Yes, well…I wonder if I get any prizes for being the most tardy of bloggers? I can’t help it, life runs away with my time.
I have been overseas for two months, six and a bit weeks in Turkey and eight days in Thailand. Trust me backpacking through Turkey is a breeze. Their public transport is great from getting from point (a) to point (b). The dolmus (small mini bus) can be caught everywhere. On one occasion we were walking along a road quite away from a village and the dolmus slowed, we waved and they picked us up. On longer trips 3 or 4 hours the Mercedes buses are well equipped with seat belts and they served coffee/tea and snack. If not then they make a stop and the tea and snack was complimentary. There are so many stories that they will have to come in instalments.
Hamams – What an experience in more ways than one. The first one I went to was a young 500years old. For a Western women who has been brought up not to show ones body it was a hurdle to get over but when you delve into the history of the Hamam and their purpose, it is so worth experiencing. That first Hamam (there were many that followed) was the best introduction to the world of the Turkish woman (I am not speaking for all Turkish women of course, only the ones I met in the Hamams). I stayed in there for at least 5 hours. Part of the time being scrubbed, washed, soaped, massaged, shampoo’d etc. The rest of the time I spent sharing food with the women and talking. Now my Turkish is practically non existent and their English was on a par with my Turkish but talk we did with smiles, charades, laughter and hugs. It was truly an amazing time. After that the other Hamams were just as enjoyable, dancing, mis-communications that sent all of us into peels of laughter once we got the drift of what was actually meant. I have travelled quite a bit and I find women of the world have a beautiful way of communicating with each other. It never ceases to amaze me.
The history of Turkey kept me enthralled. One minute I thought I had it all sorted then some one would throw in another war, another take over. Who was linked to whom, how where when? Such a fascinating country. Of course I was also interested in learning more about the Muslim faith. I entered many mosques but felt I didn’t get perhaps a complete feel so we stayed for prayer time with the women at one; it was so much better than just visiting it. There were many times the echoing call to prayer over the mountains and in the villages caused us to pause and take it in. In Istanbul, in Gulhane Park, you can hear a number of calls to prayer. They don’t call in time so it was like a dozen echoes.
The people of Turkey are kind and most generous. Everywhere we were there was an offer of tea, help with a map and invites to their homes. Nothing was too much trouble for them.