Göreme and Avannos

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           Which he did.  All the way to 8:15 a.m. at which time one of the Czech youngsters appeared with a bottle of home-made plum brandy called Slivovitça. He was leaving in a few minutes, but he insisted that we taste his brandy, swearing that Slivovitça commonly graces the breakfast tables of the Czech, especially when they have a cold.  So he poured out a few fingers of the stuff for each of us, which we drank with our coffee.  Unlike rakı, Slivovitça goes down a lot like battery acid.  Or maybe a bit more like paint thinner.  It’s hard to say which. It ain’t rakı, and it aint exactly a kick-starter for the day, Continue reading


In Cappadocia

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 The bus service in Turkey is widely respected as being efficient and cheap, which it is. The overnight bus service to
Kayseri features a smiling, handsome steward who insists on speaking German to us because there are also two German men on the bus. They are, in fact, sitting right in front of us.  The one in front of me was like a little blonde bullet, bouncing around, slamming his body against the seat, which slams the plastic seat back against my knees.  He’s oblivious. We have assigned seats, but since the long back bench seat is unclaimed, Alisa scores it, and can stretch out to sleep. I move Continue reading

Sumela Monestary, the Hamam and Hali Abi

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Saturday 17 September

            Sumela Monastery sits high in the mountains outside
Trabzon, having been built there by some variety of Christian monks an impressive number of years ago. All the details are there in the guidebook, so I don’t have to remember them. As is typical for these sorts of monks, I gather, the place is as remote as possible, deep in the forest, high above everything, accessible only by a single door atop a flight of a gazillion stairs, which, I don’t doubt were constructed using only a nail file or some such, penitent thing. The monastery was abandoned in during WWI. The way up is through beautiful, leafy hardwood forests, rushing brooks and steep ascents, just like home. Except for the hardwood trees, even the vegetation was similar. Stinging nettle (discovered the hard way), geranium, lantana, digitalis, even a brunella . The hike from the bus stop climbs 250 meters leaving the Turkish visitors in a lather despite their healthy-looking youth. The Continue reading

In Trabzon

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     In Trabzon, in a room with hot and cold running cockroaches. Still haven’t seen even a single carpet for sale. Hoping for some textiles here. Woke up at 2:45 a.m. and couldn’t get back to sleep. Truncated yoga on the bed whilst Alisa snored.

            Mike, the fellow we stayed with in Istanbul is hurtling through life toward destination mental disorder. His obsessive-compulsiveness is so prominent you can almost see it straining on him like a thousand hands, pressing on him, pushing and pulling him so hard, in so many ways, the veins stand out on his temple, straining with the effort to maintain a semblance of normalcy.  Tiny muscles move Continue reading