Thoughts reverent and irreverent from the road in Turkey

Poor old Fatih, forever fated to be written off as too conservative and/or stuffed with wedding dresses. Yet the strange thing is that you can spend a perfectly happy few hours here without anybody bothering you about religion at all. And that’s even when you’re a woman without a headscarf,...
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It was an odd end to an otherwise enjoyable day. I’d strolled along the Bosphorus from Kuruçeşme to Bebek with my guidebook writer’s hat on, ticking off the minutiae of change. Tiny little Suada at Kuruçeşme looking ever less like an island and ever more like one of those top-heavy...
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Walking back through Aksaray on Sunday night I spotted a banner announcing that mourning for Ashura, the tenth day of Muharrem, the first month in the Islamic calendar, would be taking place in the Ashura Meydanı in Halkali the very next day. I was vaguely aware of Ashura as the...
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A watery sunbeam scythes a line across the flanks of a mountain. The setting sun casts a golden glow on the backs of the sheep. In the grid of plough lines in the fields neat little lines of molehills give victory to the noughts. All right, let’s be honest. The...
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I amble up the road to Laodicaea expecting a quick whip round a site I’d visited some years ago without much enthusiasm. “Ten lira,” says the man at the gate. “Ten lira! It was free last time I came here,” I squeak. “Yes, but it’s much more interesting now,” he...
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I suppose it was my own stupidity. I suppose only a fool would have believed a sign that said that shuttle buses ran to the exit every 15 minutes when she knew that it was winter. I suppose only an idiot would have paused for a coffee beside the drowned...
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Tagged in: Pamukkale
Today’s Tuesday so it must be market day in Tire. I’m in need of some of the excellent felt slippers with which I aways associate the town, so now sounds like the perfect opportunity to try out the train service linking it to İzmir. In England I would probably need...
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“Excuse me, could you tell me the way to the Asansör?” I had emerged from İzmir’s Üçyol Metro station which was, according to the map, the one I needed to get to a tall lift that a 19th-century philanthropist had built to ease the plight of people living in the...
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It’s a bitingly cold evening in İzmir which comes as something of a shock to me who had always imagined its climate to be very mild. Not to be put off, I amble north along the Kordon to eat in Alsancak, and as I do so I vividly recall a...
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If you’re a visitor, there are many good things to be said about the new İzmir İzban which has made getting about town so much simpler. After all, with buses you need to be able to recognise your stop which is not always easy especially during the rush hour when...
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