Friday, 27 April 2007

Hos Geldiniz!

We left Istanbul and traveled some days on the countryside. We visited an old mosque on a hilltop today, a beautiful place without any of the sultan glamour of the Istanbul mosques. Just round bowls, floors stuffed with carpets, old tombs, praying men and women. As soon as we arrived, we were surrounded by women who praised Gaya, laughed, talked, kissed to her. Some later we were invited to a food party outside the mosque and invited by different people at their homes in Istanbul. We had a nice lunch there and we enjoyed seeing all the people in and around the mosque being themselves, enjoying life. Being invited to a party is maybe not the first thing you think of when it comes to religion, but we felt it was quite an spiritual experience!

Being invited is here part of the culture, though in the cities and tourist areas it is rather rare. Travelling trhough the countryside, we could hardly stop with our van without being invited, or at least with some people gathering around Gaya to praise her. We were quite out of gazolin, we tried a few tankstations but their tanks were emty. When we found one, we were invited to chai (tea) in the small, smoky and dirty office, but sitting there drinking our tea was a wonderful experience. After all it is not about the perfect spot but about the intention.

We had an overnight on a mountain pass, with a view in all directions. The farmer of the fields passed with hiss tractor and stopped. Off course we wondered if he was going to send us away. He stepped out, walked to us, shaked our hands: Merhabba, Hos Geldiniz! (hello and be welcome). He showed us chickpeas from his land and when he was very worried that Gaya gets too cold so we show him our heater. Later he waved to us when he passed by again. We felt welcome.
Next day we drove on a small road, in the villages we felt really watched, we realized here noone came except for people from there. Imagine driving with your camper bus through a small village, everyone stares, you have to find your way between chickens and cows hanging around on the streets. We sweated, but found our way, next to a water well, of which you find a lot in the coutryside, for animals to drink and for humans to wash themselves before prayer (or just for refreshment, off course!). With a view on the close by snow mountain.
Also here villagers welcomed us. Frans and Gaya went into the mountains next day, and when they asked the road in a small village, an small, old man expressed: no road. But he took them through the village, knocked on the doors, organized chai and all off a sudden we were having tea party with half the village.

Later we visited the great Pamukkale sources by night. They are hundreds of meters high chalk clusters, formed naturally. It used to be an old holy source, and on top of it is Hierapolis, a large ancient site with temples, baths and amphitheaters. In the daytime we saw a stream of touring cars, but amazingly we were the only ones who visited it in the magic moonlight. It was spooky to walk in the dark, moonlighted sight between some large tombs and reading a signs: Necropolis North. But also really special to visit one of the worlds largest tourist attractions all alone!
The guard was first suspicious about us: forbidden! Forbidden! No camp! Go! But got on better terms with him, and he promised to watch our car. When we got back after about two hours he was standing just next to our bus. And off course we were invited for tea…

Later we found a overnight spot next to a well again, and next morning a tractor stopped next to our bus, we were invited for breakfast at the farmers house. We had a marvelous breakfast on the ground of a very small, wooden farmers house. Honey, cheese, olives, vegetables, everything came from their own land except for the bread. And they just shared this with us because they liked us to be their guests. Just like that!

1 comment:

Karianne said...

Lieve Frans, Cecilia en Gaya. Wat bijzonder om jullie verslagen te lezen! Het bewijs dat met kleine kinderen de wereld nog steeds voor je open ligt! Wat is Gaya al groot! (sorry voor deze standaard opmwerking maar het is gewoon zo)Het lijkt me erg leuk jullie weer eens te zien als jullie Nederland aan gaan doen. Geniet ervan, ik kijk uit naar de verslagen! Liefs Karianne