Residents of Clayton, Richmond Heights and other cities are being invited to explore Istanbul, Turkey, this fall as part of a trip sponsored by the Clayton Chamber of Commerce.
"What I've heard about Istanbul is that it's an ancient city with an urban feel of today," said Ellen Gale, the Chamber's director. "It's kind of mixing old and new. It spans two continents."
The Chamber announced the trip Feb. 14 in an email alert. Participants will depart Nov. 7 and return Nov. 15. The trip is open to the public.
Organizers polled the community about the Chamber's next trip a while back. Other destinations included in the poll were Cuba and Prague.
It's not the first time the Chamber has organized such a trip.
Last year, 61 people including Chamber members and other guests visited China. They included a teenager and a 79-year-old. The Chamber picked that country because it has become a world superpower. Gale said.
While participants had opportunities to make business connections in that country, "really no one took us up on that," Gale said. Instead, the trip served as a way for participants to network and to inexpensively see a place they wouldn't normally go on their own.
"Because we're a community-based organization … we can get people together more easily than just a tour company on its own," Gale said. "So it's an opportunity to meet other business people and other people who share your interests."
The trip brochure attached to this article states that some stops in Turkey will include:
- The Blue Mosque
- Byzantine Hippodrome
- Grand Bazaar
- Bosphorus Strait
- Roman Baths
Included in the $2,299-per-person cost are seven nights in a four-star hotel, 12 meals and roundtrip air fare. Participants have the option of purchasing an extension that includes a visit to Cappadocia.
They will have plenty of free time to explore or take advantage of tours, Gale said.
There is no limit to the number of people who can be a part of the trip. Applications are due six months before the departure date, and final payment is due Aug. 24.
An orientation session is planned at 5:30 p.m. April 18 at The Center of Clayton. Prospective attendees are invited to attend that meeting or to call the Chamber at 314-726-3033 with questions.
So far, about half a dozen people have paid for the trip.
"We're thrilled," Gale said. "We think it's going to be a full trip. We think it's going to be an exciting, awesome trip of a lifetime."