The Gapgenç festival held 4 to 7 May brought us to the singular, sympathetic city of Siirt. Whereas the festival was disappointing, the city was enthralling. A small city by the likes of Turkey, Siirt is a welcoming place. In its heart lies a pedestrian artery dotted with shops, restaurants and tea gardens. There’s nothing special to see, which is special to me. Life unfolds in the streets, the people are the city’s wealth.
As we drank tea once, a man from the next table came to join ours and kept us in conversation for half an hour, talking about this and that, religion, life, in Turkish. He told us his friends sent him because they liked our colourful clothes, were curious to know where we came from and why we were in Siirt. When he left he took our tab.
I loved Siirt and wanted to stay there. On the third day Hélène and I went walking in the hills, gathering a congregation of curious children as we passed through the run down suburbs. It thinned down to three kids, happy to chat and hang around with us for the rest of the day.