3rd August 2015:
It’s been a while since my last post. And I stuffed this one up because it went up as Page … Rather than Post ??? So
A lot has happened …!!!! The last time I posted was a few days ago …
Since then wow!!! Made it to Bursa … A wonderful city once the Centre of the Ottoman Empire. Now a city of 1.5 million … About 50 km South of the Marmara Sea … Almost due south of Istanbul. After a stressful entry into the city finding a parking spot and hotel ( one way systems and hot afternoon in slow traffic meaning Mollie was getting close to boiling point !!! … We eventually found a great little place called the Dikmen Hotel … A little old worldy. Fantastic views across the city which expands across a hill side.
Our hotel was close to the central heart of the old city. … But before exploring the city we try to send some funds back to Turkmenistan .. We owed $$$ to our agent there for a hotel in Ashgabat ( as we needed to hang on to as much cash as possible for Iran) . It turned into a mini night mare doing the Western Union thing … More on that latter.
Anyway after hanging around in Banks that could not help us for to long, we decided to hunt out the Old Car museum. The sign said 1500m …so after having no success, Tom asked a taxi driver … “Ok for 5 liner I can take you” … A 2 or 3 Km away along windy one way streets that travers the hillside we get out … This is the place … But not open Mondays !!!
While looking around the park near the museum a local lady gives us a pear picked from the fruit trees in the park … refreshing. We … (Being Barry, Tom and myself) wander the windy streets among the 4 to 6 story apartment blocks back towards the hotel. It’s these little unplanned moments that give you a feel for the place.
After finding the Main Street again we also find a Bar and have our first beer in a Turkish bar. Nice location … Shade and running water down in a the stream below.
We then make our way into the market for some groceries. And are amazed to find a market with so much energy … So much life and colour. It goes on and on and is part of an amazing network of old and new structures which are part of this old part of the centre of the city.
Westfield and other big mall shopping centres could take a lesson from this place for sure. An amazing network of pedestrian ways … Fruit and veggies are just the beginning of this story and there is every thing . High end fashion, jewellery and department store stuff . This is not a tourist market … It’s real . There is great bus and light rail system serving the area , parking difficult but crowded and humming with the energy of human exchange .
Later in the evening as we went out to dinner we wandered the main mosque. By now we have been in few, but this one was different. Very big, with many domes rather than the usual central dome, fantastic calligraphy and motifs and in the centre a water fountain. This we had seen before. And most significantly was feel. Lots of people just enjoying the space. Some just sitting, some taking photos, some reading the Koran … A feeling of family and friendship pervaded the air. As the only foreigners we where welcomed with a “hello” and “welcome”.
We sat for a while and Barry and I washed at the fountain …. Seeking to pay respect to the traditions and to gain a little tiny insight into the local traditions. This visit to the mosque was up there with our visit to Shambala way back in Mongolia in that feeling that something is special.
We wandered further around the market found dinner and chatted with Turkish man who had lived in the US for a while. He was expressing his desire to migrate to Australia. I gave him my contact details … Maybe I can help him some how.
Bursa will linger on in my memory banks … Even though our visit was brief .