When the owner of the hotel at Goreme told us on Thursday evening that we'd be quite safe walking into the town to view the sunset, I was slightly taken aback as it had never occurred to me for a moment that we would not be safe. Curiously, later that same evening a couple of young ladies appeared at the hotel reception whilst we were waiting for transport to take us to our 'Turkish Evening' asking with some real concern as to whether they'd be safe to walk down to the near-by restaurants (though, obviously, ladies' concerns about safety can be much more real than those of gentlemen.) Again, I was a wee bit disconcerted about the idea that it was wise to be extra wary in this region of Turkey - or, possibly, Turkey in general.
In fact, when we walked into the town very early on Friday morning, before sunrise, we were happily surprised to see that most of the vendors had left their goods out quite openly. It seems they had no fear at all of things being stolen. Difficult to imagine doing this in London, or Manchester, or Singapore for that matter. This would seem to be a sign of an essentially safe place.
I have been more than usually cautious about the location of my wallet whilst in Istanbul, especially at the Grand Bazaar, however. There are so many warnings about the threat of pick-pockets that this is obviously sensible. But here's the odd thing. When we were queuing for tickets into the Topkapi Palace a few days ago I idiotically managed to leave my credit card in the machine that dispensed the tickets. We'd walked a good way from the machine when a guy who'd been hanging around the machines helping people- (to be honest I'd wondered if he was some sort of tout, but he wasn't) came running up to return the card. I can tell you, my relief - and gratitude - was considerable.
I'm not naïve about very real concerns about safety when visiting foreign climes, or even when happily at home, but it's useful to be aware of how often the better angels of our nature rear their heads and help protect us against our folly.