Top Travel Tips For Turkey

International Travel

As many of you know, the Lifestyle Support Guru is an intrepid explorer, offering travel advice on such far-flung places as Huddersfield, Halifax and Hull. This evening, my advice will be about Turkey, home of delights such as…Turkish Delight!

I am here on a mercy mission because DOT (Dai of Turkey) has been taken ill and it was decided that the quickest way to help him recover was to send me out…

Top International Travel Tips

So, what advice can I offer you, my Faithful Followers (FFS for short)? Follow these Top Travel Tips and you will not go far wrong:
1. Do not assume that Turkey will be hot and sunny – this is what you will be told when you check the long-range weather forecast, but this is simply to lull you into a false sense of security so that you only equip yourself with light clothing, a pair of sandals and no raincoat. (I am a little cross that youngest sibling didn’t force me to take at least one jacket – what’s the point of a youngest sibling who doesn’t tell you to cover all eventualities?) When the downpour starts, as it does most days – but not at the same time every day, just to fool you further – you will find that the only protection from the rain that you have is a toffee-coloured mini-umbrella with a pattern of cute cartoon cats all over it, found at the back of a cupboard in sick sibling’s apartment (no, I haven’t asked). Much as I love cats, I do not necessarily wish to be seen carrying an umbrella covered in them!
2. Travel in the capital of Turkey is easy – as long as you are not easily frightened. Taxi drivers (of which there are many) have two speeds – 100 mph and ‘BRAKE’!!! You will also find that, on the whole, seat belts are there purely for decoration – I think I have found only one taxi so far where you could actually clip the belt in securely. I have developed a technique of using one hand to hold the seat belt across my body – which would serve no purpose at all in an accident – whilst clinging on to the handle above the window with my other hand. Not pretty, but it makes me feel better!
3. Learn a little Turkish (and believe me, when I say ‘a little’, I mean ‘a little’ – you would need a lifetime to get past the basics, fascinating though it is to listen to the language). A little goes a long way and I have particularly impressed local people with my mastery of ‘Thank you very much’ – Teşekkűr ederim, pronounced something like ‘teshkweredereem’. (Do not try this at home unless you are closely supervised.) It has brought a big smile to people’s faces whenever I’ve used it (in fact, the cleaner nearly collapsed laughing when I first tried it), although I am a little concerned that I may be putting the emphasis in the wrong place and I am actually telling people, ‘I am leaving you all my money when I die.’

I think that’s enough for the first lesson, but look out for ‘the tale of the confused taxi driver’ and ‘making friends with the hospital lift attendant’, along with ‘guided tours of the hospital departments a speciality’. That’s all still to come!

Wedding Advice

As LSG followers will know, I recently attended a pre-wedding party. I had also been asked to contribute something to a video offering marriage guidance (no comments, please!) to be shown at the hen weekend. That weekend has now passed and I have been given ‘official’ permission to publish the advice. Please feel free to follow this advice or to pass it on to anyone you know who may be contemplating marriage at some point in the future:

Hi Lizzi,
By now you will know that your sibling has asked people to contribute a video on WhatsApp imparting advice on success in the marriage stakes. There were a few problems for me with this: 1) I’m not great with technology; 2) I hate videos of myself and 3) I’ve never been married! I am therefore sending you a picture of me as a little girl in full Welsh costume instead of a video – much more attractive! – and some advice in my role as the Lifestyle Support Guru, someone of whom I’m sure your mother has spoken – and if she hasn’t, she has been sadly remiss in her duties as a proper mother!

The Lifestyle Support Guru (LSG for the sake of brevity) exists only to offer advice and support to everyone as they travel through life, trying to make sense of difficulties such as how to make bread-and-butter pudding (and, more pertinently, why?) or the role of Donald Trump and Nigel Farage in ensuring that we can all sleep safely in our beds at night (the answer eludes me at the moment).

I shall keep this brief, since you will want to move on to the ‘proper’ videos of real people singing, dancing and generally enjoying themselves in anticipation of your forthcoming nuptials. I may well wear a Welsh hat and dance around the house on your wedding day, but I promise not to video it!
So, what marital advice can the LSG offer? Firstly, Jane Austen is always a good source of information on the subject of marriage (and, since she never married either, I feel I am in good company): “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” Therefore, I hope you have found a single man in possession of a good fortune but, more importantly, that he is willing to spend that fortune on you! That’s the first point covered.

Secondly, look at your parents’ marriage and, in your case, use it as a blueprint. A joint liking for wine is a good start, but you must also have different interests, such as one of you enjoying obscure, incomprehensible foreign films and the other showing a preference for playing the saxophone (if Andrew doesn’t play the sax, may I suggest a course of lessons as your wedding present to him?). This will help keep your marriage fresh because you will always have something to talk about.

And, finally, remember to respect each other – if Andrew respects your opinion on all things and you respect his willingness to defer to you, you won’t go far wrong.

It only remains for me to wish both of you a long and happy marriage and a bright future.

Party Animal Aces It!

Party Party

As Lifestyle Support Guru followers know, I was invited to a pre-wedding party and I could well have made a complete and utter fool of myself by turning up at the wrong time, believing it to be an evening ‘soirée’ before finding out it was an afternoon do. As it was, the LSG achieved perfect symmetry by arriving at an acceptable time – a fashionable 20 minutes late – and leaving at 7.30 pm, the time originally planned for arrival. The only sad point was having to leave half a glass of wine because the taxi to take me home turned up unusually early.

Surprise

The afternoon went well, if you discount the bride-to-be – who has known me for several years, including two as her French teacher – introducing me at one point as Ian. I explained that I had not had any gender-reassignment surgery since I had last seen her and she seemed quite satisfied with that, so I shall simply put it down to one glass too many of French wine (which flowed copiously).

Conversations

It was lovely to see so many people whom I hadn’t seen for many years, including the delightful Mark who made so many French language classes a joy to teach, and it was even fun to sit on the ‘sad settee’ with two other women as we discussed Trump, Assad and North Korea while all around us others were reminiscing about the joys of organising school trips before Elf’n’Safety reared its ugly head. I also had a good conversation with the (Irish) husband-to-be about the likely team choices for the forthcoming Lions rugby tour. This may not have been everyone’s idea of a fun afternoon, but I was having the time of my life!

Airport – WHERE?

I think one of my enduring conversational memories (apart from the sex-change operation) will be talking to a friend and ex-colleague about my plans for a visit to Turkey in the near future, flying from Humberside because, as I said, ‘It’s such a small and friendly airport.’ ‘Oh,’ she replied, ‘I didn’t even know they had an airport there, especially for international flights.’ Her husband gave her what can only be termed ‘an old-fashioned look’ and asked me to repeat the name of the airport. ‘Humberside,’ I said. ‘Oh,’ she responded, ‘I thought you said Ambleside.’ Ambleside is a small village in the Lake District!

Under Lock and Key

I was most impressed when the bride-to-be’s father, when I asked for a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, produced a set of keys and said, ‘I’ll fetch you one.’ ‘Wow!’ I thought, ‘This must be something special to be under lock and key, especially since they’d been telling me about the bargain they’d got for 2 euros 10.’ It turned out that it was only under lock and key because it was a party-size box that they had to keep in the garage because it wouldn’t fit in the fridge!

It was a wonderful afternoon and the party was still in full flow when I left, so I could easily have turned up at 7.30 pm and still had a good time! Not a sign of cocoa, slippers or ‘Casualty’!

Thank you, one and all, for a joyous afternoon – may your wedding be peaceful, happy and bright, whether you are the bride, the groom, the parents or just friends!

Gin Cheesecake

PS The gin cheesecake was delicious! (= Cheesecake made with gin and lime)