Monday, July 13, 2015

the colours of eskişehir, and the power of smell



After soaking in the naturally fizzy thermal pool of Pamukkale's ancient Hierapolis (and not wanting to leave), we drove over wide snowy highlands to Eskişehir, one of western Anatolia's oldest settlements, now a sprawling college town and industrial centre. At first, we were unimpressed— the greying block-style apartment and factory buildings left a lot to be desired, but once we discovered the old Ottoman-style houses in the historical part of town, our thoughts changed.



Among also discovering that people in Eskişehir were very friendly, we learned that the city is famous for its nearby meerschaum mines, and there are loads of workshops offering beautifully carved brooches and pipes for sale. My grandad had such a pipe once— the cream-coloured bowl was a magnificently bearded man with a turban and fierce eyes, though I never saw him smoke from it. Clenched between his teeth instead was a dark wood one, and it filled the house with a sweet, vanilla-like smoke. When he died, I wrapped the pipe in a paper towel and slid it carefully into my backpack with one of his threadbare plaid shirts. Upon unzipping the bag in Turkey, it was as if he was sitting beside me— I could feel the roughness of his chin, I could hear him swearing, and I could see the green in his eyes.

His shirt and his pipe are two of the things that I chose to bring with me instead of sending them to traverse the sea with the rest of our belongings. Though his shirt smells more like me now, his pipe... oh his pipe...

2 comments:

Marisa Ortún said...

Your pictures are beautiful. Thanks for sharing your travels around Turkey. I made a journey in East Anatolia some years ago and I can´t forget what I saw. I loved country, landscapes, art, people....

szaza said...

Thank you so much, Marisa. I am happy to help bring back those memories!