Top Ten Turkish Delights

Trip Start Aug 12, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Turkey  , Hatay Province,
Wednesday, September 30, 2009

We have enjoyed our seven weeks in Turkey so much that we just had to list our Top Ten Turkish Delights:

1) The People. Wherever we have been the good humour and helpfulness of the local people has been overwhelming.

2) Variety. Turkey has an incredible amount to offer for just about any taste from the bustle of exotic Istanbul to the tranquility of Kabak to the enormous amount of ruins such as Ephesus to the beautiful beaches such as Iztuzu near Dalyan to the sheer fairytale dreams of Cappadocia. It truly has something for everyone!

3) Baklava. Does Turkey make the best in the world? We don't know yet, but we intend to keep on investigating throughout the Middle East. For those who want to find out, the current winning city is Gaziantep which happens to have over 180 bakeries.

4) Bazaars. The bartering, the aroma of spices, the noise and the fact we are usually lost. "How can I help you spend your money?" will remain one of the greatest questions we have been asked.

5) The Call to Prayer. The first time you hear it you tingle as they echo around the town, city or even the smallest village. At night time it is so atmospheric.

6) The Ruins. Even Steve was impressed by some of them. Italy eat your heart out, Turkey's are far more impressive!!!

7) Backgammon, aka Tavla. Wherever you walk you hear the clackety clack of backgammon pieces and at first you wonder why the intensity. And then you learn how to play possibly the most addictive game in the world.

8) The Food. Okay so it is not sophisticated fare, but the quality and freshness of the fruit is staggering, not to mention the size. Peaches that inspire stories about a boy called James, figs, melons and so on are truly incredible. Then there are the kebabs, so many different versions that Steve may have missed a couple, the obsessional tea/cay drinking where the urn never seems to run out, but most of all it's Turkish bakeries that win our strongest affections. The bread and pastries are truly memorable and we salute the humble Turkish baker!

9) Mosaics. You think you have just seen the finest mosaic of all time and then you see an even better one. From the Acropolis at Bergama to the Gypsy Girl in Gaziantep to the Happy Hunchback of Antakya......

10) The Buses. Apparently we come from the 4th wealthiest economy in the world and one of the most advanced and efficient nations. If so, please could you send all employees of every bus company to Turkey as we have much to learn. When did you last get served free tea and cakes by a bow-tie wearing conductor on a punctual and affordable bus that deliberately connects with other services and takes care of your baggage. They are the Singapore Airlines of the bus world and we love them!

And finally, we have heard numerous stories and tales, but this is one to shock you all:

Whilst discussing the extortionate price of fuel in Turkey, 1.50 per litre (even more than the UK), one guy was commenting on how he managed to buy 75 litres of diesel for five Euros in Saudi Arabia. The other guy turns around and says:
"That's nothing mate, we got 100 litres for one Euro in Iran!"
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