I’m writing this from the terrace of my guest house, tucked away in the old town of Mardin. Away from all the violence this has gripped this little section of the globe.

Not so far away from here, in the new town of Mardin, just down the hill, there are daily riots and protests. People are getting killed and we hear gun shots at night. This little oasis that I am holed up in is immune to all this. Security is tight and every shop closes up after dark.

Busses don’t run and people are stuck. In Diyarbakir, a city less than hour away, the situation is worse. Nearly 30 people died the other day in the clashes between civilians and police.

There are lots of news stories out there, here is one on Diyarbakir, and one on Mardin, where I am as I write this. I try not to think about it as I type away on my laptop in my little hilltop brick fortress.

Travel and backpacking in Mardin, Turkey

Oblivious to what’s happening

The other day when I traveled from Mardin to Hasankeyf, and wrote the article about chilling with the Turkish family in a cave for a whole afternoon, I had no idea what was going on.

It wasn’t until later that night, I heard from some locals at the local Mardin tea garden what the real situation here is.

Turned out I was busing through seriously dangerous places, oblivious to what was actually happening. Good news is things have calmed down here as a whole , and I was able to go around today and get some stuff done.

Tomorrow I am about to embark on a top-secret mission that I will reveal once completed. Enough of the bad news, for now let’s talk Mardin.

Travel and backpacking in Mardin, Turkey

Soap shopping in Mardin

The main street of Mardin is lined with shops. They are the same thing over and over, as it seems to be in Turkey. How they make any money is beyond me.

You have gold shops, nut shops, small connivence shops, and soap shops. Then repeat. As you well know by my complaining about the odour of most of the people I come across on bus trips and other encounters, you realize I take my personal hygiene quite seriously.

I am low on soap at this moment, and decided to try my luck at the local Mardin soap shop. I wandered into a soap shop and found a man, sitting on a stool, breaking open almonds with a small hammer on an anvil, with a cigarette hanging from his mouth.

He got up, but I insisted he stay at his post while I examined the many kinds of hand-made Mardin soap he had to offer.

This is no ordinary soap. It’s basically magic soap and can cure most things. Were talking curing acne, “foot mushrooms”, “opening hair cells”, “preventing skin”, and well, you get the idea.

I ended up purchasing 5 bars at a price of 1 Lira (50 cents) each. Mine weren’t of the magic variety, but were lovely blends of almond, olive oil, rose, and pistachio.

Click on thumb nails below to see all the magic that these soaps can offer.

Travel and backpacking in Mardin, Turkey Travel and backpacking in Mardin, Turkey Travel and backpacking in Mardin, Turkey Travel and backpacking in Mardin, Turkey Travel and backpacking in Mardin, Turkey Travel and backpacking in Mardin, Turkey Travel and backpacking in Mardin, Turkey Travel and backpacking in Mardin, Turkey Travel and backpacking in Mardin, Turkey Travel and backpacking in Mardin, Turkey

Travel and backpacking in Mardin, Turkey

Getting too comfortable in Mardin

I have been in here a few days now and have fallen into a routine.

I have my local tea garden where I go to every evening for tea, my local market stall I buy my fruit for breakfast, my shawarma guy I hit up for lunch, and my nice cheap 40 Lira room that I get wonderful sleeps in.

At the risk of getting stuck in here for weeks, I have told myself I must move on. Thanks to another new friend I have met, I now have a purpose and mission to complete and will leave on the bus first thing in tomorrow morning. Stay tuned to find out about this top-secret event.

For now enjoy some pictures of lovely Mardin.

Travel backpacking Mardin Turkey Travel backpacking Mardin Turkey Travel backpacking Mardin Turkey Travel backpacking Mardin Turkey Travel backpacking Mardin Turkey Travel backpacking Mardin Turkey Travel backpacking Mardin Turkey Travel backpacking Mardin Turkey Travel backpacking Mardin Turkey Travel backpacking Mardin Turkey

 

4 Responses

    • Alex

      Luckily I found safety in Iraq! I am long gone now and in Greece. Thanks for the concern 🙂

  1. rupal

    Hi Alex,
    I just returned from Turkey and as I was unpacking my bag I came across the soap I had bought in Mardin. I wondered about the quality of the soap and decided to hit up google for some possible answers and came across your blog. My friends and I stayed in Mardin for 5 nights when we had originally decided on 2-3 nights only. I had no idea that the situation was that bad back in Oct 2014. While we were there 10 days ago everything was very peaceful and it is hard to imagine what you experienced not that long ago. I loved Mardin. We were skeptical about going there at first but as we made our way from Istanbul to Gerome and Nemrud we talked to people and it seemed like it was okay to go there and I am glad we did.
    Also, from your first picture it looks like you sstayed at the same place we did in Mardin. Is it Shameran guest house? Ali and Aboud were running the place when we stayed and we had a great time. What a co incidience 🙂

    • Alex

      Hi Rupal, I cant remember what the name of the guesthouse was now, there has been so many since! I’m glad you had fun I really loved Mardin. I could have stayed weeks it was an easy place to hang out and so much to do near by!