A day in Istanbul
Here is Fred at the end of our long journey to Safrandolu, waiting for me to find somewhere to sleep... Thıs was the journey:
We are on our way now, on the motorway to Ankara, skirting the north of the great city (buyuksehir) of Istanbul. We crossed over the Bosphorus, going from Europa to Asia. What an experience. It all looked so picturedque and peaceful way down below. We passed the Rumeli Hisari fortification, built very quickly by Sultan Fatih Mehmet in 1452 just before he conquered Constantinople.
It is a windy day, whil clouds blowing across a blue sky and it is 28 degrees, not too bad.
Our cabin boy has brought round the tradtional eau de cologne and brought us a plastic cup of water before giving us now a cake and anothr 3-in-one coffee (oe chai). Travelling in Turkey is such a pleasnat experience, even if the distances can be quite long. We still have another six hours or so to go. Hoping too arrive at the golden hour.
The sky became greyer and greyer until it was black around the industrial city of Izmit at the eastern end of the Sea of Marmara. We had our spots of rain and saw the temperature drop to 24.
We then passed through a green plain. Planted with maize, marked out by rows of trees, reminding us of the Po Valley in northern Italy.
We are higher up now and as we paas through the green forested slopes, dotted with villages and fiels of cows and horses, still under grey threatening skies, it reminds us Albania! No sheep though.
We are being entertained by a film showing a group of friends who joined the army. Somehow these recruits share barracks and eve a dormitory with a bunch of very attractive young women recruits and this somehow drives the comedy...
As we climb up to the clouds towards Bolu, we are surrounded by thick forests of deciduos trees and the temperature has dropped further to 18. The kofte restaurants, with views, are empty. The rain comes down more heavily and smoke rises from the chomneys of the charming old whitewasked and red-tiled houses.
Just woken up from an after lunch sleep here. The landscape has opened up now, with wise vistas of rocky grasslandsd intersperded with trees, cattle grazong on the brownish grass. The sun is even making an appearance but it is down to 16 degrees now. We much prefer this to the 36 or whever it was when we arrived.
The film has stopped and we are being treated to mellow turkish pop music, at a respectable volume.
We just left the main road for the turning to Karabuk, 40 kms away. We change there for a local bus service, so getting quite close.
And now... We are confronted with a range of black moutains blocking our way ahead.
The village houses are quite charming, one of the better aspects of being remote.