Role Reversal – The Turks Visit Canada

All the tours that Jack and I have hosted to Turkey have been organized by a historical guide who has become a friend and huge ambassador to our North American friends as they visited his country, Turkey.  This summer the tables turned as Jack and I were able to host Mehmet and his family for a visit to Canada.  We became the ‘tour guides’ and shared our beautiful country with this Turkish family who make their home in Istanbul.

long flights for their first international family excursion

Who knows how many kilometers we have logged together over the years in Turkey?  We know for sure that during their visit to Western Canada we traveled 4200 km together around our home territory close to Calgary, Alberta  and out to Vancouver Island in British Columbia and back.  Seven of us in a rental van took a road trip and spent three weeks exploring, laughing, visiting and growing to know and appreciate each other on a whole new level.  Jack and I were the hosts, Mehmet and his wife, their 16 year old son and twin 9 year old daughters were our guests and as the kilometers added up we became an awesome team.  During one week of our time our son, daughter-in-law and grandson joined us to round the group out to an even ten people.  Chris and Carolyn had previously hosted a photography tour in Turkey with Mehmet so they had a history of their own together.

The certain highlight of our time together was the support and encouragement we had from previous guests of our tours in Turkey.  We were supported in every conceivable way by people’s generosity as they shared at every level.  We were entertained at a party to welcome the family in Alberta’s foothills at a log cabin with a crackling fire to warm and draw us together.  O, at 16 years old, was the perfect one to put in charge of keeping this outdoor fire stoked.  There was a farewell evening in a local Calgary home where another thirty-five previous tour guests joined us to say goodbye and in between we were in the homes, cottages, and at camp as we visited our way across the west from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean.

Here is a visual of WHAT WE DID ON OUR SUMMER VACATION…..  lots of fun and so many super memories of a summer that was as unique for us as it was for our Turkish guests. (Yes, I know there are no pics of me but I was the one behind the camera…. trust me, I was there).

Tyrell Museum, Drumheller, Alberta – great spot for young (and old) paleontologists



It looks SO easy when the cowboys do it! At the Bar U Ranch south of Black Diamond


The mountain lakes are the jewels – lovely Lake Louise


Quintessential West Coast – motoring into Ganges Harbour after a morning on the water


Mehmet, enjoying every moment of British Columbia’s beauty and our hosts hospitality


S and S show off their newest seaside discovery…he went back in the drink….

truly expected to see a Hobbit emerge while at Cathedral Grove on Vancouver Island

Hugging a Douglas Fir tree in Cathedral Grove, Vancouver Island – now that is big AND old!

Food always tastes best outdoors and with friends, particularly at the beach!

Seven Ferry Rides in all – we saw lots of coast line and all sorts of travellers

Another meal and surprise guests, Chris and Carolyn join us for the next week


O spots a car in Vancouver, BC that he thinks might work well for him in Istanbul


O attended the camp that Jack has been involved in helping develop with Young Life

Mehmet and S after they ‘zipped’ – what an adventure!

O shows her form in a pool game as we all cool off


Our grandson made two true friends in S and S. The language barrier could not keep them apart.

We all found some peace at my sis’s cottage and relaxed together. Chris fished…

Mehmet had a go on the paddle board – we all were newbies but had fun with the new skill


Carolyn found a way to utilize the paddle board as well….

the three amigos got together and built some new steps for the cottage, none too soon!

It was really hot, super weather but we played nonstop in the lake and kept our cool

Carolyn and K grab some cuddle time in the hammock

a few quiet moment in a most peaceful spot

Last night on the road back to Calgary at the summer home of guests

More water fun with friends… tubing a new experience for the whole family

On the deck in the ‘purple corner’ S and S demonstrate the connection that twins share

2 Responses

  1. Terri says:

    Wonderful photos that capture the warmth and hospitality that was extended. So glad to have been a small part of the experience. Three cheers to you and Jack for a job well done!

    • Catherine Mortensen says:

      Thanks Terri, your hospitality was so appreciated. It was such a treat for our guests to be in a Canadian home and yours is so full of colour and interest. Lunch was yummy as well…

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