Hi from Rick: That's Me on a Tour
|Most common question when somebody returns from a Turkey tour: "What's special about Turkey?" Most common answer: "The people!"|
I'm having the time of my life, simply enjoying one of my own tours. I'm in Turkey with 25 new friends and a guide who makes learning about Turkey a delight. Here are a few of many favorite moments I've had so far...
Popping into a mosque during prayer time, I quietly observed a bouncy little boy copying the ritual motions of his grandpa on the prayer rug.
Michael, a fellow tour member, wears a Turkish flag on his lapel. He finds it's a great conversation starter, as any local who sees it asks, "You like Turkey?"
Stepping into our hotel, another tour member commented on flowers lavishly bedecking the lobby. She asked, "Was there a wedding?" The man at the desk said, "No, a circumcision."
Speaking of weddings, as our group all sat cross-legged in a circle on the carpet of a small town mosque, having a Q&A with the imam, he told us that death is considered a kind of wedding day because "that is the day you unite with your maker."
I'm so glad to see the center of Anatolia after nearly a decade. Although Turkey is getting surprisingly modern, in the countryside men still set the standards in macho. When they go to the tobacco shop for a pack of cigarettes, they prefer the pack that reads "cigarettes can cause death by cancer," rather than the one that reads "cigarettes can cause impotency."
Half of our group bought baggy, local-style trousers at the weekly market this morning. They're so breezy, wearing mine I thought if I needed a catchy line for a sales jingle it would be, "Baggy pants: for when you want to go naked but can't."
As we walked across town to the home where the family was preparing a traditional feast for our dinner, I noticed children in the field laughing wildly. They were bursting with joy. Then I realized they were laughing at me — a big, gawky American man walking through their vacant lot wearing baggy pants with a floral (and decidedly feminine) pattern.
I'm just four days into this experience, and each day is filled with images like these. No matter where you choose to travel, a good tour rewards you with memories that will last a lifetime.
In this month's Tour News you'll learn about our favorite destinations for diving into Europe's great outdoors in the summer and fall — and several that can save you up to $300 (while seats last). Our video of the month will take you into a wine-splashed Viennese Heurigen Garden, and our tour guide interview features the real-life adventures of Tara Swenson.
I've just had one of my favorite adventures — one I always look forward to in this part of the world — a game of backgammon against a local player, with half the men in town looking on. Careening through the rough and tumble match, I nearly won...but didn't.
But I came away feeling like a winner.