26 years ago today Chris and I set off travelling for a year. We started off in Turkey and had a real adventure by having the luxury of no set plan and going where felt right at the time. The first two weeks were spent in Bodrum as it was cheaper to buy a low budget 2 week package holiday than a single flight to Turkey. This provided time for a well deserved rest before we set off all over this inspiring country. In Bodrum we made friends with the locals and were invited to stay in Ozer's village near to the beautiful Ancient site of Aphrodisias. Ozer insisted we came to stay with his family and that it wouldn't take long to get there. 14 hours and four coaches later we arrived to be greeted by his mother who lived in a very simple sparsely furnished house and then moved on to his sisters where we stayed for several days, on the understanding that we wore some unsual baggy patterned trousers each night. Here, the ladies ruled the roost and the men had to leave the house for the entire day and if they came home early ended up in dire trouble. As I was a western woman they didn't quite know what to do with me so i also had to leave the house for the entire day too. This resulted in sitting around drinking too many strong turkish teas laced with sugar. At 8am on the first morning Ozer took us into the Aphrodisias through a gap in the fence. This was a magical moment that is still clear in my minds eye. The ruins were decorated with wild flowers - many red poppies and the brightest blue sky. No-one else was there and we wandered round in wonder seeing the Temple of Aphrodite, the monumental gateway and I distinctly remember sitting down for a rest in the auditorium of the beautiful odeon. Aphrodisias was a small Greek Hellenistic city and the capital of Caria. A 270 m x 60m Stadium for athletic events, with a capacity for up to 30,000 spectators, survives as one of the best preserved structures of its kind in the Mediterranean.
Our visit to the village set off our adventurous spirit and from then on we travelled with people that we met along the way or where someone recommended that we go. As with many things in life I don't think I appreciated as much as I could at the time. I didn't have the same capacity to remain in the moment as I do now. But the endless hours we spent waiting in bus stations, usually playing cards or backgammon, did help me become quite a patient traveller.
Todays painting is about travelling, just in the imagination for the moment.