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Elusive Image Photography • View topic - Final wrap-up

Final wrap-up

2009 daily travel journal to western Turkey. Journal begins March 30, 2009.

Final wrap-up

Postby jamesfc on Wed Apr 22, 2009 11:07 am

I'm not sure what expectations I had for Turkey, but our trip turned out to be a total and very pleasant surprise. In the short 15 days we had to visit the central and western region of this country, we found a group of friendly, open people; wonderful, healthy food; and amazing scenery and history. I also owe a huge dept of gratitude to Mehlika Seval, our guide and new friend in Turkey, as well as her family. I can truly say she went way above and beyond and really demonstrated to us the love and respect the Turkish people have for their country.

Mehlika wrote in my forum before our trip that Turkey is a country that strides two worlds - Asia and Europe and embraces them both. We traversed rugged mountains and peaceful valleys. We found ancient cities that date back to the dawn of human history and modern ones that rival any modern city in the world. It is a land that encompasses many religions, sects and cultures. Its history traces back to Greek and Roman gods, early Christianity, Islam, and other philosophies. The foundations of its cities are built on early temples, mosques and basilicas.

We also learned many interesting facts on our trip. The tulip is native to Turkey, not Amsterdam. The architect Hippodomus who came up with the Roman concept of grids for the layout of cities is from Turkey. Even though the predominate religion in Turkey is Islam, Turkey is a secular country and religious schools are banned until children are old enough to understand and make rational decisions. The Virgin Mary lived the last years of her life in Turkey, near Ephesus. Saint Paul was born in Tarsus which is located in southeast Turkey. Early Christians once hid from the Romans in underground cities in Turkey.

Also, not many modern thriving countries can trace their origin back to less than 100 years and the founder of the country was known by living people. Yet, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk founded modern Turkey in 1923 and ended the long reign of the Ottomans.

One question I'm asked frequently about traveling to Turkey: "Is it safe"? Like most western countries, including the United States, there are pockets of discontent and problem areas. We saw none, and learned the crime rate is actually quite low and is primarily minor crimes such as pick-pockets and is limited to the larger cities. It is really quite incredible how peaceful and uneventful travel can be to Turkey considering it borders countries such as Iran, Georgia, Syria and Iraq.

Our trip left us wanting more, rather than a feeling we had seen enough. Photographs can only appeal to a single sense and cannot convey the wonderful smells, the sounds and music, the texture and the taste of the wonderful cuisine of this part of the world. I was told that the eastern side of the country offers even more color and fascinating vistas. That will have to wait for a future trip, but one that I am eagerly looking forward to!

More images from our trip will be posted at my gallery at http://www.elusiveimage.net/gallery.
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Re: Final wrap-up

Postby jjsifo on Sat Apr 25, 2009 9:42 pm

That's excellent,,,, it is refreshing to hear positive feedback regarding that part of the world, glad you all had a good time. jjsifo
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