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THE CHOCOLATE DESTINATION , TURKEY
1.       Nitas
8 posts
 07 Apr 2012 Sat 08:16 pm

 

THE CHOCOLATE DESTINATION


Eskisehir, Turkey

 

This world that we live in is a big box of different type of chocolates. Chocolates being destinations the world is packed with. Every holiday, people like me and you want to go out, go see something new, hit a new destination and stamp it with our presence. 

Year round we’re thinking of when we would get a week or ten days off and we can indulge in recreation at a new place, a destination. Not taking a dig at the female readers - some especially just want to go to a new destination to shop. You and me could differ from the purpose but mostly all of us are looking for the ideal destination, the best chocolate for us in this big box.

Never travelled alone before, I wanted to experiment being on my own in new land! Picking up a destination this time was hard. I wanted a new place. Every place except all the ones I had visited was new but not all of them would be good enough to satisfy me, I wondered.

With much deliberation I decided to go to Turkey. Summer it was and for me it was the right temperature to eat this chocolate at! So the destination had been decided. Now it was to find out and gather all kind of information about Turkey. Internet being a good friend always helped me with the information. Istanbul is a city that almost everybody has heard of and much talked about in the magazines. My friend, internet exposed a small student city in Turkey called Eskisehir to me.

Ah Interesting I said! Eskisehir was a two hour journey from Ankara by high speed train, from Istanbul it was a four hour journey by train and there was not much information could I fetch about this city.  

Deciding on a particular city is easier with your purpose in sight. I was looking to meet a lot of new people, familiarize with a new culture, eat good food, explore and learn, and have a fond memory of the place I go to! Eskisehir seemed fit for me because it had a lot of students, and where there are a lot of students there are always good places to hang out and things to do.  It would also be easier to mingle with people of my age I thought to myself. Before I knew I had booked my ticket, to not ponder on too much on the destination I had picked.

Packing has never been a hassle for me. I posted on a few forums of what the weather would be like in Eskisehir and what clothes should I get, everybody said the same thing – “dude its summer here; you will need your summer clothes.” Packing was done and other pre-travel chores had been dealt with.

The day came sooner than I thought soon would seem, and I landed in a different time zone, in a weather 25 degrees less than Delhi and in a different culture – this was Ankara, Turkey. Ankara is the capital city of Turkey, as big as Delhi and pretty much the same in terms of the infrastructure. This was something I had already seen with jazzy malls, lively cafes, and historical buildings. Ankara is a good transit place, I thought as I started my journey to Eskisehir.

As soon as I reached Eskisehir I could see the difference. It was nothing like Delhi, nothing like Ankara. It was like a place I had always seen in the movies like a river running through the city with cafes playing music on both sides. This was the perfect start.

As abruptly I would say that I left Eskisehir, I felt the same when the day came for me to leave Eskisehir. I could not believe myself; I stayed there for over a month. When I was in the moment, that month felt like the best days of my life, looking back now I would still say the same! It is not hype that I am building for you. You might be wondering what on earth is in this weird named city. Hang on, I’ll tell you. But first you need to know that I say that I had more fun than anybody could extract from the city was because of the friends I made. I ended up staying with two Turkish boys in their apartment and later I shifted to an even better Turkish household, with a couple who I started addressing as my second parents, and their very beautiful daughter who i did not call my sister.

Answering the questions in the most uncomplicated and brief manner so that you go there to see for yourself, this is what Eskisehir had – first it is a small city, you don’t need a car to travel, I used to walk everywhere. It was so safe even for a foreigner that I could see myself walking on the road even at three o’clock in the morning. At that time I was usually going back home from a cafe or a party, yes! They are generally open till 4 in the morning. Banks of river Porsuk were home to these cafes. Porsuk runs through the city, the boat ride that took around the city through the water way is unforgettable for me and highly recommended. During the day the city has its tram network with trams buzzing around the hustling city. Trams make it easier to hop around the city not wasting much time. There is ‘carsi’ the city centre which is similar to the mall roads at hill stations in India, but relatively much bigger in size. Being a good hangout place i used to often find myself there amidst hundreds of people chilling around. More than half the population was below the age of 30. Basically everywhere I would look, I would find friendly people who are enthusiastic to know somebody not from Turkey. Must say Turkish people are courteous, very friendly and great hosts. I ended up making friends from different places all over the city. For the ones who indulge in alcohol there is a special street dedicated to bars and restaurants called ‘the bar street’. What amazed me was something I had only heard of – a fake beach! Yes! You would probably have to see to believe. In general, Eskisehir is a beautiful city, and Turkish people are, if not more than, as good as us Indians in terms of culture and social values.

I did not forget about the food, I saved it for the last. Turkish food was the reason why me and gluttony could be easily linked during the entire time I was there. If you’re a vegetarian I would not say don’t ever visit that place but I would rather beg you start non-veg if you step foot it turkey, trust me no other cuisine could give you a better start than the Turkish cuisine. Eskisehir was an advantage as the food was relatively cheaper from other cities as it was mostly to cater to the needs of students.

So this was basically in a nut shell what it was. Yes! No mention of Istanbul, as I thought I would go there the next time I am in turkey. I came back thinking it was the best destination I could choose. This chocolate was not merely a good memory but a tempting one. Guess what! I could not resist, I went to turkey again this winter. It was a different sight altogether. Ankara, Eskisehir and all cities in the North West were covered with snow, temperature dropping to as low as minus 20. This time around, again I did not visit Istanbul. Left it for the next time I go. Now i’m thinking how many such next times till I actually visit Istanbul. I may never know till next time.

If you ever are in a position to pick a destination and you end up going to turkey I don’t think you’d want to miss Eskisehir, being a guest at a Turk’s house and a Turkish girlfriend. This chocolate will surely get you hooked to it.

- Nitas Iftekhar / http://www.facebook.com/nitas.iftekhar
INDIA

 

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