Stay in Salihli
Sunday, 2012-03-25Everybody arrived at Izmir airport, and in two groups - because we arrived at different times - people from the Turkish team met us, welcomed us and accompanied us on our bus trip to Salihli.
Monday, 2012-03-26In the morning all the teams were welcomed at Salihli Lisesi, our Turkish partner school. We admired the welcome posters and the posters that showed the importance of tolerance, and we were really surprised because at once everybody was given a welcome gift by one of the pupils. The presents were lovely, and there were even letters and photographs that came with them. We also got lots of goodies to eat and drink, and so the first contact with everybody was already very pleasant.
This was followed by the first drama workshop, led by Turkish drama teacher Emine Kilimci. We did exercises to use our imagination, and how to express our feelings in a strange environment. This was very good to get into the mood for drama, and we had fun.
After a short break, we had a short walk to the modern townhall of Salihli, where we were welcomed by the Mayor of Salihli, Mustafa Uğur Okay. He was very friendly, and presented everybody with a welcome gift. Then a photo of the whole Comenius project team was taken with the mayor and his staff - this photo will be mentioned again later in this report!
A short trip on the bus later, we met the Mayor of Sardes, Ali Özdemir, who invited us to a delicious traditional Turkish meal, a kind of pancake with spinach and other herbs in it - we could watch the pancakes being made on a huge flat stone, and tables and chairs had been arranged on a charming meadow, in the middle of a wonderful landscape.
From there we went to see the impressive ruins of Sardes: the Artemis Temple and the Gymnasium with a Synagogue - one of many great opportunities for photographs.
In the evening, everybody met for dinner at the "Lidya Hotel Restaurant" where each team did a short performance (dance, songs, sketches) - they were all fascinating to watch, and we had a lot of fun.
Tuesday, 2012-03-27The whole morning, we continued with our drama workshop. Mrs. Kilimci gave us the interesting task to improvise a whole trial (with good guys, bad guys, a judge, and a jury), using only one word, one sound, one movement to express everything - which required a lot of involvement in the way of gestures and facial expressions, and there were some misunderstandings at first, but then we got better and better. We all began to enjoy the exercises, not least because of the creative judge (who used "Pikachu" as his word).
For lunch, we drove to Allahdiyen Village and had a very good meal at "Özgür Et Mangal Restaurant", again in the open air. Afterwards, we walked along Kurşunlu Thermal Hot Springs and took fabulous photos near the waterfall. Back in Salihli, we had some free time, which was used for conversations with our new friends.
Wednesday, 2012-03-28This morning's workshop introduced us to the play that the Turkish team had prepared for the project. It was a one-act play of two scenes, written by Yiğit Gümüşada especially for the project and translated by Emine Kilimci - about a bookseller who thinks he can tell what kind of people his customers are after only speaking to them for a minute. The play shows that he is very much mistaken; in a number of surprising turns, the audience finds out the truth about this strange character - and it becomes obvious how silly it is to trust first impressions. Although the teams from the other countries only played small parts, we enjoyed it, and we were impressed by the delivery of the Turkish team.
After a delicious lunch at "Azaklar Odun Köfte Restaurant", we drove to Manisa, where we visited the Manisa Culture Centre, the Manisa Museum, and two impressive mosques, the Muradiye and Sultan Mosques, which we were even allowed to enter.
Thursday, 2012-03-29In the morning, we had our final rehearsal and then the performance of our play, "The Bookseller". It went very well, everything was very well done and worked fine - together with the music and the lighting it was a great experience. -
When we left the theatre, there was (again) a surprise waiting for us: The photograph of the whole Comenius group that had been taken with the mayor on Monday was displayed on billboard signs in the city centre! We were glad about this gesture of appreciation, and we almost felt a little like celebrities.
For lunch, we drove to Adala's "Demirköprü Dam Restaurant", where we were welcomed by the Mayor of Adala, Ferayi Aslan. After the delicious meal we visited the Demirköprü Thermoelectric Power Plant and Dam and made an excursion to Adala Canyon, The Maiden Bridge. We liked that a lot, because the bridge, which is more than two thousand years old, spans a beautiful valley and looks really ancient, but is still completely intact - we all walked across it.
At night, we had dinner at "Bizim Ev Restaurant". We enjoyed both the meals and the traditional music and dances that were played and shown in between.
Friday, 2012-03-30The whole day was used for a long excursion, and it was well worth it. We first drove to Selçuk and visited Virgin Mary's House, the house where she lived with the Apostle John, who was asked by Jesus to care for his mother Mary. Quite close to that was the old city of Ephesus, which was of great importance from ca. 500 BC up to the 15th century AD, once the biggest city of the Mediterranean region. Its ruins fascinated us, especially the theatre near the entrance (Odeon Theatre) and the Library of Celsus - but also the turbans that were on sale at the souvenir shops outside.
We also visited the Selçuk Museum, İsa Bey Mosque, and the Basilica of St. John, before we went for lunch at the “Liman Restaurant” in Kuşadası by the sea.
It was a day full of impressions of the rich cultural heritage of Turkey, and although we were a little exhausted, we were all glad that we had the opportunity to see all of it.
Saturday, 2012-03-31We were all sad to leave - because we had found many new friends, we had been treated like members of the family in our host families, and we were sure that we would miss everyone - we still do.
- "There was no prejudice, only smiling faces, good friendships and happiness."
- "The most important thing in the world is not the religion, language and race of the people but tolerance and humanity."
- "I couldn't imagine that people from different countries can become friends in such a short time! Now I know it's wrong to think that people aren't okay if they aren't 'like us'."
- "My host and all the people I met in Turkey were so friendly, warm and caring! Now I think that at school there should be a subject called 'Hospitality' to teach everybody to be like them."
- "The openness and kindness of all people there was the best thing; everyone could teach the others something about their traditions and language, which was very amusing sometimes."
- "Before the project week, I had some prejudices about people and their traditions in Turkey. But when I came here, I couldn't find any differences between Turkish, Romanian, Polish, Italian and German students, and after some time I forgot their origin and just saw their personality."
- "The best trip was the one to Ephesus, which appeared a marvellous and a very impressive place."
- "I hope that I will see that beautiful country and the people of the Comenius Project one more time one day."
- "This project showed me how different five countries can be, but at the same time how similar the people are. This experience changed me a lot, for example, now I am open to every new culture, and now I know many things about Turkey, Poland, Italy and Germany, things that I didn't know before."
- "From the first day I stayed with my host family, I felt like in my real family."
- "Everything in Turkey was special and beautiful. The culture was so interesting and people were so kind and friendly. I am looking forward to visiting them again."