I arrived Friday evening exhausted from a long flight. I was feeling a little anxious about going through customs and worried about my luggage not making the transfer in Germany. But to my surprise purchasing my visa, going through customs and retrieving my luggage was both easy and stress free!! Perhaps I was just lucky with the timing of my flight and the moods of the Turkish airport employees or perhaps this was just an example of how things are done a little differently in Turkey. Either way I was just happy to be here and eager to see S. I walked through the exit doors keeping an eye out for him in the crowd behind the rope, but there he was standing right in front of me with that wonderful smile of his! I hadn't seen him in four months and didn't want to stop hugging him.
Trips like these have a dream like quality to them. You can't believe your finally there, your so afraid your gonna suddenly wake up in your own bed and everything around you feels like magic!
First Turkish adventure was food! After dropping my luggage off at his apartment we took a long walk through the heart of the Tunali district in search of a restaurant or cafe that sold anything veggie friendly. This was a bit of a challenge through out the trip. Turkish cooking is typically filled with veggies and can easily be made vegan, but most of the restaurants and fast food hole in the walls along the streets were serving primarily meat based meals, and from simple observation the veggies they did have were often tainted from utensils also used to handle meat. We did find a small cafe next to what I like to incorrectly call "The Goose Park" (its actually 'The Swan Park') that served a nice selection of salads among other items. After snacking on airport junk food a fresh green salad with olive oil and lemon juice is heaven on a fork!! Tea was served after the meal in these sweet little "belly" cups with two cubes of sugar on the side. It was a big change from my usual giant cup of fancy tea sweeten with honey back home in the states, but not a disappointing change. The tea was delicious and the cubes of sugar, though not unknown to me, were a sweet novelty.