Istanbul put a little bit of a spell on me last time I was there in October, but it wasn’t until this trip to Turkey that I saw what sort of attractive forces could be at play.
To be honest, I was surprised I’d like Turkey so much. I think as soon as we left Istanbul, Turkish culture became real to me. I always feel that big cities are too worldly – there are generally too many cultures in one place, and too exposed to outside influences, not to mention too big and fast – to truly understand a country’s overall culture.
Istanbul isn’t Turkey, so I wasn’t sure.
I wasn’t sure until we popped on that 11 hour bus ride to Cappadocia in central Turkey. Between rest stops with cafeterias, free tea and coffee served from a bus attendant, changing landscapes – pine trees to snow speckled mountains – I realized something: Turkish people do not know about vibrating ring tones on their cell phones.
Ok, so that’s not the point here.
After just a few days in Goreme, Turkey started to become somewhere I knew I’d like to spend more time in – even the type of place I’d like to be an expat in.
Now that’s a big realization. I love traveling, but there are so many places that I really couldn’t hack on a long-term scale. Spain is gorgeous, but I find the food culture and the overall vibe something I couldn’t mesh with on a bigger scale. Italy, my first love, has the history and the food that drives me wild, but again, it’s just not somewhere I see myself.
Where to begin?
The delicious food? The colorful pashminas? The jewelry that looks like it was handcrafted just for me? The ability to drink as many glasses of Turkish tea as possible in a single day without questioning if I’ve had too much? The friendly, helpful, humorous, and hard-working locals?
On one of those bus stops on a cold rainy drive, Pat and I ordered some stew with a side of Turkish rice topped with beans to recharge and warm up. It was so simple… and so good.
I paused to scoop up another greasy, buttery pile of rice mixed with my chicken stew.
“You get me.”