Recently, I’ve been reminiscing about my trip to Turkey this past April. Although I shared an opinionated post about why you shouldn’t be scared to travel to Turkey, I had yet to share what made Turkey so special and unique. So… here it so! Finally sharing some of my journal (note-taking) contents - highlights of Turkey!
Food. Food. FOOD! Food is so much more than just a meal to fill your belly – I love trying new foods and was pleasantly surprised by the dishes in Turkey. Although many did not include a meat component, they blew my taste buds away! Apparently most areas do not import food, so if you have the time to explore the country, you’ll be exposed to a wide array of different foods based on the region. FYI: döner kebab is super tasty, yogurt is used often as a side dish and baklava is to die for!
Spending time with the locals. My tour specifically focused on supporting locals and I genuinely enjoyed spending time with them and supporting their passions. Our pottery class in Avanos with a master craftsman was educational and informative; a visit to the carpet factory was also surprisingly enlightening while learning about how real Turkish and silk carpets are made; as was our farmers market excursion/cooking class in Izmir (as well as delicious!). We also had the opportunity to dine at a local family’s house to learn about everyday life and Turkish traditions and weddings (their daughter was recently engaged and getting married).
Cultural differences. I also had the opportunity to see the Whirling Dervish, which was a very unique spiritual experience that surprised me with emotion. A Turkish night out was also added to the itinerary and it was an entertaining night out with traditional Turkish dancing/belly dancing and live music as well. Understanding the story behind the evil eye (which was a presence everywhere, literally) was also interesting and I liked the concept of how it absorbs negative energy around us.
Unique landscapes. The landscape in general is soooo different from Ontario (sand/rock formations in particular)! Our sunrise balloon ride over Cappadocia (we went with Voyager Balloons and the experience and staff were great) was unparalleled by any experience I’ve had so far, and the landscape was breath-taking – if you have the opportunity to do it, take it! The Red Rose Valley trail also offered amazing views of the landscape and a local snowy-topped mountain that were perfectly picturesque!
Domestic flights. In and out with ease is how I would describe it (with the help of a seasoned guide, we checked in, passed security and boarded easy-peasy). We had two internal flights (Kayseri & Izmir) and they were a breeze with someone who knew how to navigate the airport.
Local history. The Open-Air Museum and fairy chimneys in Pasabag in Göreme were rich with history and interesting (monks used to dwell inside them). Ephesus and Troy were astonishing attractions and I really appreciated learning about their history (directly from a historian at Troy) and standing on/near a site that was so old, but still standing. The ferry to Gallipoli peninsula and tour there with our guide was very interesting and I found the location to be incredibly beautiful and peaceful.
A few things to get used to…
I hope the info above helps you plan a trip for Turkey! You can find more of my Turkey pictures here. :)
I’m working my way through life in Canada and traveling when I can afford to explore beyond the border. Sharing my tips, trips, opinions and rants on life and travel in the meantime.