Sunday, September 18, 2011

Turkish hospitality

My first day in Istanbul.
Yesterday was a very interesting and enjoyable experience. I set off and walked through many streets and ended up at the water watching the hive of activity with many boats and people coming and going. I found myself at the Spice Bazaar and markets. I bought dates and of course Turkish Delight with pistacchio and some Istanbul baklava, all yummy treats. I also found myself at the Yeni Mosque and wandered around watching people and taking photos. After some time I decided that it was time to sit down, to rest and have something to drink and eat and as there were a shortage of tables I was seated with a lovely Belgium lady. We started talking and had a little difficulty with language but managed very nicely. We introduced ourselves and Aurore explained that they were in Istanbul for 3 days, her husband Erdal is Turkish and has lived in Beligum for 20 years. Erdal was at the mosque for prayers. When he returned he communicated through his wife and he told me about Turkey. He also insisted on paying for my meal and drinks and later they accompanied me to the Grand Bazaar and paid for my fare on the tram. We wandered around for some time and I watched the process as Erdal bought a watch, it was a lengthy and interesting process. I took some photos of Aurore and Erdal. The intention was when we had finished shopping that they would take me back to my hotel. Unfortunately we lost each other at the bazaar and whilst I got their first names I did not get any contact details. I was sad to have lost them and would have liked to properly thank Erdal for his generosity and hospitality.
To me the experience epitomises what I had read about Turkish hospitality and I was very pleased to have the experience. Travelling alone brings its benefits.

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