Let’s Talk Turkey

We’re beginning the November wind-up to Thanksgiving, so let’s talk Turkey. . . with a twist.    The country, not the bird

These photos are from my travels in Turkey 15 years ago.  I pulled them from a box of negatives, held them up to the light to determine which were which, and scanned them on a rinkydink digital converter.  The images are still distinct, but not crisp. There’s just a bit of a haze to them, though you can still pick out the details.  (You may even find me lurking in a shadow, where’s-Waldo-esque, if you try.)

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I remember this castle and these sites vividly–we were on the Turkish Mediterranean.  But I can’t remember the name of the place.  It’s not on tip of my tongue.  It’s not even a lingering taste at the back of my throat.     It’s just gone: swallowed and digested by the intervening years.  I’d recognize it if you offered it up to me, but after an hour of racking my brain, I still don’t have the power to conjure it on my own.

How can we be so fickle to forget places we have loved and sights that left us awestruck?  Time is a notorious thief, and I have no name for these photos, but I remember.  A brilliant day by the sands of the Mediterranean Sea and under the gaze of the Taurus Mountains.  I haven’t forgotten how I felt.

Maybe recognition is more important than recollection anyway.  It carries that power of empathy–to remember how something felt, to feel connection to the past or the place or the person, even when the name has left you.

That’s a traveller’s power–the power of connection.  We can rely on our guidebooks for place names when we have to, but the ability to connect to the people or stand in awe of the beauty, well, we have to summon that ourselves.

Forced to choose, I’d keep the feeling over the catalog of names any day:  better a fickle mind than a fickle heart.


*And, as a post script:  my travel guidebook has come the the rescue.  The castle is at Anamur, Turkey.

Here are a  few more photos from Turkey.  (More to come in the months ahead, when I get old photo negatives converted to digital.)

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On the "Antik Road" in Cappadocia.
On the “Antik Road” in Cappadocia.

This last photo is an especially fond memory–and I can recall the details.  When I have more time, I’ll bring it back out and tell you the story.   For now, I must say “Gule, gule” (goodbye).


Throwback Thursday, Music Man in Adana, Turkey

14 years ago, baby and me.  This kind man plays his Turkish Saz for us.
14 years ago, baby and me. This kind man is playing his Turkish Saz for us.

The year is 2000.  The day is hotter than Hades in downtown Adana, Turkiye. .  .but just when we think we will melt into the dust and sand, never to be seen again, we meet up with a very cool man and his storeful of Saz.    (Sazes?  Sazi?  Sazzzzzs? What would the plural be?)

He serenandes us and gives us a cassette tape of his songs to take with us  so that we can remember him after we get back on an airplane and return to our life in the States.  Which we will do just a few weeks later.

Fourteen years have passed, and my daughter won’t remember this moment. . . but I do.  So vividly that it still cools me on a hot day and reminds me what it felt like to hold her as a tiny child in my arms.


Armchair Travelers

We’ve got the virus du jour this week, so our weekend was dead and our week is only showing a hint of vital signs.  To boost our spirits–and maybe yours too–I’m posting some old and new travel/life abroad photos.

Hope you enjoy!

Trier, Germany


Doune Castle, Scotland, 2007--location of Monty Python's Holy Grail scenes
Doune Castle, Scotland, 2007–location of Monty Python’s Holy Grail scenes


Edinburgh, Scotland  by night, Christmas 2007
Edinburgh, Scotland by night, Christmas 2007


Cappadocia, Turkey, 1998, near Guzelyurt...an old monestary in the foreground.
Cappadocia, Turkey, 1998, near Guzelyurt. . .an old monastary in the foreground.


A castle on the Turkish Mediterranean, 1998
A castle on the Turkish Mediterranean, 1998
Sienna, Italy
Sienna, Italy



Montecarlo, Italy (Tuscany), 2006
Montecarlo, Italy (Tuscany), 2006


Exeter Cathedral, England
Exeter Cathedral, England


We capture the castle, at Alnwick Castle, England, 2007 or 2008
We capture the castle, at Alnwick Castle, England, 2007 or 2008
Victoria Clock Tower, Ripon, England--out the window of our old house
Victoria Clock Tower, Ripon, England–a block from our old house



The Lake District, England, 2009.. Just a couple of silly blokes.
The Lake District, England, 2009. Just a couple of silly blokes.
Exiting the cave of Hell at Cennet ve Cehennem (Heaven and Hell), near Silifke and Kiz Kalesi, Turkey.
Exiting the cave of Hell at Cennet ve Cehennem (Heaven and Hell), near Silifke and Kiz Kalesi, Turkey.


Rouen, France
Rouen, France


And finally, a shout out for my home country on this anniversary of September 11th--at the statue of Pocahontas at Jamestown (the first permanent English settlement in what would become the United States).
And finally, a shout out for my home country on this anniversary of September 11th–at the statue of Pocahontas at Jamestown (the first permanent English settlement in what would become the United States).


Boxing Up My Life

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My material things don’t equate my life–let me just say that up front.

And yet.

I’m a magpie.   I collect threads and scraps as I move along, and they pad my nest.  No, that’s not exactly it.  They become the fabric of my nest.   The baubles I collect as I keep wandering represent my life. And it’s hard to watch them all be packed up, some to load onto a slow boat to Germany and some to sit in storage for a couple of years.  So many of my things feel like old friends, like artifacts of adventurous times, not like run of the mill stuff at all.

And, yes, in the interest of full disclosure, I have too much “stuff” too.  I’m not proud that among the boxes being packed up in my house there are “As Seen on TV” products, old DVD’s and VHS tapes of bad sitcoms, some dog figurines…well, it just gets ugly.  But let’s focus on the beauty here:

There’s the portrait of Teak, the first dog my husband and I owned–so beautiful and so smart.  He was the beginning of a small menagerie of children, dogs, and goldfish who share our life.

There’s the old dollhouse from England, bought at auction.  It’s a Tudor, half-timber design, handmade, and sporting a “Toy Town Antiques” sign over the door  and a little antique shop in the front room, visible through the window.

There’s the 300 year old walnut chest that may or may not house a ghost.  (We call her Emily.)

The church pew from the Ripon Cathedral in our old hometown of Ripon,  England  (legitimately bought, not carried out of the cathedral–thanks for asking).  It is quite beautiful, but impossible to look at without imagining the people who were there before you.  Brides and widows.  Carolers and clerics.  Young, old, rich, poor, inspired, and downtrodden.  A microcosm of life on one short bench.

There’s the  old pocket Bible from WWII that bears King George’s stamp and message to soldiers in the front cover, and is partially  hollowed out in the middle so the owner could hold cigarettes or pass notes.  It came from the estate of a former British soldier; he was a POW in the Pacific theater.

The Turkish carpet we bought from a man affectionately (?) known as “the one-armed bandit” in Kizkalesi, Turkiye.  He lived in a coastal town not too far from where we lived and knew our car the minute we drove into town for the weekend.  He’d flag us down, bring us into his home, close the curtains, and then pull out his stash of carpets, jewelry, and antiquities for sale.   All a little shady, but in a seductively  high intrigue way.  We felt like James Bond in Istanbul, wheeling and dealing.    And, yes, he  had just one arm. (No doubt, there’s an interesting back story there.)

The list goes on.  And on.  And on.

Each item is its own story–some love stories, some comedies, some tragedies, some mysteries.  Inanimate objects?  No way.

Some of it is just stuff.  But so much of it runs deeper than that.  The artifacts of a life lived and loved.  Who could possibly fit that into a box?


*If you have stories to share of “found objects” that have become part of your life, I’d love to hear them–leave a comment.

The boxing has begun.