The country on two continents…
Marion Smith recalls some of the happiest days of her life, soaking up the tastes and culture in various towns and cities around Turkey
AFTER spending 10 days on a tour travelling around the most popular sites in Turkey, I fell in love with the gem of Europe, and knew I had to return.
After all, when a girl from Africa touches snow, drops to the ground and makes snow angels then jumps up, shakes the snow out of her boots and sits down on a park bench and admires the views of surrounding buildings such as the Hagia Sophia, and sips on a hot cup of Salep, you know this is what dreams are made of.
Turkey is a country to explore by train, air and my personal favourite, the bus. I love nothing more than staring out the window on a long road trip and daydreaming about far-off lands and how people travelled the notorious silk road.
When you are in the heart of Turkey, take a moment and talk to the locals and eat their hot, homemade bread and share a cup of çay (tea). The lives of people in villages are simple, but you leave them feeling richer and appreciating their values. They find joy in family and friends, and enjoy the pleasures of life.
Ani is my spot for some me time where I can go and wander the expanse of open ground and marvel at the structures that were built centuries ago.
The silence in winter is so surreal, driving the 30-odd kilometres from the town of Ani to the ruins, you can often see foxes running around in the fields of snow.
This open air museum demands respect, and the lack of tourists makes it even more appealing for those wanting to have a snow fight or look over the river at Armenia.
One of my favourite ways to see Turkey is to have no plan. Spontaneity is the order of the day; if the weather looks good in Fethiye, I rush off to the bus station, buy a ticket and enjoy the ride.
This seaside resort is oozing with activities, and any adrenalin junkie would love it. Boat trips to the Butterfly Islands, lounging on the beach of Ölüdeniz, watching large turtles swim in the clear waters of the harbour, paragliding over the bay, or walking through the ghost village once inhabited by Greek citizens – the choices are endless.