Traveller Justine Shapiro heads for Turkey,
a country sandwiched between Europe on one side and the Middle
East and Asia on the other.
Justine begins her journey in Ephesus. The
impressive ruins date back to around 700 BC and by Roman times
it was a powerful and influential city. Nowadays it's a popular
tourist destination and during the peak season hordes of people
flock to the ruins, which are renowned for their beauty.
Escaping the hordes, Justine travels south to the coastal
town of Fethiye where she boards a yacht
for Olympos. This part of the Mediterranean, or 'White Sea'
as it is called by the Turks, is known as the Turquoise coast.
It's renowned for it's secret coves and sandy beaches, but
as much of the coast can only be visited by boat, hiring yacht
is an ideal way to exploring the area.
Disembarking at Olympos, Justine camps out
overnight in a treehouse at the well known travellers hangout
Kadir's. Kadir's is the base for a trip up to see the mythical
natural wonder Chimera - the eternal flames. Ancient people
believed the flames were the fiery breath of a monster, part-lion,
part-goat and part-dragon. The more scientific explanation
is that methane seeps through crevices in the rock, which
is ignited when it mixes with the air.
From Olympos Justine takes a bus north to the Ottoman town
of Safronbolu. The town is a world heritage
site, preserving the unique houses of the great and ruthless
Sultans, or Ottoman Turks. Amongst the houses is a lively
weekend market where Justine bargains with local traders.
After a busy morning shopping Justine feels the need for the
ultimate Turkish experience - a Turkish bath where her bones are cracked and muscles pummelled.
Fully relaxed after her Turkish bath, Justine takes the long
bus journey south -east to Goreme, at the heart of Cappadoccia.
The region was the home of one of the first Christian communities
in the world. Goreme and it's nearby villages were formed
by 'Troglodytes', ancient people who burrowed into the rock
to build their homes and churches. When danger threatened
hundreds of thousands of people would retreat to vast underground
cities for months at a time.
Justine is invited to a traditional wedding and before the
festivities begin she joins the women in having their hands
and feet ornately decorated with henna. After throwing coins
to the children, the bride is whisked away while the women
look on, and the men prepare to dance in celebration. Meanwhile,
the women all gather at a nearby house to offer traditional
good luck gifts of money and fresh honey to the bride.
After the dancing the afternoon away, Justine finds a friendly
carpet seller to learn the finer points of buying a quality
Turkish rug. She then travels east to see the wonders of Nemrut
Dag - the legacy of a pre-Roman king who placed colossal
statues of himself and the gods on the mountain's summit.
The last part of Justine's journey takes her north to the Black Sea coast and the remote town of Artvin in the Kachar
mountains. The town is celebrating its annual four-day festival,
and bull-fighting plays a major part in the festival.