Q: Do you know of any five- to seven-day tours along the western coast of Turkey, including some time in Istanbul? I plan to travel in late September and early October.
A: As Istanbul is at least 200 miles from the west coast of Turkey and the coast itself is 300 miles long, you are unlikely to find a tour package that covers both in as short a time as you wish. What you can do is ask tour companies to design an independent tour. A trip can combine, say, four days on the Aegean coast and three in Istanbul, providing in each place hotels and an English-speaking guide who also acts as driver.
To get between Istanbul and Izmir, the biggest city in the west coast area, you can drive a rental car, take an overnight ferry ($140 for a cabin) or fly. The cost of a flight varies from $100 round trip if bought from out side of Turkey as part of an Air Turkey itinerary to $200 if bought in Turkey. Here are some companies that specialize in Turkey and examples of what they might offer you. Prices are based on two people sharing a hotel room.
* World of Oz, 211 E. 43rd St., Suite 1404, New York, N.Y. 10017; (800) 248-0234 or (212) 661-0580. In the western portion, the traveler would be picked up by his guide at the Izmir airport and then taken for a tour of Ephesus and on to the resort city of Bodrum. The trip would include a one-day yacht outing from Bodrum. This four-day portion would cost $400 to $500 a person, depending on hotel, and would include two meals daily and the services of the driver-guide. A three-night stay in Istanbul would be $365 to $715 a person, depending on hotel, and would include two days' sightseeing and daily lunch.
* Pacha Tours, 1560 Broadway, Suite 316, New York, N.Y. 10036; (800) 722-4288, can organize a two-night stay in Kusadasi on the west coast, for $365 to $425 a person, depending on hotel, including services of a driver-guide. Three nights in Istanbul, also with guide, is $295 to $595.
* Tursem, 420 Madison Ave., Suite 1003, New York, N.Y. 10017, (800) 223-9169 or (212) 935-9210. An independent trip in either area would cost $175 to $200 a day per person for hotels (some of which include breakfast and dinner) and a driver-guide. The company offers an eight-night tour of the west coast out of Istanbul (only one night there) for $1,099 a person, including hotels, guides, all breakfasts and six dinners.
Q: I have heard that there is a computer at Ellis Island where one can enter the name of an immigrant and find out when that person arrived in the United States. Is this true?
A: There are plans to enter into a computer the records of all 12 million immigrants who passed through Ellis Island and make the information available at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, (212) 363-7620. However, that project is years away and needs much more funding, according to the National Park Service. There are computers at the museum that contain the names on the Wall of Honor in front of the museum, and their location on it. These names were put on the wall to honor families that contributed at least $100 to the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation. The donors' names are in the computer, too.
In the summer Circle Line ferries, (212) 269-5755, leave Battery Park at the southern end of Manhattan every half hour between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. (most stop at the Statue of Liberty first); the trip takes 30 minutes. Ferries also travel on the same schedule (except for 9:15 a.m.) from Liberty State Park in New Jersey. The round-trip fare includes entrance to the museum: $6; $3 for those age 3 to 17 and $5 for those 62 and older.