The Gallery this month asked us to find a landscape and ' Please follow The Gallery link to see what others came up with!
From November 1987 until August 1992 I lived on the road in this van. Sometimes I was alone, sometimes with friends. For nine wonderful months, my best friend Barbie was with me. She flew out from London and I picked her up in Heraklion, Crete on Easter Saturday. We raced up through Greece to get out before my customs documents expired, then spent three months in Turkey looping from Constantinople to Mount Ararat, up to the Black Sea coast, then across into Syria. We spent a month in Syria, a month in Jordan, then alternated between the Sinai, Israel, and Cyprus depending on time, work, customs documents, and visa restrictions.
One of our more relaxed times was a week in the central Turkish region of Cappadocia where the wind and weather have sculpted the rocks into 'fairy chimneys' – some of which were used as monasteries and churches in years gone by, others have been turned into dwellings and hotels still in use. Local people were genuinely helpful -- whether or not we chose to buy from their shop or eat in their restaurant. No refuse, plastic bags or scrawny animals were to be seen in the streets and urban areas: the horses pulling the little carts were groomed and carried bags under their tails to catch manure for well-tended gardens and fields.
Barbie is far away now, living on the other side of the world. We are still in touch, though our lives have pulled us in very different directions. I still think of her as one of my best friends, and remember the times we shared – terrifying, exuberant, exasperating, tedious, and poignant – as some of the best of my life.