An itinerary is a work in progress and will continue to be one until the travel becomes history. This is what makes them fun to write - they're as changeable as the weather and as fickle as my cat, Scarlett. You're not married to one. You can wish it on someone else. You can even steal someone's itinerary and adopt it for yourself (which is why my itinerary probably sounds somewhat familiar to Lonely Planet readers).
So, I hereby announce my new and improved itinerary; sans rental car.
Day 1 (Th): Leave Cincinnati for Istanbul
Day 2 (Fr): Arr. Istanbul in the early afternoon. Head to the Hanedan Hotel. Do some sightseeing--possibly the Hippodrome, Hagia Sofia and the Yerebatan Cistern.
Day 3 (Sat): Topkapi Palace and the Blue Mosque.
Day 4 (Sun): Boat ride up the Bosporus. Wander around. Check out Taksim Square.
Day 5 (Mon): Leave for Izmir (high-speed ferry to Bandirma, then express train to Izmir). Arrive in Izmir around 2:30 pm, then catch a dolmus (minibus) to Selcuk. Find hotel.
Day 6 (Tue): Grab a bus from Selcuk and head for Ephesus. Spend day in Ephesus, then head for Pamukkale.
Okay, stop here. Change of plans. My last version had me renting a car in Selcuk. This was before I found out that some of the roads in Turkey are just the tad steep...and have sheer drop-off cliffs running along them. Did I mention that I am afraid of heights? So, I will NOT be renting a car in Selcuk, but will instead be using public transportation. This is fine - I've heard that the buses have attendants who spritz your hands with cologne. Cool.
Day 7-11 (Wed-Sun): I'm not sure if I'll be in Pamukkale or Fethiye, but the goal is to wind up in Fethiye by Thursday since I want to take a gulet (Blue Voyage) cruise from Fethiye to Olympus. The company I want to go with only leaves on Thursdays and Sundays. The cruise travels across the Mediterranean over the next 4 days, stopping in the Butterfly Valley, St. Nicholas Island, Kalkan (Hidayet Bay), Kas, Aperlai , the sunken city of Kekova, Pirates Cave, Camlik Bay, and a final stop in Harbor Andriake (arriving on Sunday).
Day 11 (Sun): The gulet company arranges a bus to Demre to see St. Nicholas Church and the Rock Tombs. From there, a bus transfers us to the town of Olympos, where I will spend the night.
Day 12 (Mon): Hang out in Olympos in the morning, then head for Cappadocia, land of the fairy chimneys and Goreme.
Day 13-15 (Tues-Th): Travel around the Cappadocia region. On Thursday morning, head for Ankara and visit museums. Take night train to Istanbul. Arrive Friday morning.
Day 16 (Fri): Spend the day shopping in the Grand Bazaar and Spice Market.
Day 17 (Sat): Leave for Cincinnati at 12:35 p.m.