Reflections on Turkey

Lucy . We entered Turkey with high hopes of seeing ancient wonders and tasting mouth watering sweets - we did both and more! . The fairy chimneys looked more like sandstone mountains, to be honest. Some of them were tall and thin, others were fat and short. There were thousands of doors and rooms. The people were fleeing from their enemies, so they carved out houses from the rock. They were all very cool inside. . We had to get up far too early to go on the roof with hot chocolate and cold feet to watch the balloons rising with huge belches of fire to make them rise. It looked beautiful. . Me and Alisha went to a cave, took out the rubbish; tidied it up; decorated it with flowers; and pretended we lived there. I would love to live in a place like that. The underground city was huge: room after room; tunnel after tunnel winding ceaselessly through the mountain. Down, down into the earth. They even had circular stones to close up doors, so the enemy couldn't get in. . At Sagalassos I loved the amphitheater, we walked around the bottom imagining what it would have been like to be a gladiator. Then we climbed to the very top, where the women had to sit far away from the action, and I watched the gladiators fighting in my mind. We went to an island, where we met an old friend of Daddy's, we had breakfast there at his friends. There were olives, tomatoes, cheese, 5 types of jam, eggs, fruit, home made bread, and more - it was a glorious feast! They had an amazing garden with lots of lavender. . We saw Alper again in Istanbul, we stayed in his house. We did lots of dancing with Dina and cooking. . I was sad to leave Turkey but I have lovely memories and I always know there are more adventures ahead of us. . Alisha . Turkey is a diverse country, we only scratched the surface of the place. It has an incredibly diverse history and culture, in places though it is incredibly sad. Gallipoli was a place where tragic things happened and both sides lost thousands.(Though I think that war is pointless why can't they play a game of football even though if they played against Middlesborough they would win anyway) What is also interesting is the contrast between the two sides: on one side (Or hand whichever you prefer) there is this very Muslim, very holy and sacred community where every way you look there is a woman in a headscarf. On the other a widely western culture where you can really feel it's European ties (not so much of a great thing as far as miniskirts are concerned.) Many feel the pull towards Turkey and its split personality. Me included. But one thing for sure, too much sightseeing gives you sore feet. Gilly . As our last country in Asia and our first in Europe, Turkey has given us some wonderful experiences. . The memory of waking up to a hundred hot air balloons flying over the truck in Goreme still sends shivers down my spine, it was so beautiful. Hiking through the valleys amongst the stone pillars and exploring the abandoned cave houses felt like doing the sort of "adventuring" you imagine in your wildest dreams when you are a kid. Visiting the island of Bozcaada, was an unexpected delight. Usually small islands and trucks don't mix but thanks to our friend Alper, not only did we have a great place to park but also a fabulous time and met lots of fascinating people. We all quickly fell in love with the place. In fact on the ferry back to the mainland Lucy asked what the name of the island actually meant, I admitted I had no idea. "I think it must mean island of beauty," she replied. Steve . After four years of travelling I was thinking I might be becoming jaded and that it was hard for a country to impress, so I was surprised at how much I loved Turkey. It was helped by meeting Alper, a former colleague and friend, and him sharing his enthusiasm and wonderful hospitality. . Turkey was a dream to travel in. Great sights, history and culture but also some wonderful places to camp. We are really wanting to make the most of our last times wild camping away from it all and Turkey offered plenty of opportunities to do this. Either in amongst the fairy chimneys of Goreme or overlooking the sparkling Agean Sea in Gallipoli. Bozcaada was a completely unexpected gem and one we would never have known about if Alper had not invited us. It really was the idyllic isle with great food and friendly people to share it with. It was a very special few days. As we crossed back into Europe the pace of life seemed to increase a bit. Istanbul is a dynamic massive city and we really only scratched the surface. Still the sights were fantastic and it was lovely to finish our time there with a wonderful meal at a fantastic restaurant. A fitting end to a wonderful three weeks in Turkey.

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