By Bankim Mehta from AFS Vadodara Chapter

“Turkey Adam Exchange trip was just awesome and I had a very nice time. We reached on 28th September 2017 late evening and were welcomed by all our Turkish friends at Adana airport then from there we all went to respective friends (host) house where I met my host brother Mr. Gurkan Ozkok who is an Orthopaedic surgeon and his wife Deniz who is a teacher. On 29th September, after heavy breakfast, we went for sightseeing with Turkey Adams and visited a city museum which was very interesting because we saw some ancient sculptures, monuments and some precious jewelery which were used by different people very long back (before Christ). After that, we went to another place called ANVARAZA which is about 80 km from Adana and on our way ahead we had  lunch on road site restaurant where we ate Sismik (kind of Parathas/frankie) filled with cheese and salad of olives, tomato and lemon after that we went to Alper’s (host brother of Mr.Kaushal Pandya’s) cousin’s farm where we saw some racing horses and met their relatives and had delicious Turkish coffee. We went to see KIRKIYA castle which is very old time castle with some good history.

(Photo Above: Dinner with new friends)

Evening was a Gala Dinner time at my Turkish brother’s home organised by Deniz; she also invited some (five) Romanian Eva ladies along with one family of Dominique Republic who’s son is studying in Turkey along with some Eva sisters (who visited Vadodara in 2016) and some of her guest. Deniz had decorated her house with beautiful lights and had put flags of Turkey & India where we all took some pics and had a chance to eat some traditional Turkish dishes, salads with famous local sweets. I was so lucky to have Deniz and Gurkan as both of them were very kind, loving and caring and I knew Deniz before also when she came to Baroda under Eva program.

(Photo Above: Traditional Marriage)

On 30th September we went again for sightseeing to Mersin (neighbour city of Adana) where on the road to Mersin we visited very olden time church & well (Cathedral of Saint Paul) then went to see one beautiful & natural water fall then we saw The Sehmeran legend (human head and a snake body) museum on way we also saw a couple wearing a traditional marriage dress (bride & groom) after that we went to see Cave of Asthma ( 7 sleepers cave) which is a natural cave turned out after volcano erupted then went to see a big cave name Heaven and Hell (Natural geographical formation) then went to Kudret’s summer house in Mersin on Sea Shore to enjoy night out with all eight Adams.

On 1st October, we went for a boat ride for whole day in Mediterranean Sea from morning to evening which was a mind blowing experience in itself because we had so much fun in the boat ride with Turkish lunch, dance and lot of fun with some other tourist on the deck and also had a chance to swim in the sea for two times. (I will never forget this in my life because it was awesome experience).

On 2nd October, we four Adams were invited by Irem & other Eva ladies at Irem’s (Eva sister) house for a brunch with a variety of many mouth licking items then we went to one public school (PRAL School) with Deniz and Funda for AFS presentation for sending where more than 100 students were gathered in a AV room and had a open session where in I also gave short speech about advantage of AFS program and welcomed students to come to India (also mentioned that we had a student Yasmeen Yurr from Turkey under exchange program) after that  some of the students came to us and requested  for photo with them for which I really feel great and THANKS AFS INDIA FOR MAKING THIS POSSIBLE AND PROVIDING SUCH A PLATFORM. Then in evening we went to see old Adana city where we did some shopping along with famous Adana sweets “Turkish Delight ” and went to restaurant for dinner.

On 3rd October, we went to Capadocia a town which is a geographical formation with a very different way of living from historic time then we went for a track in Gorene National Park which was very thrilling experience and we had a opportunity to see and eat many fruits like apple, berries, grapes, black grapes and many unknown fruits which our Turkish friends were plucking and offering us then in evening we checked  in the hotel there after we went to a Turkish restaurant where we enjoyed Turkish folk dances and songs.

On 4th October, after relaxing well  in hotel we left. On the way to Adana, we visited some interesting places like Yukari, Nevsehir & Avanos then went to market where some of us purchased traditional souvenirs.

In the morning of 5th October, we went to visit Central Mosque which is very big mosque and then to Adana Central garden where we did some shopping and then returned home as we were suppose to catch flight in the evening but unfortunately our flight got cancelled that day and got confirmation for next day morning flight.

On 6th October, we reached Istanbul, got in to hotel and after breakfast went for  sight seeing. On that day we visited some places, then took boat ride in Mediterranean sea as well as Black sea then went to local market in the evening for shopping and dinner.

On 7th October from morning till late evening, we roamed in Tasleem square which is a very long shopping market with both side shops & malls, also took ride in tram way twice then returned to hotel and had some light snacks which we had taken from our home.

On 8th October in the morning, after heavy breakfast in hotel roamed nearby hotel areas and 12 pm left for airport (Ataturk airport) and reached Baroda on 10th October via Kuwait.

Our entire trip was excellent and especially all the host families in Adana were very cooperative and made such nice arrangement that we enjoyed each & every day in very special way and the treatment given by them was exceptionally good. Now it’s our time to welcome our Turkish friends as they would be visiting us from 06th December to 12th December 2017