My Just You Story: Jackie

Jackie Cotton has enjoyed two Just You holidays so far, with more holiday plans in the making for the future. Here’s the highlights from her adventures in Turkey

I love travelling, and as a full-time carer, being able to have a week abroad does me the world of good to have a little downtime and discover somewhere new.

I like having my own room to relax. I spend my daily life organising everything and caring for people, so we love the fact that with Just You, the Holiday Director does all the thinking and organising for us.

Turkish Delights

I’ve always wanted to experience the buzz of the bazaars and discover some history too so that was two big ticks for the Istanbul, Troy and Ephesus tour, and chance for us to learn and experience something new and interesting.

If I had to choose my favourite place to visit from the whole tour it would be the Blue Mosque. It is simply incredible, and the interiors were magnificent. And there’s always something quite special about places of worship, they make you stop and revel in the silence and the opulence of your surroundings.

We also enjoyed the bazaars, there is lots going on and the shopkeepers are really eager to talk and convince you to buy something from their stall. While we weren’t quite prepared for just how extrovert people are in the markets, it’s part of culture and if you enjoy haggling and are outgoing it can be a great place to be to enjoy all the energy and buzz.

We found ourselves enjoying the Moors Village Market in Canakalle and the Sirince Silk Market. They were on a much smaller scale and more local with a beautiful array of silks on sale – it just felt a little bit more authentic for us and less commercial. That said it was great to have the opportunity to experience both.

Weaving to the waterfront

One afternoon, on the way back from a day of sightseeing, we stopped off at a weaving cooperative to have a lovely lunch of Turkish wraps and watch the ladies who work there weave some really impressive tapestries. I was so inspired by their work, I purchased a Kilim [flatweave tapestry picture], and I now have it hanging up at home as a reminder of our time there.

Another stand-out moment was when we visited Gallipoli as part of an optional tour, simply for how poignant it is when you realise right where you stand is right where allied troops landed on the peninsula. It certainly feels like a very charged moment and makes your hairs stand on end.

This experience was included as part of a cruise of the Bosphorus which felt a bit bizarre to cross from Europe to Asia given Turkey’s unique geographical position.

While there were other optional trips we could have enjoyed, I decided to step out of some of them just to have a little free time to relax. Even just the simple pleasure of enjoying a coffee and watching the world go by was an absolute joy and I felt a world away from home. Plus, the weather was in the region of 35 degrees while we were there, so it was a relief to have some time to do our own thing and not be on the go all the time!

Out of all the hotels I loved our hotel in Canakalle. Buyuk Truva is very close to the waterfront, so it was delightful being able to go for a wander in the evenings or during free time.

Plans for the future...

Now I’ve ventured further east next up is somewhere a little further west; perhaps Sicily or Portugal to enjoy some more history and culture.

So long as I’m getting away, learning something new and not flopping on a beach somewhere I don’t mind!