Istanbul 1 October, 2005
To: H.G., Sharon, CT
...Turkey is fascinating and while I have covered much ground I have only scratched the surface. The Turkish people have been exceedingly kind but the Turks do have an internal struggle. At times it seems as if they are trying to determine how to define themselves. Secular? Good Muslim, bad Muslim. Modern civilization or an older path to some supposed piety. Fundamentalism or Ataturk’s wish to see “all religions at the bottom of the sea”. One can feel the teetering between two worlds. The delicate balancing act contributes to the appeal of the place...
...The next morning I drove to Gallipoli (5 hours). First I went to the Royal Navy Battleship memorial and looked out across the Dardanelles. Thousands died here. There is a strange and quiet beauty that combined with a powerful silence and sadness feels as if it will endure the ages. It is a place where all of the promise and hopes of those lost waits. Just waits.
The food here is just wonderful, stuffed peppers and grape leaves. There are eggplant dishes that are so good it is hard to believe. I have become (like Ataturk) addicted to Raki and the mezzes (little bites) that are served with it, delicious, delicious!