Sunday, 19 May 2013

Turkey 2

19.05.2013

A very pleasant evening when we had our first invitation to join Malc & Christine, Ken & Jacky for drinks......these 4 are joined at the hip and are pure Yorkshire and met on a trip to Greece last year....there has been no evening socialising at all so far, apart from this foursome who do everything together. The problem is that we have a group meeting at 6 pm to plan following day,  which interferes with sundowners and food preparation so everybody goes back to eat at 6.30 and then don't reappear. Anyway, last night, it now being so warm, (34 in the van) everybody was sitting out and they called over for us to join them with the expected overflowing of alcohol.
It must have been good as there was some deliberate shutting of windows around us at 10.30 (incl ONBF) so we were obviously being  a bit raucous.
This isn't to say that the group hasn't gelled because it has. There are 16 of us plus Alan & Pat, our guides and Bob & Maggie, their understudies who might take over next year but who have the least personality of any in the group and are basically ignored by one and all. The rest  get on very well and are a very interesting and extremely well travelled lot - I doubt there's a country in the world that someone hasn't visited ( we feel very amateurish by comparison). But whilst everybody takes wine it is generally  in moderation as we may have to drive the next day.
So we are camped outside Erdine (the only campsite)
run by a brute of a women who only speaks Turkish & German and yells at any infringement of her unwritten rules.....our coach driver for today drove into the distinctly scruffy and iffy campsite ( which is not much more than a field) without apparently
reporting to her first and another Balkan war erupted putting all previous ones to shame.
So today (a national holiday commemorating Attaturk starting the war of independence against Greece) we visited the monument to the siege of Erdine in one of the Balkan wars against Bulgaria which documented the atrocities committed by said Bulgars  and probably ensures that the many school /children  being taken there also grow up hating the Bulgarians . Then to the Selimye Mosque, very big and beautiful (6000 regularly pray there) and the first mosque we have entered in a Muslim country. We had lunch by the river, very Turkish, very good and then to a museum of a hospital school  that was founded in 1484.. v. interesting. Weather v.hot and very interesting thunderstorm late afternoon with hailstones like golf balls for all of 10 minutes.
Tomorrow off to Constantinople.

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