Another November in Turkey (part 4) – 24 years later.

I fell in love with Turkey as a young backpacker in the late 1980s and have never stopped talking about my experiences since.  After 24 years of retelling my tales to anyone who would listen, I returned to Turkey in 2010.

On a glorious autumn morning in November Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth sailed across the Aegean from Athens and kissed the dock at Kusadasi.  I was on board this 12 night Mediterranean Highlight cruise with my husband, daughter and my mother.

Kusadasi - 2010My old friend, and clever carpet seller, Erol was there to meet the ship as I had told him we were spending a day in his beautiful hometown on Turkey’s Turqoise coast.

We slept in that day, still struggling with the ambitious itinerary – 9 ports in 12 days – and we shuffled off the ship mid morning.   I convinced my husband not to go on a tour of Ephesus, simply because I’d been there in another November and I wanted Erol to meet my family.

Harem Jewellery shop, KusadasiI got to sit down with Erol in his new shop – Harem Carpet and Jewellery – the first store on the right as you walk from the port through the historic Kervansaray – built around 300 years ago as part of the Silk Road.

Genevieve, David and Erol in Kusadasi

 

 

 

Another November in Turkey, Kusadasi, Carpet shop

 

 

 

Erol took us up to a terrace restaurant where we ate and drank whilst looking out over the port and Queen Victoria.

Before we could say Teşekkür Ederim we were whisked downstairs to Benny’s Leather Shop where, coincidentally, Erol’s daughter worked.  As the carpets Erol had sold me 24 years ealier were still looking pretty good in my house in Australia I let slip that we might be interested in buying some leather jackets – that was all they needed to hear.

So we tried some on, were given a good show by Adam (the man starring in the YouTube video) and my daugher and I were given lots and lots of apple cai whilst my husband drank beer.  We bought a jacket each, because they convinced us that 3 coats were cheaper than 2.  While the jackets were being individually adjusted they tried to tempt me with an array of gorgeous handbags but my holiday budget did have some limits.

Handbags, Kusadasi, Turkey

Trying on coats at Benny's

The winning jacket

To this day we don’t know what the real cost of the coats would be but I suppose their true worth is in how much we love them and wear them rather than what we paid for them, but it did turn out to be the most expensive free lunch we ever enjoyed.

Georgia and Queen Victoria - Kusadasi

So with full stomachs and empty wallets, the family headed back to Queen Victoria with the loot and I wandered off to photograph Kusadasi and and the fortress on Pigeon Island.

Kusadasi Bazaar

Sometimes the memories we have of a place we have visited are diminished by revisiting the city or country and expecting to see what we first saw with virgin eyes.  I experienced no such let down as Turkey was just as wonderful as ever.  With reference to Brendan Shanahan’s book, In Turkey I am Beautiful (a book I highly recommend, by the way), in Turkey everyone is beautiful.

Walkway to Pigeon Island  Kusadasifishing boat at Kusadasi

 

 

 

 

 

Pigeon Island is certainly beautiful and the fort is stoic considering its age and history. I have read many different accounts of when it was built but most agree that it was built in the Ottoman period.

Pigeon Island - KusadasiFort on Pigeon Island

I thoroughly enjoyed the solitude out at Pigeon Island where the play of light upon the water, the stones and the trees created a dream-like quality.  Amazingly I sighted only a couple of other people out there so it felt like I was alone in another world, in another time.

Queen Victoria in Kusadasi 2010

If there was a chance of being hypnotised by my surroundings I just had to look up to see Queen Victoria docked across the water, waiting for day’s end and the next port – Istanbul.

It would be my second visit to this intriguing metropilis – I was ready. (to be continued…)

Queen Victoria in Kusadasi

Advertisements

11 thoughts on “Another November in Turkey (part 4) – 24 years later.

  1. Pingback: Turkey is my Camelot – return to Istanbul (part 5) | Life In Camelot

  2. Beautiful post, about a beautiful part of the world!
    Turkey is quite unique sitting between Europe and Asia – I feel if you approach it from the European side it appears so eastern, if you approach from the east it has the familiarity of the Mediterranean.

    Also… love the photos to further illustrate the piece ~Such swish leather coats – and definitely justifiable for a Melbourne winter 😉

  3. Great blog. We also enjoyed Turkey. So much to do. So much to see. Can’t take it in with one trip. Glad you made it back.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic, or anything else on your mind.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s