Slightly over a month ago my bestie and I went to Turkey. It was an unexpected #bestiecation to say the least and turned out to be such a great trip. Approaching the end of summer, the weather was ideal as it was sunny with a nice accompanying breeze, about 24 degrees on average.
We went for a 12 day 11 night trip across 7 major cities which was beautifully curated by Personalised Balkan Trip together with Mitti Travel. They ensured a smooth trip for us with no hiccups and made sure we were comfortable throughout. I recommend taking this route across Western Turkey as an introduction to the historically rich and vast nation. The country is so big and every place promises different and refreshing views. One must take their time and return in multiple trips to truly cover what the country has to offer.
There’s so much to say about our recent trip I don’t even know where to start. But here, enjoy some of my favourite shots.
True to what everyone has said, the country is filled with cats. And they’re all well fed and clean. I especially love seeing cats in the shops because nothing makes a place more welcoming than a furry friend with a cute little meow. Also, a bookstore with a cat…can I please work here?
There is a lot to see, do and discover in Turkey. From former ancient sites to a city filled with hotsprings, it’s a country bursting with stories to tell, views to boast, and colours to complement. You’ll never get bored.
It is also a country rich in Islamic history, with Islam having been the official religion of the previous Ottoman empire. It is not only brimming with historic Islamic knowledge, it also beautifully presented. For me, it’s always a nice feeling to see places of worship that is grand or intricately designed because it’s a sign of respect to God.
At Bursa, we visited the Grand Mosque known for its 20 dome structure which is apparently considered the 5th most important mosque in Islam. Inside it is so beautifully decorated with Islamic calligraphy and even the place for ablution is a sight of wonder. I wish more mosques would carve out a meaningful space of ablution like this.
It’s definitely picturesque. There were a lot of tourists when we went but amongst the crowd I also saw many couples which reminded me that it is a great destination for a honeymoon or even just a nice romantic getaway. Honestly it’s a place for everyone, including two best friends.
The views are great, the food is delicious too. I may be biased because I did grow up in the Middle East so my taste buds have become accustomed to the region’s food, including that of Mediterranean cuisine. I love the bread, the cheese, the vegetable platter and of course the meat. It helps that it’s a predominantly Muslim country so food is halal.
The Ringgit is stronger than the Lira which helps when we converted because things were slightly cheaper. Otherwise, the cost of living is about the same so a tall latte from Starbucks was still about RM10 after conversion, which is the same price back home.
Nonetheless, shopping was a delight and that’s almost expected given that this is a textile producing and exporting nation. My preference is to shop for local authentic goods or local brands to truly experience and enjoy what the country has to offer, and I was not disappointed.
I particularly enjoyed buying scarfs at the silk market in Bursa, which is a popular tourist destination. We also had a chance to go to the mall and I found myself some decent clothes at a local brand, of good quality and cheaper than usual price. What a joy!
The highlight of our trip was visiting Konya (will write more on this in a separate post). The main highlight there was visiting Rumi’s resting place. The second main highlight was to watch a Sema performance at the cultural centre. Opinions differ but they say that the best place to catch the show is in Konya itself, where Rumi was from and where the ritualistic practice most presided in. I’ve heard so much about this aspect of Sufism and really was so excited. True to form, it was so beautiful to witness. Some people have classified it to be some sort of a dance. But it’s not. It’s a movement as result of intense devotion to the remembrance of Allah.
Honestly, my heart felt all sorts of things while I was in Turkey. It was eye opening, exhilarating, nerve-wracking and inspiring all at once. I’ve been told there is so much more to see, more on the Eastern side and I do hope to be able to return again soon.