Cascoly Travel -- Turkey: 9 / 11 on the Isle of Crete
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Cascoly Travel
Turkey: 9 / 11 on the Isle of Crete

We were on the Greek island of Crete on 9/11/2001, a week into a 3 week trip to Greece & Turkey. These notes are from my journal. It was a beautiful fall day. We'd driven, thru rugged but spectacular countryside, open valleys, then a narrowing gorge, finally running down to the former Venetian stronghold of Rethimnon. A long beach stretched out with brightly colored beach chairs declaring their territorial claims. We drove around the harbor to park near the Venetian fortress. Found an excellent leather shop, buying belts and a new wallet.

When M. & R., our companions on the trip, came back to the car about 5 pm, they told us they’d just heard that 2 airliners had flown into the World Trade Towers in NY. When we got back to the hotel, all TV stations had it on, but not a lot of info yet, just the horrifying images of a jet flying thru one of the towers, and then the 2 towers crashing to the ground.

After a sombre dinner we tried to decide what we could do next We were scheduled to fly to Rhodes on the 12th. Walked down the street after dinner and found an internet café to email our agent in Istanbul and family. CNN’s been on constantly while I’ve been typing these notes. M. & R. appear really shaken by the news – R. immediately wondering whether we could visit any Muslim area safely. (She'd just realized Turkey was a Muslim country!); They’re already considering changes to the trip, possibly leaving for London from Rhodes. I'd told them the news had said we wouldn't be able to fly back to Athens, much less to the US for at least a few days


About a week later we finished a short hike in Cappadocia near Cavusin and stopped for tea a local chai shop where we talked through Lutfi with several of the old men there in their 80's. Like just about everyplace we'd been in Turkey, there was a spontaneous consolation and support for the US. (On a return trip to Turkey the following spring, we found the same 4 men at their table) It was truly amazing the amount of good will and empathy that we found whenever people heard we were Americans. In was truly sad and disheartening to see how that good will was squandered in unnecessary and reckless war in Iraq.

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