Notes from Konya, Turkey

My friend, Nobuko, traveller and guest-blogger, is reporting from the city of Konya and the village Sille (Turkey).

Konya  in November 2012

After leaving Cappadocia, I arrived in Konya four hours later. There, I was hosted by the couch surfer, Mr. Huseyin, a professor at a university’s drama department and I was instructed to wait for him at a local police station. When I arrived at his house, I had the pleasant surprise of meeting two other couch surfers staying there – Sasha (Ukrainian) and Yigit (Turkish).

Huseyin cooked dinner for us everyday despite his busy schedule. The three of us went around together for three days. The city of Konya is known as the center of Dervish Sema and for the Shrine of Jalaluddin Rumi, also so-called father of Sufism. Most sites are close to one another. The teaching of Sufism is almost identical to that of Buddhism and Hinduism, about which I had learned in India.

Sufism teaches:
1. In generosity and helping others, be like a river.
2. In compassion and grace, be like the sun.
3. In concealing others’ faults, be like the night.
4. In anger and fury, be like death.
5. In modesty and humility, be like the earth.
6. In tolerance, be like the sea.
7. Either exist as you are, or be as you look.

The three of us went to a small village called Sille, a mere 8 km from the city center of Konya. On the bus, we met two cute 11-year-old boys. They kept smiling and whispering to each other as they kept looking at us and so we invited them to sit with us. They emitted such very happy and warm energy. If Turkey has more children like them, I think its future is bright. Meeting little angels like them always seems like a good omen.

It was rainy and cold, but Sille was full of warmhearted people. We were so glad to have gone there. We found a photography gallery / cafe and its owner has a cat named Sushi, because she likes sushi so much! We took a hike on the hill, which sits on the opposite side of the town. We enjoyed listening to the call for prayer. To listen to it in a village like Sille, especially with mist rising from the ground into the sky, and no other sounds besides chickens and dogs, was magical. Sille is also famous for its pottery.

On the way back to Huseyin’s house, Yigit proposed that we hitchhike. He had spent a month traveling all over southeastern Turkey by hitchhiking. So Sasha and I said why not! I hitched the first car successfully which took us about 5 km. Then Yigit hitched the second car. The driver was (yet again!) very nice and went out of his way to drop us off at the city center despite the traffic. This experience got me hooked, and I continued hitchhiking in the following days.

On the last day, Huseyin took us to see the famed Dervish Sema. Here in Konya, the devotional dance is presented to the audience for free. The whole performance is about one hour, accompanied by music and singing that can send a chill down your spine (I mean this in a good way).

Sille/Turkey

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