Aydin Kudu is, among many superlatives, Istanbul's foremost tour guide. I have worked with him to organize my logistics and interpret on multiple National Geographic Magazine assignments. He knows where to go and how to get you there--whether it's for an intense hamam, reliable carpet dealers, fine food, or in my case interviews with the most intriguing people in Turkey. He can take you to remote mountain tops or turquoise blue waters or oil wrestling matches or the hot spots of Istanbul night life. Aydin knows his history, and has intense passion for his country. He's extremely reliable, highly intelligent. He's also a lot of fun! Aydin shows you an Istanbul--and indeed the entire pageant of Turkey--that will keep you coming back over and over.
Rick Gore, former science editor at National Geographic Magazine
"…We had an absolutely wonderful trip to Turkey, thanks to your professional and personable guidance. Turkey proved to be far more exciting than we had even hoped and me and my wife Flora wanted to let you know that we are particularly grateful to you for making it so."
From a personal letter following a ten-day trip in Central-Western Turkey
Dr. Ronald French, L.A.
"…Special recognition should be given to Aydin who spent 12 days with us. His historical knowledge of the country and events were amazing, being so young in years and with such a short time in leading tours. His sense of humor, friendly manner, organization, attention to schedule, problem-solving abilities, all contributed. He was always in control without controlling…"
Mr. Mitchell Nasser, KY
"… We would particularly like to send our praises and accolades for our main tour guide, Aydin Kudu. We found him to be outstanding in many ways. We thought his geographic, historic, and political knowledge of his country was of particularly high quality. He was friendly, helpful, and on top of things, even after some fairly strenuous days. He seems to have an exceptional ability to manage groups efficiently, with a sense of humor that was contagious to the whole group. He made every person feel important and special, which in itself is really difficult. We believe Aydin made our trip a lot memorable and enjoyable than we had originally expected. We will soon return."
From a letter after a Turkey-Greece tour.
Graham Curtis, CO
"…The evaluations from the last National Geographic tour have been coming in and they have all been excellent. Many passengers cite YOU as highlight of their tour! Thanks for your support and contribution…"
Director of group sales at GCT
"…I have recently returned from the "In Search of Noah's Ark" tour to Eastern Turkey led by Aydin Kudu. This is a more challenging journey on to parts of Turkey not yet discovered by American travelers. The scenery was varied and incredibly spectacular in an area rich with thousands years of secular and religious history. Aydin has a deep love and pride for his country and its people in the cities, villages, bazaars, roadside markets, nomads along the road and a visit with his own family on their hazel-nut farm. He was always available and ate all of his meals with the tour members, not at a separate table out of sight, as is generally the case with most tour directors. Aydin is a consummate professional as a guide with an engaging, relaxed, intelligent, confident, light-hearted, good sense of humor, direct personality. His knowledge, understanding, and description of Turkey, past, present and probable future, were not only very well presented in a clear, interesting and most informative manner with an excellent command of English language, but also created a strong desire to learn more and perhaps return someday. Of all the guides I have been exposed to in the last 18 years, I would rate him up among the top most outstanding who have each provided me with an extraordinary travel-life experience I shall never forget…"
Ed Trapp, TX
Another Great Turkish Guide
"Sometimes, when we travelers get together and compare notes on the tour guides we have encountered, some unfavorable stereotypes emerge: the guide we couldn’t hear or understand, the lothario; the character flamboyant in manner and eccentric in dress; the dictator; the above-it-all, I-am-better-than-you are guide; the guide who didn’t seem to know where he was or where we were going; the whiner; the bus driver persecutor; the guide who says, “You don’t want to go there; it’s not worth seeing” (when all the guidebooks highly recommend it.), etc.
Though I have noted in ITN some favorable reports about guides in other countries, it seems to me that Turkey has been honored by frequent mention of its proficient guides. That country must do an exceptional job in training and licensing them. In view of Turkey's exploding rate of tourism, I hope they can keep up their standards.
The reports seem to be the same; the guide’s English is excellent and he likes the visitors off the beaten track, introducing them the food, the culture and the people, whether he is leading a large tour or a small, private group.
I want to add another Turk to the list, Aydin Kudu, a licensed free-lance tour guide who guides us safely, satisfactorily and adventurously thorough Eastern Turkey. He was always on the lookout for cultural and culinary experiences for us. ON the spur of the moment we attended a Turkish wedding reception, visited Kurdish nomad camp, chased colorful hot-air balloons on a blue-skied day in Cappadocia, ate regional specialties in all local restaurants and visited Turkish homes. When time allowed he invited us to visit his family’s hazelnut farm along the Black Sea.
Mr. Kudu has been free lance guide for many years, working for special interest groups, American companies and organizations. He also helped some articles written on Turkey. (National Geographic Traveler, April 98 issue)."
Eleanor Brucken, OH
From a letter published on International Travel Magazine(ITN)
HOME ON THE RANGE
Oh, give me a home
Where the Black Sea Men roam;
Where the sheep and the little kids play.
Where Aydin is bright
'Cos his name means light,
And he makes us smile all day.
Home, home on the Black Sea
The land of Hazel-nut tree
Where Aydin is bright
'Cos his name means light
And he makes us smile all day
A song written during a tour along the Black Sea, Turkey by Ed-Dottie Tyler
(to the tune of Chatanooga Choo-Choo)
We climb aboard the yellow bus at 8 or more
Aydin takes a body count of 24
One of us is tardy and Aydin warns his flock:
"When is your birthday? I'll buy you a clock!"
We all say "Gunaydin" and we're on our way.
Driven by a nomad known as A_yoti.
Morning at the palace and all o'er the map,
Then a mighty luncheon and on on-bus map.
"Good Morning" Says Aydin 'fore we've gone very far,
Dumps us all off at the Spice Bazaar.
Haggle with the merchants, buy some cloth and food,
Knowing full well that we've just been screwed!
Aydin takes the lead and like sheep we folla,
Fending off the salesmen shouting "only one dolla",
Down to the cistern, then the Grand Bazaar,
Then the muezzin calls us to our hotel bar.
Off we go again, to see the mosque of blue
Treading carpets on feet without a shoe.
Then to a café, for an apple tea,
Fumbling for their liras for the WC.
We board the bus again and drive like a whiz,
Meanwhile Susan stumps us with another killer quiz.
Cruise along the Bosphorus, with all its pizzas,
Hear our leader Aydin tell more jokes about the Laz.
We fly down to Izmir and again we're on the bus,
Hearing the grandeur of Ancient Ephesus.
Aydin tells of myths, Peggy sets him right.
Feeding our faces with more Turkish Delight.
On to Antalya with a smile on our lips,
Ed at the piano and raking in the tips.
Snoozing thorough a lecture by a speaker of renown,
Lunching with a family in a little Turkish town.
Now in Antalya we approach a sad day,
Some of our party will soon be on their way.
The rest wish you Godspeed, 'till we met you,
On a National Geo tour to Tim-buk-tu!
Chatanooga Choo-choo, don't you choo-choo us home!
Written by Susan Fifer Canby, National Geography Library Director