Just who were the Ottomans?

Trip Start Oct 15, 2007
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Trip End Dec 20, 2007


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Flag of Turkey  ,
Sunday, December 9, 2007

And a different world it is.   We arrive in Turkey to smiles and welcomes, and offerings of a seat and a ride and tea, to different clothing, to women with heads covered....and although all we did was cross the boundary of water for 2 hours, Turkey feels altogether different than Greece (and it certainly is in the category of religion... Greek Orthodox vs. Muslim)... but this actually feels different than anywhere else I've been.  Today is market day so we get to the town of Ayvalik at peak excitement.  This town is right on the water in Western Turkey.  It's got maybe about 30,000 people and on market day, it seems like they're all out.  We quickly settle in to an old hotel right on the water- our room is full of windows, floor to ceiling....we can see the sunrise and the sunset ....we have a balcony right over the water...this is not an upscale hotel but I feel gifted to wake up to an ocean view and the putter of boat engines.   I  guess this hotel used to be a salt processing plant...salt is important to everybody, everywhere... so this is just what we need at this point...a little vacation from our vacation, a little slowing down and staying in one place for a few days.  And this seems the perfect place to do that. 
 
The market vibrates with energy....people selling, yelling, lots of color...so much to take in...selling not just every food item you might imagine but also clothing and house items of every sort...just about everything one would need for life.... I'm finding myself taking lots of pictures...at first I'm a little hesitant, not wanting to intrude into people's space...but when people start posing and trying to get themselves in the picture, I realize that they really like to have their photos taken...I get lots of smiles...I even get a free hunk of cheese from the cheese man and a free orange from the fruit seller.  There is baklava all over the place...it's so fresh ....hard to resist, and I don't.  I'm trying to maintain a max 3 pieces of baklava per day limit.   I didn't know much about Turkey before I came here but I believe that I had some preconceptions that I wasn't even consciously aware of and they are completely being shattered.  People treat me respectfully and are really eager to try to talk or connect in some way.  We wander the market for the rest of the afternoon...periodically you can hear the chanting coming out of the mosque's speakers...I guess it's prayer time but I don't see anyone actually stopping their activity...there are Turkish flags flying everywhere...and it's a pretty flag...a white moon and star on a red background...it hangs in every store, on houses, from one side of the street to the other.   Turkish pride...nationalism...??
 
It starts to lightly rain...head back to the hotel.  The room's cold...we finally figure out that heat goes on at 6 PM when the guy who works at the hotel has to build a wood fire in the huge furnace across the street.  I can't believe that's what heats this big hotel...a wood stove across the street...well it finally gets warm and very comfortable...and then the next morning there's breakfast....here's the menu...fresh Ayvalikian bread, tasty olives, fresh cheese, butter, homemade cherry jam, tomatoes, cucumbers, and coffee.  The food is the best...we end up staying at this hotel for 3 nights...each morning I look forward to breakfast...the food, the pace,  all of it suits me.  Feels like the Margaritaville of Turkey...I could just keep extending my time here, listening to the boats on the water...tasting the food in all the little restaurants around the pier...getting to know the locals...just chilling out...
 
We spend one more day here...go over to Alibay, a nearby on-the-water town.  There are all these old buildings there too...from the Ottoman time...what do I remember about the Ottoman Empire?  What do you remember about it?  Not a lot, I'll bet...but I know it was an important time in history...and it's the root of culture here...I'll have to see what kind of a history lesson Wikipedia can offer me when I find the internet... But meantime, the architecture is pretty cool....
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Comments

licia
licia on

chickens
LOve those chickens !!!
and the markets and the streets and you
can't wait to see you
thanks for sharing the world
peace to the us all
Licia

karen on

the hotel link above has NOTHING TO DO WITH ME !! Its amazing how these commercial interests bust into your blog to advertise.....

fgumuscapa
fgumuscapa on

very nice essay.

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