Home Turkey Weekend in Adana and Tarsus: Part 2

Weekend in Adana and Tarsus: Part 2

by Carmen McClelland

Inside the cave of the seven sleepers

 

After an amazing first day in Adana, I honestly didn’t think the next day could top it. I am so glad that I was proven wrong. We started the morning with a big Turkish breakfast and then went to Anthony and Cleopatra’s Gate and the ancient road of Tarsus. It was a tad bit breathtaking to be walking along roads that villagers and emperors from thousands of years ago had walked.

We went to see St. Paul’s Well and Prophet Daniel’s tomb next. It was unique to go from a Christian pilgrimage site to a Muslim one in a matter of minutes, but that is why Turkey is so fascinating. We went to different mosques where we admired the architecture and the beauty. It was a stunning Sunday morning. When it was time for lunch, I assumed that we were going to go back to the house where we were staying. Nope. We went to the house of a relative that our friend himself hadn’t even been to before.

Our last family meal in Tarsus

Our last family meal in Tarsus

As we pulled up to the home, there were two balconies filled with people waving at us. I honestly didn’t feel unwelcome at any point. We were led into the home and placed at a table with plates filled with lahmacun, a traditional Turkish food. I don’t remember how many I ate because there were so many. It tasted so wonderful and everyone was so kind to us. There were between 20-30 people in this home but it was exciting. We had to say goodbye to them to continue our sightseeing, but it would not be our last time meeting them.

Sunset over the grape fields

Sunset over the grape fields

Next, we visited the Cave of the Seven Sleepers. It is actually a pilgrimage site for both Muslims and Christians. Of course we went there right before sunset and the way the mountain looked as the sun hit it was so beautiful. Apparently, there are multiple places that claim to be the location of the seven sleepers because while we were in the cave, a Jordanian woman whispers to us that the real one is in Jordan. There appears to be a little competition between the places that say they house the cave!

We left and went to the village of our hosts’s grandmother. It was sunset by now and the view of all of the changing leaves of the grape vines, almond and olive trees with the mountains in the background made for a serene moment. The beauty of eating the foods that you personally harvest was perfectly symbolized in that moment. We visited and ate fresh nuts and fruit, then we moved to the next house for dinner.

We had a giant dinner that was very tasty and before I knew it, we were cramming into the car to go to the next place for dessert and tea. Not only did we get pastries, popcorn, fruit, nuts, and tea at the next house, but we also played another game. This one was not as competitive as hımbel but it was still a lot of fun. Everyone was moving on to the next house for Turkish coffee, but we couldn’t go because our flight was so early the next morning. It was the perfect exposure to how a typical Turkish family gathers, eats and celebrates. Not only did I enjoy myself, but Adana and Tarsus will hold a special place in my heart.

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