10.01.2013 - 10.01.2013
We are now back home and it has been a joy to relive our trip by going through these pictures and this travelog. Turkey was every bit as fabulous as we expected it to be, and then some. Rarely during our travels have we encountered people as warm, friendly and helpful as those we encountered in Turkey. We feel like we have only begun to scratch the surface of all there is to discover there. We hope to return again, before too long.
There were a few random thoughts, observations, facts, and "what-not" that I made note of during our travels that didn't seem to fit well anyplace else, so I have gathered them below. Perhaps they will be of some interest to you....
* The Turkish people are extremely patriotic and proud of their flag and the founder of their modern republic. Practically every establishment that we walked into displayed the flag of Turkey and a picture of Ataturk. Wonderful!
* Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey was born and named "Mustafa." Surnames were not commonly used in Turkey before the last century and he adopted the surname Kemal later in his life. Ataturk means" Father of the Turks" and was a last name bestowed upon him in 1934 and is forbidden by the parliament to be used by anyone else.
* Auto fuel (petro) prices in Turkey are among the highest in the world. Oddly, motorcycles and scooters are not very popular there.
* Everyone has heard of Turkish coffee, but we observed that most Turks seem to enjoy drinking tea more. Merchants often have standing orders for mid-morning tea, which is delivered on trays by nearby cafes.
* Although the majority of the population is Muslim and Friday is Islam's holy day, Friday is still a working day. Saturday and Sunday are the weekend, just as they are in the West.
* Despite officially being a secular country, each citizen carries a national ID card that states their religion.
* Although Turkey is a predominantly Muslim country, alcoholic beverages are widely available for purchase both in stores and in restaurants. They are heavily taxed however, and are therefore expensive.
* Most toilets in Turkey have a spout at the back of the bowl allowing the toilet to be operated either as a toilet or a pseudo-bidet. Squat (i.e. toilet-less) restrooms are not uncommon. And toilet paper, if available, is generally placed in waste baskets after use rather than being flushed.
None of this would have been a surprise to me if I had taken the time to carefully read all of the 5,000 pages on the incredible "Turkey Travel Planner" web site that Tom Brosnahan has put together. While I consulted this web site (among others) before our trip, I didn't read all of it. Anyway, it's the best overall web site that I found when researching our trip, and I highly recommend it to you.