We started with four days in Istanbul visiting the bazaars, mosques & palaces, taking time out for a cup of Turkish chai or a cheap meal. Cheap is perhaps not quite the right word for anything in Turkey, we soon became aware that our expectations of cost were to fall well short of reality with the result of one or two more chip sandwiches being consumed than expected.

We went South East, down the Aegean coast by boat, then train & finally bus to Seljuk having made the decision to bypass Gallipoli & Troy. Three days in Seljuk was just enough to explore the magnificent ruins of Ephesus & enjoy the little town & it’s own sights including the supposed resting place of St Paul, visit the museum & get the feat wet in the Aegean sea.

On we went & inland to Pamukkale, the white limestone terraces & the ruins of Heriapolis. We didn’t overnight there, rather arriving by bus in the morning & that evening taking an overnight bus further North East into Cappadocia from the uninspiring transit point of Denzili at the bottom of the valley.

I think for the both of us Cappadocia, based out of the over-wintering town of Goreme, was the highlight. The stunning natural & cultural landscape each inseparable from the other.

Our trip concluded with one night in Istanbul & an early morning start to catch our flight where I’m writing this entry.

Other than a willing of people to help while expecting nothing in return, it is hard to try & pin down what impression I am left with especially with the contrasting images of Cappadocia its vineyards & alien landscape & Istanbul, the high street of the fashionable Takshin district packed with the same shops & labels, girls handing out flyers & cell phones, watches, handbags other ubiquitous status symbols.

There was the quiet & respectful Sami who in spite of speaking only a handful of English words toured us around Cappadocia.

Our host in Seljuk giving us an important part of his life story & treating us more like friends than customers.

The old church turned mosque turned museum that is the majestic Hagia Sophia & the functioning Blue mosque across the concourse.

The homes, tunnels, hiding places & churches of Cappadocia with their vandalized frescoes.

The abused streams & rivers running through villages seen from the railway to be full of plastic bags adhered to rocks & clinging to low hanging branches.

The clear, star-fill skies over Goreme & choking coal smoke haze which descends over Denzili & obscures the beautiful snow capped mountains which surround.

The ancient ruins of Ephesus & Heriopolis & the endless apartments sprawling out into the surrounds of Istanbul.

Originally written for Mark Tamura

posts by Mark Tamura