Istanbul is turning out to be quite a European city. The streets are wide. The shops very modern: coffee shops, boutiques and bookshops, all with the obligatory fashionable blond wood. Only the skyline minarets are an oriental reminder. I am too late for Byzantine Constantinople. Hold back a moment of resentment; itís unreasonable to ask a whole city to live in medieval costume just for my benefit. Throw away some more knick knacks.
It is cold. Should have left earlier in the summer. So I buy a full-length thermal underwear set. Now look like one of those gold-greedy pioneers in the US west just before he gets tarred and feathered. For some reason wearing it makes me want to do a knees in the air dance and sing show tunes. Paint my wagon you son of a gun.
I stay for a week collecting visas eating fried fish in bread handed to me off the boats. These fish never get landed. From sea, to net, to mouth. Now thereís fresh.
The guy in the Turkish AA office gives me insurance even though I donít have the appropriate papers. Preconceptions about Turkish bureaucracy defied.
A toss up between ploughing on across the cold central Anatolian mountains and going to the south where, as everyone keeps saying, you can still swim in the sea. Easy one. The drive south is a treat. Bright light and cold shadows taking turns down the valleys; sweeping roads and orange leaf fall; sun streaming through their veins and sparkling off the lakes. Autumn is a beautiful golden season.
Posted by at December 11, 2000 11:00 PM GMT