TURKEY: Spectacular, happening, must-do.

Click on photos to enlarge them.

This one is long but Turkey blew us away, spent over a month there first time in October-November 2008. And came back to Eastern (Kurd) region, en route to Iran. It's in two parts, see Turkey #2 blog.

'Gulet' on Antalya coast channel.

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A rare Turk mountain village experience. Starting backwards: Today we checked into lovely seaside Hotel Ozer link with postcard balcony over the Med/Aegean ($50). We badly need the luxury and a major sleep. We were dirty, tired, and how. Having laundry done. Riding clothes washed in the shower. Bike pressure washed once but needs a second one, deeply imbedded dust is everywhere.

It was the ride from hell actually, last night and today, short distance but thru the mountains on horrid dust/gravel track, almost all in 1st gear (15 k/h) – one which Goldwings loaded with people and luggage have a damn hard time with. Me too.

In fact, horror/shame I dropped Black Bike twice last night, my first drop on this trip, in fact second drop in many moons ... but damage was to my pride, not to paint. Both times trying to do near standstill 3-point turns in sand and gravel narrow paths which were just too uneven slippery & deep. Much of the road was like that, damn awful among worst I have driven.

But there is a bright side: We got to stay with ordinary Turks in an obscure village last night, a great memorable experience. We'll likely never see them again, but I bet none of us, children included, forgets it.

We're in Gullik [link] a postcard-cute harbor north of Bodrum [link] Turkey. We came here to meet Leon K who is in a yacht race and I was dying to see his Turkish-made new yacht and him ... but alas he and the boat fleet took off last night before we arrived. Oh well.

The map showed a normal road thru the mountains (Honda GPS No Good Here), the shortest route, it started out fine. Over-confidence strikes.

Most Turk roads so far vary from 5-star perfect to 2-star just fine. But this turned into a "0-star what the hell, this can't be it." In fact we turned back twice not believing it, what, climb THAT hill in sand/gravel? No way. But Turks sent us back, yup right track.

Cliffs on one side no barrier. Narrow road from one car to one and a half. Lose balance or goof otherwise in blackness and you go over edge. It's against my rules to ride at night, especially bad roads, but no local hotel or penzione, we asked. We had to make it through, or sleep outside in bush. So kept plodding at 10-15k/h. And it became pitch black night. No moon. Did I mention the HORRID road? Steep. Rocky. Baaaad sand gravel rock. Total scheise.

On 3rd attempt, maybe 8 km up the mountains, a dump truck came along in opposite direction, hallelujah.

Waved him down (he was going 5 k/hr anyhow.) I had just dropped Black Bike a second time in pitch blackness and was considering going back yet again. Asked him pointing in sign language "direction Bodrum" With no English he managed to communicate we were going right way, but forget it – follow him back down and stay his place, because it's too dangerous to continue at night.

Zero hesitation, accepted. Beats driving off a cliff at night.

Back down to his house after 40 minutes of balance-bouncing and eating his dust, in a village that I'd guess has population of 200. Mustafa Sen is about 35 his wife Selma maybe 28. Three kids are personable, friendly and truly adorable. Whole family are good lookers. No English or French and no Turkish this side, so it's all about smiles and sign language.

We communicated surprisingly well. And became friends.

They fed us a fine Turkish what-they-would-normally eat dinner on the floor, she had made all of it and all was great – deelicious crusty leavened flatbread. Communal meal with 2-3 friends who happened to be there. By now it's maybe 9 PM.

Mustafa is no strict Muslim, hence we pulled out our Johnny Walker and wine. He brought out beers and got looped. Lots of cigarettes and laughter but we didn't get most of the jokes. They loved Thao.

They seemed truly happy to have us furriners from afar there, made us welcome and right at home. Clearly they admire our tough biker thing, even though we are really just Toronto white wimps. Just doing this, it garners some respect.

It was too cold for a bucket bath in cold water, so we did without. And we were really dusty/dirty. Rinsed off hands and face but...

Aside from evidently owning a big dump truck loaded with rebars, the steel rods that reinforce concrete, he had gone to fetch for the house extension he is building. He seems to have low key money and a trucking business; plus about an acre of cultivated farmland outside their house; a half dozen cows tethered in the front yard; chickens running about; a sole sheep; two brick barns and a simple stucco'd brick house. Now he was making the house 6' longer.

My smell system does not work due to an accident last year, but Thao confirms it smells like a farm ought.

Cold running water in Turkish all-purpose squatter bathroom. Bucket baths. It's all clean. Hand made carpets all over the floor, shoes are left outside.

No decor to speak of, just the nice carpets. But there is a photo of Mustafa as a handsome Commando in the Turkish Army on the wall, and some plastic roses on the wall. He proudly showed us photos of him posing in uniform with his foot on body of a trophy kill he had made, like hunters do with a deer – but this was human-type kill. Also he posed with what looks like a pretty serious .50-cal-size gun on tripod; and in uniform having written "I love you" in Turkish to Selma in stones laid out on the ground in front of him; he was a big boy in the military, had even served in Iraq. It did not appear a happy memory in the telling but he was clearly proud of his success in that career; conscription is mandatory in Turkey.

No moral opinions, not even a moment's thought about his proud war kills; he lives in that world, I live in another. Today I'm safely in his, just observe and admire his relative success. He's no wimp or spoiled brat, that's a for-sure.

Kitchen is big and her turf, we did not get admittance.

One couch in living room, meals are in there on the floor, sat-TV is on non-stop. Lots of cell phone calls.

They gave us their own double bed, which was extremely kind and hospitable, hence they slept on the living room floor with the kids.

That was after a few hours of doing the rounds of the village and introducing us to everyone 'till near midnight. Knocking on doors and waking people up at 10 PM. Everyone is a cousin or something I gather.

Several home visits, we woke up his uncle/aunt below, they were sleeping in the living room with a pile of nuts on the floor. We cracked nuts, ate 'chatting in Turkish,' then on to the next home. Woke up his mom, others 'till past midnight.
Lots of warmth, friendliness. A few looks askance at us, some coolness, perhaps it was mere adjustment to our unexpected presence, but not much – we were with a key local dude hence welcome.

I was obliged to drink a warm but decent local beer in the pub-garden with a bunch of smashed guys. Lots of chai (Turk tea). Lots of great Turkish coffee.



We ultimately slept kinda-sorta, maybe 4-5 hours.

Woke up tired and still dirty, in no mood for a cold splash bath. It was too cold, both weather and water.

Saturday morning. Workers arrived post-breakfast for the house extension. She milked the cows and Thao tried to help.

We were served warm sweet milk, hard boiled eggs, boiled potatoes, more of her great bread, chai, and left over spinach-patties in thin wrap from last night.

Then big goodbyes. Selma gave Thao two head scarves as gifts and I gave Mustafa a hip flask. I had nothing else I could part with, but we mailed some stuff later, including photos kindly sent by Marg & Ed in Mineapolis, who own Photobook Press.


Bought a plastic can of gas from someone, as I was running near empty and the nearest gas was 35 km. A neighbour led me on his motorbike to the same road ... he pointed, we drove. This time we made it.

This road verily sucks for 15 km or so – then the last 15 suddenly become paved, some stretches paved recently and flawlessly.

The scenery though is a big wow. Rock formations like we have not seem before, mountains, great foliage/trees, ancient 1000-2000 year old Roman ruins all over the place, archeological stuff happening. Glad we saw it in daylight.

An evidently very old cave-shelter roadside.
Lots of ruins, just lying all over the area.
Encountered archeological teams labeling things, collecting samples.
This time I didn't drop the bike although there were a couple spun-out rear wheel moments with sweaty palms; tires are a tad tired and Turkey has none, so must wait and look around.

Eventually we hit the coast, a gas station, a spray wash, a slow internet cafe – to find out we missed Leon by spending the night where we did.

So its computer catch-up time in literally a tourist paradise, Bodrum. [link]

Not to give wrong impression though, just one bad stretch of road so far in Turkey (had bad ones in Slovakia and UK too). Turkey roads are excellent so far, really good. And such beauty to behold all 'round.
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Economy and bigger picture: Turkey rocks, hope it continues rockin' and eventually joins EU. In fact it surprised me to learn, it's way ahead of most of Europe in sheer economic size and ranks high in the economic numbers.

Have only seen good buildings, roads and cities, not one delapitated mess like in ex-communist places; they must exist but are not in obvious evidence. Construction is everywhere and seems good, not usually fancy but often tastefully colorful, fun, functional and nice. Many North Americans would be envious.

EU membership is just a maybe though, it's far from a done deal. Just hope they do not go other way ...

These people work and make/grow/export many things, evidently with some success, a highly diversified economy.

GDP has grown by 7-9% in recent years, that's 'Tiger' turf, agriculture being a healthy 11% of the economy. It has been self-sufficient in agriculture since the 1980's and is among the world's largest producers of many foods. Also a strong industrial sector, for example producing a quarter of all TV's sold in the Europe market, and is the 6th largest car manufacturer in Europe, behind Italy. It is also the world's fourth largest ship and mega-yacht maker. [Link to economy stuff.]

GDP per capita (PPP = purchasing power adjusted) is in the $13,500 range ranking it 44th in the world, Hungary is 43rd. [Source] The gross GDP-PPP makes it 7th in Europe, smaller than Spain but larger than Netherlands! [Source] Shocked me, I would never have guessed until we saw it happening. Go Turkey!

Click photo, look at the huge greenhouses.
There are acres, acres of them, all over. Major agriculture is happening.

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Travels: In Troy – yes, it's in Turkey, a 3,000 year old carving just lying there, you can sit on it, no barriers.
Pretty amazing site is Troy, even for jaded tourists who have seen some ruins before. Ya, they have a Trojan Horse a big modern yawn. I had read the book about Schleimann & Troy years ago but forgot he found it in Turkey – you know, Homer, Greeks and all that ... Very interesting guy Schleimann, look him up; the book as I recall was a compelling read.

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In Cannukkale Turkey [map], another charming town, we met a barber who owns a 1965(?) Vintage BMW R50, exactly like I had in Ghana at age 22, fine old wheels. He cut my hair and I learned he may be persuaded to sell it; his starting price is high at $12,000 but ...

Thao made friends in the café across the road.
Begum, Beste & Burcu.


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Western Turkey is major un-boring. True fact. The people, just great. Highest marks.

A most evident work ethic. Everyone seems to be doing something with a purpose and doing it well. (Maybe that's why the Germans import them to build VW's and Benz's?)

Almost no beggars or street people. We are not bugged like in lower Bulgaria by aggressive indeed scary Roma of both genders and all ages.

Almost no visible poverty – other tourists comment on the same.

Third world it ain't. Period. Far away from it. Does away with my former ill-informed prejudices. Much of Europe can look south with envy.

Roads decent or superb, few exceptions. Outside Istanbul, traffic is remarkably light. Four lanes with a car to pass every minute or so, seems normal. The warnings I had about Turk drivers are so far vastly exaggerated, although they evidently have high accident stats. One just needs to re-learn the rules of the road, their way.

Stop lights are suggestions I usually heed. Wrong ways down one-ways, I'm becoming more, uh, local. Lane-splitting, squeezing in wherever there is barely room, assuming someone will split your lane, etc ... these have become my riding givens, and they hold up well all around the Med.

Lots (lots) of cops, all with side-arms and some with short-barrel automatics. They don't brandish the over-shoulder sling, just carry casually. And radar. Lots of ID spot-checks, but not for us tourists. When they stop us its mainly Black Bike curiosity and not one document check. All cops encountered have been very nice ordinary zero machismo guys – many cops speak some English.

Calls to prayer broadcast in Arabic from minarets (Turks apparently do not understand it) are everywhere, often wake you up, but so far have seen no street praying and most people seem pretty laid back on religion, as we are. No sense of prejudice against bi-racial westerners, if there is any, it's well hidden. They, like everywhere, ask Thao if she is Chinese a lot. (No one asks me if I'm Czech.)

Ten times a day seems a low guess on "How much does it cost?" re Black Bike. I tell them €15,000 in Canada, close enough. Today a truck driver in mid-nowhere seriously started negotiations to buy at €30,000 – he wrote it down. I graciously declined and we took off with our excellent $1 kebab sandwich. (Seller tried to make it free but Thao insisted on paying.)

If you ask directions, high probability the askee will lead you there by car or scooter. Cops too. Happens daily. Just being friendly, offering money as thanks is an insult; a big smile and wave is all they want, and it's enthusiastically reciprocated.

Tourist Cons: So far met only two memorable, expletives deleted, opportunists here.

A smooth Sultanahmet Istanbul street con man had us believing he lives in Sarasota and imports carpets there (false); he wasted a couple hours giving us a BS carpet education in his unmarked warehouse, caught him in four technical carpet lies. He wasted his time and ours. (We bought carpets in a small co-op recommended by Lonely Planet in the town of Ayvacik [map], darn nice handmade 4' x 6' ones at a bargain of about C$200 each.)

The other nasty, a Turkish-speaking-only hag who owns the beach-side Dolphin Pansyion [link] in lovely Bozburun, Marmaris Peninsula [map]. It's a very, exceptionally, nice town and area, a great drive there too, highly recommend you do it. Anyhow we were the hag's only guests. In the morning she tried to double the agreed-upon price and was really nasty about it. Some brinksmanship, money thrown back as an insult, and colorful (mine was anyhow) name-calling in two languages. The haggling ended when I pulled out the bike keys, saying I'm going to fetch the police, leaving Thao there with the bags. That ended it: Suddenly $40, the going rate in the area, was acceptable. No easy marks for her today. Pick another seaside hotel, there are many. Right next door was another we wish we'd chosen, owned by a nice gent. The old hag is a bit nuts frankly, which other locals acknowledged when we asked.

I believe in holding one's ground with blatant cons when possible, not rewarding them, part of our travelers' job description. Boycott the thieves.

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Food: Booze is double Toronto prices but more readily available; even in gas stations in a Muslim country. They make superb gourmet 70% chocolate bars and baclava, various other superb sweets. Kebabs and doner are great but for us get old as twice dailies. Their diet seems to have a healthier effect than ours though: no obese Turks appear to exist.

Fuel: More gas stations exist than cars that need them, most are spiffy-new but await customers. It is amazing how many gas stations there are, too many. And at C$2.25-$2.80/liter (US$7-9/gal) it's costly to drive here.

Get a place here? Buying a little pied à terre on the Turk Riviera is in the back of our minds. It's the first country we have seen in a long time that we both could live in. A house or condo with the Med in front and mountains out back, are bargains that the Brits and Germans are scooping up in large numbers. Remind me please, why do we live in Toronto winters?

This place is so nice, perhaps it's worth learning the language and culture.

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Travels (cont'd): And they sure have culture, a few thousand years worth. Much of it I thought belonged to Greece-Italy but not. Homer, Cicero and the gang knew better.

In Olympos [map], countless hundreds (literally) of fine ruins just standing there. A nice easy walk of a couple hours, pathways into the bush, gorgeous beach, very 1960's hippie feeling to the town and accommodations, 'tree houses' are a big thing. We almost wanted to don bead headbands and tie-die mu-mu (some throwbacks we saw actually did!) It's a wonderful place.

Marcus Aurelius's tomb! We walked in and touched it ...
It's all completely unguarded, perhaps too trusting?
Someone into Roman-Greek history would know the names and stories, not us. Lonely Planet has a 1.5" thick book just on Turkey, a good primer we carried.

Just another fabulous Olympus Roman arch that has withstood the millennia.
Beautiful woman sitting on beautiful ancient mosaic art.
The lovely, isolated walk-in-only, Olympos beach.
Went back at night with a hotel employee, it becomes local pick-up and party.
Chimaera [map]: In Turkish also called Yanartas or Flaming Rock [link]. A fine drive to it, great twisties and scenery, maybe a half hour from Olympos/Olympus. Then a one kilometer steep puff-puff climb later ... Methane gas escapes from the earth, self-ignites and burns forever, since way before the early Greeks. Since the flames were attributed to gods, temples happened and are still there. The Olympics are thought to have started here, the runner carrying the eternal flame ... yes in Turkey. Who knew? Indeed, who knew a lot of things about Turkey.
Riding from Olympos to Chimera.
video


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Typical views while driving coast, too many to photograph. Empty flawless beaches of sand or stone, still waters, mountains, villages, sunsets ... ho-hum, not.



Click photo, look at great road in background. Fun driving.

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We caught up with Leon K and were aboard his 115' Gulet [Wikipedia] in Bodrum [map] a fabulous upscale bling resort town and OMG yachts! So many, so big, so pretty, superb by any rich guy's standards. Or less-than-rich guy's. Alligator T-shirts aplenty, and cars to go with the shirts.

That day Leon had won first place (!) in a 5-day 80-boat race, so major celebrations were justified aboard among the all-Turk crew & architect (Leon lives in Israel). Very pretty boat he has, akin to the one below, except bigger and prettier. I got the job of driving the CNN Turkey camera crew around in his tender so they could film celebrations from afar, hope I got film credits.

Turkey has a long coastline of great harbors and cruising grounds, apart from this one paradise.

Taken from Leon's boat, Bodrum Castle in background.
Gulet is a Turkish traditional two-masted wooden workboat, turned into yachts in recent decades. We happened upon a small-town wood-boat shipyard en route, stopped in and toured; I was offered a 40-metre Gulet for $2-$3 million brand new; that's a bargain in its size class and the quality of workmanship was for the most part very good.


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On the flat planes, we encountered a 1-mile line of trucks waiting their turn to enter a huge factory in mid-nowhere. For hours they waited, and waited, not the most efficient use of a trucker's time, nor of a truck, but ...

What were they carrying? I asked. Sugar beets. Mega-tons of them. We chatted with the no-English drivers for a half hour, Bike got the usual horde of attention and an offer to buy. We got a great roadside kebab for a buck. And waved gula-gula (bye-bye)

Truckers on lunch
One trucker makes a written offer (in Turkish) of twice the bike's value.


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Fethiye – the one on the Med coast, (there are two) – [link] is a great town to visit. Stayed at the recommended Yacht Plaza Hotel [link]. At the fish market, everyone knows it, you pick your seafood from vendors, one of several restaurants makes a fabulous meal of it. Strolling musicians, great casual atmosphere, a special evening in a generally great town.

video

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Antalya [map] [photos] [guide link] is another great destination-en-route city, one of the last Med paradises before driving to Kurd land or Cappadocia, the old town is superb pedestrian-only; you need to tell the police at the barriers which hotel you are going to with your vehicle or they won't let you in. The Paloma Pansion [link] is one of our favorite hotels in Turkey, stay there!

Just 5 minutes' walk from the hotel we went to an excellent Hammam [definition] AKA Turkish Bath, which by the way is now evidently done mostly for tourists' benefit, Turks do not frequent them so much. We recommend Sefa Hammam (Kocatepe Sokak Barbaros Mahallesi No:32, phone +90 242 241 23 21.) They admit men and women at the same time, another feature. Thao loved it, she still raves. A fine experience, you'll come out ultra-clean, relaxed, massaged and loose – try it.

Antalya is yet another great Turk town we could have lingered in, but had to keep moving.

Paloma Pansion, stay there.
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Patara [map] has vast Roman ruins, just sitting there in the open, no tourist booth – worthwhile stuff. And an enormous sand beach. Thao considers it an almost perfect place. We stayed at the town Mayor's hotel the Golden Pension which has nice rooms, good food and wi-fi. Plus I got a deep massage from a muscular professional who also happens to be the hotel's head waiter. Worth stopping on your coastal Turkey tour.

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Goreme in Cappadocia. [map] Breathtaking is a bland understatement for the beauty and human interest of this lunar landscape, considered one of the wonders of the world, the most-visited place in Turkey. People have lived inside these rocks, and still do, since forever. Perfect hot/cold climate and tender ecology adaptation. Visually, well, look at abundant photos/video on-line and judge for yourself [photos]. We'll never forget, nor have millions of others. By itself a reason to visit Turkey.

We stayed in the Local Hotel (that's the name) carved into the rocks. Meets medium-high Europe standards, as do most hotels we stayed in. $60/night including breakfast and wi-fi.

The colors are not re-touched, change with sun.
People still live in these rocks.
A wishing tree, overlooking the moonscape.
Tie some cloth on and evidently wishes come true.


video
Underground city, a dug-out of rocks city, in Derinkuyu [map]
Seven stories, 85 meters deep. Astounding. [Info link]

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Konya [map] is an extremely old, proudly traditional, very religious city, home of the famed Whirling Dirvishes [link]. Forget about alcohol here. For reasons unknown, even hotel-seeking was a challenge; after considerable driving/asking we lucked upon 4-star Bera Hotel [link]; not cheap by Turkey standards at €70 but definitely worth it!

Walking the near-hotel neighbourhood market, came across one of the chance gourmet experiences of our trip, our best post-Istanbul meal in Turkey. A driving detour is justified just to eat in this hole-in the wall with a half-dozen tables for about $10. Seinfeld's Soup Nazi running gag came to mind: The best imaginable soups, yes; small counter where you pick your meal, yes; Nazi, anything but. It's called Nazar Corba Salonu phone 332-233-5829 on Bobaloik Mah, A BlokDrs Cephe. No English, but behind the glass are eight mystery dishes, we tasted one, wow amazing, ordered it. Visibly pleased to have foreigners, the owner/chef kept bringing samples of the things we didn’t order. Salad, a beef stew with some kind of mushrooms or beans we do not know. A lentil soup with green beans. There was just the tripe thing we could have done without, the rest was culinary magic. Not to be missed, nor forgotten.

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Istanbul: [map] Hardly even mentioned it, there's too much to say, but it's abundantly on-line [link]. Started out our Turkey trip by driving the 400 km from Bulgaria; at the Ruse [map] border crossing on the Bulgarian side, wild dogs chase you, one actually nipping Thao's boot, no signage, run-down, just weird.

Turkey side is no problems; the road suddenly improves 100%, it's four-lane low-traffic velvet straight into the big city. Rolling fields, much agriculture, as good as a road gets – not at all how we had anticipated it.
Istanbul Blue Mosque
East-meets-west in Istanbul geographically and culturally. The Bosphorus Strait [map] separates what the Turks themselves, indeed the world, call the "Asian" from "European" sides of the city – the only city that actually straddles two continents. Composed of numerous distinct districts we did not even touch upon, just skimmed a few. It is the #1 or #2 largest city in Europe, fourth largest in the world – approaching 13 million.

An interesting BTW: It ranks #4 in the world for billionaires according to Forbes Magazine [article link.]

The Sultanahmet area is most attractive to, and largely dominated by tourism – but don't let that deter you. We stayed in the fine very reasonably-priced Side Pension [link] which is literally 50 metres from the ultimate, Sultanahmed Four Seasons boutique hotel (won best Europe hotel a few years running) but at $400 a night; ours was closer to $60 including a breakfast upstairs on the roof balcony. The concierge at The Four Seasons, a fellow biker we befriended, one day kindly led us to the Honda dealer across town for an excellent service, not easy to find, he refused a tip. Side Pension is not luxury, the internet is iffy, rooms are small, but the location is superb and it's very clean; recommended for people who use a hotel to sleep in, not to hang out. There are plenty of hang-out places in wonderful Istanbul.

But do not buy a carpet or anything major in Istanbul, unless you really know someone who has reasons to treat you well. The downside of a tourist haven is pretty fierce tourist-money grabbing at high margins, the vendors are smooth 'befrienders', and lots of frauds. Lonely Planet has some recommendations in that regard.

A week of exploring Istanbul, mosques, historical sites, waterfront, just driving/walking around, loved it.

We also met charming and lovely Ozlem Bas, a fine impresario and person, with whom I'd had business correspondence in show biz for my Cuban dance company; the latter alas reneged on a deal with her to do a week in Turkey this year, but we became friends with Ozlem and stay in regular touch. She took us to a very fine seafood place for a Turkish feast (#23/778 reviewed in TripAdvisor), Balikci Sabahattin restaurant [reviews link] in Sultanahmed; get reservations, it is great.
In Istanbul, a new cause to care about.

We spent about a month between Istanbul and the end of Cappadochia – we'd like to have spend way more time discovering it. We did not get to see the eastern Kurd area – The Kurds have war and political issues with both Turkey and Iraq.

Numbers vary, but it has clearly been a very costly war for Turkey which has apparently tried to make generous nice-nice with them but the Kurds seem dissatisfied, it's all murky to me. [The Economist article.]

We adored what we saw of Turkey. And will certainly be back. Syria and the Middle East are next.
[As it turns out, we're back sooner than expected ... on April 10 2009 we re-entered from Syria to pass through Kurd land en route to Iran having been turned down by Saudi Arabia for a transit visa ... so this is updated in Turkey #2.]

Money: Hate to end on a financial note as a PS, but Turkish Economic Bank (TEB) big green sign, has the ultimate ATM cash machine, all over the country, even smaller cities. A world role model, it's fantastic-wonderful: Spits out €, US$ or Turkish Lira your choice in 2 languages. Or do it twice and you get 2 different currencies in 2 minutes. Bloody awesome after many transactions, flawless. I stocked up on Euros for the next few months, because getting cash-bills is not that easy when your money is overseas. It costs me nothing because my ATM fees are part of my bank deal. Even for an experienced computer guy, it's an amazing and instant-fast service. Five star banking machine, yay Turkey.









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