It started to be boring to say “Our people’s hospitality, generosity…” again and again, but I must tell you these stories:
- Most of the population is Kurdish people in Van. So, in busses they use to listen to Kurdish folk songs. When we asked for the price or something in Turkish, the driver changed the tune or shut down the radio. We had to explain that we didn’t want them to change it, it didn’t bother us, and actually we liked Kurdish songs. They are usually so talkative. We learned lots of things about the region from the bus drivers. Since we didn’t know anything, these were really helpful.
- We visited the castle twice. In our first visit, I saw the café but we didn’t sit there. It was a glass cottage and there was a menu of the place at the entrance of the castle. At the time of our second visit, I was hungry and I decided to wait until we got there and have a snack at castle’s café. When we got there, we asked for something to eat and the young men working there said there was nothing to eat. They only served beverage. There wasn’t even any biscuit and the nearest place to eat was more than 20 minutes of walking. We said that we counted on their existence here and hadn’t eaten in Van and they were so overwhelmed. They offered us peach juice and tried not to take our money. We had to insist a lot to give it. Then one of them went inside and brought a sandwich. He put some fried potatoes into a huge piece of bread and gave it to us. It was their own lunch which they brought from their home! We thanked them a lot and they apologized a lot. I still smile when I remember this.
- We decided to visit Cavustepe in our last full day and found the bus to Gurpinar. When we arrived there we found out that we have to go some more to reach Cavustepe. The driver offered to bring us there for 10 lira. It wasn’t much but thinking that it was only 2 lira per person for all the way from Van… We accepted and driver visited some of his relatives in the village. His mother got off, some of his relatives came and we went the road together, talking. They invited us to their house after Cavustepe but we had a direct bus to Van.
There are more but I think that’s enough. Just be sure that you’ll feel more comfortable than your own house in this city and in this country.
If you are travelling by yourself, as I was, then you won't be alone for long. The locals are very friendly and generous, I paid for very few meals here. Maybe bring some small gifts that are special to your country.
We happened to be in Mardin for the Nowruz Kurdish festival, which as far as I could tell involves leaping over fires and lots of clapping. We were warned about getting too close though, as there is often trouble with the Turkish police who don't tolerate much of this sort of celebrations. In Diyarbakir there was trouble, so Nowruz is not the best time to visit the kurdish areas of Turkey.
in Turkey, you'll get a cup of tea after every meal, a custom that is done carefully in every restaurant.
book a tourguide in advance, or make sure the building will be open, before you go up to the palace.