No matter how sincerely I may say, “Merhaba!” women young and old usually look meekly at their feet as I pass, leaving my voice hanging in the mountain air. I think it’s safe to conclude that Turkish society teaches women not to commune with outsiders, and I’ve often wondered what life is like for these women behind closed doors.
I’ve also wondered how Turkish society regards female travelers, given that an independent woman journeying through strange places on her own must be a very alien concept here. A young Canadian backpacker named Sarah Rome, who I met one evening on the road between Ephesus and the Grotto of the Seven Sleepers, gave me some insight. For one thing, Sarah said she’s had much the same experience as me in relating to Turkish women.