This morning I woke up to a quiet knocking on our door. Nobody answered, and I wondered if it may have been just a figment of my imagination. I kept my eyes closed and went back to my daydreaming thoughts. Knock, knock, knock, knock. More insistent this time. But still, no movement from the adjoining room, so I stayed where I was. Finally, Tay opens the door and comes in. “Can I use your shower? Ours doesn’t work.”
Just another day in Turkey. The hotels we’ve stayed in have all been super nice, but there’s always something a little bit odd about each one. And it’s not a bad thing, just something we’re not used to, coming from the States.
And with that wake up, I start my day. Breakfast is set out on gigantic plates: chocolate bread, spinach and cheese rolls, cucumber slices, half a tomato, a hardboiled egg, cherry jam, olives, salami, and two different slices of cheese. Don’t forget çay, the only tea I’ve ever loved. Turkish breakfasts are probably the best way to start one’s day.
After our meal we load up our bags into the bus and head to the center of the town. We stop after a few minutes to pick up the guide and discover that we’re actually going to be starting the hike from there. We grab our packs and start our trek. Following sketchy written directions and a well-marked trail, we’d be making good time, except for the fact that every five seconds we stop to take pictures of flowers. Nobody really seems to mind, however. I mean, when you’re walking through olive groves on a sunny day in the middle of Turkey, who would really care how much time was spent stopping to take pictures and look around. We were in no hurry.
Aqueducts, dogs, flowers, birds, bees, songs – a little more than seven miles later we found ourselves in beautiful Patara. I started with five companions (Bryan, Hannah, Daniel, Forest, and Avery), and ended with seven. Who were the two additions? Why, none other than Lykia and Gunesli, our loyal adopted dogs. The two of them joined up in the first town in the hope of food and walked nearly nine miles with us and even now Sunny (a.k.a. Gunesli), is sleeping on the porch above us. A trip to a Mediterranean beach at the end of the day was our reward.
Madrid was great, Istanbul was exciting, Selçuk was truly a memorable week, and now here we are in something close to paradise. We learned today that National Geographic listed walking this coast as one of the 50 best adventures in the world and our guide wrote the article for them. Even after thinking I would long be asleep by now, all my memories of Turkey are fond. I’m still amazed every time it dawns at me that this is in fact a school night and here I am in Turkey with my friends and teachers, writing about how much I love it here. I love learning about this place and the people in it. The historical and religious significance, the language, the customs, and the food are only a few of the things that make this an incredibly worthwhile school trip.