Monday, 4 October 2010

Remembering Turkey ....at last...



Today is one of THOSE days.We got up late so the school run was a dash. I have a hundred things to do, it is raining like the second deluge and my neighbour turned up just after school drop off and stayed the entire morning to chat. She is a young mother with 3 small children and I hadn't the heart to throw her out, we live in the middle of the countryside, she does not have family near by and too well I remember days when I was at home with a small baby and desperate for someone to talk too. I could do with a holiday or for someone to stop time just for a few hours so I can catch my breath.

The rain though reminds me of our trip to Turkey. The night before we left Greece and headed for the Turkish border the heavens opened, the tents leaked and we found ourselves camping in a very large puddle. I spent the night lying watching the mother feral cat sitting under our table outside as she made numerous trips to retrieve her wandering kittens who, judging from their reactions had never met weather like this before.
By the time we got to the border the rain had cleared and we sat amongst carloads of Turks returning home for the summer, the crossing is not easy, there are various checkpoints, numerous stamps and papers to be collected and corrected and money passing hands all amidst frayed tempers and angry travelers and an overpowering feeling that one small step wrong may end badly. Travelling into Turkey by road really is like crossing into a foreign country. With te open door policy in Europe I had forgotten what border crossings were like and how frightening men with large guns and short tempers can be.

Once through we drove onwards into the rain, which had caught us up past mile upon mile of sunflowers ever closer to our destination Istanbul. Somehow I had imagined seeing it in a halo of sunlight, a myriad of minarets glittering under a blue sky. We we saw instead was a frightening busy city which took us three hours to cross in rush hour traffic and heavy rain and being hampered by lack of a decent map and the inability to read Turkish road signs or understand the strange motorway toll system. The volume of noise and movement was daunting. A constant hullaballoo of car horns and sirens assailed our ears and as the night drew in we did not seem to be getting any closer . Eldest had been sitting all afternoon at the Apartment we had rented , sending messages all saying roughly " Are you here yet?, Where are you ?" The answer to both questions being we have no idea! Eventually we turned up exhausted stressed and hungry but so so glad to see her again and to find the apartment a real haven of peace and serenity after a very hard and long day.


The rain cleared and we stood on the balcony arm in arm admiring the city sparkling like a gem in the dark.



And here in the morning light is what we woke too. The sound of river traffic and parrots flying through the trees. The smell of warm damp earth after rain, blue skies, and a beautiful view accross the Bosporous. As I stood looking out across the water from Asia to Europe and saw everywhere fluttering in the breeze the giant red Turkish flags flying proudly over bridges and buildings, it felt like coming home and I for one was in love with the city already.

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Now here I am in France, home again, livingin another rainy day in another country, too engaged in looking at photos of our glorious trip across Europe into the unknown to bother about the many things I am meant to be doing in the here and now and thinking about just how lucky I am to have those memories of another wet day in another world to get me through this damp day in October.



9 comments:

Frances said...

On this dark and rainy Monday in New York, it's grand to have this opportunity to visit France, and even learn a bit about what it might be like to enter into Istanbul. Wow!

xo

Posie said...

Oh Turkey looks beautiful, how exciting travelling through Greece and across borders. I would love to travel in Europe more, but we tend to fly to a destination and stay put. Maybe when the children are older. Lovely to catch up with you un peu xx

Posie said...

Oh Turkey looks beautiful, how exciting travelling through Greece and across borders. I would love to travel in Europe more, but we tend to fly to a destination and stay put. Maybe when the children are older. Lovely to catch up with you un peu xx

Bluestocking Mum said...

Turkey does look stunning.

What wonderful memories you made this summer. Good to see you blogging these Un Peu
xx

Friko said...

Now that you are safely back home - in the rain - surely you look back on your adventure with awe; how brave you were to set off as you did. You have been to many places, seen a lot and had a great experience en famille.

That would count for quite a lot in my book.

Pondside said...

I am in awe of your sense of adventure - the description of your trip across Istanbul in rush hour was nearly enough for me. I love your confidence and can-do spirit. Your family memory banks will soon be overflowing.

Fennie said...

Turkey must be fabulous. But then so is Brittany, too, in its way. I'm wondering where the bridge is in the last picture. Miss your happy blogs

Tattie Weasle said...

You so apprecaite a haven when it's been hell to get there! What an amazing journey - feel inspired to start planning my own trek!

mathilda said...

Beautiful blog Mummy, nice to know I'm not the only one painfully nostalgic for istanbul!! <3 xoxox