turkish love affair

We fell in love with Turkey when we first visited in 2002 as fresh-faced, 21-year-olds. It was the first big trip we made together and I look back now with a degree of amazement at the wild route we followed. It was the first northern summer after 9/11 and tourism had plummeted. There was flooding on the Black Sea coast, so we abandoned our intended route and instead headed along the far eastern border with a driver who had to turn his Kurdish pop music down every time we passed through a checkpoint. We gazed over the border at Iran, wondering if we might ever visit; after snatching our passports back from a pair of guys who were either secret police or crooks, we were taken out for beers by the town drunk. The World Cup was on and there were parties in the streets; Turkey finished in third place.

Eight years later, we wondered if we would love it as much as we did the first time and I’m happy to report that we perhaps loved it even more. Great food and great people, enough tourists pass through the south-eastern corner to make travel easy, but not enough to make it worth anyone’s while to hassle them. And who couldn’t love a country where cherries cost $2 a kilo? Highlights included the picturesque mountain town of Mardin and an unexpected plenary indulgence from our visit to the Church of St Peter in Antakya, although Linds was a bit bummed to discover that this doesn’t equate to a free entry pass through the pearly gates. It was only a week but we’ll be back for more later.


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2 Responses to “turkish love affair”

  1. tasteofbeirut Says:

    I read your comment and could not believe it! So happy you got to experience this souk and Lebanese food! I had my all-time favorite man’ooshe there, with zaatar and suffed with purslane and tomatoes ; I met the lady who makes it in Ehden yesterday!
    Love Turkey as much as you do!

  2. beyondbagot Says:

    it’s a little crazy – I thought I was having some sort of brain snap when I read your post! My find of the souk was some discreetly placed Arak from the Bekaa – now I spend our days counting down to cocktail hour! Although perhaps the quote of the day came from my wife as we munched our way thought “the winner’s” wares: “this is the best thing I have ever eaten!” A comment not to be taken lightly!

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