Archives for posts with tag: TURKEY

My first trip to Istanbul was in 1983, I had travelled from Australia and was on my way to start a new life in London via the Greek Islands and Turkey. In the short time I was thereI found it to be both exotic and very foreign. I returned to Istanbul again in 1994 this time visiting many of the usual tourist spots. I found the city to be inspiring.

Since the publication of my book My Greek Island Home I have met many new people and some of them have become good friends. Two of these friends are Turkish and live in Istanbul, they love Lesvos, the Greek Island I call home. They visit the island regularly and we have developed a lovely friendship, one I cherish. They have invited us to their city many times and in May, after 21 years Matthew and I headed back to Istanbul.

Istanbul is a city of many layers. It’s a sophisticated city, a rich city, a poor city, a city of history, of culture, of tradition of modernity. A city with high energy. We loved staying at Soho House with its fabulous combination of old and new architecture. Our friends showed us their city and there is nothing better than being shown a city by a local. A boat trip on the Bosphorus revealed architecture on the waters edge I could not have imagined. Baroque style palaces sat closely beside charming wooden chalet styled houses. East certainly meets west in this city.

Here are a few images from my trip. I really hope we will be returning again soon to wander the streets and spend more time with our dear friends. Thank you dear friends you know who you are xx

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It’s spring here in Lesvos and a great time to hop on a boat and visit our nearest neighbour, Turkey. Three boats leave from the port at Mytilene at 9am for Ayvalik. The journey takes 1.5 hours unless you take the fast boat which gets you there in 30 minutes. You need to book the fast boat as it fills up quickly. The boats return at 6pm leaving you enough time to shop, eat and explore. Last Thursday we took some friends who were staying with us in Lesvos. We love showing friends around a place that is so dear to us. Thursday is market day and is our favourite day to visit. Market day is always lively and delicious produce is in abundance.  The Turkish people are gentle and warm. This week I was draw to the women. I’d like to thank the ones I photographed they were so open to me and the lens of my camera. Here I share with you their beauty. I also want to share some delicious produce and fantastic colours and patterns.Enjoy!

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I love the combinations of pattern and colour worn by this Turkish beauty. She is so relaxed in front of my lens and has such a beautiful open face. 

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The local produce is so fresh and  displayed  creatively, the bright colours of the fruit are reflected in the fabrics worn by  local women.

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Umbrellas and sheeting cover the fruit and vegetables protecting them from the strong sunlight. Sometimes this casts a hue that accentuates the colours of the fresh produce. I love the dappled light that falls randomly.

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Everyone has something to sell and there is something for everyone. Beautiful smiling faces are commonplace.

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Children are adored by friends, family and relatives. This little girl has the most amazing green eyes. Simple brushes are placed perfectly.

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Such beauty in this face that stares straight at me.  I love her style the way she has wrapped her head and neck in fabric and the wilting herbs tucked in the folds of the fabric.

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More beautiful carnations and this sweet little face.

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There are patterns everywhere I look. They even cover the tables in the cafes.

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Delicious warm freshly baked biscuits covered in sesame seeds must be eaten, yum.

 

Yesterday was a full day on My Greek Island Home. Every one of my emotions and senses were touched and stimulated.

I was woken by the soft paw of my cat Sweetie. She dragged it across my face with only partly retracted claws hoping to raise me from my cosy bed. She then proceeded to lead me downstairs to her empty food bowl, in the kitchen. On my way through I open the door onto the garden where 3 tails wagged madly and there were hysterical sounds of excitement. It was as if I have been gone from the dog’s lives for days rather than hours.

I put on some music, Midnight Oil, and we danced, the three dogs and I. Dog number four was on a sleep over, integrating into the family that will be driving her across Europe to her new home in London. Even though living in a Greek village has many distractions and surprises there are still some routines that must be followed.

Next on the agenda was a dog walk via our guesthouse. We call the guesthouse Ken’s Spiti. Spiti, being the word for house in Greek and Ken being the name of my father. It’s a bit mad really but I like it, as it’s a constant reminder of my lovely Dad. Before reaching Ken’s Spiti we were greeted by 7 cats of varying sizes, colours and ages all thrilled to see the dogs and I. The cats purred, everyone rubbed noses, legs and whatever else that can be rubbed and we moved on to the final destination, the guesthouse. I fed the cats on the wall, some others joined in. High walls surround the house and there is a metal gate at the entrance. You cannot see into the small stone garden. I opened the gate and there in front of me is the most enormous shaggy goat with very long, curly horns. Shocked and amused to find this lone and oversized creature out of context, I laughed and laughed, I could not stop laughing. What has happened, what has my life become? After corralling the goat out of the garden I headed off along the track for my daily dog walk.

A Greek lesson was next and I needed to be in Molyvos, 30 minutes away by 10.30am. At 12pm I had organised to meet a family from Istanbul in the harbour. Several days ago I had an email from a gentleman who lived in Istanbul. He had seen my blog and enjoyed it. He and his family were visiting the island and he asked if we could meet. I was happy to. The meeting was delightful, my newfound friends are very interesting people and we spent a couple of hours together, chatting away. It was relaxing and I really enjoyed it. At the end of our time they presented me with a gift. The most beautiful book called Dance of Fire, Iznil tiles and ceramics from the Sadberk Hanim Museum. I was completely touched by this gesture. I left them feeling so full of joy. Looking at the book has inspired me to pick up a brush and start painting.

I was home about 4pm just in time for another dog walk. Walking through the village I came across a kitten that was unable to walk and was incredibly weak. I picked it up as gently as possible and took it home where I wrapped it in a warm towel and fed it watered down evaporated milk through an eyedropper. It took a little milk and I let it rest.

Alexandra my Albanian cleaners daughter is learning English and I am helping her a couple of times a week with her work. She arrived at 5pm I checked on the kitten and thought I heard a faint purr when I stroked it. After Alexander had left I went into the bathroom and found the kitten had lost its fight. Its little body was limp in my hands and I was so, so sad. I hate it, I hate seeing it, and I hate being so powerless.

The day had almost come to an end a day with life and death, laughter and tears, joy and sorrow. Out of the blue came an email from an Australian friend. She had been moved to send the email by the previous post I had put up on my blog called Turkish faces. She said the photos had reminded her of a radio programme she had listened to recently with Hugh Mackay (click to listen), about life and happiness. She thought I should listen to it. Quote, because it’s all about living the ‘good life’ and what he was saying is exactly what you are doing!This morning I lay in bed and listened to the program, it absolutely hit the spot with me, the timing was perfect. It’s an inspiring interview and really worth setting some time aside to listen. Thank you artist Susan Hipgrave for your perfectly timed email. Thank you Phillip Adams and Hugh Mackay for an intelligent, thought provoking programme. And YES I am living the good life.

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Living the good life! Walking the dogs, late afternoon on the Greek Island of Lesvos. Photograph Matthew Usmar Lauder

I have just arrived back from a sailing holiday in Turkey. It was bliss! The weather was perfect, deep blue skies to match the deep blue sea. I travelled with two of my Greek girlfriends by car to Marina Marti. We took a boat from Mytilene to Ayvalik and then drove down past Marmaris to meet an old mate, the captain. The captain was the first photographer I worked with when I arrived in London. We were joined by another friend on day 3 which let us off the hook from our boating responsibilities. This allowed us time for more serious things such as sunbathing. What I loved about this trip was the light heartedness of everyone. It was fantastic to laugh. A whole week of laughing is the best therapy in the world. It made me think of how many times we forget our humor, we leave it some where else. We take our lives so seriously. Sometimes it’s great just to forget all the stuff that makes us feel heavy and find time for fun and frivolity. Thank you Captain John for sharing your boat and your humor and thank you Mel, Elpida and Maria for the dancing, the laughing, and for a fabulous week.

IMG_1271 Wild donkeys grazing on the shore.

IMG_1280 The Aegean meets the Mediterranean, perfect clouds.

IMG_1291 The crystal deep blue sea.

 

IMG_1237 The ropes of the Heller West.

IMG_1264 Shadow of Red Ensign.

IMG_1267 Loving the light on the rocks.

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IMG_3270 In the middle of the sea I jumped into this deep blue water. The rope was thrown in, just in case.

IMG_3272 A Red Ensign sunset.

IMG_3295 Sail against the sky shot from sun bathing position.

IMG_3296 The mast agaist the sky still from sunbathing position.

IMG_3299 Sunset in Marina Marti.

IMG_3301 Morning light in Marina Marti.

IMG_1269 Gentle splash.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another trip to Ayvalik and every sense is stimulated.

 

 

 

 

 

My very first stop on my day trips from Lesvos to Ayvalik is Cafe Le Petit. This little cafe seves the most delicious breakfast in town. I always make the same choice and am never disappointed and the portions are perfect. Breakfast for me is a combination of sweet and savory, tasty cheese, walnuts, olives, cucumber, dried tomatoes, green pepper, preseved fruit, figs and plums, olive oil with rosmary and lightly toasted bread. There are delicious herbal teas, Turkish coffee and fresh orange juice too. All presented with a warm Turkish smile. I hope to be back there soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The all white girl has had to succumb to colour, but how could she possibly resist? On my last trip to Turkey I found myself drawn to colour and texture, it was very exciting. My latest book My Greek Island Home was the start of my new love for colour. I hope you enjoy my documentation of the colours and textures of Turkey as much as I enjoyed photographing them.

 

 

 

 

 

Yesterday was a superb day here on the island. We seemed to have skipped spring and just gone straight into summer. Just back from Sydney I had woken early and Matthew and I decided to take the dogs along the track towards the sea, a familiar and beautiful walk, especially at this time of year, with the abundance of wild flowers bordering the track. We took off on our walk with three very excited dogs, Hector, Nellie and Tollie. Quite some way down the track probably about 1.5 kilometers we saw a group of people heading towards us. At first we thought it was a walking group but on closer inspection realized it was a large group of refugees. There were about thirty of them, young women and men and two children. They had risked their lives crossing the Aegean Sea over night on a small boat from Turkey. Matthew and I stopped and spoke to them, a couple had some basic English and we learnt they were from Somalia and Syria. These people asked where they were. They had no knowledge they were on an island let alone in Greece. They were beautiful people with nothing more than a few possessions carried in a bag or rut sack. They were tired and thirsty and anxious to find the nearest town where they would present themselves to the police, they were still a long way from that. People often say to us that we are ‘Living the Dream’ and in some ways we are but as Matthew pointed out on seeing these people, they are the ones ‘Living the Dream’. Their dream is escaping their homeland, risking their lives to find a better life without war and persecution. The meeting was a thought provoking experience and I have to admit to a sadness that has hung over me since. We did what we could, loaves of bread, cheese, bottles of water, biscuits and chocolate for the kids but it’s haunted me that it wasn’t enough. Where are they now? Will the find a place to settle and make a new life for themselves, will there be any opportunities? I leave you with one image today an image of the end of the day where the water is still and calm and my thoughts are with the beautiful people.

BOAT 2/Claire Lloyd

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A couple extra shots from Turkey.

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TURKEY16 I love getting on the boat in Mytilene and crossing the Aegean sea to Ayvalik. I went again yesterday it was another day trip and again not long enough. Next time I am staying overnight, there is just so much to enjoy there and I always come back inspired.

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