March 12, 2010
Tonight is one of those nights where I absolutely have no urge to write a blog, but I feel like the longer I put it off the less I will write and the more disappointed I will be when I look back on all that I have written over the course of this trip. That being said, today was a very interesting day. The morning was spent at a horse farm and winery of a Hiram alum. It was one of the most serene places I have ever been – the Arabian horses ran in huge fields with white fences and a huge red barn with the vines in the background. The winery itself smelled amazing – oaky and yeasty and grapey – things that remind me of home, when I sit down with my parents and a bottle of wine. It looked a lot like the more beautiful places in northern California.
We spent a lot of time just hanging out and petting the horses and tasting some of the wine. The best I tried (between a 2008 Cabernet, Merlot, and Syrah blend and a 2009 Italian varietal that I don’t remember, and a “reject” 2009 made from the leftover grapes that got pressed a little too hard) was definitely the reject called “Survivor.” It hadn’t been aged in an oak barrel yet, so it tasted very different from most wines I’ve had, but it was very complex and delicious.
After wandering around the farm, we went out to lunch at a place on the shore of the Aegean Sea where we ate traditional Turkish food and drank some tea. Then we got on the bus. The thing about our bus rides is that we have no idea how long they will take. Sometimes, we get in the bus for five minutes, and sometimes we get in the bus all day. We never know. Today was one of those days where I thought there would be a half hour, maybe forty-five minute drive to Izmir, but about two hours in I asked Denny and he said that it would take at least another three and a half hours. I was quite content (I’ve become used to long rides in various forms of transportation) and it didn’t bother me. Five hours later, even I was getting antsy and I pointed out the window at a gorgeous hotel and said, “I wish we were staying there.”
Not ten seconds later, the bus made a swift u-turn and we were in the driveway of this beautiful European-style hotel and then we were inside, and then we were in our huge plush rooms with glass shower doors and all the toilet paper I could ever want. It is by far the most luxurious place we’ve stayed, and I’m glad we’ve had a buffer of a few weeks between this and Tanzania or India, or else I would be in serious culture shock. I’m just hoping there is nutella at breakfast.
I know this was short, and I really meant for it to be longer, but I’m tired and there are other things to be done tonight. I can’t believe I’m coming home in just over three weeks! It is this weird combination of feeling like I just left and feeling like I’ve been traveling for years. I can’t tell which it is – but I know that coming home will be very bittersweet. I’ll be so glad to see my family and friends and sleep in my own bed, but I’ll be sad to stop traveling and leave this group that I’ve grown so fond of. Already I feel like the time I have left is way too short and I know there will be some tears when I get on the plane to SFO.