What was your biggest culture shock going to Turkey?

I LOVE this question! But I can’t answer with only one thing!

I’ve been on a long journey that started the beginning of February 2019 and spanned many countries and cities: Dallas, Tx. Paris, Fr. New Delhi, Agra, & Goa, India, (Istanbul, Turkey for 2 nights) Jerusalem and Tel Avi, Israel, and finally Bangkok, Krabi, Thailand.

But let me go back to last year when I said jokingly: “I could live out a suitcase!” And that’s a big thing to say when you are 72!

I decided to take myself seriously and after decades of working full time, I liquidated my life, put my photos and important papers into one suitcase, grabbed my knapsack with my computer and my iPhone X and took off! Turkey was not on my list when I planned this amazing voyage. But, I planned all this through a company that specialized in long trips (mine was over 4 months) and Chris said, “Lynda, layovers are free. Stop in Istanbul.” He and Istanbul changed my life.

Why do I LOVE Turkey and what shocked and surprised me? First. two days were not enough. So I came back to Istanbul after Thailand loved it so much I recently applied for a long term visa!

YES, I was shocked in an amazing way, with Turkey. Let me share the reasons why:

  1. The #1 Country for the Sexiest Men in the World is Turkey Yes, it’s true. Just walk through Sultanahmet Square where the Blue Mosque is and you will see what I mean!
  2. I LOVE the call to prayer. Do you know that there are over 81K mosques in Turkey? Over 3100 are in Istanbul. I was brought up Catholic and spent a year in the convent. But I don’t truly identify with any organized religion. The call to prayer happens through loudspeakers at every mosque, 5 times a day. I find it soothing and very special.
  3. Islam. Turkey is a Muslim European country. Of the 17 million people of this thoroughly modern and gorgeous city, 96.4% practice Islam. And from what I’ve learned since I arrived here, the religion is not anything like what we learn and hear about in the West.
  4. The people are genuinely kind. I’ve never experienced any violence whatsoever—not that it doesn’t happen, I’m sure—but I walk the streets at night, take the trams, wander endlessly, come home from dining through the city, walking down the hills from Taksim, and never once have I ‘felt’ unsafe. Btw, it helps to have a built-in-danger alarm.
  5. And if all of these things alone didn’t surprise me, I must say the language drives me nuts!! Hah, I walk around with google translate, although most people involved in tourism speak English. I feel so stupid. I can’t wrap my tongue around the words. I can’t relate them to anything—I have some French, Spanish, and of course English. I can even understand some Italian! But Turkish, even though I watch Netflix Turkish cop shows, I still don’t get it!
  6. Food! Don’t get me started! If you haven’t tried Turkish Ice Cream—it’s so creamy—you have not lived!The food is so good and so plentiful. And do try the varieties of baklava, and chocolate, and Turkish Delights!
  7. The night. Istanbul never sleeps. You can find restaurants open at 2 a.m all over the city!

My “shocks” have all been positive—except the damn language!! haha.

Answered in Quora!

Lynda Filler is the author of 15 published books on Amazon. Award-winning Target in the Sun is .99c today.

Reasons why Istanbul should be #1 on your Bucket List

How I ended up in this city is pure serendipity. But here I am and I LOVE it.

  • Everyday I learn more and more. 17M people live here, but it feels like any other city in the world, only more historical and beautiful. Let me tell you why I love it.You walk amongst historical sites like it’s part of everyday life. Take a look at this view. The Blue Mosque is in the foreground and the Hagia Sophia in the background. If you make an arrow straight from the left of this photo over the Bosphorus Strait, that’s where I live. It’s a 15 minute tram ride to the Blue Mosque.
The Blue Mosque at night
  • The Old City Walls are intact and can be seen in various forms all around the city. Imagine driving on ultra modern bridges and highways, with a view of the Theodosian Walls of Constantinople that saved the city many a time during its wars against the Avars, the Tartars, the Russians, and the Bulgarians.

Photo Bob Phillips thank you! Fine Art America

  • The food is fun, delicious, nutritious, and colorful! And I LOVE the chocolates!!
Fish Sandwiches under the Galata Bridge
  • The mix of old and new is felt in both the architecture, the culture, and the Islam religion. The unique ability for a 96.4% Muslim country to live side by side with all religions and cultures is felt in the welcoming nature of the people. As a secular woman I dress in my comfortable secular attire, and walk side by side with fully robed and casually attired Muslim women. There is no criticism, nor evil eyes, only nods of recognition that we are all one.
  • I LOVE the Call to Prayer, the Muslim tradition of the Quran prayer that reminds the devout five times a day, to stop what he/she is doing and say a prayer. Most of us have a belief in a Higher Power. It’s expressed by a variety of religions and ideologies, but the tenets are the same: We are all one and God is Love.

I was given a second chance at life in 2008 and I am determined to make the most of it! LOVE the Beat Goes On

Thank you for following my blog and I hope I gave you a small taste of life in Istanbul, Turkey.

The Cool Cats of Istanbul

Istanbul cats are famous. Who knew? They are everywhere and they are beautiful.

The religion of Islam teaches that animals are to be honored and cared for, but the Cat is the only one allowed to live in the home and walk into a Mosque. That doesn’t negate any other animals, it’s simply that the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) has laws for the treatment of animals and fellow man and he had cats!

I’m quite fascinated by the local cats, their beauty, their health, and their attitude. They know they rule! The community feeds the animals whether they are pets or not. I passed a cat on my street eating fresh chicken placed outside by the local butcher for the cats. Another day I encountered a lovely tabby having tinned tuna. It’s the same with the stray dogs. They are healthy and have been tagged by the city so we know they are free of disease. The dogs wander the streets; but hey are not aggressive at all. The spend their nights curled up in doorways or at the entrance of the Mosques.

When I go walking or take the millions of steps up to the top of the hill (Istanbul is a city of so many hills!) I stop to greet and chat with the cats. Even the street art pays homage to the superiority and love for the Cats of Istanbul! I thought I’d share them with you!

Do you have a favorite? I definitely lean towards the green eyes, and the Kung Fu Cat! I could go on and on, but you get that it’s a “Cats’ World” in Istanbul, Turkey!