Travelling through Turkey – April 1975 and October 2009

Fairy Chimneys in Cappadocia, April 1975 © Ricky Yates

Fairy Chimneys in Cappadocia, April 1975 © Ricky Yates

Fairy Chimneys in Cappadocia, October 2009 © Ricky Yates

Fairy Chimneys in Cappadocia, October 2009 © Ricky Yates

I have mentioned a few times in describing my recent travels through Turkey, that I have once previously travelled through the country nearly 35 years ago in April 1975. Recognising that the only people likely to be reading this blog who knew me 35 years ago are my two older sisters, I thought a blog post of explanation was called for. If there is anyone else visiting my blog who also knew me in or before 1975, then please leave a comment & get in touch!

Although born and brought up in the UK, from July 1970 until mid-February 1975, I lived and worked in Australia. I then left Australia, flying from Sydney, via Singapore, Bombay and New Delhi, to Kathmandu in Nepal. There, on 25th February 1975, I joined a coach party run by a company called Penn Overland Tours and travelled all the way to London, where I arrived two and a half months later, on 7th May 1975.

I travelled what was then known as the ‘Hippie Trail’, except that I did it in reverse! It was in the era when the Shah was still in charge in Iran and the Soviet Union was yet to invade Afghanistan. Both these events happened some four years later, thus putting an end to such trips by Western visitors.

My journey across Turkey was therefore from east to west, entering the country from Iran and staying our first night in Erzurum. From there, we travelled via Sivas, Urgup in Cappadocia, Konya, Pamukkale, (see my previous post), Izmir – visiting Ephesus en-route, Canakkale, before crossing the Dardanelles and heading on to Istanbul. If I ever discover how to put a map into a blog post then I’ll put one in to help readers visualise the journey.

Therefore, my recent journey that I have described so far in this blog – crossing the Dardanelles, driving along the Aegean coast to Izmir and then travelling on via Ephesus to Pamukkale took me along the same route I had had travelled almost 35 years previously, but in reverse. On Tuesday 13th October, I continued that journey in reverse, driving first to Konya, where we stayed overnight, before driving onto Urgup the following day. We then stayed in Urgup for three nights, in order to explore some of the amazing sights of the Cappadocia region about which I shall write in my next blog posts.

The main record I have of my 1975 trip is a series of nearly 400 colour slides taken with a Kodak Instamatic Camera. Such is the manner in which technology has advanced since then, it is now impossible to purchase films for such a camera even though I still possess it. However, courtesy of present day technology, Sybille has successfully scanned a number of my old slides onto a memory stick which will allow me to post them on this blog.

The first of these is on the left at the top of this blog post, alongside a picture I took on my recent trip. Whilst taken from slightly different angles, they show the same three fairy chimneys in Cappadocia, but nearly thirty five years apart. I hope my readers will find comparing the two photos as fascinating as I do.

15 comments to Travelling through Turkey – April 1975 and October 2009

  • How cool is this! A hippie tour! I could do hippie tours until I die.
    .-= Karen´s last blog ..Buying Retail in the Czech Republic =-.

  • I do indeed like the idea of photographic comparison. A great way to overcome the tendency the mind and eye have of distorting things in our memory. I wish I could revisit some of my old travel haunts and do the same.
    .-= Mike´s last blog ..Monkey Business Thailand =-.

  • Ricky

    Karen – I can’t quite imagine you as a hippie but I’m sure you would enjoy the travel.

    Mike – Glad you liked the photo comparison. I was amazed when I discovered I had virtually the same shot 35 years apart. It was facinating to revisit some of my old travel haunts. However, I don’t think I’ll be revisiting Iran or Afghanistan in the near future!

  • Funny, I was thinking the same thing about you – can’t imagine you as a hippie. But I have a little hippie in me. Not the drug part, but the “I’d rather have experiences than stuff part.”
    .-= Karen´s last blog ..Buying Retail in the Czech Republic =-.

  • Great comparison. I must admit I’d never heard of fairy chimneys before and had to look them up on Wikipedia! One thing I don’t quite understand is that they are made by erosion, yet the top rock on the left-hand one looks bigger in the more recent picture than in the old one! Has it somehow grown or is it just the angle it was taken at?

  • Ricky

    Karen – I don’t think I could ever have been described as a Hippie but I did (and still do) enjoy the travel experience. However, amongst my colour slides from 1975 there is one of me (which I might just be persuaded to scan & post)which shows me with a lot more hair than now!

    Pete – welcome to the blog and I’m glad you’ve learned something about fairy chimneys in Cappadocia. They are a quite remarkable phenomenon. In answer to your question, the size difference which you have observed, is purely due to the slight difference in angle that the two pictures were taken from.

  • I can’t wait to see that picture!
    .-= Karen´s last blog ..Remembering the Fall of the Berlin Wall =-.

  • Ricky

    Karen – you’ll need to wait until I’ve posted two or three more times. Then I might reveal all!!!!

  • I do indeed like the idea of photographic comparison. wish I could revisit some of my old travel haunts and do the same.
    .-= sam@backpacking Sydney´s last blog ..Sydney Summer the Festival season =-.

  • Tim Taylor

    Hi Ricky

    I remember you from 1975. In fact I remember you from before you went to Australia. I still have a couple of books that you kindly sent me from Hobart.But sadly I no longer have the letters you wrote.

    I remember when you returned to England and gave us a slideshow of your journey from Kathmandhu. I remember how you had developed an Australian accent which seemed very exotic. I remember how excited I was at the thought of seeing you again – five years is a long time in the life of an eleven year old.


  • Ricky

    Hi Tim,

    Thank you visiting my blog and leaving a comment. Please forgive me for not thinking of my nephew who would also remember me from 1975.

    I’m sure I had picked up a bit of an Australian accent after living there for nearly 5 years. One of my memories of that time When I returned to the UK was thinking what awful West Midlands accents your Granny and mother had!!!

    As you can see, I do still have the slides from the trip. One thing I want to do in the near future is get them all scanned onto a CD before the colour fades any more.

  • I think it is really neat to go and explore a place at different periods of your life. I think that you can really see things differently and how much the world changes in just a few years.

  • Well Turkey is really such a nice place to see and I wish to go there. You can see the effects of climate changes on both the photographs. This is really such a serious problem. Anyways keep it up and keep continue.

  • Ricky

    ANSH – Whilst I fully believe in the concept of climate change, (only today I read that Toronto had no snow this November for the first time since records began), I’m not convinced that the two photos show it.

    The 1975 picture was taken in April (northern hemisphere Spring) but inevitably the colours of the original slide have faded though you can still see fresh green growth behind the fairy chimneys. The 2009 photo was taken in mid-October (northern hemisphere Autumn) just before the arrival of Autumnal rains. A few days after I took this picture, whilst we were in Istanbul, very heavy rain did arrive and I guess if I’d taken the picture a couple of weeks later, the background would have been far greener.

    I’ll take your last sentence as a compliment though the English is somewhat interesting.

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