Sunday, April 24, 2011

Turkish delight

I’m totally hooked on Turkey…

I’m writing this in Canakkale, the jumping-off point for my visit to Gallipoli for Anzac Day remembrance services. I arrived in a roundabout way yesterday from Istanbul, where I’ve spent the past three weeks. My ferry to Bandirma was cancelled due to high winds, which put a spanner in the works. However, fate was at work… I got chatting about possible alternative plans with a fellow passenger, a uni professor, who was supposed to be giving a speech in Bandirma, and ended up being offered a lift in the car his sponsoring university sent to rescue him. A very nice bloke, with whom I hope to stay in touch through Facebook.

I spent the night in Bandirma and came to Canakkale yesterday (180 km) by very comfortable coach for a tiny fare. If I needed any further reason to plan to spend time travelling around Turkey, that was it.

I’ve been working in Istanbul, but have also settled in and made it home. I was lucky that my visit coincided with the Istanbul International Film Festival. I saw eight films. They were all in cinemas near Taksim Square, so I got to explore that part of town. I also made a young friend, Ufuk, who was a volunteer for the festival. She helped me with tickets and we spoke a number of times and are now friends on Facebook.

I also visited Istanbul Modern, the main art gallery; took a Bosphorus boat cruise; and checked out Santa Sophia (which I could see from my bed), the Blue Mosque, the Royal Palace and Basilica Cistern in my neighbourhood of Sultanahmet. And I've been buying silver jewellery :-))

I got into a routine of having morning runs in Gulhane Park, just a three-minute walk from my home in Istanbul, Agora Life Hotel. Great people there. I’ve felt very welcomed by everyone: Kadir, Ifan, Isa, Furkan …

Other people in the neighbourhood also made it feel like my neighbourhood.

I think Turkish people are incredibly friendly. I’ll definitely be back for a few months, hopefully in mid-2012.

No comments:

Post a Comment