Our Client's Favorite Moments in Turkey
One of our Experts recently sent his client on a fabulous journey through Turkey. She loves to blog and we love to share. Follow along and get some insider information from a fellow traveler on what to do, see, eat and experience while visiting the country of Turkey. 1- Cappadocia could be among my favorite places in the world. The dramatic landscape is the result of volcanic eruptions that happened millions of years ago. Wind and water eroded the land leaving these odd surreal land formations, fairy chimneys, caves and underground cities. 2- The food is fabulous everywhere you go, whether it is a traditional restaurant or off the beaten path eatery. I have never eaten Turkish food before. I had no idea it was my favorite food. Every meal was the best one. We ate in expensive restaurants, gas stations, hotels, outdoor seaside restaurants, an organic garden, a mosque and the airport. Some of my favorites are Uzun Ev Restaurant in Behramkale, Daruzziyafe and Ottoman in Suleymaniye Mosque by Sinan in Istanbul. 3- Any mosque by architect Sinan especially Selimiye Mosque in Edirne. I loved the Selimiye Mosque and it turns out that it is Sinan's favorite mosque as well. He wanted it to be greater than the Hagia Sophia. His genius was in his use of form, simplicity, light and balance. It worked when you walked in. He is also considered to be one of the first earthquake proof engineers. 4- Hearing the call to prayer early in the morning at the hotel we stayed at in Yesilkurt. In a tiny village of stone houses at the foot of Mt. Ida is this charming hotel that we stayed at. Yesilkurt has the second highest concentration of oxygen in the air in the world. It is a small hotel with pomegranate trees and great food. It was very quiet in those mountains and early in the morning I awoke to the call to prayer, the only sound in the tiny village. I could have been in any mountain village, but the call to prayer in Turkey always reminds me to take a minute and be in the present. 5- Hammam. I like a good hammam. I didn't know that until I got to Istanbul and found out what it was. You are taken to a warm, humid room with a raised stone platform (goebektas) in the center, surrounded by bathing alcoves. The light diffused through glass in the ceiling is soft and relaxing. You lay on the platform (usually with other people) and you're scrubbed cleaner than you have ever been. They use a coarse mitt to remove layers of dead skin and then comes the soap. A lacy cloth is used and they blow through it to create bubbles so you're covered from head to toe with white frothy bubbles. That is followed by a relaxing massage. 6- Hagia Sophia. I studied this masterpiece of Byzantine architecture in school and always wanted to see it in person. It was built in the fourth century as a church and converted to a mosque in the sixteenth century. It was the world's largest cathedral for 1000 years and contains remnants of all the renovations. It is now a museum and very crowded, but I was able to block out the noise and feel the history and remember the architectural elements. I had so many questions, but I was so overwhelmed that I couldn't speak. It was real. I was finally in Istanbul at the Hagia Sophia. 7- Drinking fresh pomegranate juice on the street and picking one from a tree and eating it. It is such a simple ritual, so traditional and comforting. 8- The Turtle TrainerÂ by Osman Hamdi Bey. This painting is in the Pera Museum in Istanbul. It shows a man in what looks like a religious red robe, holding a Sufi flute trying to train turtles. The turtles have no ears and a thick shell so they probably don't hear him. The lesson is that change is difficult and requires patience. Osman Hamdi Bey was an important artist and intellectual in the Ottoman Empire. He established the first School for the Arts in Istanbul. Who can say why a painting touches you? I don't know, but I will always remember this painting. 9- Shopping for leather, carpets, scarves, bracelets and pottery. Shopping again... and again. 10- The tradition is steeped everywhere you go. The Turkish people are very hospitable and eager to teach visitors about their culture and history. I will never forget the children and their families as they told stories with big smiles on their faces. Our Experts would like to thank our writer for sharing her thoughts and experience with us. This sure made me want to visit the country of Turkey. How about you?
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