The Total Solar Eclipse tour to Turkey was a huge success. Our tour was made up from an exceptional group of people and everyone had a great time. Some have seen eclipses before and others had not, but now everyone has had their first taste of what a total solar eclipse really means. There is no way to convey what happens during an eclipse unless you have stood there under the totally blocked solar disk yourself. Below, in addition to our original itinerary, are links to various spots on my site that discuss the eclipse and share photographs. In addition, there are many links to places we toured along the way, as well as additional links to other excellent solar eclipse sites.
STORY LINK: "Solar Eclipse 2006" on Space.com
STORY LINK: "Chasing Shadows"
Total Solar Eclipse
3 minutes 40 seconds of Totality, March 29, 2006
Tour: March 22-April 2, 2006 (11 days, 10 nights)
Tour Schedule/Detailed Itinerary
Wednesday, March 22: USA/IZMIR. Departed for Izmir, Turkey.
Departure from Chicago: Turkish Airlines Flight 6 departed Chicago's O'Hare Airport at 17:00 Central Time.
Arrival in Istanbul: Flight arrived in Istanbul at 11:45 Turkish Time on March 23 for connection to Izmir.
Istanbul to Izmir: Turkish Airlines Flight 324 departed Istanbul at 13:00, to arrive in Izmir at 14:00.
Thursday, March 23: IZMIR. Arrived in Izmir. We were met by your guide, Atilla Mahir, and transferred to the Karaca Hotel.
Friday, March 24: IZMIR/EPHESUS/IZMIR. We had a full day tour of the ruins of Ephesus, one of the largest archaeological sites in the world. Founded in the 13th century BC, it was an important center of Christianity, where the Apostles Paul and John preached their infant religion. A short visit to the Selcuk Museum and St. John’s Basilica followed. Returned to Izmir for overnight. B, L
Saturday, March 25: SPACE CAMP/ECLIPSE ORIENTATION. After breakfast, we transferred to Space Camp. At Space Camp we received an orientation about what to expect on eclipse day and had the opportunity to ask questions. After the orientation had the rest of the day to experience Space Camp simulators such as the Space Shuttle, Zero-G Wall, 1/6th Gravity Chair, Multi-Axis Trainer, and more. B, L
Note that Turkey changed to Daylight Savings Time at 02:00 on Sunday, March 26, so clocks were set forward one hour. Daylight Savings Time in the United states did not occur until the morning of April 2, so it was in effect when our tour arrived in Chicago that afternoon.
Sunday, March 26: IZMIR/PAMUKKALE. Today, our tour traveled to Pamukkale, where calcareous water cascades over the mountainside, forming numerous levels of water basins and white stalactites has given it the colorful name of “Cotton Fortress.” While there, we visited the ruins of Hierapolis, founded in 190 BC by the King of Pergamum. Dinner at our hotel included entertainment by local Turkish dancers. B, D
Monday, March 27: PAMUKKALE/ANTALYA (SIDE/MANAVGAT). After breakfast, we visited Aphrodisias, the remains of an ancient city that flourished in the 1st century BC. Archaeological excavations are ongoing, uncovering a wealth of artifacts, the remains of a once thriving community of 60,000 inhabitants. Continued to the resort town of Side, along the Turquoise Coast. Dinner at our hotel. B, D
Tuesday, March 28: ANTALYA. Today’s full-day tour took us for a visit to Side where Cleopatra and Mark Anthony first met, then the vast ruins of Perge with its Acropolis, thermal baths, Roman basilica, and paving stones that still exhibit the marks of chariot wheels. Final stop was Aspendos, the best preserved Roman Theater in the world. We had a chance to stroll through the charming Old Section of Antalya. B, L, D
Wednesday, March 29 : TOTAL ECLIPSE DAY. Entire day was dedicated to the total solar eclipse. After breakfast, we had a short orientation and then went out to set up for viewing the eclipse from our location at the Kaya Side resort hotel, along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Our tour bus was on standby to move us to a new location in case clouds threaten our viewing site. That evening, Dinner and Eclipse Party at the hotel. B, L, D
Total Solar Eclipse Timetable (Turkish Time, -8 hrs ET or -11 hrs PT):
12:38:29 (04:38 ET, 01:38 PT) — 1st contact occurred (start of eclipse)
13:55:10 (05:55 ET, 02:55 PT) — 2nd contact began (totality)
13:58:50 (05:58 ET, 02:58 PT) — 3rd contact (end of totality)
15:13:45 (07:12 ET, 04:12 PT) — 4th contact (end of eclipse)
The Sun was 55° above the horizon at totality. Totality at our location lasted approximately 3 minutes and 40 seconds. Total time including partial phases was approximately 2 hours 35 minutes 16 seconds.
Thursday, March 30: ANTALYA/ISTANBUL. After breakfast, we transfered to the airport, then made a short flight to Istanbul and transfered to our hotel. That afternoon, we visit ed Turkey’s famed and historic “Kandilli Rasathanesi” (Kandilli Observatory), originally established during the Ottoman Empire. B
Antalya to Istanbul: Turkish Flight 917 departed Antalya Airport at 08:10 Turkish Time and arrived in Istanbul at 09:20.
Friday, March 31: ISTANBUL. After breakfast, we visited the Blue Mosque, built in only 7 years by order of Sultan Ahmet I in 1609. It gets its name from the blue Iznik tiles that cover the inside. Strolled through Topkapi Palace, with its impressive displays of jewelry, porcelain, clocks, miniatures, textiles, and religious artifacts. “Topkapi” means “Gate of the Cannon” for the Byzantine arsenal was once situated where the Palace now stands. Visited St. Sophia, the Christian masterpiece whose construction was presided over by the Emperor Justinian. The day’s tour ended with a visit to the Grand Bazaar, a shopper’s delight with more than 4000 shops from which to choose. B, L
Saturday, April 01: ISTANBUL. After breakfast, we visited the Spice Bazaar, cruised on the Bosphorus in a private boat, and visited Dolmabahce Palace. Farewell Dinner that evening at Kizkulesi. B, D
Sunday, April 02: ISTANBUL/USA. Transfered to airport for final departure.
Departure: Turkish Flight 5 departed Istanbul's Ataturk Airport at 10:00 Turkish Time.
Arrival: Flight arrived at Chicago's O'Hare Airport at 13:40 Central Time for connection to domestic flights.
TOUR PHOTO PAGES