This is the back garden of the Gobi Pension in Bergama, where I spent a week this year and a blissful two weeks several years ago. They serve breakfast here in the mornings, and I sit here most evenings as well (it's well lit for reading after dark).
The family that runs it is delightful. They have warmly taken me in, since I spend more than the usual single night there. I got a cooking lesson from Mrs. Gobi, a couple of expeditions with Mustafa to meet amazing trees, and lots of good visiting time in the garden. When I'm traveling by myself, it makes a world of difference to stay with people who are also friends.
The front of the pension is lovely, too, covered with a lush arbor. The family sits there often, and friends flow in and out from the sidewalk to chat. I love how life is more fluid in Turkey. Everyone is not sealed off in their own air-conditioned homes.
Below is a darkish snapshot of my drawing of the front, but it's all I've got. I left the painting with them as a present, so I can't scan it in more clearly now that I'm home.
I also love the building Mustafa works in. He's a CPA by day, though he helps out around the pension as well, since he has by far the best English of the family. His office building has a four story high banner with a portrait of Ataturk on it. The Turkish people are so proud of him. His photo is everywhere. I saw banners at gas stations. Mustafa is named after him and has two portraits hanging in his office.
I couldn't resist painting that building with the large portrait. It was also fun to drop in at Mustafa's office and have a guy bring tea around on a tray. He goes from office to office delivering it as needed. Very welcoming.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
Get occasional studio email updates.