Turkey

German Travel Friend

One of my partners in crime while in the remote Turkish village of Olympos was this German, Julian. He was a member of our spontaneous group of friends that emerged over 4 days on the Mediterranean. There is something so special about the friends you make while traveling; you know in your hearts that you will never see one another again, but that simply serves to make the present all the more sweet. 

I love his beach style and attention to detail with his jewelry; the leather thong necklace, and his lip and eyebrow rings say something definitive about who he is without being ostentatious. 

I also photographed his girlfriend Fiona quite extensively; I can't wait to share those photos with you. 





{Rogue Jack} : Olympos, Turkey

For this pair of portraits, I will share a story from Turkey. 


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This is my new friend Jack, of Australia, who I met in Olympos, Turkey. He was rather unassuming until one late night a group of us decided we had to go to the beach at 3 in the morning. The beach is a 15 minute walk from our treehouse bungalows through the ruins, with nothing but nearly full moonlight. The only problem, our friendly bartender informed us, was the presence of a potentially armed guard at the gate of the ruins. Instead of giving up (what fun is that?!), we dressed in black, armed ourselves with beer (necessary for our German compatriots), and my camera, and planned a covert mission to sneak past the guard, manage a fence, and make our way through the cover of night to the Mediterranean.

Off we went. 

With Jack as our fearless leader (although after 3 hours enjoying the bar, none of us were too hesitant), we crossed the dirt road and walked down into the dusty riverbed that runs along the one road in Olympos. Filing silently over the rocky ground, we heard a high, whining noise approaching us. We assumed it to be one of the scouts on a motorcycle, but he was on the road and failed to see us in the shadows. We continued, the Germans' beer bottles clanking much louder than normal, it seemed. 

Finally, we reached the fence, a chain link line that cut from the guard station into the forest as far as we could see. We had been told there was a way through the barbed wire, and when we arrived we found the space where other trekkers had gone before. After scrambling over the wire fence we froze, looking quickly around to be sure we hadn't been discovered. While we had been glad for the moonlight when we we planning our trip, it created the most danger by starkly illuminating the wide creek bed through which we were walking. 

Once past the guard, we scrambled up the embankment to the main path that winds through the ancient ruins and breathed a collective sigh of relief. The moonlight threw eerie shadows among the ruins piled high along the edges of the path. Roman baths, ancient pagan temple arches, sidewalks and roads; the remnants of ancient civilization rose around us. After pausing to collect ourselves, we made our way through the ruins, more quickly now, until we saw a flash of light up ahead. We sprinted, wide-eyed, into the bushes that lined the trail. 

We stopped breathing, hearts pounding in our chests. 

After a long 60 seconds , two figures walked casually past without pausing. 


We made it to the beach shortly thereafter, scrambling over the rocks to curl up and enjoy the stars in a pile of bodies and blankets to stay warm in the depth of the cool Mediterranean night. It got colder and people dropped off, succumbing to exhaustion and temperature, but a handful of us made it to watch the sun rise over the water. It was beautiful; I will post photos soon. Afterward, Jack and I walked back in silence, content to enjoy the experience. 

We waved at the guard on our way out, who looked at us with a bemused cock of his head. 




{Simon} : Olympos, Turkey

Simon (from BUUHRRMING-UM, UK) is one of my favorite people to take pictures of ever. Seriously. Just the nicest guy, which translates in photos, who is impossibly visually interesting. I'm not interested in shooting people who are "pretty" or "handsome" (though Simon is), but have no personality; for me, it's all about capturing that flavor of someone. Some people you have to work with to get it out, but others, like Simon, gleefully give it to you from the beginning. 














{Defend the Village}: Olympos, Turkey



After finishing the experimental art festival in Istanbul, Kelsea and I traveled with one of our Turkish friends to a remote village on the southern Mediterranean coast, called Olympos. We flew into Antalya, and then took a dolmuş (a minibus van, always with a crazy driver who leaves the side door open) an hour south along the coast. The scenery was incredible (photos coming), so I'll save the rest of our journey story for later. 

Olympos is a secluded city of ruins. Built in the 1st and 2nd centuries BC, it was attacked by pirates so frequently that they finally gave up rebuilding and left the city to rot. But rot it did not, by and large; it lay quietly forgotten for hundreds of years until it was rediscovered by the general public within the last 50 years. Now, the only things there are the ruins and nondescript treehouse bungalows where adventurous travelers stay. 

When we got sick of laying on the beach, cliff jumping, and having general shenanigans with our new friends from Australia, Germany, and the UK, we wandered off to get lost in the ruins for the afternoon. It feel like a different world in the ruins; the air is thick with the smell of the bay leaves that crunch underfoot, and the silence brings an intimacy to spaces filled with an ancient sense of grandeur. 

Here is the first series of photos from one of our ruin walks. They feature performance artist Kelsea Burch, who is performing her piece entitled "Defend the Village" in two of the photos. 











So Fortunate

Today I woke up to a video from my very dear friend Firat who lives in Istanbul, Turkey. I heard from a myriad of friends across the United States and the world for my birthday yesterday, and this video was the perfect way to close it out. 





I will tell you a little bit about Firat and I.

So last December I went on a trip to Istanbul with three friends.

Mike, who flew from Vermont to Barcelona to see me. We then went to Vienna for a few hours to eat sausage and drink hot rum at the Christmas markets before almost missing our plane because of said rum.  We made our connection and flew to Istanbul together. 

Where we met up with Monica, my roommate and best friend in Barcelona. She is from California, and is a fantastic graphic designer and photographer. You can find her stuff here.

And  Tyler, who lived in Barcelona with me. He is an independent adventurer who is always down for any wacky thing I propose. (He is coming here to Vermont after Christmas to visit me!)

So we had our little group of American photographers, but no way around Istanbul. Fortunately for Couch Surfing, I received no less than 75 offers from locals to show us around their beautiful city. I ended up choosing three different hosts, including Firat. 


He took us all over the city, showing us many sites of the old city, and the whole way providing wonderful commentary. 

We went to the Hagia Sophia, among other places. Firat showed us where Vikings had left graffiti in the ancient stone. 


The beautiful royal palace

And always places with so many cats. It is Istanbul, after all. 

We also went to the Grand Bazaar and other little bazaars.





After that we were tired and needed a rest, so we went to Taksim Square. 

Just kidding, there is no resting occurring here!! 


We went to drink the super-Turkish beer Efes, which Mike (and the rest of us) really loved. A lot. But not as much as Firat, haha.  

The good bars are all on the terraces of Istanbul, and the roof retracts to show us the Turkish moon. 

Here is our wonderful Istanbul crew. 

That is the story of how I met Firat. Our adventures continued again in Istanbul, and then again when he came to visit Vermont this past summer. I am so lucky to have such a wonderful friend!

And with that, I am dismayed to announce that I have reached the free storage limit the Google and Blogger so generously give me. It may take me a few days to figure out the best way to continue forward with the blog, but I promise I will be back as soon as I can. I love hearing that so many of you follow my blog regularly...please do not hesitate to let me know if you follow, and what you like. I love to share my photos and life with you, so share back. Send me things of yours that I can blog! 

Much love and happy holidays,
Katie





Turkish Delights


include....fiesty mascot-fighting dogs






nose hoses





drag queens





the world's largest carpet





cisterns





the Hagia Sophia





cubic cats





Firat the James-Franco Turkish guide





colorful decorations





poor puppies in boxes





presents i should have bought storm





the wildness of taksim square





trendy stencils in byoglu





Firat getting down with his bad self





Crazy terrace-leading stairs to rooftop clubs





old Jewish, Greek neighborhoods...





Turkish chillums





little soldier Turks





sweet graffiti in the trendy neighborhoods of Istanbul





pomegranates!





fishermen men men





many marvelous mosques and such





smoke-blowing out codgers who secretly know photography really well





fighting like cats and dogs





far-too-friendly





fatherson dynamic





nargile hoses





fighty friends? nope, just rowdy





guy-love





reading the tea-leaves





turkish wedding reception that we attended accidentally!



As our guide and friend Firat packed us into cabs at the end of our journey through Istanbul, he whispered to us very seriously the Secrets of Istanbul. He withheld several upon our promises to return foraminimumoftendays!! in July. These photos make it easy to see why the city is gray and melancholy to its natives, but I've never met such friendly and passionate people. And it's true: they don't have squirrels, only poor cats.