The fascination of Turkey

Autor: Eduardo
Fecha: 21 de March de 2021
Categorias: Entrada

A long time ago I read the book “Aziyadé”, by the French author Pierre Loti, and that is what gave birth to my yearning to visit Turkey in general and its capital in particular.

My first stay took place in Istanbul, where I spent five wonderful days with my mother.

But, “as Rome (or in this case, Turkey,) wasn’t built in a day”, I decided to return fifteen years later with my husband Eduardo, to broaden what remained of my knowledge of it in my memory.

The Turkish series “Kara Para Ask” began to become fashionable in Spain and the need to gaze on the Bosphorus again became compelling.

Before any traveler sets foot on the soil of this Ottoman country on any day of the year, they should know that to travel with Turkish Airlines and to pass through Turkish airports are veritable nightmares, but I will not detract from this Thousand- and One-Nights’ tale.

We had chosen a hotel on the shores of the Bosphorus for its views and the freshness which the river gave off at evening tide when the city lights up (we were there in the middle of August), on the Western shore.

I did not only want to revisit the classic tourist sites, that was not the point of the trip, but wanted also to discover new places which I had not got round to seeing fifteen years back.

Turkey is a melting pot of cultures, colors, smells, tastes, architecture, monuments, people… I feel that were I to return several times more, there would still be something remaining to be discovered.

We did not pass on the obligatory visits during our week in Istanbul: the Pierre Loti Café (converted over the intervening fifteen years into a true multi-channel business, a pity, in truth… the simple fact of being able to enjoy a Turkish coffee, admiring the Golden Horn in silence, was more than enough;) the bustling Sultanhamet (although it had a sting in the tail as almost all the monuments were undergoing restoration. It is strange to take a trip to the Cisterna, without water and in the darkness, and not to be able to enter Santa Sofia and see the Blue Mosque, reduced to just a few meters through being almost completely closed).

Even so, we really enjoyed the Topkapi Palace (its gardens and Harem were even more spectacular than I remembered them), and the spice market, from which Eduardo had to either drag me away, or I would have taken them all back to Spain… soaps, perfumes, clothes, jewelry, bags, spices, coffee, tea… EVERYTHING!

That night we were fortunate enough to have an unconventional experience: to eat supper underneath the Galata bridge. The restaurants follow on one after another; it’s simply a matter of choosing one, and enjoying an excellent Turkish fish supper with all the trimmings, watching the ferries which link Istanbul sail in and out, as the fishermen cast their lines from above us and that magnificent city, which seems to bathe itself in light at sunset.

Another experience I recommend, although off the beaten track (even from Taxim) is to take a stroll and eat supper in Cezayir Sokagi (the French Street). The street is very small in itself, on an incline, bumpy as well as flowery, and all the restaurant owners invite you to dine in their establishment.

We ended up going for a live music bar, whose owner had a great sense of humor. It was wonderful, time seemed to stand still, we were overcome by a certain listlessness… impossible to go back to the hotel. What peace, what tranquility, we did not notice the time flying by.

Without being able to go back to the Dolmabahce Palace, nor visit the Asiatic Coast with its colorful little houses, we were on our way back to the airport again, to visit Alaçati, a fishing village with stone-built houses in pastel shades, which is to be found in Izmir province, on the Aegean, on Turkey’s west coast, opposite Greece.

Our week of farniente got underway. Mithat, owner of the converted –mansion hotel where we were lodging, greeted us with a welcome cocktail next to the pool. A charming man, like the majority of Turks who we had the good fortune to meet during our trip, we learnt a lot from him, about the language, the country, the culture, and the sites worth visiting, like the Cappadocia, Konya, Izmir, and the Turquoise coast.

In the Grenadine hotel, you feel right at home, with the fine dining (excellent, of course) being homemade, to order, and you are living with Mithat’s son’s dog, and a host of cats who have taken over the Grenadine (and if you are animal lovers like we are, it may well be that some of the little ones decide to come and sleep in your room!)

At night time the Grenadine lights up, music rings out, and Mithat offers you a taste of his wine cellar between chats. The Çesme region is known for its vineyards and a small glass of Borneva Misketi (a white wine with sweet and citric undertones) really hits the spot.

The Turkish beaches on this Aegean coast are paradise; Ilica was our favorite, with its fine white sand, its warm turquoise water, albeit strangely salty, and that so refreshing breeze. And then there is the horizon… that never-ending ocean stretching as far as the eye can see, bathed in sunshine, what more could anyone ask for at such a moment?

Saturday is market day, one of Turkey’s most important. Endless stalls running through the city center streets covered by awnings to keep a certain cool. This is where the region’s hostelry owners gather to stock up on supplies.

The food stalls leave you speechless: tomatoes the size of melons, eggs the size of tomatoes, all sorts of spices in small bags, fruits and vegetables which scarcely fit in your hand, women making flatbreads of a colossal size. Not forgetting the clothes, the tea and coffee sets, the jewelry, the ceramics, and so on.

Along with the time to return home came a feeling of deep sadness. Turkey, you stole our hearts. But we will carry our dreams, we will make plans, we will look forward to coming back, and next time we will stay longer to take in what we missed visiting the time before.

Sol, CEO of Sol Marzellier Traductores TM.

Courtesy of Sol Marzellier Traductores TM: (after extensive research on the Internet and talks with Mithat):


Pronunciation tips: there are many letters that sound the same as in our alphabet.

  • The “r” is like ours, soft (pear …),
  • The “a”, “e”, “m”, “n”, “t” … are also the same.

There are exceptions, to be analyzed in alphabetical order:

  • The” c” is pronounced as “dj”,
  • The “ç” as “ch”,
  • The “g” like ours, soft (guitare …),
  • The “ğ” is a practically silent “h” that makes the preceding vowel lengthen.
  • The “h” does not present great difficulties, it is an aspirated “h” whose pronunciation is very similar to the “j” of some regions of Andalusia,
  • The sound of the “ı” without a dot is obtained by pronouncing an “e”,
  • The sound of the “ö” is like the French “eu”,
  • The “ş” is pronounced like the “sh”, as if commanding someone to shut up,
  • The sound of the “ü” is like the French “u”.

Basic expressions

Goodbye:                                           hoşçakalın (joshakalen)

Welcome:                                          hoş geldiniz (hosh geldiniz)

Good morning:                günaydın (gunayden)

Good afternoon:                             iyi akşamlar (ii akchamlar)

Good night:                                       iyi geceler (ii gedjeler)

How are you?                                    nasılsınız? (naselsenez?)

You are welcome:                          rica ederim (ridja ederim)

I understand/do not understand:            

anlıyorum/anlamıyorum (anlierum/anlamierum)

Thank you:                                        teşekkürler (techekurler)

See you later:                                   güle güle (gulé gulé)

Hello:                                                  merhaba (mérjaba)

English?                                              ingilizce? (ingilizje?)

My name is:                                       benim adım (benim adem)

Thank you very much:   teşekkür ederim/ederiz (you/them) – sağol (saaol, colloquial)

Very good, and you?                      Lyiyim, ya siz? (iim, ya siz?)

No, thank you:                 hayır, teşekkürler (jayir)

I do not speak Turkish:  türkçe konuşamıyorum (turkché konuchamiorum)

Or:                                                         veya

Excuse me:                                        affedersiniz

Please:                                lütfen

Have a nice day!                              ıyi günler (ii gunler)

Yes/no:                                evet/hayır

And:                                                     ve/üz/sever

On errands

How much?                                       ne kadar?

Money:                                para

It is cheap:                                         ucuz (udjuz)

It is too expensive:                         bu çok pahalı (bu chok pahale)

I love it:                                sevdim

I would like to buy this one:        şunu almak istiyorum (chunu almak istiorum)

A Little discount?                           ındirim yap-ıyor mu-sunuz? (yapyor)

I am just looking:                            sadece bakıyorum (sadedje bakiorum)

Card:                                                    karti

In the restaurant

Water:                                                 su

Sugar/without sugar:    şeker (cheker)/şekersiz

Sparkling / Still Water:  kaynak/kaynaksiz suyu

White / white wine:                       beyaz/beyaz şarap (charap)

Alcohol:                                             alkollü

Coffee / Turkish coffee: kahve (jajvé)/türk kahve

Menu, of the day:                            günün ıçecekler (ichedjekler)/menü (sü, of the day)

Bier:                                                     birá

Hastray:                                              külük

Glass:                                                   bardak

Spoon:                                                 kaşik (kachik)

Doble:                                                 çift (chift)

Where are the restrooms?          tuvalet nerede?

Fine (enough):                 tamam

It is/was delicious:                          nefis/nefisti

It is too hot:                                       çok sıcak (chok sedjak)

Fantastic:                                           muhtechem (mujtechem)

Hamburguer:                                   köfte

Ice:                                                       buz

Eggs/scrambled/fried:  yumurta/menemem yumurta/sahanda (sajanda) yumurta

The Bill, please:                              hesap lütfen

Butter:                                                 tereyağı (terea)

Shellfish:                                           deniz ürünleri

More:                                                   daha

I would like…:                                  ıstiyorum (estiorum)

Bread:                                                 ekmek

Pepper:                                              bibér

Enjoy your meal!                             afiyet olsun!

What is this?                                     bunedir?                            

What do you recomend?             ne tavsiye edersiniz? (ne tausie … ?)

Salt:                                                      tuz

Cheers!                                şerefe! (cherefé!)

Single (one):                                     tek

I am allergic:                                    alerjim var

Red/red wine:                  kırmızı (kermeze)/ kırmızı şarap

Tea/frozen tea:                çay (chay)/buzlu chay

I am hungry/thristy:                       karnım aç (karnem ach)/susayayım (susayayem)

Piece:                                                  tane

Alittle of:                                           biraz

Examples: two coffees with milk and sugar, please (ikkí sütlü ve chekerli jajvesi, lütfen)

                Two glasses of white wine, please (ikki beyaz charap bardak, lütfen)


One:                                                     bir

Two:                                                     ikkí

Three:                                                 üç (utch)

Four:                                                     dört

Five:                                                     beş (bech)

Six:                                                       altı (alte)

Seven:                                                 yedi

Heigt:                                                  sekiz

Nine:                                                    dokuz

Ten:                                                      on

Eleven:                                on bir

Twenty:                                              yirmi

Thirty:                                                 otuz

Forty:                                                   kırk (kerk)

Fifty:                                                    elli

Sixty:                                                    altmış (altmech)

Seventy:                                             yetmış (yetmech)

Heigty:                                seksen

Ninety:                                doksan

One hundred:                                  yüz

Examples:          310 (ütchüzon) – 101 (bir sever bir) – 405 (ütchüzbech)


I would like to go to…                   gitmek istiyorum (istiorum)

Plane:                                                  uçak (utchak)

Boat:                                                    vapur

Train:                                                   tren

Taxi:                                                     taksi

Coach:                                                 otobüs

I would like to rent:                        bir kiralamak istiyorum

Bike:                                                     motosiklet

Car:                                                       araba

Bicycle:                                bisiklet


Where is…? / How to go to…?   

nerede? /devam nasıl (nasel)?

Bank:                                                   banka

Station:                                               istasyon

Downtown:                                       şehir (chejir merkezi)

Hotel:                                                  otel

Hospital:                                            hastane

Is it near/far away?                         yakin/usak?

Straight ahead:                dos doğru (dooru)

Left/right:                                          sol/sağ (saa)

North/south/east/west: kusey/güney/mevcut/batı (bate)

Down/up:                                           aşağı (acha)/ yukarı (yukare)

Hours, dates and days

What time is it?                saat kaç (katch)?

When?                                 ne zaman?

Yesterday:                                         dün

Today (morning/afternoon/night)         

bugün (sabah/öğleyin (ööleyin)/akşam (akcham)

Tomorrow:                                        yarın (yaren)

Monday:                                             pazartesi

Tuesday:                                            salı (sale)

Wednesday:                                     çarşamba (tcharchamba)

Thursday:                                           perşembe (perchembe)

Friday:                                                 cuma

Saturday:                                           cumartesi

Sunday:                                              pazar

I am here on vacation:  tatil

I am here on a trip:                         seyahat (seyajat)

I am here on business:  çalişma (tchalichma)

Health, Safety

I need t osee a doctor:   doktor bana lazim

Call a doctor/ambulance:            doktor/ambulans çağırın (chaeren)

Where is the hospital?  hastane nerede?

I do not feel well:                            hastayım (hastajem)

It hurts me here:                             busarı ağrıyor (busare aareyor)

Help!                                                    imdat!

Police:                                                polis

Danger:                                              tehlike (tejlike)

I am lost:                                             kayboldum

Stop!                                                    dur


Beautiful:                                          güzel

ballpoint:                                           kalem

Cigarrette:                                        sigara

Push:                                                    itiniz

I am married:                                    bem evliyim (woman)

We are married:                              biz evliyiz

Family:                                aile

Turkish lira:                                       türk lirazá

Paper:                                                 kağı (kaae)

Stop!                                                    otuş! (otuch!)

Exit:                                                      çıkış (tchekech)

Pull:                                                     çetiniz (chetiniz)

Acerca del autor

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