Turkish Delight

I know it’s been several weeks since you heard we were in Jordan. Actually I did a posting when we arrived in Turkey but didn’t send the announcement because I hadn’t rounded up the pictures. Which is a fact that you wouldn’t care about but I feel I need to explain.

We were in Turkey for a month; it was fabulous and busy since we had 3 couples visiting back to back for the time. Their company made Turkey even more fabulous since we got to share the adventure. We stacked, packed and enjoyed each day’s adventures. It was a precious time.

For the past 8 years John and I have kept a list of our 10 favorite memories of a travel destination. We continue to do so after each of our “Tripping” stops on the airplane to our next destination. So, I thought I would tell you about some of those Turkish Delights:

  1. Tasting Turkey—Turkey was a fabulous eating experience. It was wonderfully fresh, healthy and incredibly cheap. It was so cheap it was hardly worth the effort to cook so we did a lot of eating out. We had 2 restaurants that were our favorite repeats. I’m drooling in memory as I type. Dinner for 4 usually about $30. Including drinks. I’m thinking Heaven has to serve baklava.
  1. Café Medrassa was a rainy day activity. A renovated hammam (ancient public bath); designed by the foremost Ottoman architect Sinan who also designed the Blue Mosque and Suleyman Mosque. It was one of those café/art display spaces that are cozy. We were stopped on our way down the stairs by Josh who insisted we come back to the gallery. It was raining and we just wanted something warm and covered. There was a central covered courtyard and small rooms which served as display and teaching rooms. Each room had an ancient fireplace, a worn table and chairs and handicrafts on the wall. We had a lovely meal and then finishing, Josh reappeared. I asked about where would be the closest place to purchase an umbrella. “Upstairs and to the right—don’t pay anymore than 10 Turkish Lira a piece—really 10 Lira each!” But then Josh recanted and said “I’ll send somebody.” So we continued to sit and enjoy the Turkish tea and umbrellas were delivered. It was serendipitous. We went to the gallery and there met an American couple purchasing a gorgeous piece of calligraphy. The husband is an Air Force Family Practice MD serving in Germany. I got to hold their newest baby. He did his residency at Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. Connection! Both my boys were born at Offutt AFB in Omaha.
  1. Our apartment, 3 Kat Flat—that’s the name on the door—was very comfortable, nicely appointed and very convenient. WE HAD A DISHWASHER! The only thing it didn’t have was a coffee pot so we got to go to Housewares Alley (located behind the Spice Market and thru the street enroute to Rustem Pasha mosque; nearby we sat on stools and ate doner for lunch, about $4pp) and found a French Press. Coffee making in Turkey is a laborious task involving a copper pot with a handle and 4-7 brewings. Too complicated for early morning.4.   We met many “rose” people. Each day is filled with roses and thorns—it’s part of life—the good and the bad. But I like to remember those “rose” people who I allowed to break into my consciousness. My day becomes extraordinary when I acknowledge that I’ve been gifted by their presence. So Josh was a rose. So was the Syrian woman with the 2 boys who practiced her English with me on the tram. So was the waiter at the restaurant downstairs that was a Jewish Kurd from Spain. And the Turkish Korean War vet who gave us a tour of a mosque on the Asian side of Istanbul—in Turkish—with pride, he and John showed each other their military IDs. Also a Syrian refugee in the towel shop. Many ask us where we are from and we usually answer America. The answer seems less combative—at least from my point of view. So many stories—many disruptions to each of the lives of my “roses.” At each stop I try to pick up a piece of fiction. The writer for Turkey was Elif Shafak, one of Turkey’s most widely read female voices. She did an essay-length piece called “The Happiness of Blond People: A Personal Meditation on the Dangers of Identity.” If you have a free moment you can download it from Amazon.So we arrived in Croatia on October 10th, leaving Istanbul on the same day as the bombing in Ankara. We were shocked at the news. And more affected by the idea that the bombings occurred because Turkey was allowing the US to use Incirlik to fly air operations into Syria. This part of the world is so complicated. There are so many ways we affect each other as we rub elbows. And I don’t think building walls is the answer.Many blessings  Turkish Delight photos
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