I can't believe that it's already last year but between holidays and the kids, and my new worst enemy, Viral Infection, there was literally no extra time to share my experiences from our road trip in Turkey last September.
(Just a quick word of advice for anyone traveling to Turkey, early September may be the absolute best time to go there because it's not stiflingly hot or my-toes-just-froze-off cold when you want to walk around like it would be if you go in the summer or winter.)
My husband is Turkish, and his family all reside in Turkey, so for the past several years we have been traveling there for our family visits. And it was becoming bitter sweet, although I love visiting his family and seeing friends, it was becoming more and more work. The thought of another trip to Turkey meant less excitement and more ugh not again! I totally lost the mystical romanticism Turkey has to offer and that I originally fell in love with when I visited Turkey in college to write my thesis on the mosaics of Hagia Sophia.
This last trip we decided to embark on a (not relaxing) road trip across half of Turkey. For first time in all these years of visiting, I left the city of Istanbul and traveled the countryside. It restored my original awe of Turkey, and I once again fell in love with the amazing architecture, the beautiful scenery, my family, and of course the food. Here are some shots from our trip and the amazing places we visited.
This is an amazing town called Safranbulou. It's little winding streets are filled with artisans handcrafting shoes, metal pots and embroidered scarves with skills often passed down from generations. I ended up purchasing an awesome metal tray that hangs in my dining room from a man who's father started the tray and that he finished. The fact that I have a piece of artwork created by both a father and son working together is so special for me, especially since family is so important to my husband and I. And it's our dream that our sons will share our passion for our business and we will get to work with our sons and eventually pass the business to them.
Fast forward another couple hundred miles and you will reach another spot on our road trip across Turkey, called Cappadocia. This city was a little more touristy than I would have liked, however the one reason to go was for the balloon ride. It's an absolutely amazing thing of beauty. And what I found even more impressive was that approximately 200 balloons go up at a time without any way to actually direct the balloons, and the drivers (Turkish egos and all) were able to navigate around each other and the winds without any difficulty! Totally amazing and grateful I survived!
I'd like to just mention that this road trip wasn't particularly easy! It included a small suv, (having turned down the option of a larger van at the rental place), which we stuffed with myself, my husband, a 2 1/2 year old, a 10 month old, and my mother in law! And since we were traveling internationally also meant no internet service for iPads! Imagine the horror! But even with all the difficulties of being on the road with two young children, and your husband, and your mother in law, I really fell back in love with Turkey. Turkey really is a mystical and diversely complicated place that has so much history and charm.
We ended our stay in Turkey in Bodrum, an exclusive beach town, and a short plane ride from Istanbul. The coasts of Turkey are much like the coasts of Greece with beautiful white stucco homes, covered with lots of succulents and magenta flowers. The sunny blue skies and clear water. If you can it's worth the journey.
I'm sure as many of you know, Turkey and in particular the area of Syria is going through an amazingly difficult time. I vacationed on the same beaches that many refugees are loosing their lives to travel on small boats to cross into Greece, in the hopes to have a better life. I truly cannot live any longer without at least attempting to help these people even if in the smallest way, so I've teamed up with an organization called the Embrace Relief to assist them in building an all girls school for Syrian refugees who are left without any other options. Should you feel inclined you can click here to learn more.
I do hope that if you have not already traveled to Turkey that you will have a chance to visit, and that if you already have that I've also restored your mysticism and nostalgia for Turkey!
(Please continue to ignore the many grammatical errors in my writing for which I apologize.)