Sunday, 1 June 2014

Turkish delight

the Yoga Centre Winnipeg recently returned back from our latest yoga adventure in TURKEY.

Jan and I, plus 20 willing and adventurous yoga students headed off to Istanbul and the Turquoise Coast.  We arrived to a warm greeting from our tour company: Mocha Tours.
The owner of the tour company greeted us himself. Murat , our warm, friendly  and very organized host whisked us away to a lovely little coffee shop that turned out to also specialize in CHOCOLATE!!! In addition to a wide variety of specialty coffee &teas they had chocolate in every form you can imagine- they even had chocolate spoons.

This would have been enough for most, but then we moved on to our lunch at a nearby fish restaurant. As we hungrily gobbled up the array of options before us, we were surprised by a second course!!! Most of us had already begun to slow down our eating when around came the MAIN course. Just when we could barely imagine taking another bite along came a most irresistible desert!!!

This was our welcome to Turkey and definitely set the tone for our upcoming ten days together- sweet and abundant!

As we left the cafĂ© we were serenaded by the call to prayer at the local mosque, which was broadcast out into the community.  This was our introduction to the 'call to prayer.'   No matter where we were, or what we were doing, 5 times a day we would hear this call to prayer.  No matter what one’s spiritual beliefs, you here the call! How one chooses to respond (or react) to the sound is individual. It struck me as an moment of connection and an opportunity to pause, if only for one breath,  and appreciate my immense good fortune,-not only to be travelling in this amazing country, but for my life and my freedom.

We spent the following 2 ½  days touring the ancient city of Istanbul we had a wonderful guide Yassin, who kindly and patiently shepherded us from one ancient site to another filling our brains with history and culture.! It was delightful, even though our first day was in the pouring rain! Luckily umbrellas were for sale on every corner especially at the tourist destinations!

Our second evening we were fortunate to attend a showing of the whirling dervishes at an old hamam that had been converted into a cultural centre. The show was entrancing, and lulled most of us into a meditative state.

Day three brought other wonders such as the Blue Mosque, the Cistern, and the Spice Market and our introduction into Turkish Delight……Words can not express this adventure!! Let’s just say we all did our part to support the Turkish economy.

From Istanbul we traveled to the Turquoise Coast, where we began Phase II!

We arrived in a small coastal town called Dalaman. After a 2.5 hr bus ride up winding hills along the coast  we arrived at our destination the Lazy Lizard Inn. We immediately fell in love with the place, the view, AND our hosts Sigi and Mickey. Sigi, a  wonderful cook, kept us well fed with her diverse and delicious meals. While Mickey, kindly & patiently toured us around to all the wonderful sites along the coast and catered to our every need (bathrooms, coffee and bananas).

 Each day we would head out from the Lazy lizard and travel 40 minutes down the mountain and head for a different adventure!! From natural wonders like the Saklikent Gorge, to the ancient cities of Tlos and Patara.

We roamed around the to not so ancient abandoned village of Kayokoy, imagining the lives of the villagers, and what the abandoned structures were once used for.

 We walked on beaches, bathed in the mud, swam in the blue blue sea and some of us even sailed in the sky!! Each of us was touched by a different aspect of this rich and beautiful land.

Oh yes, and of course we did yoga. Yoga was the thread that brought this very diverse group of women together. Yoga was our common thread. It helped us through the jet lag and cope with the aches and pains of sitting on buses. It calmed our nerves, soothed our travel bellies and helped us sleep. Although the outdoor morning yoga was c-c-c-cold, it still magically transformed the sleepy stiff body into a state of vibrancy and set the tone for the day. The evening yoga was a refuge- it integrated the day’s events and brought us all back into harmonious balance.

I am so grateful for this opportunity to see the world and to experience the  beauties and joys of other lands, it gives me fresh eyes and great appreciation for the beauty and wonder of our own city and the beautiful community of people at the Yoga Centre Winnipeg!

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