For our eleventh contest in our yearlong series of monthly Grantourismo HomeAway Holiday-Rentals travel blogging competitions we asked you to create a blog post on the theme of slowing down and settling in to a place for a while. Our January Competition winners are…
FIRST PRIZE, a stay at a HomeAway Holiday-Rentals property anywhere in the world valued at UK£500/US$750, a Viator tour voucher worth £100/US$150, and a Trourist Moleskine notebook, goes to Robyn Eckhardt of Eating Asia for her post on Our Istanbul Fruit Guy.
SECOND PRIZE, a Context tour voucher worth US$100, a private half-day tour with a local guide anywhere in the world from Our Explorer, and a Trourist Moleskine notebook, goes to Pam Mandel of Nerd’s Eye View for A Lazy Winter in Maremma.
Congratulations to this month’s winners and thanks so much to everyone who entered. If you haven’t yet read the many inspiring January entries we received, please do take a look here; links to the posts appear in the Comments and/or Trackbacks.
And once again, a very sincere thanks to our competition sponsors, HomeAway Holiday-Rentals, Context, Viator, Our Explorer, AFAR, and Trourist for so many fabulous prizes! Details for February’s competition, our final HomeAway Holiday-Rentals Grantourismo Travel Blogging Competition, will be posted next.
Here’s the winning January post:
As we walked uphill to our rental apartment on our first evening in Istanbul last May, the display at a tiny fruit store beckoned. We stopped and bought peaches, melons, cherries. The white-haired proprietor was so friendly, the fruit he chose for us so delicious, that we shopped nowhere else.
Last month we returned to Istanbul for two weeks, staying in the same area. “Merhaba!” our fruit guy — as we called him — cried, as if we were long-lost friends. We vigorously shook hands, chatting as much as my Turkish would allow.
We stopped in daily, whether we were short of fruit or not. We learned that our fruit guy has many children. That he opens unusally late in the day to catch the evening commuter foot traffic. That he cooks his own dinner on his desk, over a single burner. After tasting his rice soup — wickedly spicy — we knew that, like us, he loves chilies.
“If you were having a bad day, all you’d have to do is go to the fruit shop and you’d feel better. He’s that kind of guy,” mused Dave.
On our last evening in town we learned our fruit guy’s name: Mehmet Ali. How ludicrous that we hadn’t asked before. We told him ours, took his address, and promised to send a photo. He and Dave shook hands, and Mehment Ali kissed mine. He gifted us Izmir pears and Antalya oranges.
We said “Gorusuruz,” (We’ll meet again.), hoping that we will.