|But before leaving Selcuk, Tomas went to his new "local", to drink some tea, bet on a race or two and say goodbye to his friends. And on the last race before leaving, he won the ikili (or exacta, picking the first and second horse in the race). So while waiting for the race results to be "official", he picked a horse, #5 for the next race, then collected his winnings, placed a 1 lira (75 cents) bet on #5, said goodbye to the young gentleman who had been so helpful in each visit and handed him the ticket for #5 in the next race. A look of surprise, then a huge smile and Tomas was off.
Now late for meeting Julia at our other new "local" - the rooftop cafe at Hotel Bella, Tomas had to hustle. There was backgammon to play, beers to drink and viewing of the nest of mama stork and her 4 young chicks! Quick apologies for being late, and more apologies to delay further the start of our little festivities - as Tomas was curious how #5 did. He managed to get the TV onto the right channel and in the race, on the turn for home, one of the two gray colts in the rear of the pack accelerates and surges into the lead. He continues to pull away and at the finish line, it's #5. Tomas is laughing and smiling and suspects the guy at the teahouse is doing the same.
After our short visit to make sure the storks were OK, it was time to say goodbye to our new family at Homeros pension. Another difficult departure, but we received the traditional blessing of water thrown at our footsteps as we walked away and felt truly blessed. Now time to depart for Edirne and another overnight bus journey. But once we arrived, there were no touts, at least english speaking ones and it was a pleasant change! Our hotel in Edirne was right next to a cafe/bar and we wandered in for a late afternoon break, after visits to several mosques and the bazaars. Great conversations (and backgammon, of course) ensued with the owner and staff and we were invited back to hear him, a music teacher and classical singer, perform traditional songs later that evening.
After a quick bite to eat and a change of clothes, were were back at the cafe. Immediately we were introduced and treated like the guests of honor. Dancing, laughter and all sorts of traditional drinks/formalities later, we said our goodbyes at 1 am, which was very early by their accounts and made the departure that much more difficult. But we had a border crossing planned for the next morning and Julia had some concerns, especially after reading the guide books, so we needed a little sharpness for later in the morning!