Imagine you have just been chased along the railway platform by an angry toilet attendant because you missed seeing his little window saying “WC one lira”. The one lira does not guarantee cleanliness, toilet paper or paper towel but you usually score at least one out of the three. After this wee drama the only other waiting-for-the-train entertainment was a pair of frantically copulating sparrows. Not once, not twice, but fourteen times. Without a single missed wing-beat. (Are Australian sparrows so determined?)
We were a bit excited, this being our first night train in Turkey. Night trains anywhere promise to be a reward in themselves. So with a dining car, a 2-berth sleeper and a carriage steward, we were naturally all set for some curiosity, some adventure – not exactly your Agatha’s lavish Orient Express, but something a bit refined – we’d’ve even settled for some modest attention to basic niceties – like an early morning wake-up cuppa, maybe….?No deal. Our carriage steward greeted us when we boarded, then not a sign of him again until we’d arrived in Konya – when he returned our tickets. We even had to convert our seats into bunks ourselves. What a great job he has!
Now, to confess: we were not very well* in Konya. I had caught a dose of gastro in Izmir the previous week but had been recovering in Pammukale when Annie succumbed. We had some excellent assistance in Kas from a lovely doctor called Munise who spoke perfect English and had all the right creds. Annie needed an IV rehydration infusion.
No sooner were we over the tummy bug than Annie’s persisting sore throat became a serious cough, so we booked 3 days at the Konya Hilton (for a health treat) and found ourselves at the University Hospital on Saturday afternoon when Annie spotted blood coughed into the tissue ……..6 hours later, following Ventolin therapy and thorough testing for every known respiratory illness and chest complaint, we emerged. Some of the differential diagnoses had alarmed us – including pneumonia and pulmonary embolism – until they were discounted, so all things considered we were mightily relieved when she was discharged with medication for influenza. Before leaving the hospital the medical team insisted on some photos with us!!
As fully engaging and diverting as this small excursion into the bedside manners of Turkey’s training hospitals was however, it in no way compensated us for missing the best Whirling Dervish Sema Spectacle at the Mevlana Cultural Centre just across the road from our Hilton address and which had of course comprised the lion’s share of Konya’s attractiveness.
But the tea service was cok cok guzel -(very, very nice)
And still the darkness persisted, Dear Readers. No sooner were my instincts for health replenished, than Janet’s succumbed. Confined to bed to sneeze and wheeze and convulsively cough in a dimly lit cave in Goreme with no telly, little interest in tucker beyond bread and panadol washed down with sweet Turkish tea, and a non-stop nose-stream that prompted local flood warnings, the Cappadocia discovery leg of our extended Turkey tour was not the golden crowning finale she had oh so longed for…
but I enjoyed it, and that’s the main thing, between my dedicated duties nursing a very reluctant, wilful – some may say “bossy” patient, and they may well have her measure…
No, seriously – we both did ultimately enjoy it – such is the nature of that intriguing landscape that despite near-death experiences, the soul and sprits soar to just be amongst it.
And so to Spain where we are now recovered. We hope never to have to chronicle our out-of-sorts selves to you again, dear blog-watchers. We just wanted you to know that travelling can sometimes make us sick, but we take it in turns and we care well for each other…
* footnote: if feeling unwell in Turkey, avoid describing yourself as feeling “sick”. Such a term, as we discovered some time afterwards, apparently evokes images of humans in flagrant imitation of the aforementioned sparrows…”Husta” is a more acceptable term.
I am glad Annie is ok but I admit I am also thankful she was sick enough to provide us with such interesting information – not sure how you didn’t panic yourselves to death!!!!
Glad you guys are well after your flu love the blog and piccies looking forward to seeing you in london.we missed another cat 5 cyclone called ITA last weekend lots of wind and rain and the beach has been rearranged somewhat alls good enjoy the great reds from rioja with tapas and pickled octopus xx
Glad you are both recovered. Goreme was a highlight for Al and I. Lots of great walks and that lunar-like landscape! We leave in 5 days and are both suffering after a training weekend down at o’reillys. Blisters rule! Oh dear! How will we fare on our Camino?! Easter in Spain with the damage santa is amazing- hope your enjoyed it
Semana santa…no damage intended!
Having now arrived in Spain it is probably too late to say go carefully, especially given the sparrow copulating observation, pee fee evasion, gustation anomalies and the need for blending in and jostling with fellow travellers, but at least you both had the good sense to get sick this side of the desert…may your stomachs (whole bodies) realise that they need to be willing travellers also and are obliged to accompany you on this journey. I think I have been getting a sneak a peek between the lines and behind the photos you have posted so far and can hear much laughter and wise words given in many tongues…and some not so wise or welcome I suspect…but what a lark, travel well keep it as safe as you can without stifling the experience. And google maps is great , nothing like vicarious travel …no gastro, own bed, … I love you both.
Sitting here on the verandah feeling the gentle breeze having a spot of lunch I’m sure you both are pushing out the zzzzzs or partying all night at a tapas bar!?
Hope all the health dramas are well left behind in Turkey and it’s unto more daily observations of nature and folks and Spanish treats!!
Enjoy the rich language of the blogs even when describing mere sparrows!! Certainly have given us a few belly laughs with your antics!! Keep them coming!
Already two months have nearly gone..I think a year will not be long enough but it certainly will give u the flavour of cultures and travelling….
Wow, you have both really been in the wars… at least you are playing tag team. Although is does concern me that you actually took the time to sit, watch and count the intimacies of the sparrows. It must have been truly intriguing.
I can also only assume that Turkey was positioned at the beginning of your journey to strategically strengthen your constitutions for the rest of your journey. Annie, you are definitely the right person to play nurse to the nurse (she can be a little bossy). I guess that saying about doctors making the worst patients applies in this case too.
I hope Spain treats you both more gently.