Mid September, I left Saudi to attend a course in London, England. Since I am new to working in pediatrics and, between you and me, I feel like I have no idea what I am doing half of the time, I thought it would be wise to attend a course on working wıth the most challenging pediatric population for me, babies. More specıfıcally babies wıth neurological issues. For you OTs out there, the course I attended was on Bobath for babies. It was a full 6 day course which taught about the Bobath concept as well as varıous developmental assessments and therapy approaches that can be used wıth babies. I learned heaps and am excited that many of the babies I see are followed for a long tıme which means I wıll see them again to trial some of the strategies I have learned. I also look forward to attempt to bring some of the UK practice standards to the hospital I work at.
The first stop on my trip/course was London, England. England was the first country I ever traveled to as a young 18 year old. I was excited to see what London was like 13 years later and to do some of the sightseeing my 18 year old self didn’t care to partake in. I was shocked to see how different London was than I remembered. My old self remembered London as a land full of strange things like heavy accents, odd looking taxis, cheese and chutney sandwiches, bizzar phones and phone numbers, and baguette stands in the train station. After a few days of wandering around, I realized London had not really changed at all (apart from maybe being cleaner because the Olympics were just there), it was me who had changed. In the last 13 years, I have been fortunate enough to visit 25 countries on six different continents. As a result, what was once different and strange has become more comfortable to the point where it is not strange at all, it is just different.
After visiting countless FREE art galleries in London, shopping, taking double decker buses in the rain, wandering around having lunches with a friend from Saudi, running in Hyde park, and going on a sightseeing bus tour, off I went to East Finchley to attend the baby Bobath course at the Bobath Centre. I was able to arrange a home stay for the week with a lovely woman named Marion. Her house was walking distance from the center which made for a nice start and finish to my day.
Next stop Turkey!
I loved Turkey. It was an easy place to travel, mostly I think because tourism is a booming industry and I was able to pre-arrange my whole trip from hotels and tours to airport transport. Also, Turkish people are hospital and friendly. The guides are top notch and extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of Turkish culture and history. I saw the major sights in Istanbul and Cappadocia and had a wonderful relaxing time.
My favorite part about Turkey, aside from the amazing food and stunning mosques was a Whirling Dervish show. I had read about Whirling Dervishes but didn’t realize I could go to see them in Turkey. This link is to a show I found on youtube. You can see just how magical the Whirling Dervishes are:
Bottom 4 pics… I saw so so so much amazing art.
Above right: The street where I stayed in London near Hyde park and Paddington station.
Below: Inside and outside the Blue Mosque. The mosques in Turkey are absolutely phenomenal. I could not stop taking picture and staring up and taking pictures then staring up some more.
Below: Hagia Sophia… originally an Orthodox church which was converted into a mosque when the Ottoman Turks arrived. Now it is a museum. You can see both the Orthodox and Muslim dressing on the walls.
Above: Turkish tiles in Ottoman design. All the mosques are decorated in tiles in this style. Left: These alcoves indicate the direction of Mecca.
Above left: Turkish ice cream. Right: Typical female Turkish dress. Turkey is a secular Muslim country. Many women were dressed as this lady is in a long coat with a head scarf. However, many women were also dressed in typical western clothes as well.
Below: Around Istanbul. Istanbul is a really nice city. The architecture is stunning, there are domes on everything! I have never seen anything like it.
I spent 2 full days in Istanbul. The first day was touring the city and many Mosques. The second I visited the spice market and took a cruise on the Bosphorus which divides the Asian and European sides of Istanbul. I know, one city is divided by two continents! Who would have ever thought?
While in Cappadocia, I flew into Kyserie and stayed in Urgup. The region is full of small towns and volcanic peaks. The rock is soft, for centuries, people have built their homes in the mountainside. Now, people have moved down into the cities and the caves have been abandoned, protected by UNESCO or converted into cave hotels.
The last day of my trip, I went for a Turkish hammam or bath which was an odd experience because the facilities were mixed! For a Muslim country, Turkey is really non-conservative.
Above: The amazing land formation and caves which are found all over the Cappadocian region. In the bottom left picture you can see small little ledges carved into the rock, these are pigeon houses. The bottom left is of a women collecting pigeon droppings. The pigeon houses were built to make it easier to collect the goods. Pigeons droppings were, once upon a time, used to decorate the walls of the caves and are still used as a fertilizer for the fields.
Above: Left: A market outside one of the tourists sites. Right: Traditional Ottoman water carrier.
Above pictures from the balloon ride which was one of the most special aspects of the trip. As someone who is scared of heights, I was not convinced a balloon ride was the best activity for me. Turns out it was a fantastic idea! The balloon moved slow. It provided a spectacular view of the area and rock formations. There were 9 of us plus the pilot in the balloon basket. We were each in our own compartment of 2-4 people. I stayed safely glued to the middle of the balloon basket and it was just fine.
I was away from Sept. 20 – Oct. 5. It felt like I was gone forever. I had such a nice trip. It was the perfect balance of professional development, visiting old friends, sight seeing, and relaxing.