Nice sunset view as we pass over London, England, on our way to Albania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Shkodra, Albania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Hiking the Peaks of the Balkans, June 13-24!

Monday, November 9, 2020

Turkey... the country where random strangers invite you for tea

What a great day we had on Sunday!

First off, our host here at the Airbnb had sent us a message saying that Sunday was the big market day for this area and we really should go even if we don't need anything. But we were due for some fruits and veggies. He said it starts between 9am to 10am but that the whole thing is up and running by 10am at the latest

As in Mexico, most cities and towns here in Turkey have a weekly market. It's where you typically get the best prices and the freshest produce, so most of locals will buy as much as they can carry to last them until the following week until the market reappears again.

So we walked the 1.3 kms (0.8 miles), arriving there about 10:45am.

Scenery along the way.

One of the reasons I took the photo above is that it was the clearest day we have had yet. Until then, it's been pretty hazy and we haven't really had a decent view of the mountains.

We arrived at the market and had a walk around, inspecting the various stalls and choosing where we might purchase our goods. Unlike in Mexico where the markets feature a variety of goods, the weekly market here is almost all fruits and veggies.

Whenever we go to one of these big, busy markets anywhere in the world, it amazes us how the world manages to grow enough fruits and veggies to feed the population.

The grapes guy. 
We bought one of those beautiful bunches of green grapes.

The cauliflower and cabbage guy.

The carrots guy!

The olives guy.

The mushrooms guy.

We thought this lady had ginger.

But it didn't quite look like ginger, so we looked up the translation and asked this lady if it was ginger. It turned out that it was not ginger, but we don't know what it was. Strange that we couldn't find any at the market because we regularly see it in the grocery stores.

Back home, we laid out our take...

All of this for the grand total of...
43.5 lira ($6.70 CAD, $5.10 USD).

Whenever we add up our fruits and veggies purchases here, we think they must have made a mistake.

We had an early lunch, and headed out in the car. I had picked us a destination in nearby Honaz Mountain National Park to go for a hike. 

We drove to the mountainside town of Honaz, and up through the town to park near the cemetery overlooking the town. From there, we could have driven on the steep narrow mountain road (and most visitors do), but we wanted to walk. Despite it being a Sunday, and a beautiful day, maybe half a dozen vehicles passed us while we were walking. 

Honaz Mountain.

Overlooking the town of Honaz.

You can see a bit of smog from the city.

Heading uphill.

Some kind of farm, located inside the park.

This road will actually lead you to the top of the mountain.

But it's almost 12 kms (7.5 miles) one way, uphill all the way, so we weren't about to hike it. And to drive it, I had read that some parts are in rough enough condition that you need a 4x4. However, there is a paved road on the oposite side of the mountain and that is where most of the traffic is.

This would be a great boondocking spot!

My map showed that one section of road turned up towards a waterfall. We knew that there wouldn't be much water because it's only the beginning of rainy season, and they really haven't had much yet. But we headed up to have a look anyhow. 

Another vehicle had passed us and a couple of young guys were up there. They didn't speak any English, and seemed surprised that we had walked up there. They offered us a drive back down, but we wanted to walk!

Arriving at the waterfall.

There was some water... but very little!

Still, it was a pretty area.

We walked back down and had done almost exactly 10 kms (6.2 miles). Great to get some fresh air and exercise.

Almost back at our car, another car, full of people, slowly passed us. It stopped and backed up a bit. 

A woman got out and said (in English, but with an accent) "Where are you from?"

We said "Canada."

And she responded "We would like to invite you for tea".

To which we said "Okay!"

And it really did go exactly like that. 

It is common in Turkey for people to get together for tea. In fact, one of the most important indicators of the traditional culture of hospitality here is serving tea to guests.

We got in our car, and followed them. No idea where we were going, or how far! But it turned out that they live in the town of Honaz, so it was only about five minutes.

We sat outside in the front yard and introduced each other. The woman who had spoken to us originally is Katerina, and she is Ukrainian, but married to her Turkish husband Osman and living here in the town. They both speak English quite well. He is retired from the Turkish military. Their son Alexander is 10, and he speaks Russian, Turkish, and is learning English.

Friends Ümmü and her husband Mehmeet are Turkish and they have two daughters Ekin (5) and Yağmur (7). They do not speak much English, so there was a lot of translating going on!

Grapes and pomegranates.

Pomegranates are common here. We learned that it is also common to eat the seeds. Apparently the seeds contain oils that are good for you. So we tried chewing down on them, and they're really not that bad!

Katerina had been picking wild mushrooms in the park.

Persimmons, hanging to dry.

Yağmur, Ümmü, and Ekin.
The lady walking away is a neighbor who had come to say hello.

Snacks to go with your tea.

Katerina, Osman, Alexander, Ümmü, and Ruth.

Osman's mother, Hacer.

Such nice people. We really enjoyed sitting and talking to them and we're so glad they stopped to invite us to join them. It was getting on close to 5:30pm when we left. Probably could have stayed longer, but I don't like driving in the dark and the sun was getting low in the sky. They loaded us up with a bag of grapes and pomegranets and radishes and even a bottle of homemade wine! Hopefully we will meet again one day. We have their contact info for when we next return to Turkey!

Today we are playing tourist... we are off to the big tourist attraction of Pamukkale.

Check out the deals at

Total distance walked in Turkey 187.6 kms (116.3 miles).


  1. Best part of the day is meeting and sharing food and conversation with folks from different parts of the world. So we learn that we are not so different after all. What an amazing journey you are on.

    1. We couldn't agree more with this statement! Travels to other lands and meeting with people from other countries really opens up your eyes to the world and to a better understanding of of all the different cultures out there. As you said, we really aren't all that different. :-)

  2. That root that looked like ginger was probably turmeric.

    1. Nope, we know what turmeric is like, we see it a lot in Mexico. On further research, Kevin found out that it is Jerusalem artichoke. I might have to try cooking that up someday, they say it is similar to potatoes.

  3. Your haul from the market looks really inviting.
    You definitely had a good hike even if you didn't go to the top.
    Always nice being able to learn new cultures first hand while making Friends for life.
    Be Safe and Enjoy your hikes.

    It's about time.

    1. We absolutely love markets like this, and we are always amazed at the freshness and variety of produce that they have and of course we love the prices. :-)

      It was a nice hike and then getting invited to a local house for tea was just the icing on the cake. :-)

  4. Meeting "strangers" is one of the best parts of traveling!

  5. What touchingly sweet hospitality they gave to you! It reminds me of a native American saying" assume everyone you meet is cold tired and hungry,and act accordingly". -Mary

    1. They certainly did and we were so grateful for being invited to their home and enjoying tea and conversation with them.

      That is a very nice saying, we had not heard it before. Thank you for sharing it with us. :-)

  6. Nothing better than mixing with the locals. What a treat! I noticed that streets are really clean. Is that a general observation on my part?

    1. Agreed! :-)

      In the towns and cities yes, the streets are generally very clean. Out in the country that is not always the case. It is very much like Mexico in that regard. Garbage is tossed or thrown over the side of a hill somewhere with the mentality of "Out of sight, out of mind". :-(

  7. What a treat to be invited for tea and make new friends! When we go camping and meet strangers, we always invite them for a drink or snack in our motor home or campsite. We have made many friends along the way. Another great haul from the market! Good on you! Safe travels. Thanks again for the pics.

    1. This is what we love about traveling! Having opportunities where we can sit and talk with the locals is fantastic. We only wish that we had more time to talk but it was getting late and we didn't want to be driving in the dark.

      The markets here are fantastic, just like Mexico and the prices are even better here. :-)


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