Have a cup of tea…have another one….love -er-ly cup of tea.
Oh my. I have never, ever known such hospitality. I really am turning down cups of tea.
My relationship with tea goes back a long time. I’m sure I probably even had tea in my bottle as a baby. My gran always had the kettle on and the teapot was always ready to be poured. While my day may start with a wee tipple from a coffee bean, once mid morning arrives you will never see me turn down a cuppa. In fact my tea drinking has even earned me the nickname “nanna Nao” after I shockingly turned down watching the rugby with a beer for a nice cup of earl grey. I’ve sampled tea in Darjeeling, tried the Ceylon in Sri Lanka and of course, have been to the obligatory tea ceremony while in China but I have never been “tea-ed out” until this current trip to Turkey.
While many will often think of raki (that clear aniseed headache inducer that tastes okay when you drink it here) as a key Turkish tipple it pails into insignificance compared the the social aspects of a Turkish cay (chay). Served black in small glass tumblers they drink it by the bucket load.
Since leaving Trabzon the welcome we have received here has been phenomenal. On our toughest ride day we were offered chay ….twice, bought lunch and were then bought dinner. We have stopped in shops that have not charged us, been invited into people’s homes and of course, get beeps and thumbs up while cycling along. This generosity to two strangers on bikes continues to overwhelm us and despite reading such awful stories in the news it restores one’s faith in human nature.
So, we have actually now turned down tea. If we stopped at every invite we would never make it home for Christmas. We are often asked if we feel safe. Actually, we mostly feel humble.
Thank you Turkey. Your kindness is truly incredible.