian & Design Expert, comes on to the program to speak about the lavish lifestyle of the Ottoman Empire during the Tulip Era. The early 18th century Renaissance period for Turkey was defined by music, literature and parties. Also, he’ll share the significance of tulip gardens and the value of turtle trainers in the era. He then expands on the history of croissants as well as the revolutionary group of political figures from the 20th century known as the “Young Turks.” Serdar then walks us through the beautiful interior and design of the Ciragan Palace. He explains the importance of “sofa rooms” and the Ciragan Palace’s location, right on the Bosphorus.
Dan Reed, Senior Contributor at Forbes, speaks about new travel destinations and how airlines have been forced to pivot amid recent announcements of new routes by both legacy carriers and low-fare airlines. These new routes are aimed at leisure travel, flying near National Parks and other recreational areas, as business travel continues to be slow and remains a liability for many companies. He also speaks about the growing number of people traveling. TSA recorded 1.5 million people traveling a day in early March. While that is encouraging, he notes that this figure is still 40% lower than 2019. This comes as Delta announces it will no longer block out middle seats while United has announced it is working to unpark its planes and get as many as possible flying again. He ends by speaking about the decision of many airlines to extend how long travelers can use miles and points.
Saffet Emre Tonguc, Author, Historian & Professional Travel Guide, talks about why he feels tourism in Turkey will be more popular this year and why Turkey is one of the most underrated countries in the world. He discusses the fascinating 8,500 years of history in Istanbul as well as the diverse cultures that exist on the borders of Turkey and its numerous bordering countries. He further discusses historically significant churches such as St. Peter, considered to be the first church, and St. George, one of the older Greek Orthodox churches in the world. Saffet then explains why you need 100 days to fully explore Istanbul. And lastly, tune in to find out why Oprah Winfrey is Saffet’s favorite celebrity tourist and how St. Nicholas was actually born in Turkey.
Mehmet “Memo” Yarangümelioğlu, Restaurateur, Entrepreneur and Istanbul local, talks about his and Peter’s afternoon fishing on the Galata Bridge, which is a local fishing spot where hundreds of people come to fish and provide food for their families (a tradition present since the start of civilization). He talks about the bridge’s intention of bringing the east and west side of Istanbul and their different cultures together. And did you know that some of the first designs for the bridge were made by Leonardo DaVinci and Michaelangelo? Memo then talks about Turkey’s national drink, Raki, a 90 proof drink that will surely get your feet moving. And finally, why did Memo move back to Turkey after living in the United States for 10 years?
Dr. Glynis Ridley, Professor and Author of The Discovery of Jeanne Baret: A Story of Science, the High Seas, and the First Woman to Circumnavigate the Globe, tells the fascinating story of how she decided to tell Baret’s story and what she discovered along the way based on the different information and theories about her. She discusses misconceptions about her travels, fun facts about the people she circumnavigated with and the set of dilemmas she had to overcome on her way back home. Baret was also the first woman that we know of to be given a state pension for her contribution to science. Dr. Ridley describes some of her other historic feats as well.
Travis Levius, Freelance Writer, Editor & Travelpreneur Published in: CNN Travel, BBC Travel, Business Insider, Forbes Travel Guide and more, speaks about his pandemic travels and gives us some insight on the lockdown situation in South Africa. And what about the vaccine and pandemic numbers in the rest of the African countries? Travis shares his views on how certain countries are weathering COVID-19 and the importance of preserving wildlife and culture. It’s a tough situation for a lot of countries that don’t have the resources of other countries in Europe and North America.
Jen Ruiz, Founder + Blogger at Jen on a Jet Plane & Author of The Solo Female Travel Book, speaks about the trajectory of female solo travel and being open to meeting new people along the way. The solo traveler shares some of her packing tips and argues for going out and dining alone. She also expands on why it’s important to have conversations when traveling. She also shares some of her best and worst experiences while traveling solo. But what might stop or worry women when traveling? Jen describes safety issues, being mindful of your surroundings and why researching is so important before going anywhere.