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Thoughts reverent and irreverent from the road in Turkey

1639
That was the day that was! Last Tuesday I woke late to hear the next-door hotel's generator roaring away. Concluding that the electricity was off, a not uncommon situation, I picked up a book and prepared to sit out the usual half-hour or less of power outage.  But when there was...
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3004
Erol was a cheery chappie. I’d been assigned him as a driver when I ventured into the Belediye in Palu, near Elazığ, to ask for advice on getting to the ruins of the old settlement. As we bumped along the dirt track leading into the hills above the modern town he...
palu1
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1735
I bump into Ali inside the ruins of the castle at Eğil. He was collected medicinal herbs in an old water bottle but was keen to stop and chat to a stranger. “Come round here,” he instructs me. “The view is much better.”Eğil Castle stands high above a gorge on the...
egil1
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6405
Sometimes I strike it particularly lucky with taxi drivers as was the case when I arrived in Darende, midway between Kayseri and Malatya. Mehmet, my driver, was immaculately dressed in a shirt as clean and neatly pressed as if he had been a teacher. He had his price list ready to...
daren1
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2005
Imagine a bus station. It’s right in the centre of town. On the top floor buses arrive and depart for distant destinations. On the bottom floor buses wait to whisk passengers to nearby localities. Big boards indicate which bus leaves from which stand. Spare space is filled with cafes, shops and...
afbus
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1528
It was early in the morning and I was rushing through Malatya’s bazaar on my way to catch the bus to Darende. It was too early for anyone much to be working except, rather surprisingly, in the forge section which was already abuzz with activity. As I rushed past I was...
trotters1
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1053
In his youth, I think, Hasan must have been something of a heart-stopper. Even now in his fifties he seems wholly at ease in his body in a way that only those who know themselves to be good-looking ever truly are. Ahead of me he strides, back held straight and proud,...
tril1
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14089
While in İstanbul recently I got chatting to a woman who had been married to a Turk for more than 40 years. Like many foreigners she had been happy to rub along over the years with a regularly renewed residency permit. Like many other foreigners, though, she was reconsidering her situation...
flag
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1785
The man sitting across from me in the corner cafe is almost blue with cold. What’s more his hands are shaking uncontrollably. “Here, have this tea,” I say, pushing it across to him. “Put your hands round it. You’re freezing.” He smiled and indicated the glass already beside him. Then he...
crosstoss1
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21931
I’m in Burdur otogar waiting for the bus to Bucak when a woman sits down beside me who, at a sidelong glance, I’m sure must come from Somalia. She’s wearing a ragbag mix of clothes and far too many of them, in my opinion, for the sticky hot weather. Her head...
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