Ireland in Turkey – Day 6

Wednesday 11th March

Just a quick word about the blog from Jim Pepper:

“…while it’s coming from my laptop, what’s actually happening is that all of the parents are having a meeting over coffee and we all put in our own little bit. So just so everyone knows, it is a combined effort of all of the parents’ memories of the previous day…”

It may have been a rest day today but unfortunately for the boys, that didn’t mean any let up in their practice time. They were up at 6:45 am…While we, the adults, were up early for breakfast at 8:00 am. Although, our early morning may have had more to do with the wind whistling around the hotel! The boys arrived back to the hotel at around 9:30 am and they headed back to bed for some rest. Our continuous quest to sample all the different types of food on offer started with lunch at 12:00 pm. This was followed by our local guide, Mustaf, organising a tour of Erzurum town itself. There is no doubt that we are the first group of foreigners that has arrived in the town since it was last invaded! Even the cats and dogs were turning their heads to have a look at us. While all the shop owners came out the doors to see us as we passed their shop fronts! We felt like quite the celebrities! When we passed the Adidas Shop and all 20 lads disappeared in, the locals nearly went in after them! Oh and for all you bargain hunters, they were no cheaper than back home!

We had a very good look around the town. We visited ancient buildings, old market type shops, just like on Dublin’s Henry Street! We also visited many jewellery shops that only seem to sell a local gem stone called an ‘oltu’. It’s a black stone which is only found in this region. Unfortunately, no matter where we looked, and much to the disappointment of the lads, we were unable to find a McDonalds or Burger King anywhere! Not even the hockey player’s special, KFC!!! Some of them had visions of buying at least a week’s supply of burgers! Although, I’m certain neither Sean nor Kenny were as disappointed as the players! So onward went our green army and on our walk about while passing the Mosque, the lads noticed a large selection of shoes and as you do, they started to haggle as to the costs!

Our guide found us a local supermarket (known as a shopping centre to the locals) and gave the boys a few minutes to stock up on supplies. They duly obliged and went about ensuring the Turkish Economy would be fine long after they travelled back to Ireland! Once we returned to the hotel, the boys went to play in the snow which is a rarity in Ireland. Well in this quantity it is anyway! We will not be reporting on their activities except to say that they will sleep soundly tonight! Once more, we (the adults of course) lounged around and waited for the restaurant to open for some more rehydration therapy while taking in some of the local sport. Manchester United versus Inter Milan that is! We just chilled and you know the rest yourselves. Roll on tomorrow…

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