Not much of the news coming out of Turkey these days is positive – refugees, bombs, riots, censorship and the usual rhetoric from the imperious Erdoğan. The western media do so love to stoke up a drama. You could be forgiven for thinking the place is falling apart. Well, it isn’t. But the headlines are putting visitors off. According to some estimates, bookings by Brits are down by over a third. A glance at the travel agent’s window reveals the bargains to be had, reflecting a tourist trade going through lean times. It would be foolish to suggest there aren’t any problems but Turkey remains one of the safest holiday destinations anywhere.
It’s been four years since we returned from Turkey and we’re content with our lot in old Norwich Town. The slowish pace of life suits us well. But, we’re often nostalgic for our easy come, easy go days of Bodrum. During one particularly wistful afternoon in the boozer, Liam and I took a drunken stagger down memory lane. Over the last few years I’ve scribbled a word or two about my best bits of Turkey and I’ve even won writing competitions with my musings. So to cure me of my melancholy, Liam suggested I put them all together. So that’s what I’ve done. And very cathartic it was too. I’ve called it Postcards from the Ege, Jack Scott’s Turkey Trail.
Here’s the blurb:
With such an immense political and cultural heritage, it’s no surprise kaleidoscopic Turkey is such a feast – a prime cut of authenticity, seasoned by the West and spiced by the East. Jack Scott knows a thing or two about the country. He lived there for years and travelled widely – to Istanbul and along its south-western shores from Izmir to Alanya. In Postcards from the Ege, Scott shares some of his must-sees and personal highlights. Follow Scott’s trail. Come to Turkey.
The e-book has just been published on Kindle by Springtime Books. It’s a steal at a couple of quid and if it encourages people to sample the extraordinary land we used to call home then that’s all to the good.
The marching season has got off to a splendid start with Istanbul Pride throwing down the gauntlet with tens of thousands of people (some reports suggested 60,000) parading along Istiklal Caddesi, Istanbul’s main thoroughfare. This is where Istanbulers come to meet, drink, shop, party and demonstrate. The brave souls carried a giant rainbow flag and, in an unprecedented show of unity, held banners demanding justice and LGBT rights in Turkish, Kurdish, Armenian and Arabic. And for the first time there were also Pride marches in Izmir and Antalya. One of the most popular slogans was “Where are you, my dear? Here I am, darling!” Will the increasingly repressive Turkish Government led by the dour and autocratic Erdoğan listen? Probably not. But, following hot on the heels of the vicious crackdown of the Gezi Park protest, Istanbul Pride goes to prove that it ain’t over ‘till the fat drag queen sings.
My first guest blogger is Linda from Ayak’s Turkish Delight. Linda and I share a public sector past in the social work field, a much-maligned profession, fraught with risk – damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Linda writes about her first tentative steps of her glorious Turkish journey.
I am delighted to have been asked by Jack to do a guest post on his blog whilst he is away. Jack’s blog is one I look forward to every day. It’s amusing, informative and just so different from many blogs out there.
Let me tell you a bit about me. I’m a retired Social Work Manager (in the mental health field) and I moved to Turkey from England in 1998 and married my Turkish husband in 1999. We have lived in different areas of Turkey. In fact we have moved 15 times to date.
My very first home 13 years ago was in Gümüslük. The peaceful village of Gümüsluk is one of the oldest settlements on the Bodrum peninsula. It stands on the site of the ancient city of Myndos whose seafront sections slid into the sea in some long-forgotten earthquake. We rented the top floor of a two-storey house, which was really a holiday-let and because each room led out to an open terrace, was only really suitable for the summer months. We rented it during the winter because it was cheap and we didn’t have a lot of money.
There was no hot water or heating and I had one saucepan and one gas bottle to cook with. It rained a great deal and poured in through the metal-framed windows, to the extent that one morning we got out of bed and were up to our ankles in water. We had no mod cons. In the absence of a washing-machine, I washed our clothes in a huge plastic bowl. No TV, telephone or internet. Just one very old rusty fridge.
The setting was wonderful…right in the middle of orange and olive groves, with no neighbours, and was very peaceful. It’s hard to adapt to such a basic, primitive way of life from the one I had in England but looking back at that time, I realise I learned a lot about myself and how I am capable of far more than I give myself credit for.
We stayed in Gümüslük for 5 months then moved on to Turgutreis and so began my Turkey journey, to places as diverse as Side, Antalya and Cappadocia. You can read more here.