Turkish Treks 1: Town

Oi. There aren't even words for the thrill of adventure, for the appeal of new sights, sensations, smells, the sounds of a different city, a different environment, a uniquely vibrant culture. I would wager I actually go crazy if I don't get out of my cultural comfort zone on a regular basis. It could be a trip down a wild and tangled coast, not so different from my home now, or .... the historical revelry of a city like Paris (yep, our spring destination to visit a friend. Sorry Mom, if you're reading this; I haven't told you yet...). And last August, it was Turkey. Map at right gives you an idea of my ramblings, mostly by bus, but also by ferry (and better, also bus ON ferry), tiny car, and horse-drawn cart. 

Turkey is a fabulous place. FABULOUS. Folks are full of smiles and kindness in small towns; breakfast (kahvaltı) is the greatest meal you will have ever eaten; wild dogs use crosswalks; Greek myth and Turkish legend are built right into modern cities; and did I mention the breakfasts?? Seriously, picture this spread: two kinds of fresh cheese, cut figs and melon, crusty bread still warm from the oven, three fruit preserves, pickled vegetables and red pepper paste, crisp cucumbers and cherry tomatoes, eggs, olives—which I am now addicted to after a lifetime of disgust—and honey. 

And if we need to emphasize one item on that table, let's focus on the honey. It's fresh, it has a thousand undertones like a glass of wine, and in one hotel, it dripped salaciously from the full sheet of honeycomb they strung up with a knife for cutting out a personal slab. Umm... yum. 

Now that we're all thinking about honey... here's a series of unrelated photos. Apologies for the awkward transition --- let's begin in Izmir, catching up with a childhood friend who was living in Istanbul at the time -- 

This is Sarah. She's delightful. Her ability to find humor in everything, with a thick layer of sarcasm, is wickedly amusing. She also taught me my first—and sadly, last—Turkish word. It's "teşekkürler," which takes the gold medal for most syllables needed to say 'thanks'. It's also the reason why I haven't learned any more Turkish. If I can't master this one word, which sounds like a combination between a cat working on a hairball and a mother scolding a toddler, then there's little hope for my Turkish vocabulary....

And this Izmir. Half of my photos of Izmir are from my hotel room on the 18th floor, overlooking the harbor on the Aegean, because we had a harrowing 4 days prepping for a major project meeting. I don't think I have ever had so little sleep for so many consecutive days. Consequently, by the time it was time to pack up and abandon Izmir, there were only a cumulative dozen hours or less spent exploring the city. Nonetheless, with the exception of the loud angry anti-America protest, the strolls through the filthy bazaar, the hidden alleys with old gents playing games and drinking turkish coffee, and the trips out for Turkish Delight, it was a lovely visit.

I wasn't kidding about the crosswalks...
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Sarah Perrich at: February 18, 2014 said...

Love love love!

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