Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Diyarbakir, Turkey

We stayed in Diyarbakir for two nights, which seemed like a luxury after packing up and moving every day from town to town in southern Turkey. It reminded me of the old movie from the 1960s called "If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium," about Americans traveling by tour bus through Europe, capitol city to capitol city, trying to see everything in one week.

The "ogretmenevi," as the teacher's hostels are called, was filled when we arrived late in the afternoon in Diyarbakir. So we checked out a 4-star hotel nearby. Our driver Rafet had some kind of connection there and we ended up getting a room for us four women, and a spare room for Rafet for $115 altogether. But the best part was the pool, considering the temperatures were 110 degrees at midday, and the best breakfast buffet so far.

Gwenn and I went out one evening walking through the old walled city, taking pictures of the people. I felt like the Pied Piper when the kids started following us around. The next morning I got up at sunrise and climbed on top of the old wall to walk around the perimeter of the ancient city, and took more photos. I also went swimming both days we were there.

The city walls were originally built in the 4th century AD, and were modified several times after that. It was built on a cliff above the Tigris River. This gave good protection to the villagers who lived inside the walls.

Breakfast at the 4-star hotel. I passed on the bread and French fries. At least they were warm here.

I'm also not crazy about had-boiled eggs, but I loved the grilled eggplant.

Here's my breakfast, pool-side. That's cherry cider, not wine, by the way.

Me, Michelle and Phyllis in the pool.

Gwenn and I walked around the old city and found people who liked to have their photos taken.

Diyarbakir is famous for their large, sweet watermelons.

Making friends inside the walled city.

More friends

I can't remember what was so funny, but it must have been a good one.

Looking at the old walled city from the outside.

A show shiner. They all have these very ornate shoe shine kits in Turkey.

This old guy was great. Not only did he agree to let Gwenn and me photograph him, but he very proudly showed us his ID photos of himself as a young man.

I climbed up the city wall while Gwenn peered up from below.

Like I said, the kids were curious about us and enjoying hanging out.

Happy boys

This little guy didn't want his picture taken at first. You can see he's being a bit held down. But his smile was precious.

Gwenn and the same ladies who were waiting for Iftar, which means breakfast in Arabic. In Turkey it means the hour when the people can break the fast during a month of Ramadan.

While most of the women are at home cooking the big feast each evening, many men hang out in the parks and rest until the food is ready.

Many nap in the parks too.

Not everybody wanted their photo taken.

These two asked me to take their picture

The men can be very affectionate with each other in public, but not men and women together.

More kids.

This beautiful little girl wasn't so sure about having her picture taken.

 Many of the people thanked me for taking their picture.

She was very sweet.

I forget how long this couple told us they had been married.

There are bakeries everyone. This is the traditional bread of Ramadan.

Following the tourists around. That's what they call us here in Turkey.

Adorable happy kids.

Most of the people in Diyarbakir are Kurds. Some people told me I look Kurdish. That's a real compliment. You can see how beautiful the people are.

The next morning at 6  a.m. I took a walk on the ancient city walls.

There were places where weapons could be pointed at attacking enemies.

I saw a lot of families sleeping on the roofs to avoid the blazing heat.

The newer city outside the walls.

This couple hadn't gotten up yet.

Diyarbakir has a beautiful park all along the inside of the wall.

Once you're up on the wall there are few steps to get down.

I didn't trust these two, so I made a beeline for the steps down.

I stood near these maintenace workers until the two young men gave up and left.

The man on the left has worry beads in his hand. That's pretty common.

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