November 4, 2013 by travelingsole
The road trip to Şanlıurfa was pretty bad. The time there was a little better. I was so tired and it was so hot I had a hard time enjoying Şanlıurfa.
During the day we went back to the air conditioned hotel because it was too hot to be out and about. Internet was sporadic but existed.
Since we spend the day inside we got up early, no later than 7. We got up at 5:30 one morning to watch the sunrise from the mountain top. It was a beautiful view and it was pleasantly warm instead of blisteringly hot.
Another morning we went to the park. We strolled. Prayed together and looked up Scriptures that talked about the area. There are no churches in this region. There are maybe 3 Followers in the entire city, not including us.
We only ate 2 meals a day in Antakya and Şanlıurfa. It was almost too hot to enjoy eating a mid-day meal and it helped us to stay under-budget.Breakfast was always at the hotel and some combination of the following… Lots of bread. Tomatoes. Olives. Cheese. Watermelon. And if you were lucky a hard boiled egg. And did I mention bread? Always LOTS of bread. Breakfast in Şanlıurfa was exceptionally good. There was a wide spread and they had eggs and french fries.
We had a budget of $10 a day. By the time we got Şanlıurfa we were tired of Turkish food. Well not Turkish food, Turkish restaurant food. After eating out lunch and supper for two weeks straight you are ready for a different kind of food. We didn’t have access to kitchens and there aren’t that many options if you want to change it up.
It’s pretty much kebaps (English is kebab), döner kebaps, and döner kebaps. The meat is cooked like this. The meat is wrapped in two tortilla like breads with a little bit of sauce. Some were better than others. The really good ones had lots of meat, lots of ketchup and mayo, and french fries in them.
There were these pidas too. I didn’t normally order these because they aren’t as filling but they are tasty.
Now I miss Turkish food. I was tired of it but not anymore. I think maybe I’ll have to find myself an Middle Eastern style restaurant asap. I digress.
Back to the story. We decided as a group that we were extremely tired of the same food everyday so we were going to find a different restaurant. We asked the hotel manager. He directed us to an “American” restaurant about 1 1/2 km down the road. Always ready to save money we decided to walk. It was evening so it was only 100* instead of 110*. We got to Gulhan Restaurant and double checked the menu. Sure enough burgers but the rest of the menu was typical Turkish. We asked the restaurant guy if there was any restaurants besides Turkish in Şanlıurfa… “No, in Urfa only Turkish food.” We still chew that line today. (yes ok pun intended. lame I know). We were determined to find something, ANYTHING, different.
A block down the street we found a beautiful restaurant, Hanzade, with a huge menu and it included pages of American food. In fact I think there was more American food in that menu than Turkish. 🙂 “In Urfa only Turkish food” my foot! 🙂 It was also an oasis. Outdoor seating in shade plus they had a nifty overhead misting system that cooled the air without making us wet. I thought I had more pictures but it must have been on someone else’s camera. Anyway the restaurant was so good we went two nights in a row. It was a long walk but it was so worth it. We felt human again.
One of the oldest most interesting parts of the city was the Old Bazaar built by Süleyman the Magnificent in the mid-16th century.
The best part is the silk section. I bought a couple lamb skins here too for really cheap.
There is a park in that area that surrounds the fish pond too. It’s famous in the Islamic stories. They believe that Nimrod and Abraham got in a quarrel on the top of the mountain. Nimrod threw Abraham off the side of the mountain to his impending death. Allah saved Abraham’s life. As Abraham was falling through the air he was surrounded by fish and a pool appeared below him. The fish are never allowed to be eaten or you will go blind.
And a couple more pictures