Thoughts reverent and irreverent from the road in Turkey

  “Berbat, çok berbat (awful, really awful).” Believe me, these are not the words you want to hear when attempting to cross the Çam Geçidi (Pine Pass, 2460m) between Ardahan and Şavşat in the depths of one of the worst winters Turkey has had for years. I’d had a sneak preview...
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I’d come to Ardeşen, due east of Rize, in search of its famous hawkers but alas I’d come too late. In the local teahouse they were very apologetic. August, they said. September. But look, here on the wall were photographs of sparrowhawks in all their splendid plumage, and here by the...
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Much is written about the trials and tribulations of being a driver in Turkey but actually it’s not a whole lot better if you’re a pedestrian. As someone who still walks a lot despite the hazards here’s my take on the pitfalls of pedestrian life. 1. The first thing to...
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Tagged in: walking in Turkey
It’s not easy to be a travel writer when at heart you’re rather an earnest person. Travel is, after all, an essentially frivolous business. You don’t have to do it. You can only do it if you have expendable income. It’s all about the search for adventure, beauty, the authentic and...
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It was just before last year's election when I decided to head out to southeast Turkey. As on previous occasions it was obvious that there might be heightened tension there in the run-up to the election. Came an email from a friend living out Urfa way. It’s tense in Diyarbakır, Midyat...
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The road to Dargeçit, the old Suryani Kferboran northeast of Midyat, is in a shocking state. Or at least I presume that it still is, given how it was when I was bouncing along it last May as I did my best to take in as much of the Tur Abdin...
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Tagged in: Dargeçit Ilısu Dam
Success! On my second try I’d actually managed to get inside the fourth-century monastery of Mor Yakup in Nusaybin. I’d also seen the finished version of the impressive Mesopotamian Cultural Centre (Mitanni Kültür Merkezi). But before heading back to Midyat there were a couple more local attractions that I wanted to...
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When you’re researching a travel article everything sometimes works out perfectly first time round. Unfortunately on other occasions it simply doesn’t, which is how it was with me and Nusaybin. The first time I’d gone there some five or six years ago I might as well have stayed at home...
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Writing about Cizre this week memories from last year came flooding back. Cizre was one of the few towns in Turkey I had never got round to visiting. It sits, you see, in a triangle (Cizre-Siirt-Şırnak) that people are always keen to warn against visiting. In any case information about Cizre...
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Last night I had the weirdest sensation. I was walking back from the İkbal Lokantası in Afyon town centre to the Şehitoğlu Konaği in the old part of town when for a fleeting second I actually felt as if I were back in Ottoman times, hurrying home in the dark,...
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