Lisa Crampin travelled to Turkey and discovered a country with far more to offer than the stereotype sunspot image suggests.

'l‘hree times the si/e ol Britain. spanning l‘urope and .»\sia. and with names from history and bible lessons. ‘l‘urkey appeals to sun-seekers and intrepid tray ellers alike. It isalso proy ing a liyely alternative to standard package holidays.

The itnage ol a hot desert-like land

is a myth. lurkey ‘s wet w inter's ensure that ex en in the hot summers. the countryside is lush and green. \Vitli enough stunning scenesol mountains. waterfalls and forests to make you homesick lor the Highlands. ‘l'urk'ey also boasts much cultiy ated land. lt produces both the commonplace and the esotic:



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cereals. beans. watermelons. bananas. pistachio nuts.

'l‘owns along the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts are the most popular. With long beaches. beautiful scenery and world-famous historical sites. it is easy to see why these areas pttll the crowds.

l‘lphesus. just east of Kudasi (on the Aegean coast). is the most well-known Roman site. As well as a breath-taking collection of wonderfully preserved roads. libraries and house. liphesus offers a Wonder of the Ancient \Vorld- the ’l'emple of Artemis. And there's a pilgrim‘s shrine too. in the shape of the last known address of the Virgin Mary. The archeological museum at nearby Seljuk houses all the Roman goodies found at liphesus. Numerous other sites lie along the coasts ( Prienne. l’erge. Aspendos) btit beware ofover-dosing on Roman amphitheatres.

A typical 'l'urkish lifestyle can be observed (and experienced) at smaller villages. lake in tea-houses. pansyions and unspoilt beaches along your way. A few ups and downs on the roller—coaster ztt l)atcha on the south-west peninsula will give you stunning views. ()r plump fora boat trip to ('nidos. a Roman site which was stripped bare before 'l‘urkey started to protect its heritage.

Modern life and commercial enterprise lurk in Side. There. in masterful anachronism. neon lights hang from pillars and columns. restaurants inhabit the old houses and the bus station squats at the foot of the amphitheatre. [Even a disco throbs among the temple ruins. but. to its credit. it doesn’t play Europop.

'l'ravelling further East requires a little more ingenuity. People speak little English and there are few sign-posts. A guide book will help solve unfathonuible mysteries. and will point you in the direction of Lake Van and the lshak Pasa palace and mosque.

(‘appadocia is the most easterly point reached by tourists. A day's tour here will give you time enough to explore the vast moon-like landscape caused by the erosion of soft volcanic rocks. Over the

centuries. houses. churches and castles have been cary ed into the rock. and. if you‘re lucky . you can find a pension in the rocks to stay in.

Istanbul is a unique city which inspires both loy e and hate. the dirt and noise are exhattsting. but the constant activity and bustle stimulate a buzz ofexcitemcnt. Finding your way around gives a real sense of achievement too. 'l‘ravellers tend to congregate at Sultanhamet. the area of the old town. because it contains cheap hotels and restaurants. Avoid the Youth Hostel and the ox er-rated Pudding Shop. As a rule of thumb. eat where the links eat to ayoid poor quality food.

Sultanhamet is the home of many historical buildings. including the big three on every visitor‘s itinerary: 'l‘opkapi Palace. Saint Sophia and the Blue Mosque. l~'or gifts and souvenirs. aim for the grand bazaar. Hundreds ofshops under one roof sell everything from C\'pc‘llsi\‘c carpets and kilims (rugs). to leather goods and kebab skewers. Most beautiful are the ceramic and china goods with colours and patterns similar to the lznik tiles found in every mosque.

Then there’s the ligyptian spice bazaar. ferries on the (iolden l lorn. the floating (ialata bridge. ‘tavla' (backgammon). ‘nargiles' (water-pipes for tobacco). visits to the Asian halfofthe city . to the Prince’s Islands and soon . . .

As regards social behaviour. it is considered polite for non-muslem women to wear clothes which cover shoulders and knees. This will deflect the unwanted stares of Turkish men too. On the whole. the Turks are extremely hospitable. and will guide you to the best restaurants or to the nearest venue for Turkish dancing.

Buses are the easiest and most common form of transport. When you arrive at your destination. you'll be surrounded by wide-eyed children. all shouting ‘pansyion‘ in an effort to attract your custom. Five pounds will get a double room with a decent bathroom and 50p will buy you a space on the roof. Hot water is a rare luxury. but you can treat yourselro a refreshing ‘hamam' (Turkish bath). lmagcsofsteamy rooms and sleazy masscurs are shattered. Instead. adorned hall with marble slabs to lie on and basins with hot and cold running water are the order of the day.

On the stomach front. menus rarely exist. so ask to look in the windows and kitchens it‘s the standard way to choose. The average restaurant offers kebabs. ‘kofte' (meat balls) and a selection of fresh and stuffed vegetables. Turks have a notoriously sweet tooth. enjoying sickly pastries like 'baklava'. You have to act quickly if you don't want sugar in your tea or coffee.

But whatever your holiday tastes. you‘ll find much that is palatable amidst Turkey‘s spicey variety. It‘s chockful ofsurprises and (the inevitable) delights. (Lisa (‘rampin)

52 The List 18— 3] March 1988