It was a cold, grey, drizzly day in Niksar, Turkey but as the door to the household kitchen swung open we were met with two kinds of warmth; that of the wood burning stove blazing in the corner and the welcome friendliness of a Turkish family.
Having met our campsite owner, Tunay, only the previous day he had proudly embraced the visitors to his home town and invited us to eat with his family the following day.
As is often the way with home-cooking, the mix of dishes was delectably different from the occasional kebab street-eat we had sampled so far across Turkey. ‘Çay’ is the staple throughout the day- black tea sipped from small, tulip-shaped glasses with plenty of sugar. The tea kept flowing, topped up from a double teapot on the stove; strong black tea from one spout and hot water from the other.
We frequently encounter such hospitality, warmth and openness from people in foreign lands, an unforgettable experience and fond, lasting memory.
Avid followers of our blog will know we love to take photographs. Thomas Cook are currently running a travel photography competition and we thought it would be a great opportunity to showcase a few photographs that might not typically see light of day on our website. The theme for the competition is "Explore the Elements" - Earth, Water, Fire and Air.
EARTH - Represents the hard, solid objects of the earth. Associated with stubbornness, collectiveness, physicality and gravity.
This photograph was taken in Kazan, Russia. It features the statue of Musa Dzhalil in front of Kazan Kremlin. Dzhalil was a Tatar poet and martyr.
WATER - Represents the fluid, flowing, formless things in the world. Associated with emotion, defensiveness, adaptability, flexibility, suppleness, and magnetism.
Whilst in Montenegro we documented many of the beaches along the Budva Riviera as the summer season ended. This photograph was taken at Ploče Bay on a stormy day. We captured this pensive swimmer shortly before he dived into the rough sea.
FIRE - Represents the energetic, forceful, moving things in the world. Associated with security, motivation, desire, intention, and an outgoing spirit.
This photograph was also taken in Montenegro on Drobni Pijesak beach were we found lots of 'sea glass'. Traditionally fire is used in the production of glass, but more importantly we were interested in how the forceful energy of the sea transforms the once sharp edges.
AIR - Represents things that grow, expand, and enjoy freedom of movement. Associated with will, elusiveness, evasiveness, benevolence, compassion, and wisdom.
To quote Jarvis Cocker "Yeah, the trees, those useless trees produce the air that I am breathing". This photograph was taken on an early morning drive up Mount Olympus in Greece.
To check out more entries follow Thomas Cook on Twitter and use the hashtag #exploretheelements.
It would be great to see entries from...
After a short hibernation period were about to head back out on the road. Bee-bee’s cracked cylinder head has been replaced and she is raring to go (we hope).
Here’s a quick outline of the work she’s had done...
New Cylinder Head
Cam Belt, Glow Plugs and Fuel Injectors
Having racked up over 150 test kilometres I’m pretty convinced she’s running sweeter that she ever has. She starts on the button, no more black smoke and the temperature barely rises above 88°C. We took her (unloaded admittedly) on several long motorway climbs and up a steep 290 metre off-road climb without any problems at all. Fingers crossed.