To fly away

It’s a big day today, as Rize-Artvin airport opens. Not only for the convenience of bringing a regional airport closer to our second home — now just 50km away — but because it liberates our kids from my perpetual obsession, checking YouTube twice weekly for the latest progress update.

In the space of five years, that section of coastline 30km from Rize has been filled with 85 million tonnes of rock, upon which a 3000 metre long runway has been constructed, along with all the associated facilities.

There are, of course, legitimate arguments against these mega projects promoting more air travel and all the associated environmental concerns. Yet the mountainous terrain of the Black Sea region of Turkey is not well suited to the construction of a railway line from the major cities.

I, for one, welcome the construction of this airport. Twenty years ago, my wife and I would take the coach from Istanbul to our home village: a journey that would take a whole day. Painful, slow and sickness-inducing. Later on, we would fly to Trabzon, then take the airport coach home: with its frequent stops, that journey would take four hours. By car, we could get it down to two.

We are now itching for our summer away, our first return in four years. We have a home there nearly equal distance to our home to Heathrow here. We cannot wait to wander once more amidst our lands, and to embrace those we love.

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