Our little road trip into Turkey took us to one of the most interesting natural wonders I have ever seen. Pamukkale is the site of a hot spring that has been used as a spa since the Greco-Roman times. The whole hillside is a type of tavertine, with mineral deposits turning everything white as snow. Pools of water form like terraces down the side of the structure and little streams flow at your feet.
Category Archives: Travel
Food in Turkey was the best. Well, it probably isn’t the best, but after you have been eating the food I have been eating for a year, this stuff was gold. We ate a traditional Turkish breakfast a few times on our trip. They bring you all kinds of foods in little dishes, designed to be eaten together in different combinations with different types of bread. Most of it was savory: olives, flavorful cheeses, eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers, salami, peppers. But there were sweet jams and pastry style bread as well. One of my favorite parts of the meal would be the mint lemonade. I mean, it was ridiculously refreshing.
I traveled to a walled city in the eastern part of the country last week. It was built this way to protect the inhabitants’ religion. Now, the city has grown out past the original walls. We drove around the wall, looking at the many entrances (some just for hyenas to come in at night and eat trash). We also parked and walked through the small city streets and cobble-stoned alleyways. The architecture here is different in a way than what I have seen in the rest of the country. The atmosphere of place was as if time had been standing still for centuries.
There is an obvious difference here between good shepherds and bad shepherds. If you drive a little outside of the city, you will start to see them everywhere. The good ones protect their flocks (whether they are sheep, goats, cattle, or camels) from dangers – like cars. But the bad ones, and there are many, will just let their flock walk right in front of cars. The people I ride with like to yell out the windows of the car and tell the shepherds they are being terrible, and then yell congratulations to the ones that do a good job. Side note – there are girl shepherds, not that many, but you see them well enough. I have never seen a bad girl shepherd, just saying.
Looking out onto the countryside of my new home with people from my old home feels beautiful and yet somewhat bizarre. Being able to share this place with others, in a way, makes me own it more. For a week, I became an ambassador to another world. As we traveled up and down mountains, through tiny villages and large towns, passed camels, shepherds, and donkeys packing, well, almost everything – I got to witness the expressions of new eyes. The same expressions I must have had months ago.
These visitors brought refreshment and news of home. They provided an exciting break from monotony and much needed companionship. I am very thankful for their hearts.
There was a time when I listened to Ryan Adams religiously. Song lyrics of his still swirl around in my brain, though his voice is absent from the speakers. The lyric “I want an easy plateau, some place to rest my head, for awhile” would not leave me alone this past week as I traveled through the mountains in the countryside. I can take this sentiment very literally – I get carsick like it’s nobody’s business. But I was also given a beautiful metaphor for my life recently. I have been traveling a hard road and I am ready to find a place to rest my head. Just for a little while.
There are many times that I kick myself because I forgot to bring my camera with me. I think because I do not want to come off as a tourist here, I purposefully do not bring my camera around with me. Which I think is sort of funny since I would carry my camera everywhere with me in America. While we were traveling around, we would get stuck behind mini-buses, touring buses, and trucks that had awesome paint jobs and mud flaps – and I never had my camera with me to capture it. Here is my one exception.
“Honey Drops” in no way related to the name of this bus company either…I mean, why not, right?
Throughout the different cities and countries I have visited here in Africa, I have seen some really interesting businesses that are aimed at helping the most impoverished — the disabled, the diseased, the widows and orphans — by giving them work in the arts and crafts. While traveling, I visited a very beautiful handmade-bead factory that hopes to aid single mothers in finding employment. The workshop’s name in it’s native tongue means “small and beautiful.” They mold, carve, sculpt, paint, and embellish clay beads for necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. The colors and designs reflect their native land, the bright and exotic fashions, landscapes, and animals. They sell their wares in New York, LA, and London in fancy boutiques to rich clientele that want something unique. I was able to buys some beautiful earrings for a few dollars (I am assuming that this is not the price in London…)