Trip:Turkey

by - 6:23 PM



Coming back home from Turkey was like a slap in the face, leaving me with a culture shock & nostalgia for the culture, the food and the vibrancy of the country.

I’m a naturally curious being,I feel amazed and dazed to visit any place in the world,even if it’s not always feasible with a Moroccan passport and lot of things can get in the way but it’s purely amazing to know new types of people, different ways of living...

Many countries are in my wish list but turkey wasn’t there! I always felt that in the current time, turkey is culturally more European orientated and i’m more attracted to discover other influences! Luckily I've got to travel with my sister,and discover that it's totally different from what I've imagined!! 
we had to decide a destination that is affordable without a hustle of visa!! And Turkey was the easiest choice for a short vacation!




From Cappadocia to Istanbul

Cappadocia is one of the most breathtaking landscapes I've ever seen with it’s naturally formed fairy chimneys and mystic valleys,underground cities …Meanwhile,Istanbul is like a massive open-air museum:The world-famous Blue Mosque, along with Topkapi Palace and church-turned-mosque-turned-museum Hagia Sophia,the Grand Bazaar, the fascinating Basilica Cistern,the wander down in Avenues in the heart of the city, and river cruise down the Bosphorus strait separating Europe and Asia!! 


This post does not describe the real daily life maybe,however I'm writing down some facts from my own experience as tourist in turkey! 

Transport


I Think that one of the best things about Turkey for a traveler is its list of transport options,
from buses and bikes to trains, rental cars and more luxurious seaplanes,it was honestly the easiest transport I've tried in Europe!


We took a flight Casablanca /Istanbul than a domestic one from Istanbul to Nevşehir because is easy to navigate by plane in turkey,and it’s just plain faster. A flight from Istanbul to our destination took 01h10 ,compared to a bus ride or train that can take up to 8 hours! 


My first impression at the airport was that Turkish people are cold !!! and don’t make any effort to help! moreover I was shocked about the number of Moroccan “harraga” (illegal immigrant ) laying in the airport !! most of them were young very young and not well educated!! Turkish custom took many passports from the passengers at the arrival without explaining what's going on! after  asking the few passengers  allowed to pass along with me,I learned that many of them attempt to cross to Europe, those failing or not venturing to enter Europe prefer to stay in airport  as a second-best option rather than returning home so Turkish custom check many times carefully the passports.


while waiting for the next flight,i wasn’t sure that it was a good idea to relax here!! 
Once we've been on board, I was reassured of the atmosphere's change !!! people were more kind ! We arrived to Nevşehir than we took a bus to Goreme  that surprisingly serves free coffee/tea and chocolate !! it was really refreshing and i was glad to be far from the urban life's pressure !

Food


A big part of traveling and experiencing a new culture is exploring the local cuisine!! It is said that travelers in Turkey come for the history but stay for the food! As i’m still careful with my health,i didn’t get to eat all the most appreciated Turkish food but I can tell that there’s something for every taste, some dishes even have a Moroccan taste but with less strong flavors! The pastries are much more sweet !! I felt dizzy just tasting it !!! but i miss the traditional cappadocian bread, salads,lentil soups,pomegranate juice most !!





Handcrafts



Despite the onslaught of modern machinery, skilled artisans still make a roaring trade in Turkey, and some of this can be credited to tourism and people’s desire for authentic souvenirs.Turkish handicrafts has formed a rich mosaic by bringing together its genuine values with the cultural heritage of the different civilizations which were coming from the thousand years of history of the Anatolia from Ceramics,tiles, carpets,kilims, marbling, calligraphy,gilding, miniature work, wood carving ,crochet,silk,pottery,porcelain …
Even in vacation i'm kind of working !!! I can’t stop myself looking for new ideas !! I was able to visit some artisans in Avanos and Istanbul to know more about the marvelous crafts there!!




History


Cappadocia has many areas with unique geological, historic, and cultural features.
actually I majored in fine arts, and I received a bunch of informations at art history courses about prehistory yet discovering the area  evoked many souvenirs  of all the theoretical things I've forgot !

The location was central between rival empires for many centuries, such as the Hurri-Mitanni,Hittite Empire, Middle Assyrian Empire, Neo Assyrian Empire, Persian Achaemenid
Empire and the Greek Seleucid Empire etc, leading the natives to tunnel into the rock to escape the political turmoil.
During the Roman era, the area became home to Christians retreating from Rome.
Christianity prevailed as the primary religion in the region, which is evident from many
rock churches that can still be seen today.







URBAN CULTURE



Traditions and practices change with regions and people, and the best way to fit in is, as always,I observe the way people around behave and try to adjust accordingly.

generally talking Turkish people are warm, have a sense of  hospitality and willingness to help, especially in Cappadocia where all shops and restaurants will offer a free tea and guide you around  !



Back to Istanbul after  the fascinating time stop in Cappadocia, was like going back to reality !! it wasn’t an  exciting place for me for the first 2 days, too much tourists, especially in Taksim !! most people are all over buying clothes or getting plastic surgeries! 

However  the more i spent time there the more i appreciated the city ! i think it's a unique blend  of  many mixed cultures! Social interaction in the street isn't easy as there is a barrier of language but most are nice when you get to talk in other places,just one thing  Istanbul man are extreme flirting, i don't want to make a stereotype but it was a fact during my stay in the city! especially when they knew we are Moroccan because most mistook us for Turkish or Iranian at first ! 



Stray Dogs and cats population was unbelievable too ! dogs everywhere! however I liked how people care about them! many are fed by families and business owners daily! Tin bowls for food and water can even be seen along the highways.



I liked the parks and clean public spaces !! TURKISH BATHS ! Being clean is a big part of Turkish culture also it is part of the religion.,there are many phrases pointing out how to be clean and why it is important unlike morocco turkey is more clean!!


Religion

Turkey population is believed to be 99.8% Muslim. Sunnis make up around 80% of this and Shias around 20%. There are very small Christian and Jewish populations though these were bigger before the turn of the century. 

I felt  that Islam in turkey is kind of more poetic and spiritual in comparison to morocco,  there is mosques in every corner!! women  wear hijab with more freedom ! it gave me the kind of  a time leap to the 90's in morocco where people wear any style of clothes without prejudices!



Language

It was easy to communicate in Cappadocia most people speaks French or English however it was a little  complicated to communicate with locals in Istanbul ! but the great thing i discovered it's easy for me  to learn  some basics phrases, as there is a lot of words and structure similarities with Arabic/Japanese/Chinese that i'm somehow familiar with.
yet my favorite part is the usage of onomatopoeia,hand gesture and face expression exactly just like Moroccans !!
In the end  the first week i was able to understand some conversations however  I had to use google to answer .
I had that weird  feeling of just meeting  some Berber elders of my family speaking Amazigh where I can figure out the big picture but i can't understand everything well!!


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