Monday, January 05, 2009

Turkey: Part 2

So about a week has passed since I wrote part 1 about my experiences in Turkey. Here's the rest of them for the final week we spent there.

One of neat things we did was visit a small, touristy-type-town call Beypazari, about 100 kms away from Ankara. A very very old and small town situated atop a large mountain. It was snowing there while we visited, so walking the steep hills was dangerous and slippy. Beypazari is famous for it's particular kind of jewellery called Telkari which involves intricate filigree pieces made of silver and various stones and gems. Ferda bought a few pieces. The town was really neat because of the old Ottoman style architecture of the homes and buildings. I will post some more pictures later when I get home from work.

Another touristy-type-adventure we had was a visit to the Anitkabir, the resting place of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. He was the founder of the Republic of Turkey (1923) and was given the name Ataturk (father of all Turks) by his fellow countrymen. This mausoleum not only celebrated his life and showcased some of this belongings, it also recognized his careers and accomplishments as a military leader and his many political reforms as president. It was a moving experience for both of us, especially Ferda (she had never been before).

Of course, if you know Ferda at all, you will already have guessed that we did TONS of shopping. Our bags were backed to the limit on the return flights. Ibrahim (Ferda's dad) and I were pretty sick of walking through malls by the end of the two weeks. We were much more content to sit at home, watch some football, and drink some beer. Efes to be exact. I also drank some raki - holy crap that stuff is strong.

An additional touristy-adventure was a visit to part of the city (Ankara) called Ulus. It had a number of small, narrow streets lined with vendors on both sides selling everything you could imagine. After we toured all of these street we went in the market area. It was extremely crowded with shouting vendors and customers. I have a few pictures of this market that I'll add later. Another place in Ankara we visited was the Ankara Castle - and more specifically the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations or Anadolu Medeniyetleri Muzesi. It housed some incredible pieces from that region's past. In particular, what I found most interesting was the Hittite period of 1750-1200 B.C., a lot of their work was done in bronze and was really beautiful. This was one of my favourites - and is in fact also displayed as a giant statue in the middle of the city.

We also went out for dinner a few times to different restaurants. The food was awesome. So tasty. I had iskender kepab a few different times - it is very tasty. Also, I tried this one dessert called kunefe - SO AMAZING. SERIOUSLY. Hot pastry, warm sticky sugar-water, and melted cheese. You can't go wrong.

We visited a couple times with different family members and it was nice to meet all of them. Also it was great to spend some time with Ferda's immediate family, I know that Ferda really appreciated that. Anyways, we're home now: back in Ottawa, back to the daily grind, back to reality.

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