After a day of the beach and Ephesus, we hopped on an overnight bus for Bursa, Buket's hometown. Right before boarding the bus at the station, Buket and I went around back to the public restrooms. As I exited, a man in a low-lit side room politely reminded me it was one lira for bathroom access. I paid him a lira then turned to leave. He said, "Sorry,..." and I thought, "What does he want now?!" When I turned around, I saw he was pointing to my dress and the fact it was tucked in my underwear. There I was in a country where some value conservativeness in your dressing so much so as to cover all but their eyes, and I'm walking around with my thigh hanging out of my dress. #Embarrassing. Buses in Turkey are a real treat. I was anticipating the normal, mundane, no-leg-room routine, but was in for a surprise when I came to see that they are nicer than the mainstream airlines. They were spacious, clean, and organized. Each seat had it's own touch screen in front of it with a slue of movie and music options. They periodically came down the isle serving tea and cookies. We got on the bus about 9:00 pm and around 1:00 am stopped at a mega-gas station with a cafeteria. At that point we're in the middle of nowhere and the first thing I hear getting off the bus is John Denver's "Country Roads Take Me Home" sounding from the radio outside. Simple flickers of home hints are always sweet. We arrived to Buket's home around 3:00 am and her mom was already prepared with a fresh bowl of fruit for us, the first of much generous hospitality.
The next morning her mom made one of the most incredible breakfasts I have ever seen. I LOVE breakfast and always missed them in Spain. Breakfast is not a very big meal of the day there, maybe just a few cookies, bread, or cereal. This one in Turkey was like a Thanksgiving style breakfast, and what made it even more special was that her family's business is fruit farming so they have miles of orchards that provided the fresh cherries and various fruits we ate. In the schmorgesborg were flaky bread pastries wrapped around spinach and feta, the traditional Turkish sarma of grape leaves wrapped around rice and minced meat, boiled eggs, tomatoes, cinnamon role-esque things with fresh clotted cream, various cheeses, olives, and baklava...yum, yuM, YUM! Obviously I was hurting afterwards. It was even more fun to sit at the table with her family, including uncle and grandmother, a neighbor, and a friend. I think Turkey is the country whose food I have enjoyed the most. Obviously the others in Europe throughout the year had really good meals I enjoyed, but I liked EVERYTHING I ate in Turkey, from the tree sap ice cream to the many kebabs. I think I am just always drawn to a diet with lots of cheese, onions, garlic, tomatoes, and spices.