WHY AMERICANS SHOULD RECONSIDER VISITING TURKEY
With much reservation, many were extremely fearful when I told them I was visiting Turkey. Yea I knew about the terrorist attacks, but that didn't stop me just like it's not going to stop me visiting other countries in Europe that faced the same fate. My only question was why Turkey was deemed different?
Let's face it, when it comes to tourism, Turkey isn't high on many lists of places to go. In fact, Turkey probably not on the list at all. Thanks to the media, not many great things were shared about this country due to the unfortunate acts of terrorism that affected the country recently. Who knew such actions from one group would make such a huge impact on the tourism of one country. I begin to question on this journey is it even fair to hold such actions against the entire country?
So what's the reason why Americans stay away?
Many say the terrorist attacks, but that doesn't stop many from traveling and visiting Barcelona, Paris, Brussels, Manchester, and many other cities throughout Europe. They were all attacked, some more than others because of the same reason, terrorist. Though dealt the same fate, unfortunately, Turkey isn't given the same response as the others. No "Pray for Turkey" on social media more. Due to events not of their control, a negative connotation in the media that makes people fearful and therefore treating them unjustly. Who knew serving one God like many religions would cause such fear and hatred because it's different than their own. Who knew people would sulk to such a level to categorize a country based on their religion and deem them unworthy.
Did you feel safe?
I can attest that they were the kindest and hospitable people I've met in Europe thus far. Not once did I feel threatened or endangered. They were very inviting to share as if your family. And Even if they don't speak much English they still tried to engage and show appreciation for you taking an interest in their country.
Though there were a few overly aggressive encounters because they didn't know how to control their hormones I didn't see it any different than a few run ins I had back in the states. I believe the encounters with men in Greece were worse! Those guys chased us! At least here they were respectful when I said: "I have a boyfriend" even if it's a lie.
Americans are considered a rare unicorn. Many wanted to engage and ask questions to learn more. Throughout those many conversations shared, they are saddened that people fear them. All they want is to share their country and love all. They even try to relate to us by sharing stories about their leader based off what they've read and seen in the news about the Agent Orange 45.
Where did you visit?
Did you know Turkey sits in Europe and Asia? How cool is that? Though I didn't have time to explore both sides, I visited the Cappadocia region and the city of Istanbul.
Named by the French "Land of Horses" and known for their "fairy chimneys"is a region in Central Turkey formed from multiple volcanic eruptions. These eruptions over time formed rock which the people carved into tall cone shape formations to live in. These cave dwellers sought shelter in the rock and underground as protection from their enemies. Parts of the region used to be part of Greece, but through trade, Turkey got the land back. You can see the influence in the food and coffee.
We stayed in the town of Goreme which was full of hotels for the tourist. All hotels were formed out of the rock the people once lived in. These rocks or "homes" were passed down through their families and turned into hotels for tourist.
Cappadocia is known for hot air balloon riding over the red and green valley, Turkish Bath, horseback riding, the underground housing and the rock. The landscape is almost close to the Grand Canyon in some areas. The beauty and history of the land is still alive today and the Turkish our proud to share their heritage with all.
Located mainly on the European side is the hustle and bustle of the country is Istanbul. The city is full of many tourists trying to make their way to all the main sites like the Hag Sophia, the Blue Mosque, and Grand Bazaar. One hopes not to get swift away by friendly yet eager merchants trying to get you to buy their candy, rugs, or whatever they are selling by offering tea and conversations. Home of the baklava, who knew they made so many kinds. Who also knew pistachio was used in sooo many dishes.
When the sun goes down, the restaurants and bars are packed with people wanting to unwind and let the days load off. A city is no different than any big city.
I'm sure there's other parts of Turkey and much more history I've yet to discover but just by these few days I've shared amongst this country is worth my advocating to put away their fear and venture into the unknown. I wish I had more time to visit their capital city Ankara and the beaches in Antalya. A fellow traveler shared in passing that it's worth the visit. He said it was utterly breathtaking.
I miss the Turkish Tea, XOXO