References and Testimonials
Private Touring with Fatos(h)
We have been many places & of all the guides Ms. Fatos(h) was the most insightful, delightful, and well prepared. She was not only well versed at the history of every site, but also of each area visited. She was able to shepherd us through more quickly, but slowed when we chose. She was familiar with what appeared to be the better choices for local delicacies, coffee and shops with choices not pushed toward her friends or partners. We received our itinerary plan weeks in advance but when some things changed she quickly accommodated.
The Mosques tours were riddled with religious and historical info, and as we had political questions about current local government and religious tones. She was a willing and clearly capable participant in conversation concerning all. Even after her days were done she stayed after to walk my wife to the door of the day spa to assure the 1000 ft journey would not be jumbled.
I cannot offer any constructive criticism as there seemed to be no flaws. We are appreciative of the encounter.
Linda & Kevin Hirsch
Ms. Dilek took my two teenage sons and me on a full day tour of the Sultanahmet area of Istanbul in July 2012. She provided us with a brief excellent background history of Istanbul and Turkey, and she enlightened us about the history of the people who live in modern Turkey. Her pride and love for Turkey came through clearly throughout the day. Her enthusiasm was truly infectious.
Our one day together with Fatos ended all too quickly, but she kindly took the time to custom make a suggested itinerary for us to sightsee further during the remaining two days we spent in Istanbul. Although we missed spending time with her for those days, her suggestions were right on the mark because she had an excellent intuitive sense about what we wanted to see and do.
Fatos was without question the most knowledgeable guide I have had the pleasure to learn from in my travels. I would recommend her services to individuals, families or large groups without any hesitation.
Harvey Nissman, Virginia
I spent several days in Istanbul with Fatos and can't praise her enough. She is super knowledgeable, punctual, has many connections in the cultural sites and commercial establishments she brings you to and, to make the tour even more enjoyable, is a charming, intelligent and cultured person, capable of discussing everything from world affairs to jazz to art. I view my decision to hire her as crucial to assuring a fantastic, entrancing visit to beautiful Istanbul.
Joe Muskatel, NewYork
Turkey's Magical Hideaways was our fourth trip with OAT and introduced us to Fatos, pronounced Fatosh, our trip guide. Our experience with the many wonderful OAT guides around the world has led us to rave about OAT to friends but Fatos is the best! Let us tell you why.
Fatos's high energy is infectious starting the day with great expectation as she outlines the plan of exploration and discovery. She introduces the driver so we can personalize our greetings to him. She gives us a few words in Turkish ("günaydın", "teşekkür ederim", "sağol" — "Good morning", "thank you very much", "thanks") which makes the local people smile as we try the language.
Most important is her passion for her history, her culture and her country. You cannot fake it. It is genuine and it is Fatos. We have a Turkish friend who moved back to Istanbul. She and her sister took us on a day tour up the Bosporus to the Black Sea for lunch. Traveling with Fatos is like traveling Turkey with such a local friend.
Knowledgeable, passionate and caring describe her guiding style. She is extremely well organized and takes her guide duties with care and concern for the well being of her travelers. She anticipates the needs of her group and keeps them informed of the progress and potential pitfalls, for example "… perhaps a walking stick for this afternoon's hike as the path is loose stone …"
Value added. Fatos included many not on the itinerary experiences providing us with a deeper understanding of her culture. These add-ons are too numerous to list but here are some examples. She added the Isa Bey Mosque to St John Basilica tour providing a counterpoint. On the small boat trip on the Dalyan river we came upon fishermen using a blue crab to lure a sea turtle to the surface for photos by a boatload of tourists. We stopped talked to the fishermen and they showed us a live blue crab. I asked if they eat them. Fatos said if we wanted they would cook some for us to pick up on the return. The crab was delicious. She added a stop in the working fishing village of Kos where we watched fishermen’s wives untangle fish from the nets to buckets to quayside restaurants. A huge marina was about to open on the edge of town. We experienced the village ambiance before the predicted invasion of progress.
Fatos is an exceptional guide with performance above and beyond the OAT demanding high standards for Base Guides, she deserves special recognition. We are sure we will see her smiling face in future OAT Turkish Travel publications.
Constance and Michael Gaynor
Fatos … I can't thank you enough for making our stay in Istanbul so amazing! You are so knowledgeable and wonderful to be with. I can't imagine being here without you. You weren't just our guide, but also our dear friend. I truly felt that we had known you forever. I hope that I will be able to return in the near future to see more of this incredible city. Also, please know that my invitation to you and your husband stands whenever you wish to visit us in Chicago. It is much younger, but a wonderful beautiful city by the water too. Please take care and have a wonderful New Year. Best regards and all the best to you in the future.
Fatos, we've been home from our wonderful visit to Turkey for two months and it still seems fresh in our minds. We want to thank you for your very professional, yet personal, attention to our wish to see as much of Istanbul as we could. We were especially honored to have been invited into your home to see your marvelous view of the Bosphorus and to share a cup of Turkish coffee.
Although we have returned home and had to fall back into our routines of work and home life, our trip to Istanbul stands out as one of our all-time favorites. Istanbul is a city of rich history, culture and beauty filled with delightful and diverse people, scrumptious food and fascinating educational opportunities. We never would have had such an outstanding visit without your services, your personality and your enthusiasm. Thank you so much for everything.
Please do not forget our offer and desire for you to visit us in Chicago—at whatever point in your lives it comes to pass. Regards to Serhan and again special thanks and fondness to you from both Rick and me.