"Million Stories" Contest
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My Million Reasons to Visit Turkey.
By Shivya Nath on 11/27/2013
Dear Turkey, I remember sitting at your Ataturk International Airport, waiting to board my Turkish Airlines flight back to India. You welcomed me with arms wide open, charmed me with your beauty, and overwhelmed me with the kindness of your people. In my 20 days, I picked up pieces of your language, learned to maneuver your territory, indulged my taste buds in your food, and in a moment I didn’t anticipate, I came to know you as my home in another part of the world. I quickly built my first impressions of you when I got here, and if there is one thing I would change of them, it is that you are more beautiful and your people more hospitable than I could have imagined. Oh Turkey, how can I begin to describe your countryside, with its lush green rolling plains, sub-alpine meadows littered with purple, red and yellow colors, and hills dotted with needle-pine forests. Or capture the charm of your ancient Ottoman architecture, whose wooden facades and intricate domes have stood the test of time. Or illustrate in words, the colors of your coastal towns, deep blue during the day and deep red at sunset. Or pay my homage to your beautiful mosques and minarets amid small hillside village clusters. Or paint the vast barren landscapes and their sparkling lakes at your centre. Or portray life as it once were in your underground cave cities, now only circled by bats at dusk. Or capture the essence of the city that is Istanbul, modern, traditional, European, Asian, all at the same time. Turkey, I left you with a heavy heart, etched with the magnanimity of your people. And I want to come back. These are my reasons. A kind lady in the small town of Safranbolu opened her doors to me on a late rainy afternoon, to feed my vegetarian self a special meal of Peruhi (Turkish pasta) and Pasta (cake in Turkish) prepared for a family gathering. An old man from a bakery in Ordu gave me a ride in his truck to the town’s chocolate factory, after I walked 5 km and stumbled into his shop for directions for the remaining 3 km. A family living in an isolated hut on Boztepe Hill invited me in for a meal of home grown aubergine. A blacksmith who found me admiring his creations invited me in for çay and proclaimed his eternal love for Hindistan even though he had never been there. A young otel (hotel) owner in Cide went out of her way to ensure that I boarded the right connecting buses to my next destination without losing money or time. A cafe owner in the small town of Ordu, where I impulsively got off the bus on my way to Trabzone without a hotel booking or so much as a google search, treated me to delicious Turkish coffee made with a secret family recipe, then ferried me and my backpack in his car to a lovely boutique hotel which I couldn’t have located myself without speaking Turkish, let aside get the negotiated price he got me. The airport guy at Istanbul airport who ferries goods gave me a chocolate seeing me struggling to find small change to make a phone call. A restaurant manager offered me a whirlwind tour of Guzelyurt after I decided his restaurant was too pricey for me to eat there. An English teacher in a small village in Kapadokya confided in me on how much she misses her mother and told me everything I know about the Turkish education system. So many people offered me rides to my destinations along the Black Sea, indulged me in conversations without much of a common language (after first trying to converse in Arabic), and treated me to Turkish tea at the drop of a hat. You were good to me, Turkey, and I want to come back. Your people are one of my million reasons. *** This post is an entry in the "Million Stories" Contest run by the Turkish Embassy, India. Go share your million reasons too and stand a chance to win a trip to Turkey! *** Posted on http://the-shooting-star.com/2013/11/27/my-million-reasons-to-visit-turkey/ ***
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