Thursday, July 4, 2019

Turkish Hospitality

After visiting an underground cave city (yes, it's real, and yes there are many in this area), we stopped in a little town for lunch.

But this wasn't a stop at a restaurant. Rather, at the home of friends that our guide knew here!

This is a family affair, with the mom and daughter-in-law preparing the food, and the father hosting their guests.

It started fifteen years ago when the father was a bus driver for our guide. After a number of years of touring together, Aydin asked the bus driver if he knew of anyplace where they could eat in a home with those on the tour, rather than always in a restaurant.

He volunteered his wife, who he said was a great cook!

And ever since then, Aydin has been bringing groups here to experience Turkish hospitality and food up close and personal!

Polly, Ginger and Lisa all looked so pretty in pink today!

Aydin told us that he always tells the mama to serve small portions. But she hasn't listened to him all these years! 😂

Fresh salad, lentil soup, fried squash blossoms, burek (a pastry with meat inside), stuffed grape leaves, and manti, tiny Turkish tortellini in yogurt with sumac spices on top, was all on today's menu!

It would take me days upon days to produce such food! But mama and her daughter-in-law do it together, even getting help from friends in the village when need be. What an amazing afternoon in these dear people's home.

While I would've been happy to lounge in the breeze cooled patio in their home, after having dessert and Turkish tea, we waddled moved on to our next stop for the day.

Five generations of a Turkish family have produced pottery at Kapadokya Seramik. We enjoyed a demonstration of this beautiful art form, and Cotter even got to try his hand at it!

I can't believe I've been in Turkey for over a week and not had a cup of Turkish coffee*. During the demonstration they served us so today was the day!

*Turkish coffee is made with finely ground coffee beans, with hot water poured over. You let the grounds settle to the bottom of the cup, and then enjoy a good, strong sip of this coffee.

With a deadline of being somewhere by 7 PM, we got back in the bus for a quick ride to one more location before our final one this evening.

The bus has become our "home" on this trip, where we've shared so many conversations, so much laughter, and so many sweet moments. I just had to capture one of those today before we finish with the bus later this evening!

We stopped back in Göreme where we'd been the day before. There hadn't been enough time then to look at Turkish carpets but today there was, and I was successful at finding one for our home!

Aydin, our guide, had brought us here to Kervan Carpet and Kilim, explaining that his man was his friend and that we could trust him. I found that to be altogether true! He was such a kind man, and pulled out rug after rug, helping me to find exactly what I wanted.

As a fun little side note...he showed me this tiny carpet that his mom wove for him when he was born...the same year as me!

Not only did he pack up my carpet in a small bag, but he gave both Claire and I pillow shams for free to remember him by (and would have loved to have given us apple tea if we'd had time!).

But it was back on the bus for our final time of hearing stories from the last to share in our group, the Friess family.

Cotter and Ginger did such a good job, especially for being 14 and 12! I think some form of public speaking will be in their futures. 😊

Steve and Polly shared as well, with Polly finishing just as we arrived at the Kayseri Erkilet Airport.

We're not quite at the end of this amazing trip yet; we have one stop left. Can you tell from the picture where we're headed?

Yes, we're headed for Istanbul to wrap up this study tour of the early church!

Since this is such a small airport (this is the only gate!), it didn't take long to check in or board our flight.

I find myself feeling sad to leave this region which has been so full of beautiful surprises and hospitality. I hope this won't be the last time I'm here!

Having only ever been to the Istanbul airport, I'm excited to explore yet another place in this country that has endeared itself to me.

Can't wait to see what tomorrow holds here in Istanbul.

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