Thursday, May 12, 2005

American Tourist in Turkey

Here's another article about thoughts of an American tourist in Turkey. Brenda had a trip to Turkey during 2004. She has written her thoughts, experiences, and fascination with Turkish culture during her trip. My friend Haydar has sent me Brenda's notes about Turkey.

American Tourist in Turkey by Brenda Young

I first visited Turkey in the spring of 2004. As an American who had never crossed the Atlantic Ocean, I did not know what to expect once I arrived. I was pleasantly surprised at every turn, and instantly felt a love for this country!

My first reaction was to the beauty everywhere. From the cool breeze and blue water of the Bosphorus to the magnificent structures, so well preserved throughout hundreds of years. I was also privileged to travel throughout the country, to Ankara and down south to the Mediterranean. It was a dream come true for an avid photographer! The beauty of the various areas, so different from what I had seen in other cities, really painted a picture of a country so full of magnificent sites and historical significance.

The food was another surprise. The taste sensations I had never experienced before left me looking forward to the next dining experience. I wasn't even real sure what I was eating at times, but it was just so different and appealing to me that it didn't matter. The spices and blended flavors were like none I had experienced. (I now dine at Turkish restaurants I have found at home as often as possible!).

I had heard many things about the wonderful shopping in Istanbul. I was amazed at the size of the Grand Bazaar and the courtesy of the vendors. I came home with so many "treasures" that I had bought a great prices. Everyone fortunate enough to receive something from Turkey feels so honored and proudly display their gifts in their homes.

I leave the best for last. By far my greatest impression of Turkey came directly from the Turks themselves. I had never experienced being in a country where many people to do not speak my language. I thought that may be a little intimidating. Although I found a fair number of people who speak English, even the ones who do not were so cordial to me and made me feel so comfortable being in their country as we tried to communicate at a very basic level. From a girl I met on a bus who went out of her way to show me how to get back to my hotel, to some new Turkish friends who spent a whole day showing me things only real Turkish residents know to do. Everyone showed such hospitality, seemed so willing to assist, and make sure that I enjoyed my stay in their country. It is the Turkish people who make Turkey a wonderful place to visit!

I have shared my love for this country and its people with so many here in the states, and surely hope they will one day have the opportunity to feel so at home, so far away from home, just as did!

Brenda Young
Nashville, Tennessee