Liam demonstrates proper dinner etiquette…

The very height of civilised behaviour. What can we say? He’s a very sophisticated guy…

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Holiday 2012: delightful beginnings…

It all began on Saturday last week, bright and early. We had intended to head off on Sunday originally, because it would be the second day of the big end-of-Ramazan holiday, and we’d hoped that travelling would be easier that day with less traffic and fewer people trying to take ferries, etc. However, a friend of mine and her husband, Katherine and Alper, were leaving Istanbul early on Saturday morning by car and heading to Alper’s family’s summer home near Eceabat, a small town of about 5,000 people on the eastern shore of the Gelibolu Peninsula, which was close to where Richie and I were planning to go ourselves. They invited us to come along for the ride and to stay the night in the house with them, which is what we did.

The traffic was heavy enough, and I guess the trip to Eceabat took about twice as long as it does on a quieter day. There were so many people trying to get to wherever they were going, and especially near the end of our trip, there was a huge amount of congestion around the various ferry points with people trying to get over to the Anatolian side of the Dardenelles. Cars were lined up for kilometre after kilometre, and we were really lucky we weren’t trying to cross over that day.

Instead, we stayed in a little ‘holiday neighbourhood’ just about 5 minutes walk from the Aegean Sea. The house was pretty basic in it’s amenities, but it was a fun and comfortable place to stay, with beds and couches for Liam to jump around on, a lovely garden with a canopy of grapes growing as well as plum and fig trees. We sat in the garden in the evening, enjoying the cooler air outside, and most importantly, we got to go swimming!!! It was Liam’s first time playing in the sand too, and we gave his toes a little dip in the water lapping up on the sandy shore. He wasn’t too sure about it, but he didn’t cry or fuss either. It was just gorgeous.

After our evening swim, we all headed by car to a local restaurant by the docks. We had a seafood feast while the sun went down over the sea and we could see the cars loading up on one of the ferryboats nearby. We had squid and seabass dolma, fresh salad, roasted aubergine/eggplant meze, fresh melon with beyaz peynir (feta-like white cheese), and skewers of swordfish and something which translates as ‘tongue fish’ for the main course, all washed down with some rakı, the signature Turkish anise-flavoured spirit. It was delicious. Liam entertained himself by chewing on bread, and acting a little like a wild animal, which was pretty funny.

The next morning we had a lovely Turkish breakfast prepared by Katherine and Alper, with all the usual yummy stuff, like fresh juicy tomatoes and cucumbers, cheese, olives, spicy sausages, honey and kaymak, and thick slices of village bread. Then it was time for another swim in the sea and playtime in the sand. I just find the sea so invigorating and amazing. I’ve been craving a swim in the sea for the last two years, and I still feel like I haven’t had enough of it. I love the salty taste of it, the lapping of the waves, the sound of the wind blowing over the water and rattling away in your ears, that fresh coolness that washes away all the worries and cares of everyday life. When I’m in the sea, it’s almost like there’s nothing else in the world except that deliciously cold refreshing water, and it makes me feel alive and awake all the way down to my bones. Ah, sea, how I love you…

Holiday 2012…

Well, it’s been nearly two years since our last Turkish holiday, and, at long last, we’ve finally managed to see some new places in this country! We arrived back in Istanbul yesterday evening after a week away from home. On our travels we explored Eceabat, Çanakkale, Truva (Troy) and Bozcaada (Bozca Island)- you can see the region we visited on the map below, with three of the locations labelled.

Travelling with an almost-one-year-old baby was certainly an interesting adventure in itself, but I think as the days went on, we got the hang of it, and things got more relaxing and easier throughout the trip. Liam proved once again to be a laid-back little boy, and without him being so easy-going, this whole trip could have been quite a fiasco! But he was great the entire time and was such a fantastic traveller- what a cool kid.

I have lots of photos and experiences to share, which I’ll slowly be doing as I mull over the whole trip. I feel so happy to have had the chance to see a bit more of this fascinating country and to have escaped from the hustle and bustle of big city life for a bit. Now I feel happy to be home and refreshed by the beautiful places, the peace and quiet, the slower pace of life, a few dips in the sea, delicious food and wine, and a new perspective on things. I’m looking forward to getting it all out in writing! More to come soon…