Always fascinated by ancient history, I knew that one day I would have to visit Asia Minor/Anatolia. When in the winter of 1992 I finally had the time and the money, I headed for Istanbul and the Aegean coast for five weeks of exploration. The countryside, the history, the people, the language, the food, the spirituality - all of it sunk its hooks into me and has never let go. I have been back to Turkey (Türkiye) every year since.
      Unlike the other trips which I have made to Türkiye, this past summer’s trip keeps coming back to me like a distinct series of snapshots. Maybe it’s because this time I rented an old rock house in the village of Assos/Behramkale, and I fell into the rhythms of everyday village life. Each day contained a unique experience which has now become a “photograph” in my mind. The one constant was the never varying, dry midday heat and the unwavering progression of the sun across the rocks, olive orchards, sheep and goat herds, wheatfields, and villages of the Troad region of northwestern Anatolia. So, what I can share with the reader are simply...

Recollections of Türkiye Yaz, 1997 (Summer)*
        ...The unwavering roar of the cicadas in the zeytinlik (olive groves) near Edremit. The zeytinyag (olive oil) roadside stores with their “showers” for washing the dust off of your car and their çesmeler (spring water fountains) for filling your water bottles. Mile after mile of stone strewn hillsides covered in olive trees. Mile after undulating mile of small, dusty cars, trucks top heavy with bulging cargoes, and the ever faithful sleek buses hurtling along at breakneck speed, passing on blind curves and hilltops, and blinking their lights to indicate that THEY have the right-of-way.      
         The breathtaking views of the lapis and turquoise Ege Denizi (Aegean Sea) from the cliffs above Assos and again from Güzelyali south of Çanakkale looking out to the tip of Gelibolu. Knowing that I was seeing the same view which St. Paul observed nearly two thousand years ago when he was on his way to Lesbos Island. Weeping once again over the waste of young lives during the World War I battle at Gallipoli/Gelibolu, and feeling a re-newed admiration for Atatürk because of his words to the mothers of the dead ‘Johnnies’ and ‘Mehmets’...”in this soil, they are all our sons now...”.
        The swallows, rock nuthatches, owls, red squirrels (sincap), hawks, grackles, tits, green finches, yellow wagtails, woodpeckers, and bats which scurried, swooped and soared around the rock cliff rising straight up out of the house’s baçhe (garden). The kuslar (birds) swarming around the baçhe’s white mulberry tree. The roses, pots of geraniums, carnations, herbs, trumpet vine,and ancient üzüm (grape) vine in the baçhe. Purple butterfly bush growing wild along the steep, rocky village lanes.
        The constant dry wind which brought relief from the heat but also insistently carried dust into the house. The immense feeling of well being which the roadside çesme brought when its icy water was poured over your parched arms and legs and neck. The almost instantaneous drying of wet clothes when hung out to dry in the wind and sun.
        The mellow light of sunset and the view of the Ege Denizi from the village çayhane (tea house) near the kale (top/fortress) of Beyramkale/Assos. The old men drinking tea and chatting under the grape arbor there and at the çayhane in Babakale on the very western tip of the Troad. The toot of the dolmus (shared taxi) horn as it approached the crest of the hill. The smile that spread across the balikçi’s (“Young Ali”) face as he hopped aboard the rear bumper of the dolmus and held on as it roared off toward the docks (iskele).
        The Cuma Pazar (Friday market) at Ayvacik with its many divers stalls of fresh fruit, vegetables, and hand-crafted household goods. Four different kinds of kiraz (cherries -the best are black ones from Uludag), various varieties of seftali (peaches), erik (plums), armut (pears), fasulye (beans), beber (peppers), domates (tomatoes), sogan (onions), kavun (melon), patates (potatoes), and kayisi (apricots). Six different kinds of beyaz peynir (white cheese), freshly churned tereyagi (butter), and thick, fresh (taze) yogurt (yogurt). Hand carved wooden spoons, flour sifters, and multi-toned copper bells for the goats and sheep to wear. Plus! the challenge of chasing down and bargaining with a gap-toothed Yoruk mountain woman for her carpet that I spotted sticking up out of her rucksack. She had spun the wool and then woven her vegetable dyed woolen carpet in 3’ x 3’ squares on a small, transportable loom, finally connecting the three finished pieces together by woolen cords.
        The ancient, wandering village woman dressed in black who came by the house on the last morning. I gave her all the remaining meyve (fruit), sebze, and some pirinç (rice) and seker (sugar) from the house. This would, hopefully (insallah) bring a good journey (iyi yolculuklar) and God’s blessings to me on my trip back to Izmir and then on to Istanbul and America.
        And, it did!

*Read Deborah S. Decker's complete contribution at:
First 2 passages of the original text omitted by webmaster Assos