Planes, Trains and Hot Air Balloons

Just as Turkish Delight in Turkey is not bright artificial pink and covered in chocolate,  a trip to Turkey is not limited to a tacky package holiday in Bodrum (although, if that is your thing…)

Our delights were Istanbul, Cappadocia and Yalikavak.

Istanbul was vibrant and alive.  We took in the main sights with our usual inquisitive minds; it always feels a privilege to visit a new part of the world.

The Blue Mosque stood proudly before us, exuding the peace and tranquility that always seems to accompany places of worship; Topkapi Palace wowed us with its beauty and vast history (and colourful stories of badly behaved Ottomans!) – the highlight of which was the Harem, the place where the Sultan could engage in debauchery at will. My mind drifted curiously, exploring what it would be like being a concubine.

The Blue Mosque

Topkapi Palace

The Sultan…

We stood in awe in front of the grand Aya Sofia, famous for its massive dome ceiling. It is now a museum, but it has lived as a mosque and a church (from the date of its dedication in 360 until 1453, it served as a cathedral, then it was converted into a mosque).

Aya Sofia

We felt overwhelmed in the Grand Bazaar, understandably so, as it is a maze of lanes with over 3000 shops. It was a feast for our senses: colours dancing and catching the light, the stall owners competing for our attention.

‘I give you good price…’

Turkey is 95% Muslim and the call to prayer – the ezan – became a normal and enjoyable part of our day (the ezan is chanted five times daily over loud speakers from minarets). But Istanbul felt cosmopolitan – shorts and vest tops happily walk along side traditional Muslim dress; mosques sit comfortably next to bars.

After the hustle and bustle of Istanbul, Cappadocia came as a sharp contrast. A volcanic eruption many millennia ago formed a geologically unique landscape; and as interesting is the human history – Byzantines living in secret formed monasteries within the rocks. We even stayed in a cave, albeit a posh cave!

Our cave…

‘The best way to see Cappadocia is by hot-air balloon’, said Husband tentatively ‘but you have to get up at 4.30 am to do it as the weather conditions aren’t suitable later.’

I am fearful of heights and have a passionate love affair with sleep – but I HATE missing out. What was I going to do? Stay in the hotel, tucked snugly under my duvet whilst Husband had this unique experience solo? I don’t think so!

As I looked down, I watched as the basket lifted off the ground – determination had got me this far, but now what? I stood very still, believing this would somehow stop the fear in its tracks. The basket didn’t rock as I had expected it to, the sensation was calm and still. I am okay I thought. Yes – I AM OKAY! I relaxed into the experience, fascinated by the tiny windows poking out of the white, cream and dusty pink cone-shaped rocks. I was a Peaceful Warrior in a basket, living in the moment, letting go of fear.

Oh, did I mention we were not alone…

Me, scared…?

We ended our trip with a week by the coast in Yalikavak: we sat on the terrace overlooking the sea with the sound of the waves as our only company; we mooched round a fishing village and savoured the freshness of one of the days catch; we watched the sun set below the horizon – amazed at the speed the sun moves and appreciated the layers of pinks and oranges which lit up the sky; we lay around lazily reading our books – treasuring the luxury of having time to read in the middle of the day; we fantasized about being rich enough to own a yacht, as we admired the boats at the ‘Saint-Tropez’ of Yalikavak.

The view from our terrace…

And pose…!

Oh Turkey, you were full of delights. Our soul food account is fit to burst; our relationship feels nurtured and fresh (Husband has been way a lot with work recently, so spending two whole weeks together has been delicious).

And, of course, I have had plenty of time to think about my reinvention. You know how it is – on holiday you feel free, your dreams are braver and bolder. I have come home with a long list of ‘inspirational ideas’. Now all I have to do is stay brave. After all it wouldn’t be much of a reinvention without a sprinkle of boldness now would it?

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13 thoughts on “Planes, Trains and Hot Air Balloons

    • Oh Laurel, I always think of you when we are away (and lots of other times, of course!) I really hope you get your someday…and I know travelling would be on your list, with that gorgeous fiance of yours.

      It’s very sweet of you to comment. Lots of love to you…xxx

  1. WOW. That’s it really, just WOW! The furthest we’ve been again this year is 20 miles down the road camping with the kids! One day… maybe…! xxx

  2. And that’s why we don’t have kids Tracy! 😉

    I know how lucky we are. The great thing is the harder my husband works the more he wants to go away and he’s working REALLY hard at the moment. And he can’t travel alone can he?

    We did go camping once – I wanted to prove to myself I could do it. But I’m not sure it’s for me, I do like somewhere to plug my hairdryer in (my hair looks shocking ‘au naturale’. Shocking). Although, I know people love camping (my best friend is one of them – she doesn’t care what her hair does).

    One day Tracy. One day…maybe get rid of the kids? 🙂

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