Time travel (how I wish I could)

“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” – Michael Althsuler

This weekend marks the 30th anniversary of the start of my big overseas backpacking adventure.

On September 9th 1986, at a very tender age, I set off alone into the wild blue yonder.

I had lots of time, and not a great deal of money, to travel the world and experience what I could.

I said goodbye to Mum and Dad and did what many young Australians did in the 1980s – put on a backpack and travelled to the other side of the world with a vague plan to see Europe.

I had purchased a return ticket (which I eventually extended by a month),

I had one friend in England

and not a clue about what to expect on my travels.

qantas-ticket

Life in Camelot’s ticket to adventure

inside-qantas-ticket

Life in Camelot’s ticket to adventure

I marvelled at seeing Mother England,

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Life in Camelot and a Beefeater at the Tower of London

where the east coast beaches had no sand, just rocks!

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Life in Camelot at Snape Moultings in Suffolk, England

Then popped across to the Emerald Isle, which was great craic…

Genevieve & Mary - Ring of Kerry, Ireland 1986 (2)

Life in Camelot and Mary in Ireland

Then I launched myself across the English Channel, alone, and was less than impressed with Paris, or more accurately, with the way I couldn’t communicate with the Parisians.

I stopped off in Nice and Monte Carlo (where I met fellow Australian travellers) and then continued on eastwards to Italy.

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Life in Camelot with fellow travellers in Monte Carlo

The journey only got better from there because…

…Italy was gorgeous,

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Life in Camelot and Mathew at Trevi Fountain, Rome.

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Life in Camelot at the top of St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican.

Greece was marvellous,

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Life In Camelot with Michelle and Mike, American backpackers.

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Life In Camelot with fellow international backpackers in Santorini.

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Life In Camelot at Thira, Santorini

and Turkey was sensational.

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Life In Camelot in Turkey

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Life In Camelot in Marmaris, Turkey.

Haga Sofia  Istanbul  Turkey - 1986

Life In Camelot in Istanbul.

Genevieve at Turkish Wedding in Izmir  Turkey - 1986

Life In Camelot at Turkish wedding in Izmir

Genevieve at dinner with Erol and friends - Turkey 1986

Life In Camelot in Kusadasi with Australian and Turkish friends.

But the months passed, the northern winter approached and I was getting colder, more homesick and very low on money.

So I headed westward through the same countries and returned to the United Kingdom to travel a bit more (with my fiance who’d flown over to spend Christmas with me) before going home to Sydney, Australia.

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Life In Camelot at Loch Lochy, Scottish Highlands

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Life In Camelot in Scottish Highlands

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Life In Camelot, Aviemore, Scottish Highlands

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Life In Camelot, Twickenham, England.

Over the years I have been lucky enough to return to all of those countries, apart from Ireland, but I do plan on returning to them as many more times as I can, as well as all the other countries on my long list.

30 years later I might have a bit more money but also less time to travel as much as I’d like.

I do wish I could travel back in time to relive that wonderful journey with the knowledge I now have, but until that becomes a possibility, I have my photos and more importantly, my memories of my grand adventure.

“Memory is the diary we all carry about with us.” – Oscar Wilde

Turkey is my Camelot – return to Istanbul (part 5)

I have come to see a lot of similarities between Turkey and Camelot probably because I find them both so alluring.

Camelot was a land of legends with knights, a round table and the search for the Holy Grail. Stained windows in Istanbul's Blue MosqueCamelot's Arthur and Lancelot

Turkey had its own legends involving sultans, domed mosques and the search for the best trade route along the silk road.

Camelot had Guinevere, a captivating queen conflicted between two men: Arthur and Lancelot;

Turkey has Istanbul, a captivating city conflicted between two continents: Asia and Europe.

The Arthurian story, with its elements of war, magic, adventure and chivalry has touched the popular imagination and become part of the world’s shared mythology.  These same elements are embedded in Turkey’s history with Istanbul as the jewel in the crown, fought over by Greeks, Persians, Spartans and Romans with the Ottomans finally triumphing in the 14th century.

The 20th century saw Turkey involved in a world war, and the people gained a new, enigmatic leader.  Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, a modern day King Arthur, Camelot's King Arthurcreated a new political and legal system, made both government and education secular, gave equal rights to women, changed the alphabet and the attire, and advanced the arts and the sciences, agriculture and industry.

Ataturk, Turkey's modern day King ArthurThe landscape of Istanbul would change too, as large historic parts of the city were demolished to make space for new buildings and highways and Istanbul lost its status as the capital of an empire.  I wonder what the Ottoman, Suleiman the Magnificent, would think of the modern Istanbul from his final resting place, a domed mausoleum attached to the Süleymaniye Mosque.

Today Camelot still remains a myth but Istanbul is a pulsing, enigmatic city, albeit one that struggles to retain its heritage as the portal between two worlds.

I first fell in love with Turkey, and Istanbul, as a young, wide-eyed backpacker in the late 1980s.

Then I returned briefly in 2010 on a Mediterranean cruise aboard Cunard’s Queen Victoria.  These few days in Turkish ports were short moments in my life and a blip in the history of that country but they reawakened my senses and left me in awe of this magical place.

I was brimming with anticipation as Queen Victoria journeyed from the Aegean into the Sea of Marmara, then through the Dardanelles and past Gallipoli, where Ataturk erected his monument to the chivalry and valour of Turkey’s fallen sons and their combatants from the allied forces.   We wound through the curves of the Bosporus Strait with Europe on our port side and Asia to starboard.

As we approached our berth in the Golden Horn I was in the ship’s gym (situated in the bow with floor to ceiling glass windows), where Istanbul’s mosques and minarets loomed large as I ran on the treadmill to greet them.Approaching Istanbul from Cunard's Queen Victoria

Early next morning we dutifully took our seats on a bus for a tour of the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia.  We waited in queues that weaved through the grounds and gardens like some mythic dragon guarding the Sultan’s secrets, its many heads the numbered signs held high by excitable tour guides.

After the tour we were driven to a designated carpet store in an unremarkable building where wizened men unfurled, spun and twirled the carpets into a spectacular dance for their captive audience.  carpet selling tricks in Istanbul, Turkey

Any magic they created for us in the hope that these Cunard passengers would spend up big was dispelled by the cynical salesmen and the historically stale simits we were fed, washed down with cheap cai.

After escaping from their lair we headed straight to the Grand Bazaar to make our own marketing decisions.    One step inside this glorious centre of commerce and I was under a spell.  I was on a mission to venture down as many alleyways and corridors as possible in the next hour and a half before the return bus trip to Queen Victoria.

Of course I could have moved a lot faster without my family by my side, but as I’d spent endless hours exploring the Bazaar by myself many years earlier, I guess I could accommodate their slower pace.

I wasn’t searching for the Holy Grail but I was damned sure I was going to snag a special souvenir – but where to begin?  As we already had our leather coats from Kusadasi and I didn’t need any more carpets I had to be strategic in my quest.

The Grand Bazaar is like Merlin’s cave, where I’m pretty  sure you can find almost anything, for a price.  I settled on a pair of faux Rayban sunglasses, silk pashminas for gifts and an I Love Istanbul t-shirt  for my daughter, who was collecting them in every port we visited.

My husband had already succumbed to the souvenir sellers outside the Blue Mosque, buying 2 fez hats in different colours, presumably to suit different moods.

After a late lunch on board I was hankering to get back into the thriving metropolis so I headed off with my heavy SLR  Nikon F60 (11 years old at the time and not digital) and a plan to go to Taksim Square.  I didn’t get that far.  Instead I alighted the tram just before it crossed Galata Bridge and headed up the steepest hill I could find.  I passed cafes perched on the side of the cliff and unique boutiques on hairpin bends.

At the top of the hill I discovered a castle; small but worthy of Camelot.  It turned out to be Galata Tower which truly does have a medieval history.  I had no idea what was inside but felt compelled to join the queue.  After paying a small entrance fee and catching a tiny lift to the top I couldn’t have been more pleased:  I was a little bit closer to heaven and from there I could gaze down over the kingdom, and what a sight it was.

The top of the tower has glass windows that offer a panoramic view, however the external viewing area was so narrow it was impossible not to body hug anybody else trying to pass or go the opposite way around the tower.  I drank in the views of the city, the Golden Horn, the Bosporous and the Sea of Mamara and the beauty was only dimmed by the fading light as the sun set on this magnificent vista.  I took as many photos as I could but knew that I was dabbling with disaster as Queen Victoria was due to sail at 5.30pm.

I can only imagine what would have happened if I hadn’t made it back to the dock in time because I did make it back with about 15 minutes to spare.  Of course my teenage daughter and my mother were in meltdown because my name was called out many times over the ship’s loudspeakers, only adding to their increasing worries about my safety.

My husband, my knight in a shining fez, didn’t appear to be phased at all as he sat at a round table watching Istanbul out the window.  I like to think that it was because he trusts in my spirit of adventure and knew that if I had been stranded there I would have made a great life for myself in Turkey.  And when the family came to visit me we would all sit and chat over tiny glasses of apple cai with sugar lumps on the side, and we would look at the sun glinting on the water, and we would smile.

In reality I am a daughter, wife and mother and, as a passenger aboard Cunard’s Queen Victoria I had other ports to visit, sail-away parties to attend, and stories to tell of my wonderful visit back to Istanbul.

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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

One November in Turkey (part 3) – Gallipoli to Istanbul

Destination Istanbul was only two more smoke-filled bus trips away.  The first stop on the way, a must-see for ancient history buffs, was Canakkale.  Here we made a quick trip on the local dolmus out to Troy, with its 4000 years of history.

Life in Camelot at Troy's Trojan Horse, Turkey.

Nice place, shame about the wooden horse.

Then, on 15th November 1986, a small boat from Canakkale – a very small boat – took this weary group of 4 Australian backpackers across the Straits of Dardanelles to Eceabat on the Gallipoli Peninsula to the see some modern history (that occurred some 71 years earlier).

Cabs queued at the dock to drive us out along the dusty, windy road to the battlefields, and being Australians, we chose to visit the site of the Anzac and Lone Pine Ridge memorials.  After ascertaining our nationality, our driver took one hand off the steering wheel to open the glove-box and pulled out a well-worn cassette of Men At Work songs.

Image courtesy of http://www.anzacday.biz

We sang along, loudly and proudly, as the historic dirt from the peninsula flew in through the windows and into our mouths. I spent quite a bit of time there, walking in the footsteps of thousands of young Australian, New Zealand, British and Turkish soldiers, who made such a tragic mark on our combined histories.  I walked through the trenches, looked out at the deceptively calm ocean, and took in the scent of the lone pine tree.

Life in Camelot at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, Turkey

I read the names carved in stone and shed a tear at the words of Ataturk:

Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives…
You are now living in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace.

There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours…
You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace, after having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.

 

Life in Camelot at Ataturk's memorial, Gallipoli, Turkey

And finally, after working my way up Turkey’s beautiful west coast, I boarded a bus to majestic Istanbul.

I was tired but exhilarated to be in this bustling cultural mosaic and the centre of the old empire.  I had become used to the daily chanting from the mosque that began at 5.30 in the morning (and would go on another four times throughout the day), so had almost forgotten how to sleep in, and my arms were getting tired from carrying those two carpets that Erol had sold me.

One November in Turkey (Part 2)

But by the time I reached Istanbul I had come to expect anything in Turkey so when I bumped into a work colleague from Sydney in the famous Pudding Shop, I barely raised an eyebrow.  The Pudding Shop served as an essential part of a young traveller’s life, before mobile phones and the internet.  There you could arrange to meet fellow travellers, or leave messages for friends; exchange ideas and travel anecdotes; buy a travel iron, or catch a lift in a kombie to the next adventure. Oh, and they sold food there too, but no puddings that I recall.

Life in Camelot at Hagia Sofia, Istanbul, Turkey

Despite the entire city being under martial law whilst I was there, with a nightly curfew that accompanied this, I managed to have fun, haggled my way through the Grand Bazaar to find the perfect pair of Lapis Lazuli earrings, and even got drunk without getting into trouble.

Life in Camelot with taxis in Istanbul, Turkey

I had not finished my European odyssey – I had only sampled a juicy slice of life in Turkey, and was greedy for more.  But my 3 month Eurailpass would run out soon so I needed to retrace my journey westwards to London.

Here I would return to a different empire where trains would stop running that winter because the tracks would freeze over, and where consumers would trample each other in the Boxing Day sales along Oxford Street.

So called civilization was just one more bus ride away…

One November in Turkey (Part 1)

One November in Turkey (part 2) or Remembering on Remembrance Day

In early November 1986 I had arrived in Turkey on a whim, with no idea of what I would encounter.  A handful of fellow backpackers had suggested it as the next stop east from Santorini, so I joined them on a ferry ride to Rhodes; a ferry ride that took about 22 hours instead of the regular 13 because one of the engines broke down.

We found a cheap hotel in the heart of the old city but because it was the weekend not much was open.  We did however, find the famous Popeye’s Bar where we feasted on a wonderful and traditional roast lunch with all the trimmings.  This food was a welcome change from all the Mediterranean food we’d been eating for so long.  In the late afternoon we headed to the port to buy our tickets for the trip to Turkey.  We had been told that we could get discount tickets if we purchased them as a group, but despite meeting up with 37 other backpackers to take advantage of this wonderful marketing strategy, we all only got a discount of 10% – the Greeks don’t like to part with their money.

On a Monday afternoon, after spending only 2 nights in Rhodes, we took a boat to Turkey – it took just 2 and a half hours to cross this little piece of the Aegean and reach the stunning Turquoise Coast.  I arrived with 2 others from the big group whom I’d met in Greece plus another Australian couple we met on the crossing.

I had no expectations of what I would find in Turkey but, like nearly everyone of my generation, I had watched the movie Midnight Express years earlier with wide-eyed horror, so armed with those images, I stepped onto Turkish soil at Marmaris.

At the dock many happy hotel and hostel hawkers awaited us with their best deals but lost out to a well-spoken local called Ismail, who offered us a better deal for mattresses on the floor and home cooked meals.

There were various occupants present in ‘the house of Ismail’, including two shifty-eyed divers who couldn’t speak English, who were called Ali and Sali (I’m not making that up) as well as Ismail’s 5 year old daughter, Didem, and a Japanese girl called Bam, travelling on route to Israel.  I will always remember her as the girl who sold me her second-hand Sony Walkman.

I only had one cassette that I played over and over on the Walkman.  It infused music into my memories and gave new meaning to my travels.

After 3 days of resisting the charms of the abalone divers my companions and I said goodbye to Ismail and his house guests and took the first of many smoke-filled bus trips through Turkey.  We headed north-east to Kusadasi where I experienced my first, and only, Turkish Bath.

In an old part of town we entered the Belediye Hamami at the Hotel Akdeniz where my companion and I were told to wait in a curtained cubicle while all the male clientele were ushered out for the arrival of this white western woman waiting in the wings.  When the coast was clear the enormous but enthusiastic masseurs, wearing nothing but loin cloths, went to work on my male friend and me.

When the lights suddenly went out in our windowless room our only means of self preservation was to reach out for each other’s soapy hands across the cold marble slabs, as we waited for the worst to happen. (About this time I was having those flashbacks to the movie Midnight Express…)

Candles were quickly found and lit and the men continued to lather us up in our underpants whilst we waited for the electricity to be restored.  Perhaps as recompense for the worry of being semi-naked, trapped in a dark, underground cavern, covered in soap suds somewhere in Turkey, my burly masseur lifted his leg to me in the candlelight, revealing all his manhood beneath the towel.

The hotel gave us a little card that read: ‘You will feel completely relaxed after a Turkish bath’.  I certainly hope the masseur was relaxed after my massage because I was not!

This rather intimate look at Turkey in the bathhouse steeled me for any future suprises but instead, as we headed slowly north I was continually disarmed by the friendliness and hospitality of the Turkish people.  They all wanted to practice their English and continually filled us up with lashings of hot apple cay as we came into their shops, their lives, and then left again.

One of these friendly people was Erol, an international man of commerce who spent his time between the sleepy seaside town of Kusadasi and the windy city of Chicago.  He owned a carpet shop (what else?) and he and his friends entertained us with an impromptu barbeque outside his shop one evening in Grand Bazaar Street.  He massaged my icy cold feet by the open fire and gave me thick, beautifully crafted woollen socks from the store to keep me warm.

 

The next night they took us out to dinner at a nearby restaurant and we all ate more wonderful food while Erol translated everything for us.  After dinner we were treated to a belly-dancer who danced on our table but she looked a bit scrawny and desperate to me.

Because of this special bond we had forged over a several days, Erol naturally gave me a great deal on the two carpets I bought from him!

From Kusadasi the ancient town of Ephesus was only a short dolmus (mini-bus) ride away but the epic history of the place was lost on this young backpacker and the memory of hitching a ride back to town on a cotton bale truck is more readily recalled than the ruins.

The next bus ride took me east – inland to Pamukkale.  A picture perfect town, famous for the beautiful white pools and basins forming cliffs along the hillsides, made from years of calcium deposits.

Here we met even more backpackers from all over the world.  We spent our days in the magical cotton castle thermal pools and, for a token price (about 85 cents) we could access the “Sacred Pool”, located inside the Pamukkale Hotel at the top of the hill, where we sat and frolicked amidst the historical ruins of Hierapolis, until our skins were pruney with the pure warm water.

 

When night fell the chill set in as winter was on its way.  We would settle in to the best (and only) pizzeria in town and share travel stories with the English, Canadians, Swedes, Americans, one Japanese and one Kiwi before dispersing to our individual accommodations.  I would go to bed in the cheap pansiyon wearing my clothes, woollen socks and a scarf whilst I kept my fingers warm by writing letters home.

I wrote of the euphoria I felt in Turkey (and a bit about the cold) and about the bond between the backpackers – the sanctity of strangers who were all spellbound by this wonderful land.  Intrepid as I was, I piked out of the pilgrimage to Goreme, five hundred kilometres away in the middle of Turkey.  It wasn’t the long bus trip, nor the primitive conditions of the fairy chimneys and accommodation in the region that deterred me.  It was the first hand reports from fellow backpackers of temperatures reaching three degrees below zero that froze my fate.  I headed north instead.

Four hours away by bus, I found more food, more friends and more festivities in Izmir.  After getting another cheap room in yet another cheap hotel and emptying the contents of my backpack, I got word that some dear friends in Australia were marrying (quite suddenly) and I would miss their wedding.  Serendipity arrived in the form of a new Turkish friend, called Vile, who immediately invited our little group to a huge wedding in town.

 

In a restaurant in the middle of a big park we sat at a table amidst lots of floral arrangements and coloured balloons.  Because we arrived at 10.00pm we missed the main course but filled ourselves up sweet cakes and alcohol.  We were overwhelmed with the joy and love that marked this special occasion and I suddenly became very homesick – or perhaps it was all the baklava and wine I consumed.

Despite my new found love of everything Turkish,  I started to look forward to returning to England where I would spend Christmas with my own fiancé, who was flying all the way from Sydney to meet me.

(to be continued…)

One November in Turkey (part 1)

His steely eyes surveyed me through a sea of stubble (his five o’clock shadow grew well past the usual demarcation lines), as he slung my overly heavy backpack into the deep hole beneath the bus, one November in Turkey.

He grunted and jerked his head towards the door.  I watched him watch me climb the stairs and then I turned to face the aisle.  I was hit by a choking river of smoke.  Some thirty or so pairs of eyes peered out at me as I made my way up the bus.

I secured myself a window seat; a window that didn’t open.  Resting my cheek against the cool glass offered little relief from the heat of my forehead.  The driver slid into his seat, pulled a big lever and locked us into his silver vessel of smoke, sweat and stale air, where we’d stay for the next 15 hours or so, as the bus headed for Thessaloniki.

I was leaving Istanbul with a light heart, two heavy carpets, and a stress headache.

Departure time was 8.00pm, and not long after leaving Buyuk Otogar, (the main bus terminal in Istanbul), the driver kindly supplied us with some music for our travelling entertainment.  It didn’t seem to concern him that most passengers had pinned their hopes on trying to sleep throughout this night long journey and could have done without the tinny tones from his transistor.

Just in case anyone managed to nod off the co-driver undertook refreshment duties by walking up and down the aisle every few hours splashing us with a pungent eau de cologne; a scent that temporarily overpowered the smells of stale cigarettes, tired bodies and bitter oranges.

Perhaps they were trying to keep us alert for the impending border crossing into Greece, just past the Turkish town of Ipsala, where for several hours we had our adrenal glands worn down by armed Greek guards who contemplated our ‘Turkish’ motives for proceeding into their territory.  It was here I discovered that I was the only English speaker on board – my mad muttering and swearing under my breath remained untranslated and my wide-eyed questioning remained unanswered.

In the small hours of the morning, after hours of waiting and bag searches, the cologne had all but worn off as the bus quietly crept into Greece and stopped at Alexandroupolis (about forty kilometres down the road) for a meal break and a reality check.

This scary, but eventful journey marked the end of 3 of the most exhilarating, unplanned weeks of my young life, during one November in Turkey.

(to be continued…)