This past weekend we had the opportunity to go on an organized trip with CIEE to Kars, a small city in Northeastern Turkey. By the title of this post, you can already tell I loved it! 🙂
It was definitely interesting to see a completely different side of Turkey: the community Kars finds itself in is very rural and it was also extremely cold, it even snowed while we were there!! The day we flew in we had a small tour of Kars and got to see some cool architecture and learn about the history of the community and the influence of the Russians, Georgians and Armenians in the region.
Our second day there was, well, interesting. Over half of our group got food poisoning from the night before and had to stay at the hotel and recover. Thankfully, my pickiness when it comes to food saved me from that one (yeah Mom and Dad, there you go 😉 ). Me and the other half of the group went to Ani, a town close to Kars, where we got to see some of the most beautiful ruins and the Armenian border.
After our tour of Ani, we drove in our bus to Boğatepe, a small village about an hour away. When we arrived, we split into three groups and each group had the opportunity to eat at one of the villager’s homes. The food was fantastic and fresh and it was an amazing experience to interact (through translation from our CIEE coordinator) with our hosts and learn more about their lives.
After our meal, we learned more about the cheese production in the village and the work of women cultivating herbs for pharmaceutical purposes.Finally, we went back to the hotel to join our sick friends who were feeling a little better after their rough day.
The last day in Kars we visited one of the only two bird-banding stations in Turkey, located an hour and a half from Kars. It was an interesting experience because I know absolutely nothing about birds. At these stations, birds are caught and they are examined and get a small band or bracelet on one of their feet. If that banded bird is caught again somewhere else in the world, more is learned about bird behavior and their migratory patterns, which contributes to furthering research and advocacy for their protection.
Anyway, I have bored you enough with my talk about birds, but I hope you enjoyed reading about this trip as much as I enjoyed experiencing it. Today, a new adventure begins! Kurban Bayramı (a religious holiday-if you want to know more about the religious significance of it, you can read a little about it here: http://www.mymerhaba.com/Bayrams-in-Turkey-119.html) break begins today and I will be traveling with my friend Keelia for 10 days; I am super excited as we will be visiting 4 different cities in the Aegean region of Turkey: İzmir, Ephesus, Pamukkale and Bodrum. My next post will be after the holiday! Hope everyone has a nice fall break! 🙂 Hugs from Turkey!