I want to tell you this small hitchhiking story that happen to me just after we had new year’s eve in Istanbul. Arthur and I decided to split to come to back to Antalya. Arthur is doing a detour on the west of Turkey, and I come back directly through the same road that you took for coming to Istanbul.
In the morning we split in Kadikoy. I take me roughly 20 minutes to understand the bus system of Istanbul, then I get without taking the wrong bus, to a rest area close to the highway. In no time I reach the smaller road that go through Turkey from North to South,from Adapazarı to Antalya, a kind of a big national road.
I sum up small rides quite quickly, each time the drivers are dropping me really in the middle of nowhere, but once again Turkey proves his effectiveness, and every time I don’t wait long.
Well, finding rides is going well, but the problem is that it’s getting cold, the road is going higher in the mountain and I get dangerously close to the snow. Then a truck take me for couple of hours until Afyon, and here we are, the landscape is completely white, I was not expecting to see that much snow in Turkey.
Making snow men can be fun, but the problem is that I cannot say that I have proper equipment to survive in those temperature. When I get to Afyon, it’s snowing, it’s cold, it’s night. I decide not to stop to find a place to sleep, but to continue no matter what. I get inside the toilets of a mall, and I put as much as possible clothes on me, cosmonaut-style. Four layers for the top, double socks plus plastic bags for feet isolation, hat, scarf, and the gloves that dad gave to me just before leaving Grenoble. Phew! Even if they are thin they really helped me.
Hop back on the road I feel indestructible, I rise my thumb and make big signs to every trucks passing by, hopping that one of them will go to Antalya. During that time snow is gathering on my bag I dropped on the side.
Finally a truck stops, and is going to … Antalya! Youpi! I am saved and under shelter. Inside the truck it’s warm, and the only thing we can see through the darkness, are snow flakes twirling around us, I feel like in a space ship going through snow meteorite fields.
The truck is going up, up on the road covered of snow. Sometimes I am a bit afraid that the truck will slide, but the driver seems to know what is doing. But finally it happen, the truck lightly slide on the road, once, then twice. No more choice, we have to but the chains on the wheels. We are going out of the truck and the snow fall turned into a snow storm. I pull up my scarf to cover my face, to protect from the snow attacking me, carried by violent blasts of wind. In the chaos of the storm my driver give a lamp and make me understand that I need to throw light on him, he opens a trunk on the side and we take out the chains in order to hook them to the huge wheels. After at least twenty minutes of hard work we are finished, but I really feel that he’s not used to do that, the result seems doubtful. We get back in the truck and try to start it, we just do 100m before being stopped, we have to go out again twice to fix the work before the truck decide to go. Slowly.
We get to some kind of civilization taking the shape of a petrol station, where the driver decides to stop. We get inside a kind of café, where many others truck drivers are there, stuck by the storm. We drink çai after çai, they don’t speak English, I don’t really understand what they are talking about, but finally they explain to me that we have to spend the night here. My driver offers to me a lentil soup, and let me sleep in the truck cab, equipped of a second bed, and overall: heating !
The next day I wake up, everything is white, in some place I can see at least thirty centimetres of snow. We go back to the café, where the driver tell me that we cannot leave before 10 o’clock. Probably the time that the roads are cleaned or that snow melt. He offers me a huge plate of tahin and pekmes with a çai, for a typical Turkish breakfast. Finally we leave around 12. The snow melted a lot, and after half an hour on the road, we can take the chains away. On the roads many cars and trucks are in the ditch, I feel lucky that the driver was careful. I get to Antalya in the end of the day. What a trip1!