Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Presentation 24 June 2014 - Journeys with my Sketchbook - Turkey - by John Strickland

After a few days sightseeing in Istanbul, visiting amongst many things the wonderful Spice Market, the enormous Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sofia with its amazing mosaics and minarets, the sumptuous Topkapi Palace, we join the tour with a boat ride up the Bosphorus, then the luxury tour bus which takes us on into the rolling grassland countryside of Turkey.
On the Black Sea side, we are taken up to the sensational Sumela Monastery outside Trabzon. Built by monks to avoid persecution from the Romans and other hordes from the North:  this massive inaccessible structure ‘hanging’ on the side of a most precipitous mountain.
We visit ornate mosques, tumbling ancient villages, Nicaea where the Nicaean Creed was compiled so many years ago.  After a night in Ankara, and visiting its stunning Archaeological Museum and the Mausoleum of Ataturk, we mosey on to the geological phenomenon which is Cappadocia, with its village of homes and churches carved deep out of the stone limestone cliffs, with folk still staying in them.  We visit the (deserted), claustrophobic, underground ‘dug out’ town of Kaymakli which housed 2000 refugees.  
We see carpet-making places, ornate pottery shops, Roman aqueducts, mosques with their lofty minarets and come to the warm Mediterranean Sea at Antalya, for leisure time, seeing old towns with their ancient crumbling ruins, many of which are mentioned in the New Testament. We enjoy luxurious hotels with superb Turkish foods, heated pools, saunas with soft music and palm trees, etc.  I enjoy sketching whenever I can and take photos copiously, especially when possible, taking shots of the beautifully clad womenfolk with their colourful head-scarves and even colour co-ordinated gowns, children and chatty men-folk going about their daily tasks.
We visit the ancient City of Troy - its giant Wooden Horse at the gates to welcome us.  We keep going, visiting Cannakale, Ephesus (Kusadasi), Izmir, Troas, Konya, Pammukale and across the Dardanelle Straits to the sombre First World War’s battlefields of Gallipoli with its thousands of white crosses neatly kept on the hillsides.  We walk inside trenches where battles have been fought and lives lost, haunted, with tour guide describing the whole drama of the battle which had been fought all around us.  Spine chilling.
And so, returning to Istanbul, we re-visit some of the best of what the City has to offer, moving alongside the folk, and somehow making ourselves understood. With 15 million people, it is impossible to grasp its complexity in such a short visit, but the city certainly buzzes with its trams, ferries, bicycles, taxis and hundreds of busses.
Join us on the 24 June while John takes us through his journey with sketches from his sketchbook.
Visitors R20
Members no charge
Tea/Coffee and a biscuit R5

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