Turkish Teatime: My Summer in Turkey

This summer I backpacked through Europe with my best friend! Didem and I have been best friends since middle school. We’ve got through the petty fights, braces, and boy drama all while staying by each other’s sides, always growing closer…she’s a keeper ;) So obviously, when I had the opportunity to travel through Europe with her this summer, I immediately booked my flight ticket while my bank account shed a tear as it prepared for this journey ahead.

 

We started our trip in Amsterdam, exploring the city, meeting new people, and enjoying the nightlife! From there, we journeyed on through:

 

  • Brussels, Belgium (we drooled over the most amazing fries in the world)

 

  • Paris, France (the wine & cheese & freshly baked baguettes are flawless)

 

  • Barcelona, Spain (we ate wayyy too much paella & tapas…but do we regret it…definitely not!)

 

  • Algarve, Portugal (we got stranded on a kayak in the ocean…not sure exactly how we survived :P)

 

After a quick stop in Germany, we were on our way to Turkey to visit Didem’s family. Our journey had felt so long already, and we were about to be greeted with a full month of the beauties that Turkey had to offer us. As soon as we landed in Turkey, we were surrounded by lovely people, delicious food, intriguing traditions, and beautiful scenery. I never wanted to leave! In the village that we stayed in, Posyağbasan köy, there were so many sunflower patches throughout the valleys of the mountains that the ground shined a bright yellow. It was unreal! In the mornings, I walked through the sunflower patches next to our village home, embracing the fresh air and nature surrounding me.

We sipped on Turkish Tea at least 3 times a day, relaxing and chatting with one another. We prepared every meal fresh, walking through the gardens to gather vegetables, and taking short trips to the neighbor’s house to get fresh eggs and milk. Each meal was delicious and beautifully made and there was always so much food! I was in heaven. :D I learned many new recipes and techniques that I have incorporated into my own cooking. One of my favorite dishes that we prepared was stuffed grape leaves and peppers. It took a few hours to prepare, and there were many steps to make them correctly. It was tedious work, but the results were unbelievably delicious!

 

After being in the village we went to Eskeşehir, a cute city known for their glass-blown creations and meerschaum (a soft white stone indigenous to this region that is carved into prayer beads and tobacco pipes). On our second day there, we got invited to a traditional Turkish wedding! We were thrilled, although our wardrobes at this point consisted of comfy t-shirts and converse, so a shopping spree became a necessity! With $1.00 equaling out to about ₺5.60 in Turkey, we went from being basically broke to feeling like we were on top of the world!

 

The night before the wedding, we got to attend a henna night, where all the women gathered for food and dancing, while green henna was spread on the wife-to-be’s hand to signify that she was dedicating herself to her new family. I was so intrigued by this tradition! While we were there, I learned a traditional wedding dance called “halay” that even I was able to do (despite my terrible rhythm). We celebrated and ate a ton of cake (at least 3 pieces each, it was so good)!

 

Along with going to this wedding, one of my favorite parts of my trip included visiting Cappadocia where I rode a horse for the first time (and I didn’t even fall off)! We went on a horseback tour of the cave town, it was breathtaking!

This summer was unlike anything I’ve experienced before, it was honestly one of the most amazing things I have ever done! I learned a lot about myself and also how easy it is to budget my money while traveling (it really wasn’t as expensive as you might think). I hope to continue traveling and exploring this beautiful world we live in. Next trip…Brazil? Or maybe Tokyo? Does anyone want to tag along?

 

Check out more pictures from our travels on Instagram

@sammi_gentry024

@officialclamchowder