Visited: May/June 2013
Thank you: Sagol (pronounced Saul)
Bon appetite: Afiyet olsun
Currency: Turkish Lira (1 equals $0.51); ATMs are very accessible in larger cities.
I was fascinated with the diversity of extremes in Turkey. In a day, you can go from Istanbul, rich in history and architecture adorned with a kaleidoscope of tiles to the fairy castle rock formations of Cappadocia. Leaving the dry interior landscape of Cappadocia, you can drive south to the coast and dine on fresh fish while sitting by the turquoise waters of a sun saturated Mediterranean. Next stop, the uniquely beautiful white calcium formations at Pamukkale contrasted with the soft blue waters gently pooled on a hillside. And your trip is not complete without a visit to Ephesus, a fabulous ruin of a once great Roman city.
What to see:
How I traveled: I booked the “Absolute Turkey” trip through G Adventures to see as much as possible in two weeks. We had a small group of eight in a private minibus and a fabulous Turkish woman as our guide. It also gave us an opportunity for a deep understanding of the culture through the eyes of a native.
Memorable Moment: One night we stayed with a local family and after our delicious home cooked dinner, we walked down to the small village cafe to play a traditional Turkish game called “Okey”. Our home stay father, his son, and son-in-laws sat with us and provided strategic direction through sign language so we could learn the game and understand which tiles to play for the winning board. There was lots of laughter and good natured teasing despite all of our differences as we drank tea and clicked the plastic tiles on our way to victory. This characterized Turkey for me - community, tradition and laughter.