What I’ve learned about Turkey

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“Traveling can be exhilarating and exhausting, inspiring and intimidating all at once. But with every personal connection the world gets smaller and more navigable. All it takes is one compelling tale about Ouagandougou, and going there suddenly seems easy.” via 24 Best Travel Blogs and Websites | FATHOM Travel Blog and Travel Guides.

So, Istanbul…I decided to travel there last week. In January. For seven months. For the record, I knew nothing about Turkey except that “Istanbul was Constantinople”. Cue accordion accompaniment.

By now, I’ve learned a few other things:

  • Turks eat olives for breakfast. Along with bread, white cheese, eggs, sliced tomatoes, and cucumbers. I could get used to that. Although, in my dining experience, I’m more used to putting olives on my fingers in a fashion that does not amuse most table guests over 12.
  • Spices are fresh, and inexpensive. Maybe even divine. Most tourists go to the famous Egyptian Spice Bazaar but local neighborhood stands are better.
  • The locals share tea with everyone. They are really hospitable and polite that way. Turkish people are the greatest per capita consumers of tea. So…I’ll have to find a way to square with that and research polite methods of turning down the popular drink. Somehow, I don’t think all of the Jack Black references popping up in my head will be well received. Get that corn out of my face! 
  • I need to try pide. Yaprak pide, tavuklu pide, karışık pide. It’s glossed as Turkish pizza, a thin bread base folded over a filling of choice.

Okay. I just researched Turkish food. But the moral of the story, is that try as I might, I’m going to a foreign country and it’s intimidating. No blog or book, will adequately prepare me for stepping outside my door.

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