Hungry for wine

Seeing the World through the Lens of a Wine Glass

Hungry for Wine is maintained by Cathy Huyghe, wine writer for Forbes.com and author of Hungry for Wine: Seeing the World through the Lens of a Wine Glass.

Filtering by Tag: Turkey

Winery Dogs of Turkey

Most days, when I’m traveling to different wine regions around the world, I try to go out for a run in the early morning. It’s led to an unplanned series of pictures and tweets in the “View from This Morning’s Run” category that I really enjoy – from Florence to Friuli to Napa and New Zealand.

This week I visited a winery on the Aegean coast of Turkey, near Suvla Bay. Over dinner I asked my host if it would be safe to run the following morning, and could he recommend a route. Normally he lives in Istanbul, so he asked the workers who live locally all the time. The cook reminded him to warn me about the dogs.

In this part of Turkey there are still shepherds, and there are dogs who protect the herds. Especially overnight, when the sheep are sleeping, the dogs become very aggressive to anyone who comes near the herd. So I may not even be aware that I’m running by a dog who’s protecting a flock, I was warned. But if I did, it would challenge and chase me and likely attack.

So that morning I drove to the coastline and ran along a paved path there. I did encounter a dog, but it was a town dog and not a herd dog. It ran toward me and then alongside me awhile, but not in an “attack” way, just in a “Hey, you’re running! Me too! Let’s go!” way.

Dogs have become one of the strongest impressions I’ll take away from the properties I’ve visited in Turkey. They’re incredibly friendly at the wineries, and well trained, and not threatening at all. They live outside and organize themselves by temperament and personality – loners, pairs, packs.

I see the dogs in Istanbul also, and in the smaller towns. They seem to be stray dogs in those places, and they roam free and fend for themselves. Cats too. One morning, running along a main street near the coast, I saw a black and white cat lying dead and with its neck broken, near a dumpster.

Wine Travel GAH

The title of this post should really be Wine Travel YES and, by the end of saying what I need to say, it will be.

But let me work something through first.

I'm at that moment of a trip, at the very beginning, when I've said good bye to my husband and children, when I'm on board the plane, when I'm leaving on the first leg of the journey. The physical side of me is ready to go.

This particular trip, however, isn't to Napa or Oregon or Switzerland or New Zealand. It's to Turkey. And for that reason, it's taken the emotional side of me a few ticks longer to be ready to go.

Partly it's because the trip was almost canceled last week, when political protests intensified in some areas where we planned to be and, rather than postpone the trip entirely, we rearranged the itinerary around the sites of those protests.

Partly it's because of the sharp contrast of news coverage, between the sources I consult at home in the US and the sources my husband consults back in his native Belgium. He reads his news on the Belgian newspaper's app on his phone, and this morning he told me in detail about a US general's presence in Turkey, trying to convince Ankara to intervene in an aggressive takeover attempt of Kobani, a town along the Syrian border. (Belgium is home to a significant number of Turkish expatriates, and their national news addresses that population.) However, I had to dig -- deep -- for similar coverage in the US news sources that I regularly consult, which includes a website that claims to prioritize international news.

Maybe the US news sources are oblivious. Maybe the Belgian news sources are alarmist. Probably some of both. The bottom line is that I've got to cobble together information, which heightens my anxiety.

[several deep breaths and a take-off later]

There's something about starting, about stepping off, that adjusts my perspective.

This train has left the station and, since I'm along for the ride, my emotions need to recalibrate along with my physical location. It's a subtle shift but a critical one, from being anxious to being eager.

When I travel I am focused. I accomplish more work on the road than I do at home. I attribute this largely to my husband who, when we're both at home, is the biggest soaker-upper of my attention! (See what you get for marrying an incredibly interesting person??) And of course I miss our children, but the truth is that they've got fun and highly responsible people taking care of them. They are fine. They will be fine.

And so will I.

This is the kind of trip I adore. It is unusual. It will be challenging. I expect to learn things I won't learn anywhere else on the planet. I expect to meet people -- and taste wines -- that are distinct and unique in the industry.

So, yes, we have arrived at Wine Travel YES!

And for that I am extremely grateful.