I’m standing on a hill covered in low scrubby bushes and chipped rocks, looking out over blue misty water. An ancient fort from the crusades looms over my shoulder, watching the waves that run from Turkey to the Ukraine, across the inland waterway of Asia and Europe.
It’s hard to believe the Black Sea is just that – a sea, and not an ocean. On the map it’s a mere basin, but in living colour it stretches impossibly large, romantic and beckoning.
Turkey holidays on the brain
Standing next to that fort and looking over the Black Sea remains one of my favourite memories from a holiday Carmen and I took in Istanbul, the cultural capital of Turkey where the East meets the West in an amazingly layered mess of history and contemporary style.
Lately I’ve had Turkey holidays on my mind quite a lot. I caught up with some friends last weekend who were our hosts in Istanbul when we travelled there and we revived and shares some great memories of the place together.
The Blue Mosque. The Hagia Sofia. Byzantine walls, bazaars, restaurants and cafes – all connected to the Bosphorus, the snaking strait that connects the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara and then the Aegean and Mediterranean.
I have been to one end of this waterway and seen the immense waters of the Black Sea stretching out to the cold, flat heart of Eastern Europe and Asia. But the Bosporus is also the gateway to Europe – and had I turned around, faced south-west, I could have sailed to warmer waters where white sand, secret lagoons and good times await.
Heading to Turkey’s coast
Many of our good friends have enjoyed Turkish holidays in places like Antalya, Bodrum and Dalaman and had an absolute ball swimming in the sea, partying in the night clubs and eating wonderful fresh, healthy food – all washed down with an Efes pilsner of course!
A big regret I have from the time we lived in London is that we didn’t explore Turkey more – and there so many ways to reach Turkey from London! One trip to Istanbul really just does not cut it when there is so much more to see and do in this vibrant, varied country.
Sailing down the Turkish coast remains one of my great travel ambitions and to that end I’ve been putting in a lot of time on the ocean in a friend’s yacht to get my skills up. One day soon we’ll get a bunch of mates together and pool our resources to get a sleek hulled yacht to go cruising in.
In the meantime though, maybe a trip to some of the seaside towns like Kusadasi or Marmaris could be in order? Our travels this year are going to take us to Europe after all, and though I have seen the water in Istanbul, I haven’t followed it to the coast where another Turkey awaits…