You are ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY one of the best tour guides I have ever had!

I finally have gotten back home to California and I wanted to send you a follow-up email about our Underground Istanbul tour with you on July 9th.

You are ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY one of the best tour guides I have ever had! Here are the highlights/things that really made this trip memorable and worth every dollar.

1) EXPLAINED HISTORY IN SIMPLE WORDS: You really made Turkey come alive for us and really helped “connect the dots” on history and how it was all linked together. You walked at our speed and took your time explaining things to us in easy basic words (not getting too professional or fancy) but rather for people who were hearing this history the first time. I loved the brochures and paperwork you gave us, it made it come alive visually.

2) EXCITING SITES: All the sites that you took us to were amazing but the pizza parlor and the renovated cistern were our favorites. You really were able to find neat little things that normal people would never get to see. In my whole trip through Turkey and Egypt, my favorite thing I saw was the 3rd century hidden painting of the Virgin Mary. It was special because so few people have ever seen it, I felt like Indiana Jones going through there. These little holes in the wall were so adventurous and made the trip feel more like an adventure than a cut and paste generic tour.

3) SET PRICE: One of the things that us American really appreciate and understand is set prices. Once a price has been agreed upon, we want to swipe our “credit card” once and then not have to worry about it. In your description you were very clear about what was included in the price. We really appreciated the little extras you did by having teas, coffees, cookies during the breaks/lessons and it was great not to get told they were an extra charge. Little things like that mean a lot to Americans and are very appreciated. During lunch, you pulled your own money out with all intentions to pay. You did not expect us or motion to us to cover your lunch. Of course, we were so happy to cover it for you but you never made us FEEL like we had to.

4) OPEN EARS/HEARD FEEDBACK: When we started the discussion about branding and social media, you were all ears (that means listening) in this conversation. You did not act like you were too good to talk about this or “already knew what you were doing”. It was great to hear about your hardships and new obstacles you had come across with the internet and what you are doing to reach out to your audience. As a professor, I listened to everything YOU said about this and am going to discuss this with my students in upcoming college classes (how do we reach out to travels and tourists before they arrive to the location). Thank you for listening and talking in this conversation.

5) HUMBLE AND WISE: Even though you have published many things and have a very well known reputation in this industry, you were humble about it. You didn’t brag about who you had met or how many famous people you knew, but rather focused on the subject and what we were learning that day. We (Customers) have already done the research and that is why we chose you as a guide, no reason to make it all about you, make it about the tour!

6) CLIENT FOCUSED BUSINESS: My favorite part about the whole tour was that you focused on your CLIENTS. You understood that you were getting paid to educate and teach the clients about what they had paid for. You took us to sites that WE would enjoy, you taught and stayed focus on OUR questions, you were very patient with very unique clients (AKA my father) and you made this whole tour about US, your paying clients. You did minimal talk with the owners of the locations we went to and focused on us.

I wanted to give you all of this feedback so that you are aware of exactly what you are doing that is making you shine as a tour guide. Sometimes we in the tourism industry only hear negative feedback and rarely get anything positive back. I wanted to reach out to you and tell you that you did an amazing job, I appreciate all your work.

There was ONE last thing I wanted to tell you to make you smile; my dad, who is a chatterbox and tried to act like he knows it all and rarely impressed, said that of the last 3 months he has been in Turkey, your tour was the best thing he has seen his whole trip and personally thanked me for pushing him to join us. Now THAT is a HUGE compliment and I hope it makes you smile.

Once again, thank you for everything, feel free to use these as feedback on any of your social media.

Eve Marie Ruhlman
July 26, 2018 (E-mail message)

A Must for Anyone going to Turkey

“I consider myself a world traveler and have taken many, many, private and group tours over the past 30 years. Mr. Serif Yenen was by far the best guide I have ever had. He led us through Istanbul for three days explaining in a calm, friendly, well paced, and safe manner, the cultural, historical, and religious customs of his country. We not only saw all of the highlights that Istanbul had to offer, but Serif guided us to local sites few would see including a wonderful restaurant on the Asian side of the city. Everywhere we went (skipping all lines) fellow countrymen said hello to Serif who we learned is the president of the tour guide association in Turkey. I was impressed with the fact that he did many presentations in the Smithsonian as well as his incredible handouts that he provided. If you are going to Turkey, Serif Yenen is a must.”

Marilyn F.
October 3, 2014 Tripadvisor

Most Knowledgeable and Professional Tour Guide

“Turkey excels all others in its preservation of history. The monuments, the ancient ruins, the customs! It’s a treasure not to be missed. I would recommend that you see the underground Basilica Cistern (the Sunken Palace), along with the top-ranked sights, because it is so unique. Being underground is actually a pleasant experience here.

Serif Yenen is the most knowledgeable and professional tour guide I have encountered on my many trips abroad. History and culture are strong points, along with his excellent command of English and his wit. He is passionate about his country. As you can see, it has rubbed off!”

July 10, 2014 Tripadvisor

“Mr Yenen’s passion for his country, passion for teaching, knowledge, English skills, sense of humor, relationship with the group as individuals as well as the group, we couldn’t have had a better Program Director / Tour Leader!”

Mr & Mrs Thomas Lindemann

Marcellus, NY 13108
Crossroads of Turkey (10/24/2005)

“Serif was Exceptional! The Best tour guide ever! We were so lucky to have him. He is extremely knowledgeable, fun to be with, professional, clear, accurate with information, and sincere. He took excellent care of us. We miss him!”
Ms Laura Sue Sanborn

Providence, UT 84332
Crossroads of Turkey (3/30/2006)

“Excellent language and people skills! Knowledge of history, topography and mythology of Turkey was exceptimal Spoke English as a native tongue and had a great sense of humor. THE BEST!
Serif Yenen made every aspect of our trip exceptional. Whether he talked about the history, the culture or the belly dancing, his information interested and informed us.”
Mr & Mrs Louis Pelosi

Saugus, MA 01906
Crossroads of Turkey (3/30/2006)

“Serif was really committed to giving us as many experiences as we could have to expose us to local culture, people & cuisine. He really goes way beyond the norm & is excellent. We were able to have full trust in his capability, professionalism and skill to handle all situations. His briefings were factual, informative, balanced, and up to date.
Serif Yenen is a real power house. He obviously has well prepared himself, and has an excellent in depth knowledge of all facets of life in Turkey. The trip was enhanced by the number of, and variety of discovery experiences; economic, cultural, religious and political information well thought out and balanced. We realized that Turkey has ancient and varied history. Serif made sure we had knowledge, and all questions satisfied. We appreciate his attempts to make travel experiences truly high quality.”
Mr & Mrs Jeffrey Hartman

Port Townsend, WA 98368
Crossroads of Turkey (4/7/2005)

“We have made 30 trips. Serif is the BEST!”
Mr & Mrs Jennings Mitchell

Birmingham, AL 35243
Crossroads of Turkey (4/7/2005)

“He made the trip memorable for each of us. His intelligence, compassion and organisation are exceptional; he is a model tour guide!
Again Serif did an exceptional job of introducing us to every day Turkish experiences. We had opportunities to visit local markets, a school, plenty of mosques and villages. Our home visit was very pleasant and allowed us to eat a typical lunch with people ‘off the beaten path’. His great love for Turkish people and culture came across to us beautifully.”
Ms Barbara Kent

Menlo Park, CA 94025
Crossroads of Turkey (5/14/2005)

“I would rate him as more than excellent. He is a wonderful teacher, constantly on alert for new experiences for us. He anticipated possible problems and was proactive. He set up a cooperative atmosphere in the group.
I appreciated that Serif’s focus was always on giving us opportunities to learn, in many ways, both about history and about Turkey today. Again, Serif couldn’t have been more helpful nor a better teacher.”
Ms Eugenia Durdall

Monle Park, CA 94025
Crossroads of Turkey (5/14/2005)

“Serif was knowledgeable about his beloved country and determined we should know all! He made contacts with ease, knew how to get us ‘to front of line’ and gave us excellent ‘local discoveries’. He never seemed to tire!
And his command of English is superb as well as his ability to translate local customs to us.
We could hardly miss any opportunity with Serif”
Mr & Mrs Gordon Stokes

Lago Vista, TX 78645
Crossroads of Turkey (5/44/2005)

“Serif was the BEST! I had used his book as my pre-trip prep and was amazed that he was my program guide. His group dynamic skills were A+. He really encouraged and provided opportunities for interactions. He was always on the look-out for discoveries. He loved his country and is highly respected.”
Ms Lois Ann Kroll

Wisconsin Rapids, WI 54495
Crossroads of Turkey (5/14/2005)

“Very organized! All arrangements worked smoothly. Very knowledgeable, especially history. Excellent English, very experienced. Flexibility to take advantage of special opportunities.
Interesting historical ruins coming ‘alive’ when the program director explained the history.”
Mr & Mrs Alan Starr

Great Falls, VA 22066
Crossroads of Turkey (6/1/2006)

“This trip was A+ and the best part was our tour director actually authored the book I bought at and read before I left.”
Ms Dawn Button

Rocklin, CA 95677
Crossroads of Turkey (6/1/2006)

“His knowledge was outstanding. His sense of humor kept us laughing all the time. His many surprise excursions gave us wonderful insights to every day life.
Our guide is number 1. He can make everything so exciting. We had the very best.”
Mrs Thelma Bugbee

Granby, CT 06035
Crossroads of Turkey (9/7/2006)

“Blend of educator, organizer, humorist, psychologist and humanitarian. He taught us culture, music, history, politics, even local jokes. He made his job seem easy but I know he was constantly working.
I most enjoyed being shown the beautiful country, culture and people from some one who truly loved his country. Serif had all of us feeling like Turkey was our 2nd home by the end of our tour.”
Ms Debra Patterson

Hilliard, OH 43026
Crossroads of Turkey (9/24/2005)

“Serif Yenen is not our program director. He is our knowledgeable friend and fellow traveler who takes care of all our needs. He completely immersed us in Turkey’s history and culture so we came away feeling we really were exposed to Turkey’s people, customs and uniqueness. We simply can’t imagine a more complete program director than Serif”
Mr Harold Patterson

Springfield, VA 22150
Crossroads of Turkey (9/24/2005)

“Serif Yenen is the best program director we have ever had. He is well organised so everything went smoothly. His knowledge, humor and patience served us well. His passion for Turkey was evident in all that he did; he made us love Turkey, its people, its culture, its landscapes. The visuals he used at historical sites were very helpful.”
Mr & Mrs James Long

Fort Collins, CO 80526
Crossroads of Turkey (9/24/2005)

“Serif Yenen is outstanding in all ways. Professional, intelligent, mature, good sense of humor, kind, imaginative, firm when necessary, well balanced, caring, clever — a perfect guide.”
Ms Joan Knecht

Bedminster, NJ 07921
Crossroads of Turkey (9/24/2005)

“Serif was a remarkably knowledgeable, inventive and affable man / guide / director. We couldn’t imagine one better!
Serif’s ‘discovery’ of the day or outing were extremely entertaining, surprising and (always) informative. The entire trip was a discovery of little we know about Turkey.”
Mr Miloslav L Brzobohaty

Lighthouse Pt, FL 33064
Crossroads of Turkey (9/24/2005)

“Serif has passion for his country & his culture and he is so good at transferring that passion: Extremely knowledgeable, makes himself available and a great sense of humor too. Best director ever!”
Mrs Alison Hamlin

South Lyon, MI 48178
Crossroads of Turkey (10/5/2006)

“This guy was a ‘Professional’ in all aspects of the job.”
Mr Edward Ruppen

Asheville, NC 28803
Crossroads of Turkey (10/5/2006)

“I feel so fortunate to have had Serif as our guide. How often do you get the author of a book on the country you are visiting? He is interesting, knowledgeable, good sense of humor, patient and kind. The personification of the ‘perfect tour guide’!”
Ms Joan Sheahan

Sausalito, CA 94966-2166
Crossroads of Turkey (10/5/2006)

“Serif knows his country, customs and history with passion and expertise. I would be pleased to travel with him again. My best souvenir of Turkey is his book, Turkish Odyssey.”
Mr Karl Leck

Chadds Ford, PA 19317

“Serif went above & beyond to provide an exceptional travel & learning experience. His background & historical knowledge of Turkey was not to be surpassed. He was ‘always’ available to meet any individual needs & his attention to details was exceptional. Management of group dynamic & scheduling was managed with respect and humor. An exceptional teacher/historian!”
Ms Ann Jenkins

Tacoma, WA 98407-6418
Crossroads of Turkey (3/30/2006)

“Serif, a former teacher, has a moral imperative to help his fellow humans understand history more clearly. He responds to some questions with questions-a technique I use in my classes.”
Mr Andrew Downie

Mount Freedom, NJ 07970
Crossroads of Turkey (9/24/2005)

“Serif Yenen is an extraordinarily capable program director; knowledgeable, used both his and our time most effectively; provided historical, cultural and current information at most appropriate times; enhanced trip with special opportunities; moved quickly and on time from one activity to another while never making us feel rushed or exhausted.”
Mrs Barbara Davis

Chattanooga, TN 37416
Crossroads of Turkey (10/5/2006)

“We have had approximately 43 program directors in our travels and Serif Yenen is absolutely number one. His ‘hand-outs’ and explanations accompanied by pictures brought the archaeological sites to life.”
Robert Norvell

Crossroads of Turkey (4/24/2001)

“Our Tour Guide, Serif Yenen, was well prepared for the task in all respects. His knowledge of Turkish customs, and his ability to cope with forty odd tourists along with their questions on history, demography, economics etc. was formidable.”
From Arthur & Marilyn Bernstein’s letter of May 3, 1996 to Grand Circle Travel

Marilyn & Arthur Bernstein
Jenkintown, PA USA

“And on this note, we call special attention to Mr. Serif Yenen, our tour director. He was a font of information; truly, a born teacher. And in the daily operation of the tour, he was superb! Very considerate of everyone’s needs and wants, he accomplished what could easily have been a draconian task with warmth, good humor and a self-confessed enjoyment of his assignment. Mr. Yenen must be one of your finest directors, for after touring since the early 1970s, we found him to be about the best we had ever encountered!

Florence & Frederick Arnold
Hawthorne, NY USA

“I want to thank you for a great tour and your excellent work with Dr. Connely’s group. Your friendliness and first-hand knowledge of the places we visited made the tour a successful travel adventure. I appreciate the care and attention given to our tour members, as well as the professional handling of details. Many tour members have told me how much they enjoyed your work. Thank you for a wonderful “Introduction to Turkey.” We are ready to return for a longer visit!”
From Pat McIntyre’s (A Round the World Travel, Group Sales) letter of July 15, 1996 to Serif Yenen

Pat McIntyre

“We want to let you know how much we enjoyed our tour. We have avoided tours due to the lack of free time, rigid schedule, and forced social activities. Fortunately, we experienced none of those problems with you. Your knowledge and humor were well suited to us all. Thanks for a most enjoyable time.”
From Mary & Jim Rasmussen’s letter of June 29, 1997 to Serif Yenen

Mary & Jim Rasmussen
Sacramento, CA USA

“We have enjoyed a wonderful tour of Turkey-due mainly to your leadership. We came with little knowledge of the history of your country. But your teaching us as we traveled has enabled us to depart with deep appreciation of the beauty and culture, people and tradition, and a history spanning the centuries.”
From Donald & Florence Gum’s letter to Serif Yenen

Florence & Donald Gum
Lubbock, TX USA

“Thank you for making our visit to Turkey with GCT absolutely wonderful. Your pleasant personality, excellent sense of humor, knowledge of Turkey’s history and fine English language, and your willingness to answer so many questions make you a valuable asset to your country.”
From Roz & Mort Goodman’s letter to Serif Yenen

Roz & Mort Goodman
Valley Stream, NY USA

“Thank you again for the excellent guidance you provided during our tour. Our Grand Circle Travel Tour of Turkey, from Nov. 17 to Dec. 7, 1998, would not have been as fulfilling and instructive if we have not had you as our Tour Director and Guide. And putting together my photos in an album would have been more difficult without the assistance of your wonderfully organized book “TURKISH ODYSSEY”.
“The Grand Circle Travel organization should be proud of having excellent and dedicated collaborators such as you, Serif Yenen, and they could rest assured that by doing that their traveling customers will always be highly satisfied.”

From Julio C. Caicedo’s letter of December 15, 1998 to Serif Yenen

Julio C. Caicedo
St. Joseph, MI USA

“My purpose for writing a letter in addition to the regular evaluation is to extol the virtues of our program director, Serif Yenen. The Turkish set-up was different from any we had experienced previously with the program director managing and guiding the trip without the use of local guides. Serif excelled in all aspects of the job. His knowledge of all the historic and current aspects of Turkey was complete and presented exceptionally well. His management skills in handling a group of diverse backgrounds made the trip run smoothly and happily with apparent complete accord among the participants. His delightful personality made it fun. For example, after kidding the whole trip about how he would give us an exam and if you failed you would have to repeat the trip he actually gave us a short test – but the prize was Turkish Delight, I believe, to the highest scorer. That is but one example of Serif’s “tricks of the trade” that were so enjoyable. I think the entire group felt he had to be the best guide in Turkey.
“My purpose in writing this letter is not to elicit a response from you but to make sure Grand Circle realizes what a treasure you have in employing Serif Yenen. The Turkey trip is magnificent and his talents show off his country at its best. We will be recommending this trip to our friends.”

Margaret W. Hays

University Park, MD USA

“We could not have asked for a more knowledgeable, informative and compatible guide.”
From Earlene & Jim Lackey’s letter to Serif Yenen

Earlene & Jim Lackey
North Ft. Myers, FL USA