Travel time…Turkey

Here we go!  Finally!  Off to somewhere, anywhere, everywhere and nowhere all at the same time.  My kind of existence.  A nomadic traipse with a laptop and a copy of Dickens’ Hard Times.

It may sound like a slightly ‘misfit’ thing to say but I travel to try and understand the world a little better; to appreciate how things are, how they co-exist and how they can sometimes divide. Politically, socially, economically. For me, the world is not so much about places, its more about people. First stop, the peoples of Istanbul.

Turkey Travel

View from Sultanhamet, Istanbul

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13 Responses to “Travel time…Turkey”

  1. Colin Says:

    May the road rise to meet you.

  2. Nadeem Says:

    I spent my first few days in the company of 2 locals ( Sinem, Esma ) who provided a great introduction to Istanbul. Thanks guys. We meandered, lost and then found our way around the bustling streets, stopping for tea, food, panoramic views of the city and ( my favourite ) endless gazing at the line of fishermen huddled along the Galata bridge en route to Sultanhamet.

    Istanbul Fishermen

    Images of Istanbul

    The city is the best kind of scribble you can imagine – buildings, old and new hugging each other, perched precariously along the Bosphorus Strait and divided across two continents. Its like trying to join up the numbered dots and then realising theres some missing. Wonderful, truly.

  3. Nadeem Says:

    I left the splendour of Istanbul behind me and made my way to the ‘Ottoman town’ of Safranbulo, 6 hours east of Istanbul by road. I like the way the passengers at the back of the Dolmus (shuttlebus) pass their fare down the “passenger conveyer belt” to the driver at the front, shouting out their destination as the money passes hands. Any change comes back the other way.

    Safranbulo backdrop

    Safranbulo Backdrop

    Despite my terrible attempts at Turkish, people always seem welcoming and ready to help. I think that beyond the Ottoman backdrop, places like Safranbulo will always provide a deeper sense of community than you find in the big city, from the patisserie selling backlava to the women mushroom sellers – everyone knows each other and chay is passed around from the shop owner to the market stall holder, to the hotelier and the local baker.

    Mushroom Sellers

    Safranbulo Life

    My head is completely empty – distilled of all lifes little burdens. I feel numbed by the sensation, and almost a little dizzy. Soup, pide and ayran (yogurt drink), followed by backlava and chay bring me back to life. Ah yes, and a good book with worn pages.

    I took an early morning bus southbound to Ankara. There I changed buses and arrived a little tired, in Goreme, Kapadokya. As we descended into the valley, I remember the beads of light around this caved city illuminating the night sky, heralding our arrival. Even in the dark, this seemed like no ordinary city. I clambered out of the bus, endured the cold snap, and found a bed for the night.

  4. Nadeem Says:

    Goreme occupies a fantasy world that I never knew existed. Homes are etched into the mountain surroundings with dark peephole windows dotted randomly all around. Snow capped mountains fade into the background, completing the scene.

    Goreme Landscape

    Spellbinding Goreme, Kapadokya

    The ‘star wars’ feel to the place is tempered by the local people going about their everyday lives. I sat amongst a group of men playing backgammon, cards; then saw them shuffle off to prayer and collectively return for another round of chay, backgammon and local chatter (I suspect the latter). Quite wonderful.

  5. sadia Says:

    Sounds like you’re having an amazing time…how long are you in Goreme for & where will you be heading next? x

  6. Judy Says:

    Hi Nadeem, Glad to hear how much your enjoying travelling around Turkey. It sounds fascinating! Look forward to reading more as you travel on………..x

  7. Nadeem Says:

    I have taken up the humble art of sewing. Its been going on for a while now. I spotted a hole in my favourite green sweater the other day and put the needle and thread to work. Quite addictive once you get going. I am on the look out now.

    Mardin

    Mardin

    Depending on how you look at it, I arrived a little late, or early, in Mardin (4am). Nothing was open. Dogs barking kept me awake until sunrise when I finally found the only available hotel room in town. I slept a little and wandered out. Oh my life. The mosaic of people filled me with utter joy.

    As I weaved through the labyrinth of streets I came to the bizarre and could do nothing but stop and gaze at the colourful people of Mardin. Mardin is a stones throw away from the northern borders of Iraq and Syria. Syrians, Kurds, Turks and Iranians melted the pot.

    Peoples of Mardin

    The Peoples of Mardin

    I stumbled upon the local cinema, received a complimentary chay and an entire movie hall to myself to watch ‘Bes Yakit’. Great movie and I really can’t complain about the leg room either.

  8. Nadeem Says:

    I left Mardin behind and headed west to Urfa… on arrival I couldn’t help but feel that I had, without realising it, stepped into the Middle East. Despite being in Turkey, the city had a distinctly arabic feel to it, and nowhere more so than in the “games courtyard” I discovered hidden away in the old city bazaar.

    Men sat huddled around small tables playing cards, chess, domino’s – as if their lives depending on it. Trust no one except your domino. If this were scrabble, I am sure there would be constant calls of “That’s not a word!!”. I loved it. I took a chay and watched like a child in a sweet shop. All afternoon.

    A day in the life of Urfa

    A day in the life of Urfa

    The following day I took a dolmus excursion to Harran to see the honeycomb homes people still inhabited and then, with food on my mind, went back to Urfa to try the famed regional konuk evi and backlava.

    A day in the life of Harran

    A day in the life of Harran

    I have to say, the game courtyard, Golbasi neighbourhood and wonderful people have left an indelible mark. At times, l am just so completely lost in it all, its just great. Floating from one cloud to the next. I don’t know why, but I feel an overwhelming sense of privilege to observe the sheer normality of it all.

  9. Christine Says:

    Hi Nadeem,

    Judy put me in contact with this amazing blogg
    How wonderful.
    Christine (Jude’s cousin)x

  10. Nadeem Says:

    Welcome to the cheap seats. Taking a dolmus to anywhere out of town means more changes in one day than Naomi Campbell. You are passed from one minibus to the next.

    “Where you go?” the driver grinned. “Antep… Antep, Gaziantep?” I asked. “Er, Ah, Antep! Ok, you sit here. I go Antep!” Whenever the driver nods I never know whether that means ‘yes’ or ‘maybe’.

    He drove like his life depended on it… hurling abuse at drivers that got in his way, always with a smile. He dropped me halfway and pointed to another bus. “Antep, Antep” and then left, smiling. I arrived early in Antep, had a brief look around and then slept to prepare for the following morning. The border crossing to Syria.

    For travel time in Malaysia, click here.
    For travel time in Vietnam, click here.
    For travel time in Jordan, click here.
    For travel time in Syria, click here.
    For travel time in Cambodia, click here.
    For travel time in Laos, click here.
    For travel time in Thailand, click here.
    For travel time in Myanmar, click here.
    To go to the start of this blog, click here.
    To go to missedabit.com, click here.

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