Trish's Top 10 Turkish Delights
As part of our last week in Istanbul, we're all writing down a list of things that we liked in Turkey. Here is my Top Ten list:
- Travelling with my kids. I feel like this trip is a third wave of travelling. I started travelling with one other female (my sister, or my friend Connie). Then I travelled solo for work, and that's fine, though frankly a bit boring.
Then when Dwayne and I lived in Tanzania, I felt the huge difference of travelling with a fellow. I remember men on the street wanting to confirm that I was Dwayne's wife, after which they would ignore me (being rather like his property, I was thus invisible).
Now travelling with kids in Turkey is a whole other thing again. People have been unfailingly kind to our kids. It's been lovely. And their presence has radically changed the way that Dwayne and I travel. We knew we'd have to slow right down, which we have. We have spent way more time hanging out in parks than we would otherwise. We carry toys in our luggage. We've got a soccer ball that gets deflated when we're moving, and immediately inflated again when we arrive at the next destination. We've got Lego, markers and other craft supplies, a frisbee, a kite... It's a whole other thing, traveling with kids. I'm so glad we're doing this.
- Cappadocia. For me, this was the best part of Turkey. A fabulous mixture of hiking, exploring caves, rocky beauty and wonder, and fascinating history. The underground cities were amazing, as was the balloon ride.
- The ruins. That includes Ephesus, Knidos, Aphrodisias, the agora in Izmir and more besides. Folks here through the ages built stuff that lasts. It's been fun to walk through history, instead of only seeing it cased up under glass in museums. Here we could sit down and read from e-books in the library of Celsus, stand in the porticos, walk on the marble walk ways, and climb around the temples, do our own races in a stadium, strut and sing in ancient theatres, and debate in council chambers. Super cool.
- The ease of travel here. Turkey has been a pretty low-hassle kind of place. Buses are clearly marked, roads are smooth, we've been surprised at how easy going most merchants are, even in the grand bazaar or main tourist areas. Maybe that's because we're in the off-season? But we've found it remarkably easy to get around in Turkey.
- Grocery shopping. I hate any other kind of shopping, but I like buying groceries. It's so interesting to see what food is available, what's not, what's popular, what gets lumped together in one store, and what you have to find elsewhere. For example, there's only a little milk available in the refrigerator section, but there umpteen different sizes and brands of yogurt. You can find a bit of produce, but it's often quite limited, so you have to find out when the local market is, which is chock full of a fabulous variety of fresh stuff. There are special stores for chicken and eggs. I don't know which comes first.
(Now getting more specific....)
- The hike from Kayaköy to Ölüdeniz. It was a beautiful walk, and the views over the bays of Ölüdeniz were wonderful
- Our day kayaking from Ölüdeniz to Butterfly Valley. It was great to be out on the water. And doing so on the day when hundreds of paragliders filled the skies was spectacular.
- Our first time WWOOFing. We spent two weeks with a lovely family, hoeing, planting, piling rocks, and eating very well. I could WWOOF again. Maybe in France?
- Izmir. It's a great town. We had an AirBnB flat just off a cool pedestrian street full of life. Izmir would be a cool city to live in.
- Simit stands. All over Turkey, we've found hot sesame Turkish bagels (simit) being sold for 1 lira (50 cents) from carts on the street or at bakeries. Yum. The food in Turkey has been very good!