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So Long, Turkey.

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Dear Turkey,

I am at your Ataturk International Airport as I write this, waiting to board my Turkish Airlines flight back to India. You have welcomed me with arms wide open, charmed me with your beauty, and overwhelmed me with the kindness of your people. In the last 20 days, I have picked up pieces of your language, learned to maneuver your territory, indulged my taste buds in your food, and in a moment I didn’t anticipate, I have come to know you as my home in another part of the world. I quickly built my first impressions of you when I got here, and if there is one thing I would change of them, it is that you are more beautiful and your people more hospitable than I could have imagined.

Oh Turkey, how can I begin to describe your countryside, with its lush green rolling plains, sub-alpine meadows littered with purple, red and yellow colors, and hills dotted with needle-pine forests. Or capture the charm of your ancient Ottoman architecture, whose wooden facades and intricate domes have stood the test of time. Or illustrate in words, the colors of your coastal towns, deep blue during the day and deep red at sunset. Or pay my homage to your beautiful mosques and minarets in their location amid small hillside village clusters. Or paint the vast barren landscapes and their sparkling lakes at your centre. Or portray life as it once were in your underground cave cities, now only circled by bats at dusk. Or capture the essence of the city that is Istanbul, modern, traditional, European, Asian, all at the same time.

Turkey black sea, turkey countryside, turkey, turkey country, turkey small towns, Karadeniz

Karadeniz countryside of Turkey.

Turkey black sea, turkey countryside, turkey, turkey country, turkey small towns, Amasra

Colors of Amasra, a small coastal town along the Black Sea in Turkey. Disclaimer: None of the pictures are photoshopped!

Turkey black sea, turkey countryside, turkey, turkey country, turkey small towns, Amasra

Sunflower fields along the Karadeniz countryside.

Turkey, I’m leaving you with a heavy heart, etched with the magnanimity of your people.

No one told me that a kind lady in the small town of Safranbolu will open her doors to me on a late rainy afternoon, to feed my vegetarian self a special meal of Peruhi (Turkish pasta) and Pasta (cake in Turkish) prepared for a family gathering.

That an old man from a bakery store in Ordu will give me a ride in his truck to the town’s chocolate factory, after I walked 5 km and stumbled into his shop for directions for the remaining 3 km.

That a family living in an isolated hut on Boztepe Hill will invite me in for a meal of home grown aubergine.

Turkey people, Turkish culture, Ordu Turkey, turkish customs, turkish food

Inviting entrance to a family home on Boztepe Hill, near Ordu in Turkey.

That a blacksmith who found me admiring his creations will invite me in for çay and proclaim his eternal love for Hindistan even though he’s never been there.

That a young otel (hotel) owner in Cide will go out of her way to ensure that I board the right connecting buses to my next destination without losing money or time.

That a cafe owner in the small town of Ordu, where I impulsively got off the bus on my way to Trabzone without a hotel booking or so much as a google search, would treat me to delicious Turkish coffee made with a secret family recipe, then ferry me & my backpack in his car to a lovely boutique hotel which I couldn’t have located myself without speaking Turkish, let aside get the negotiated price he got me.

Turkey people, Turkish culture, Ordu Turkey, turkish customs, turkish food

With my Turkish friends in Ordu, a small coastal town in Turkey.

That the airport guy at Istanbul airport who ferries groceries would give me a chocolate seeing me struggling to find small change to make a phone call.

That a restaurant manager would offer me a whirlwind tour of Guzelyurt after I decided his restaurant was too pricey for me to eat there.

That an English teacher in a small village in Kapadokya would confide in me on how much she misses her mother and tell me everything I know about the Turkish education system.

Turkey people, Turkish culture, Turkish women, turkish customs

With my Turkish teacher friend in a small village in Kapadokya (Cappadocia).

That so many people would offer me rides to my destinations along the Black Sea, and indulge me in conversations without much of a common language (after first trying to converse in Arabic), and treat me to Turkish tea at the drop of a hat.

You have been good to me, Turkey, and I hope to see you again someday. So long.

PS: This post is by no means, the end of my travelogues from Turkey. Lots of stories, travelogues & recommendations are waiting to be penned!

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Read more about my adventures in Turkey.

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33 Comments Post a comment
  1. Thank you, your farewell to Turkey was beautiful and inspiring.

    July 10, 2012
  2. Though you have written few paragraphs, I can understand you have a millions of words behind ‘em which are best kept as experiences and tough to be expressed in words.. you deserve all the help you got as you really made your way to travel, and to Turkey in specific – universe has conspired for your trip. And you have a kiddish and friendly, and lost-the-way-school-girl look that makes anyone take a stretch to reach out for you. he he.. Good luck and wishing many more such trips to come your way

    July 11, 2012
    • I’m glad you could see the million words behind them, Uday :-) It is indeed hard to capture the kindness and warmth of strangers in a strange land. Felt overwhelmed writing that post!

      July 11, 2012
  3. you’ve done it again. i may have to stop reading you or my bucket list of places to visit in this lifetime will become un-doably long :) Glad you had a great time. I can see turkey was a beautiful place. but i will tell you a secret, a place is only as exciting, as welcoming and as fun as the person who visits it!!!! (That’s a compliment to you) :)

    July 11, 2012
  4. Shabnam #

    Kudos to your spirit my dear girl. You are an explorer in the true sense of the word :)

    July 11, 2012
    • Thanks Shabnam, I have a long way to go though :-)

      July 11, 2012
  5. I think I need to explore Turkey, I have only been to Istanbul, but you make me want to see so much more.

    July 11, 2012
    • Oh you have to go back there, Debra. The Black Sea Coast is a whole other world, very very different from Istanbul.

      July 11, 2012
  6. yes, great comment “just another wakeup call” — I second that motion

    July 11, 2012
    • Haha, don’t stop reading Cathleen, praythee!

      July 11, 2012
  7. should go there sometimes. 50k airfare is the discouraging part.

    July 12, 2012
    • You could get a return ticket from Delhi for about 35k on Turkish airlines if you book early enough =)

      July 12, 2012
  8. My heart cried with joy learning how magnanimous the people of Turkey are with hearts as wide as the lush green rolling plains of their land. It is a very different travelogue focusing on and asserting the fact that the human heart can be as good as gold still.

    July 12, 2012
    • Thanks for your kind words, Umashankar =) It is a land of gold indeed, and proof that you can’t judge a country based on its history.

      July 12, 2012
  9. A well narrated story of farewell with ultimate pictures..Turkey is always in my wishlist. Hope to land there soon.

    July 12, 2012
    • Thanks =) It deserves to be on the wishlist. Gorgeous country!

      July 12, 2012
  10. Wow, what beautiful people you met.

    July 14, 2012
  11. rMU #

    You really do sound like you were touched by what you saw and experienced. Glad you had such a great time. :) Now give me your life. :P
    I think I’ll get regular on twitter and follow even all obscure companies just so I hit jackpot with atleast one company and get them to fly me to a ‘foreverland’ like Turkey.

    July 17, 2012
  12. Hi Shivya,
    Lovely reading your experiences of Turkey and nice to bump into your blog as well! I was there for 3 weeks in April and it was absolutely delightful. I can attest to easy hitchhiking and plentiful invitations for tea.
    cheers, Priyank

    August 26, 2012
  13. ashwin #

    Beautiful countryside..I should reconsider going to the Black Sea region.

    February 11, 2013
    • ashwin #

      Can you tell me where have you clicked the picture #2 on the page, the one with the meadows?

      February 11, 2013
  14. Jeya #

    Hi shivya,

    I was almost tearing reading this, YES , thats how badly I am missing the beauty of Turkey. Nobody understands the obsession I have for this country. Its overwhelming. Great read and loved all the details especially about Istanbul ( its so true! its a charming place) My favourite is ephesus, kusadasi and izmir. Waiting for the moment if i can go again, this time its blacksea region. And wish u all the best with all the escapades =)

    August 1, 2013

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Safranbolu: Once upon a time in Turkey. | The Shooting Star
  2. Flying Over The Bosphorus, and Other Luxuries. | The Shooting Star
  3. Flying Over The Bosphorus, a Bit Like Royalty. | The Shooting Star
  4. Land of a Thousand Friends. | The Shooting Star
  5. 10 Life Lessons From 2 Years of Travelling. | The Shooting Star

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