Nice to see Kapka Kassabova’s book Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe has won another award. She writes evocatively about three months of travel up and down the Bulgarian/Turkish/Greek border, an entirely underexplored corner of Europe. Check it out. Bet you’ll enjoy it.
Tuesday’s award joins previous accolades for Border. It was named Travel Book of the Year back in February.
A nice idea in Istanbul. While ghastly things take place across town, for people with normal lives
“The city is installing “reverse vending machines” at metro stations that allow passengers to add credit to their subway cards simply by inserting a plastic bottle or aluminum can into the machine.”
A 1.5-liter bottle will add 6 cents. Here’s the story.
“We are beginning to see echoes of the old practice of asking friends traveling abroad to bring back electronics, clothes and even books, as we did in the 1980s, when Turkey was yet to liberalize its economy and a pack of Marlboro Reds was considered a generous gift.”
– quoted in the New York Times
With inflation at 15.4% officially and expected to rise, Turkey is in a tough spot. President Erdogan is feuding with his NATO ally America and his currency is in free fall. In a more political post I’d suggest that having himself elected Super-Extra-Special Potentate means President Erdogan maybe should have been careful what he asked for.
But for visitors, Erdogan’s problems make it just about an ideal time to plan a trip to Istanbul, via the outstanding Turkish Airlines international network, while the Lira stands at fifteen American cents and struggling. So far foreigners haven’t been scapegoated and you can still get a beer in Karaköy and Beşiktaş. And Turkey, while civility prevails, is a fabulous destination.
See a larger version of the Istanbul photo above, and 385 other photos in the Turkey Gallery at EarthPhotos.com.
Reserve a little thought space for the upcoming Turkish elections. Both presidential and parliamentary elections are coming in nine days time, and by most accounts President Erdogan finds himself in a tightening race. An article in Bloomberg titled Why Erdogan’s Election Has Gone From Shoo-In to Nail-Biter writes about
“the prospect Erdogan wouldn’t work with a hung parliament and instead call an election do-over if the results were not to his liking.”
The president said Monday that
“he expects the next presidential and parliamentary elections to end in the first round, with little possibility of a second one.”
But a Reuters poll just out today shows Ergodan
“falling short of a first-round victory … with his support dipping 1.6 points in one week…. The poll also showed his ruling AK Party was forecast to lose its parliamentary majority in the June 24 vote.”
So, we may expect an excess of media riches on Sunday, 24 June: England vs. Panama, Japan vs. Senegal and Poland vs. Colombia in the World Cup, and Erdogan versus a more-than-usually-united opposition in the Turkish Election Sweepstakes.
Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey. Click to enlarge. 385 more photos from Turkey here.
Day labor. Eminönü, Istanbul, Turkey. Click to enlarge.