Hitchhiking in Turkey

Before anyone (especially you my lovely parentals) freak out by the title of the post there is no need to fret because well I am writing this post so that means I survived and nothing awful or horrible happened during my little weekend get-away that may or may not have included a hitchhike…or two..unintentional or not, but first things first I must lay the groundwork.

A friend (Audrey) and I decided to check out Safranbolu on Saturday and then head on over to the Yenice Forest. Photos have been posted here. When we got to Safranbolu it was a tad confusing because we were not dropped in the old city center but rather at some random bus service station. If you have ever traveled by bus in Turkey you are quite aware of the outside the city or your destination dropping points. This led to a little chaos with calling our hostel to pick us up but then the bus guy calling his friend to give us a tour of some of the surrounding areas. Mind you all the while when we are trying to figure out our own plans our new found Spaniard friend Alvaro was in an even more confusing position. While he knows English, French and the obvious Spanish, his Turkish is lacking, or well just plan non-existent so Audrey took on figuring out his situation as well because frankly the only thing I was concerned with was finding a bathroom so I just sat there and let her take the reins.

Needless to say the three of us were automatically clumped together and the Turks assumed we were traveling together to include the hostel  guy moving us all into a shared room together – whatever no big deal – as long as we had our own beds (which we did), but not all yabancı (foreigners) travel together – just saying.

So after exploring a cave (which I had no clue I would be exploring when I woke up – hence caving in a dress), eating a delectable lunch from what was basically a family’s home  (house restaurants/food are extremely popular in Safranbolu) which I totally loved because nothing beats home cooking, touring Safranbolu’s historic sites and just chilling around town at a Nargile Cafe I thoroughly enjoyed my day. Not to mention at dinner in another house like restaurant we ended up watching the Turkish version of Wipe Out – which just so happens to do a lot more camera editing with slow-mo and reverse motion – all I can say to that is expect the unexpected.

There were the awkward moments too like when it decided to pour rain so we chilled with our taxi driver in his taxi for awhile until we decided that the rain would not pass to allow us to explore the aqueduct (granted more awkward for Audrey who was chilling up-front with the driver, I just had to endure not knowing how to say Alvaro’s name properly – dang the Spanish and their pronunciation of “v” as “b”, or the most awkward – yes and I mean the most awkward hotel receptionist I will ever cross paths with – yes handing over a key at check-in is a normal procedure in the hospitality industry – no?? And yes when we mention wanting to see the roman ruins we mean the ones in the town we are actually in and not the ones in another city.

Now our hostel was an old Ottoman style house which was really neat and was updated at least with the inclusion of a flat screen. Super thankful for that because it just so happened to be the night they were airing the men’s 4×100 relay – if you missed that race, well then you missed greatness. Ever greater was that Alvaro got so excited at about 300m that he leaned to far on his bed which sent him flying face first towards the tv – and yes me being the concerned person I am just yelled for him to move his head instead of asking him if he was ok -but he was still cheering the runners on so I guess subconsciously I thought that his well being was not at stake.

Mind you this was not the hostel we booked but hey when in Turkey do as the Turks do – no I don’t think that is right – we can only hope that our replacement hostel was as good as our originally booked hostel.

So by the time Sunday rolled around we were ready to check out the Yenice Forest (mined you “c” in Turkish is pronounced “j” –> I still royally screw up this pronunciation even though I’ve been in Turkey for almost 3 months – sheesh – let’s not talk about how time flies by at an accelerating rate the older we get – by the way why is that?

We eventually made it to the forest after Audrey had some bizarre and confusing conversations with the guys at the bus station. Now the one thing I won’t forget was the fresh smell – it was like breathing pure oxygen – ok maybe not that extreme, but with Ankara’s air pollution so high I felt like I had a third lung. We walked through what I believe was Şeker (sugar) Canyon and were strolling along at a nice pace when a pick-up truck with two friendly Turkish men pulled up and offered us a ride to the top. We said sure why not – we can then just walk back down. Well where we ended up was a hotel construction site – all I can say is that future hotel guests will be waking up to breathtaking views. We then got a ride back down because the one Turk believed it was too hot for walking – haha – oh Turks you make me laugh.

Now after a nice lunch at a restaurant right at the beginning of the forest we meandered back down to the main road/highway. We had over an hour to kill before the scheduled bus would come and Audrey suggested hitchhiking back – I said sure what the heck but you gotta talk to the driver – that was the deal. I even said if she actually did I would treat her to an ice-cream. Somehow her nerves got to her and I ended up being the one to flag dance down  a car

I am not made for hitchhiking – as can be explained by my method of flagging down a car

Expected:

My on the spot version looked just as ridiculous:

But my hitchhiking dance paired with Audrey’s speaking skills got us to the town of Karabük – yes that is a “b” and not a “d” Audrey and thus in the end was quite effective. Must I mention that we avoided a downpour of rain and also got home an hour earlier because hitchhiking got us to the bus terminal way ahead of schedule. Oh YES – some things just align perfectly together like pb and nanners and when those moments happen you embrance them and grin ear to ear and let out a big sign of relief – there is good in the world. there really is and it includes being in the backseat of a Turkish strangers car with big raindrops coming down outside. Yes, that car-ride was way more comfortable and a heck of a lot cooler than our dolmus ride would’ve been.

And I almost forgot to mention – at the beginning of our trip Audrey declared herself “boring” – nothing about this trip was boring and quite frankly the only problem with the trip is that I got re-addicted to Lokum (Turkish Delight) – fresh made – yeah there pops the button on my jeans – I can devour that stuff by the hundred grams – I should probably sign up for a Turkish Delight eating contest – that there is something I would be great at – that just became Plan C for life. The flavor choices are up there with those for salt water taffy and if you’ve ever been with me in a taffy shop well then you know it can take me awhile to decide.

So if for some reason you would like to be nice to me a box of Turkish Delight would do the trick, but if you are stateside well then Lago’s Truffles are pretty dandy too!

Re-Cap

Hitchhiking in Turkey – yes, hitchhiking in USA – never

Spaniards = cool people – remember Alvaro to stay in my good graces I am well on my way already to writing your biography (;

Nature has a way of bringing you back to reality

Turkish Delight – brilliantly delicious – my stomach is somersaulting

Cheers from the land that makes the best lokum

n

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