March 19, 2010

Istanbul-Adana

Turkey is beautiful. Our train carries us over the high plains of Central Anatolia, where green fields roll as far as a horizon of snow-crowned mountains. Rows of women (it is all women) work the fields in bandanas and Turkish trousers, standing to look when we pass. The train is slow, swaying through a village blown with plastic bags that billow in the trees and from the fences, and we can catch the eye of every waving person.

This is visibly not the Europe we’ve just travelled. There are burly Turkish mosques. Houses are flat-roofed, bricks exposed. There’s an air of working dereliction: a rickety nodding donkey with a bucket on a rope waits at a well; kids ride tricycles round a street with no roofs at all, and above all, the sun is shining strong and unchallenged in a pure blue sky.

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