Turkey · Uncategorized

Final Days in Turkey!

Originally published on 14 September 2011.

We decided we wanted a day to sleep as late as we could, and so we did! Dan beat us all, of course, as he usually does when it comes to sleeping in. Andrea and I got up and went to breakfast, and we were in for a tremendous surprise! The guy who runs our hotel came out and asked if we wanted anything else for breakfast besides the usual Turkish breakfast they serve—and of course we took him up on the offer! We got cheese omelets instead of a boiled egg. Works for me! We still got the same French bread, olives, tomatoes, and cucumbers, but that was ok. We got a much-needed and delicious change in the protein. =)

I needed to mail some things, so I set out for the post office while Dan showered and got ready and Andrea wrote some postcards. The post office (or PTT) is bright yellow and hard to miss—thankfully!—but when I got in I wasn’t quite sure what to do. I finally figured out I needed to take a number from a machine, but I’m not really sure why because the lady behind the counter called me over before it was my turn. No complaints, just curious!

Stamps: check. Problem: I needed a box! The one they had there was too small, so the woman told me to go to the bookstore and get one. Of course, I had no idea which bookstore, and the directions someone gave me were either erroneous or I just didn’t understand what they meant. Oh well! I decided to stop in and see my good friend, Ludwina the dollhouse and carpet maker! What a sweetheart. I asked where the bookstore was so I could mail a package, but she said never mind that, she’d just run back to her house and see if she had one that would fit my stuff! She told me to stay at the store and she’d be right back. Yep, she left me in charge of the carpet shop! Haha. She came back a few minutes later with a box and bubble wrap, and then she went behind the counter in her store and produced brown packaging paper, scissors, and packaging tape! Just like having a mom around in a foreign country—God always puts someone around to look out for me wherever I am!

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I wanted to buy something from her shop as a way to thank her, but I said I didn’t think I could afford anything she made. And she agreed! But I had been looking at some of the pillowcases earlier, and they’re pretty neat. Some are embroidered, and some are made from old kilims (which are smaller carpets, more like a welcome mat of sorts). Those were only 15 Lira (around $8 or so), and I knew I could afford that. She said even if I couldn’t have something she made, I will remember that I “did get it” from her shop. Her English is so cute and so GOOD! So there we go. Mailing mission: accomplished.

After a while, we set out for the Ephesus Museum (see previous post). Again, Dan won the race of who can go through the museum fastest. Go Dan! After that, we decided to get some lunch. Our eating schedules never really got into a regular routine. We’d eat breakfast whenever and then go until 3 or so before we got hungry for lunch. But some days one of us would be starving for supper while the other two were fine to go without. The body adjusts so strangely sometimes. I don’t think we were ever in one place long enough for our bodies to figure out what was going on, so maybe that’s why we were so up and down with out sleep and eating patterns.

And if that conversation is boring you, we’ll move on! We had thought we’d go to the same place where we went the evening before because the food was so good, but we passed by another little restaurant on the street that had some really good-looking mezzes in the window, some of which we hadn’t seen anywhere in Turkey—like baba ganouj! This place was pretty good as well. Their Turkish pizza, Dan’s favorite, was different than other places’; they used some different type of cheese. Andrea and I both got mezze plates with 5 different appetizers to taste, some good, some interesting, others not quite good or interesting except for the way they look! I think I finally figured out it’s the olive oil that’s been making me a bit sick. My stomach isn’t used to that much of it, and I don’t actually like it anyway. Now that I’m done with the Turkey trip, I finally figured it out. Bummer I didn’t figure it out a week ago!

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At any rate, there we were, done with lunch (lupper?), and ready to get a move on! We still needed to stop over in Sirince (“sir-in-jay” is how it sounded when they pronounced it). This is a little town up in the hills close by that’s known for its wine and its cute cobblestone streets! Being the wine connoisseur that I am NOT, I didn’t glean much from the trip in the way of wine. But it was neat to see the vineyards! I did end up buying a dress from one of the shops, and we made some Irish friends in one of the little stores on the street there, so overall, the trip was a success! We also had another chance to stop and get ice cream again. Mmm!

After a climb up some steep mountainside steps to see the church of St. John the Baptist, and a lookout over the valley, we frolicked down the hillside like Heidi (ok, I made that part up!), and found where we needed to take the dolmus back to our place. And that was it! We debated going back out for supper, but I was so not up for that, unfortunately.

And that lead us to Tuesday! Again, we tried to sleep in, as it was our last day there. Andrea went out early and bought some last-minute cherry jelly (which is everywhere in Turkey—and SO good!), and we all met up for one final breakfast together. Hard to believe it’s been two weeks! I walked to the bus station with Andrea, who doesn’t like to fly and decided to take the 10 hour bus ride up to Istanbul, then to the train station with Dan, who was taking the train to Izmir and then flying to Istanbul to meet up with Andrea. We are quite the travelling brood—planes, trains, and automobiles!

After hugs goodbye and promises to send a CD with all our pictures from the trip and send to the two of them, I walked around Selcuk and did a couple of last-minute errands. I wanted to stop in to see our friend Julia in her shop and tell her goodbye, then stopped for lunch at a place she recommended. This one was better, but still upset my stomach a little bit. It’s really a bummer because I love to eat! =( Moving on… I went back to the hotel (that seems so generous to call it a “hotel”!) in the afternoon and gave my parents a call on my Magic Jack (highly recommended for anyone traveling out of the country, as long as you have a reliable Internet connection!). My train to Izmir didn’t leave until 7:20 pm, so I took my time, caught up on some things I needed to do before going home, took a nap, and then I was ready to go! The train ride was smooth (albeit smelly), there was a bit of an issue with my plane ticket once I got to the Izmir airport, but the plane ride from Izmir to Istanbul was fine. I got there about 11:30 pm, charged my computer, semi-napped for a couple of hours, and hopped in line for my KLM flight home! I like KLM so far. The Dutch are so pleasant! =)

Just so you’re prepared the next time you come to Amsterdam, the airport is HUGE! And they have cute stuff for sale: wooden shoes, mugs, tulips (did you know they have a TULIP FESTIVAL here? I am so coming back!), windmills, little Dutch people figurines, etc., etc., etc. And the people really do seem to be happy to help, even without having to be asked! Or maybe I just looked really befuddled and that guy thought I really couldn’t figure out the kiosk—either way, I’m thankful for help any time I can get it! To be quite honest, the Turkish men were quite rude, which I suppose is to be expected. I was undeniably relieved and delighted the first time a stranger let me go in front of him because that’s the chivalrous and RIGHT thing to do! This was in the Istanbul airport, and the guy was an American—that’s something to be proud of!

But back to these nice Dutch people. They also have wonderful accents. What I’ve heard isn’t quite like any other European accent I’m familiar with. Some of them pronounce “r”s like Americans, but then other sounds are definitely European pronunciations. I love it! =)

My layover in Amsterdam was 4 hours, which would have normally been enough time to maybe peak out and see something very Dutch, but alas, I didn’t want to chance missing my flight home. Amsterdam has very high security; it’s the only one I’ve been to in my small amount of travel experience whose security rivals that of the U.S., and even beats us in many ways! I’m sorry it’s necessary, but I’m glad they do it, especially after seeing how lax things were when travelling around Turkey. The final leg of my trip was a smooth one. I even semi-napped on the plane, which is a big deal for me! The sweet Dutch people reinforced my opinion of them, and their food was quite tasty as well! Light on the oil, heavy on the yumminess. When I wasn’t napping or eating, I was able to catch up on some Bible studies I’ve missed while being away. I had intended to work on some Swiss-German translations, but I think I’ll wait till I can get some sleep and use that part of my brain more effectively.

And now I’m HOME!!!!! My friend Sean picked me up from the airport and I’m just waiting at his place until church tonight. Whew! Can’t wait to be in my own little bed and eat my own little food and drink my tap water! =)

Final Turkish pics here!

For more Mediterranean Castle pics, click here!

 

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