Carrying gear for fit only for an African summer we arrived in Turkey needing new clothes and equipment to take us through a cold European winter. Sleeping bags were provided by the Irish Defence Force and were posted along with thermal clothing to Istanbul, timed for our arrival. We planned on departing Istanbul on the 27th of December after a three day Christmas break, however, the Irish, English, Czech and Turkish Post contrived to delay us two weeks.
It is difficult to conceive its’ enormity without laying one’s own eyes upon it. Harder still to conjure is its’ obtrusiveness. Businesses, roads and homes are cast in shadow, encircled and taunted by its’ ferocious pervasiveness. Graffitti covers the bottom quarter, yet seems to represent little more than token dissent. Indicative also, though of what I’m not entirely sure, is that the authors and painters who decorate the wall would appear in the vast majority not to be of Palestinian extraction.
Experience has taught you that the climb may not be as steep as it first appears. Approaching a hill square on gives one the impression of a sheer rise which curves sneakily around a corner, as yet unwilling to reveal its true extent. Immediately mental preparations begin.
“Be careful who’s advice you take but be patient with those who dispense it.” Every traveller has a window in any destination or stop-off point within which to experience and consequentially formulate an impression. Factors largely unrelated to the particular spot, however, become intrinsically linked to the experience