This coming October will be my 3rd anniversary of my first trek to Turkey, as well as my 3rd visit since then!
The first time was when my friend Pilar was supposed to go shoot the cover for Lonely Planet Philippines but had a bigger gig she needed to do in Indonesia (Ya she’s that much of a big deal) and asked me if I could go. Heck yes I could go!
That was an 8 day whirlwind trip with a writer from LPP, Madie, who quickly became a friend and we had a blast those 8 days, 7 hotel rooms and 8 flights later.
It was after this that I knew I simply HAD to go back.
Almost 2 years had passed and I organized last years Follow Your Heart Tour to Turkey - The 7 Church of St Paul. It was an awesome adventure with friendw, new and old, from around the globe coming together for the journey.
During the tour we stopped at a couple of old villages that are still very much intact and the community lives and functions mostly like they did “back then”. This inspired me greatly and I asked my tour guide and friend Yucel, if such a tour could be made, discover the Old Villages of Turkey. Of course it can, he said. Thus began the planning for this year’s tour. And again, new and old friends from around the globe will be along…I cannot wait!
Because this is my 3rd visit, I have already begun to look forward to certain things when I get there. That is one thing I do when I travel - try to fully immerse myself in every way in the culture.
So I have made a blog post about the “things I look forward to” on this next trip:
There is nothing like the thick, gritty coffee that the Turks make, I tell you! I did buy a Turkish coffee pot on my first visit and have since learned how to make it. ( I love coffee and learning how to make it in every culture’s own way)
I hope to perfect my coffee making skills and ask and watch my local friends for some tips. I shall conquer!
There is Turkish Delight and then there is GOURMET Turkish Delight. Not gonna lie - the pasalubongs (gifts) I will bring back that will be of Delight, will NOT be the gourmet stuff. (sorry friends!) The first time I had gourmet Delight was last year and I was like, where have you been all my life!?
Seriously. Will be bringing back copious amounts. And if I invite you over for coffee after my travels, you MIGHT get a piece…maybe But you will at least get the “regular” stuff..so be happy. ;)
If anyone knows me at ALL, you will know my love for seniors and those of my grandparents generation. (Oh wait, my grandparents are all gone…sigh…ok…well…you know what I mean)
Turkish Babushka (which is what we call them in the Ukrainian culture) are gorgeous women. Their lives lie in the lines of their faces and in the souls of their eyes.
I could photograph them all day long. I promise you some awesome portraits of them from the Old Villages tour. That’s a fact!
COASTAL VILLAGES AND TOWNS
I think this has to do with the fact that I grew up on the West Coast on Vancouver Island in Canada…I LOVE the ocean. And the coastal village of Assos, below is out of this world magical and quaint and…I am thrilled we get to stay there for one night (perks of helping and suggesting the tour to my Turkish Travel Agent!)
Also the Aegean Sea…the Medditeranean Sea that Greece and Turkey share. We will be in Kusadasi, a summer hot spot for Turks, for one night. And her sunsets are absolutely breaktaking and fabulous.
THE COTTON CASTLES OF PAMMUKALE
What a sight to behold…These mineral deposits are breathtaking…and the view from here looking out to the country side - WOW. I expect to enjoy this again, as we will be stopping over here on our trip.. ((happy dance!!))
The first time I had fresh figs was when we lived in Vancouver in 2007. I thought I died and went to heaven. And then to find fresh figs for so little cost in Turkey my first trip…I KNEW I had to keep coming back…just for the FIGS! :)
THE EGYPTIAN SPICE MARKET
Hands down, I enjoyed the Egyptian Spice Bazaar or Misir Carsisi better than the Grand Bazaar. It has basically the same stuff in it, but it’s smaller. Don’t get me wrong - one must visit the Grand Bazaar when in Istanbul, that’s a given. But if I were a local, I’d go to the Egyptian Spice Bazaar.
Between the pottery and spices and pillow cases and lamps…I just go nuts. I can’t wait to bring home more of all of those.
Heaven in your palm, I tell you. I dont eat enought and drink enough of its fresh squeezed juices here in Manila as it’s so expensive. But in Turkey, it’s one of the most affordable drinks and snacks! YES!!!
Pomegranate overload here we come!!!! And the fact that there are random trees out in the countryside..HELLO! Can’t beat that!
On my last visit I was introduced to Tarihi Osmanli Macunu or Ottoman Candy. I must say. I was hooked. And I’m not a candy lover. I shall find a vendor in the Hippodrome and feast again. :)
So there you have it. My “things I’m looking forward to” list for Turkey. I am sure I will discover a phlethora of new things I will fall in love with, as we will be going to regions of Turkey I have not yet been. How exciting indeed!
Watch out for my next post on my “things I’m looking forward to” list for Italy…I have the privilege of going to Italy after the tour for 6 days to be with family friends and I haven’t been back to Italy in 4 years. I’m so excited!