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On the bus to Bergama we encountered the sort of hospitality our guidebook had prepared us for. A man in front of us plucked a peach and and plum out of a paper sack and wordlessly handed them back to us. Later, when the bus dumped us far from the autogar and city center in Bergama, he took the initiative to make a nearby taxi driver understand we needed help. All this without a word of English.

The Hotel Anil is a pleasant modern building, but our bed's mattress felt more like box springs. The biggest problem was that none of the five young people working there at the time had enough English for us to be able to understand what we wanted. We wound up solving the problem by using a spare down coverlet as a mattress cover. From that point on we always tested the bed upon checking in.

It took a long time to check out and we missed our bus because the clerk tried to charge us millions of dollars for our room. We had to struggle mightily to make her understand that the dollar was more like the Euro than like the Turkish lira--a reminder of how rare American tourists are in Turkey.

This was the only place where we couldn't communicate fairly easily with the staff--even in German, which worked elsewhere.

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