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  The Chatter Box : Travel
Messages 1 2 

Turkey by Spursfan on 29 June 2008 8:11am
We fly out to Turkey again in October, and during the holiday are going to make a 5 day trip South-east, near the Syrian border. It is the furthest south-east we have been (the furthest before was Mersin). A Turkish friend, Ali, is coming with us.

We fly to Adana and then we'll drive for 3 hours to Antakya (ancient Antioch) where Ali originally comes from. No doubt we will be well looked after by his family.

We will also be driving a further 3 hours to Urfa (where supposedly Abraham was born) and Harran.

Here's a bit about Harran:


And a map to show you where we are going:


We would very much like to go to Van, in the East but it is always too dangerous. The furthest we have gone on the Black Sea coast is Trabzon, and in central Turkey, Kayseri, and Sivas.
Re: Turkey by suzulu on 30 June 2008 1:05pm
It looks like an interesting trip.
Re: Turkey by geordiegirl on 1 July 2008 6:48pm
Sounda wonderful, Anne - these ancient places are thrilling: Antioch! Birthplace of Abraham!
Do tell us about it when you have done it.

is 'Trabzon' the same as 'Trebizond' as in the novel-travel-writing 'The Towers of Trebizond' by, I think, Rose Macaulay?
Re: Turkey by Spursfan on 1 July 2008 7:51pm
As you will see from this it was founded as Trebizond by Greeks, Linda.


Turkey is full of interesting ancient places, even to the atheist (like me) it is exciting to see places from schooldays!! We have drunk water from St Paul's well in Tarsus (supposed to be in his garden); visited Virgin Mary's house on many occasions (supposedly she 'retired' there after the cruxifiction); - and visited St Nicholas' tomb (yes - the REAL Santa Claus!!) to name just a few.

Epheseus is on our doorstep, and we have also been to Side where Marcus Antonius and Cleopatra came ashore (they also visited Epheseus).

As I say, these are only a few examples of many.

Haven't visited Troy yet - and I doubt whether it is really there anyway. And don't forget that Mount Ararat is in Eastern Turkey - rather unattainable in present circumstances sadly.

What a country!
Re: Turkey by geordiegirl on 5 July 2008 10:20am
I've looked at the Wiki entry for Trabzon - sounds wonderful. Didn't know it had its own empire once, but shouldn't be surprised.
Yes, Turkey must be full of marvellous, awe-inspiring sites & it's great you've seen quite a few.

All I can do to match that is mention that at the local museum in Battle on the south coast (!) I was looking at a Roman tile, 2000 years old obviously & asking about the marks on it, thinking they might be religious or something. The attendant said "Well the Romans introduced cats into England and that mark is a cat walking on the tile while it was drying"! Then as now!
Re: Turkey by Spursfan on 7 July 2008 10:52am
Wow! It really brings history to life when you hear/see things like that doesn't it?

I love history and my husband laughs because if we visit a castle or something I have to touch the walls and feel the history !! (I know - mad as a hatter!).

The worst 'marks' I ever saw were in India, on the walls of the Red Fort. There were TINY hand prints which were the prints of wives of various Maharajas just before they went to commit suicide by throwing themselves onto their husband's funeral pyre. It was all I could do not to start weeping as it was so terribly moving.

I went to Battle as a teenager (we were staying at Winchelsea) but I dont remember the museum.
Re: Turkey by perfectbitch on 9 July 2008 1:15pm
Having just returned from 2 weeks teaching English at a summer school in an Istanbul suburb, I can say that it's hot, hot, hot.

I had a weird time - really good bits and really awful bits. The awful bits were due to the schools lack of organisation and not the country, the people or the wonderful children that I taught. I will write about it all later.

It is a beautiful country and the people are friendly, helpful and immensely hospitable. I would gladly go back to Turkey but not to the same school. I loved Istanbul, especially the Archeology museums. I have made many friends there.

Re: Turkey by Spursfan on 11 July 2008 9:43am
Did you manage to get out of Istanbul and see some other places, Linz? As in other countries the people in the big cities are just not the same as those outside them.

It is such a lovely city, so evocative, but we usually make sure we see it in small doses because it is soooo busy!

The traffic is a little better now they have the tram system - you should've seen it before!

I presume you saw Topkapi and the underground cisterns? This latter is my very favourite place in Istanbul.

Can you recommend any others for our next trip? We have been to Topkapi, Dolmabahace Palace, Cistern, Sultanahmet Mosque, Hagia Sofia, the Galata Tower, Grand Bazaar and Spice/Egyptian Bazaar, and been on the Bosphorus. And of course visited (and stayed) at the Pera Palas.

Glad you enjoyed it - the fact that you would go back speaks volumes !!

Anne x
Re: Turkey by Godfather on 14 July 2008 1:10pm

>We would very much like to go to Van, in the East but it is always too dangerous

Not sure I agree. I was in Van, Dogubayazet, and that whole Kurdish region last year and even went through places like Hakkari and Sirnak in the end (stunning landscapes) on the way to Iraq. Yes there is indeed a big military prescence there in those Kurdish regions of eastern Turkey (less so in Van anyway), but it's not a kind of situation that should put you off going. In most areas around Van there are checkpoints where you show your passport, and that's about as much hassle as you'll get. If you head further south than that, yes the checkpoints clutter up and travel gets very slow, but for Van I wouldn't let things put you off. The lake island there with the Armenian church placed in it is a little paradise on earth.
Re: Turkey by Spursfan on 14 July 2008 3:52pm
Thanx Gf; we have been advised in past years to avoid the area by our Turkish friends, and if there is one thing you should always do it is listen to the locals in matters such as this!! Of course it is probably less so now - I am talking 15 years or so ago when we had last planned to go to Van.

I don't think we have ANY Turkish friends who have not lost someone (friend or relative) in that area whilst on military service. And we were told that the PKK are laying booby traps on the roads indiscriminately, for army personnel or civilians or tourists - they ain't bothered. So the roads are a bit iffy, to say the least.

What I am basically saying is that it hasn't put us off, exactly, it is more that we are mindful of what we have been advised.

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