My Golden Ones: the Road to Pamukkale (Turkey)

The sun rises above the palm trees as we leave Kemer. It lights up the Taurus Mountains on the left of the road, changing them from a purple silhouette into a series of steep, green hills. As we join the road to Antalya the bus stops every few hundred yards to pick up more holidaymakers from the hotels in its affluent suburbs. By the time we reach Gőynűk the bus is full, but its passengers are barely making a sound. Soon I am the only one awake. The sea to our right was calm, shimmering as the low sun above it threw bright, pale light on to the water. It is because of mornings like this that Turks call the Mediterranean Akdeniz – the White Sea.

Borderland: Impressions of Lviv, Ukraine

At the end of a haphazard year working in Kyiv I took an overnight train to Lviv, to experience the more relaxed, old-fashioned side to Ukraine. Colleagues had mentioned the tasty food and bright buildings in the west of the country, as well as the European atmosphere that hints at its proximity to Poland. It seemed an ideal place to spend the New Year’s holidays.

The Linguist’s Lot

If November is Ukraine’s most melancholy month, January is its toughest. With the lawyers I work for coming back from their winter breaks with all the enthusiasm of “dvoiki” schoolboys returning to class on the first day of term, and European investors waiting for the results of Ukraine’s presidential elections before calling upon the lawyers, I have all the time in the world to indulge in my hobbies. It is an opportunity to start the year creatively and productively, but the month goes to waste. Determined to develop my writing I search on Kyiv’s newsstands, in its online ‘papers and on the lips of its people for a story to turn into an article – and find that there is only one: the arrival of a bitterly cold spell of weather that puts paid to all but the most mundane activities.