There are many reasons to travel, but the best is local people I’ve met along the way. These interactions are rich experiences that I will never, ever forget. From now on, I plan on posting pictures people and will include how we ate together, laughed, reached out beyond our differences to find a common core. I hope to catch the glitter in their eyes or perhaps a tear. Look for passion in their faces. These are a few of the people I met in Turkey.
From upper left: Near Cat Village, Irfan Yuzer and his family grow grapes for wine in a hostile environment. They had us over for the best homemade breakfast and shared their dreams, hopes for their 3 daughters and talked about the difficulty for farmers across the globe. Since Covid, Mrs. Yuzer is back in school working on a degree. The next 3 are artists who hand glaze pottery using tiny brushes. The next two are from a women’s coop (NGO) for rug weavers, which is becoming a lost art. I learned so much about wool and silk, to dyes used, to knot counts for quality rugs. This coop kept the women working all through COVID and the government supplemented their craft.
In the Trabzon area there is “an ocean of Hazelnut trees” that cling to every steep hillside. We met this local man who explained about growing and harvest. The next picture is a cheeky employee at a tourist shop who had fun posing for me. Negotiating is an art that works better when you have fun ! 3rd: Artist Ebru Kursu. Right: Chef Necati Yilmaz in Istanbul ( near Hagia Sofia). This is one of his special dishes, duck encased in salt. After flaming, the salt case is hammered away exposing the cooked meat. Necati owns Deralliye Cuisine where he replicates meals served in the palace to the sultans. bottom left: We ate a homecooked lunch in Ceceva Village, high in the mountains where this family grows tea. Upper right: What a fantastic crew on our Gulet ( traditional boat) named Sadri Usta. Bottom right: We stopped for a great lunch here. Ladies were making grilled flatbread with spinach and cheese. Dish is called Gozleme.
On the upper left: Ismail is the 5th generation to be living in a fairy house in the Cappadocia region. In the middle is a picture of his wife. Bottom left is our fearless exceptional tour guide, Aykut. He stopped at a roadside fruit stand to buy us some Turkish bananas. Next is Somatci Restaurant owner who just won an award for this book containing ancient recipes. Ismail’s wife is far right