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x0x Friendly, modern Turkey welcomes visitors

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    x0x Friendly, modern Turkey welcomes visitors Turkey is changing fast. And it s modernizing fast. For my vacation this year, I hit the road in Turkey, with
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 20, 2011
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      x0x Friendly, modern Turkey welcomes visitors

      Turkey is changing fast. And it's modernizing fast. For my vacation this
      year, I hit the road in Turkey, with romantic memories (a few years...

      By Rick Steves Tribune Media Services

      Turkey is changing fast. And it's modernizing fast. For my vacation this
      year, I hit the road in Turkey, with romantic memories (a few years old)
      of horse-drawn carriages and villages with economies powered by hay, dung,
      and ducks. While that rustic old world is tougher to find, the deep
      traditions and warm hospitality of the region are as endearing as ever,
      especially if you venture past the predictable sights and tourist zones.
      Turkey has a sparse and frustrating train system, but flights are cheap
      and competitive bus companies provide easy, comfy, and inexpensive
      connections throughout the land.

      At the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Turkey is looking West and getting
      there. It is a vast land, bigger than Texas and with a population of 60
      million. Only half of Turkey's 42,000 villages had electricity in 1980.
      Now they all do. Does modernization threaten the beautiful things that
      make Turkish culture so appealing? An old village woman assured me, "We
      can survive TV and tourism because we have strong cultural roots." The
      Turkish way of life is painted onto this land with indelible cultural ink.

      I followed my wanderlust to one of my favorite destinations in Turkey, the
      village of Guzelyurt in Cappadocia. Families here go about daily life as
      they have for generations. I walk down streets that residents from 3,000
      years ago might recognize, past homes carved into rock, enjoying friendly
      greetings of "Merhaba." Time is not money here. It's the perfect place to
      slow down and experience a true "back door" experience: playing backgammon
      in a smoky teahouse, downing cup after cup of tea.

      With the help of a guide, I enjoy a home visit, the perfect two-way
      cultural exchange. A village woman serves me a simple, home-cooked lunch.
      Then, with the guide as translator, I get to really connect with my host.
      This is the best way to gain an insight into her world and village life in
      Turkey.

      [Read the rest of the story at:

      http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/travel/2015658376_trsteves19.html ]
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