It has been almost two month since we left our flat in Antalya. We had only fifteen days before the end of our Turkish visa. We were intending to extend the limit date before leaving Turkey to Cyprus but we finally left on the last day of the 90 and we don’t regret it because we discovered that the fine is big, even for a short overstay. Our friend Fede had the pleasant surprise of more than 400 lira fine when he wanted to leave Turkey (it’s 400 on the first day, and then it rises slowly).
These last fifteen days in Turkey were quite rough because we had to combine our wishes with the ones of the people who came to visit us, and all of that in a short time. Leaving Antalya with Flo who is staying in Turkey before going to Iran, we also leave the sun for five days of non-stop rain without interval. And we had to wait seven days and the city of Mardin to catch sight of the sun in between the clouds. During that time we get the chance to find shelter in the beautiful castle of Anamur, where we exchange a bit more with Flo. We are perpetuating the tradition we had in our flat in Antalya and take the luxury every evening to light up the shisha in all kind of weather, this time sheltered in one of the caves of the castle.
Flo leaves us quickly to go back to Olympus, where the Winter Hitchgathering, a meeting of hitchhikers, takes place. We stay 24 hours alone before meeting up with Mathilde, a friend from Grenoble, in Adana. If the city has the biggest mosque of Turkey of the galaxy, Adana is mainly known for having the best kebabs of Turkey, and thus of the world. Before Mathilde joins us, we spend there two nights, one in the park of the mosque and the other one in a flat thanks to the super-efficient Turkish hosting network, hosted by the friend of the guy who sells his bread to the grand mother of the guy who couldn’t host us. Or something like that. Mathou will stay ten days with us, will make a round in Kurdistan in the cities of Urfa and Mardin, will properly take care of Fil Topo and will have to undergo our great sense of humour.
Urfa will be the first city in Kurdistan we will stop in. Abraham, or Ibrahim for the Muslims is supposedly born in Urfa and is one of the main character of the three monotheist religions (Christian, Muslim and Jewish). The city made him a big and beautiful mosque and is a place of pilgrimage for many believers. According to the myth, the king of Assyria Nimrod tried to throw him into a furnace that transformed straight away into a pool full of carps that are still here today. Anybody who will try to fish them will turn blind. We camp like kings in between this mosque and the castle that overlook the city. Then we go back on the road after a short stop at Göbekli Tepe, the ruin of the oldest known temple.
In Mardin we had a host, Ibrahim, who showed us the city and the monuments around alongside with his buddy Ibrahim before they both invite us at the restaurant. The old city sits on a high rocky hill and is stunning. But more than the sightseeing and the food, we will have the chance to see the point of view of our Kurdish hosts about their culture, the PKK, the rest of Turkey and Atatürk.
During his student exchange year in Australia Arthur had two roommates, Natacha from Grenoble, and Antonia from Santiago in Chile. Antonia was on a tour in Europe and wanted to go through Turkey so it was natural to meet there. Natacha decided to forget for a second her ecological footprint and jumped in the plane. Mathilde and us will meet them in Cappadocia covered of snow in the small village of Göreme. Two nights spent in a hostel because of snow and ‘glaglaglaitsabitcoldoutthere’ and one fire camp evening including sleeping in a cave. Wikipedia will probably explain you the history of this unique place as good as we would, but it will not describe the very particular atmosphere of this big playground for adults that we visited with wet feet. It was a chance to visit the place with a lot of snow, the uncovered parts creating veins into the white snow.
We leave after four days this mystic and touristic place. Yes, with Istanbul and Pamukkale it is probably the most visited place in Turkey. Whereas nobody, or not far from it, speaks English in Turkey, the village of Göreme has a astonishing density of English-speakers. We used to be proud of our ten words of Turkish and now it feels a bit uncomfortable! Nevertheless it is an amazing place and quite empty in the middle of the winter, and it is totally possible to squat all year long one of the hundreds caves to escape other tourists.
In one day we switch snow for short pants while arriving in the marina in Mersin. The marina officers tell us that in the winter there is almost nobody sailing from Turkey to Cyprus. At this time we decide to take the ferry. We spend our first night in a mosque, which is by the way a good plan for travelers, it is quite warm, there is water, toilets and carpets to be comfy. The day after we meet Fabian in Alanya before going back again to take the ferry in Taşucu. Fabian is a good friend of Rémi who lives in Leipzig in a communitarian house. But we already spoke about it in a previous article!
We spend the night in the city of Alanya before going to sleep on the rooftop of a building under construction, laying under the solar heating system. The six of us come out in the morning between the workers that welcome us smiling. The old town of Alanya starts at the sea and spreads all over the hill with houses that threaten to fall apart if you touch them too much. The sunset from the city wall is simply great and we go down in the dark to split up several hours later, the girls are going back home. Only Fabian and us are continuing the trip, we take a truck that drops us in Mamure Castle that we squatted earlier with Flo. It is very different from the last time when hundreds of milliliters of water were falling each second, and this time we have the coffee in the sun. It is the last day of the 90 spent in Turkey and we had to wait for the Taşucu market to find the best cheese ever eaten in Turkey. This said, Turkish cheeses are generally very good. We thank Turkey to leave us the opportunity to have more surprises to discover next time we come.
We do a world tour without taking planes for several reasons, and one of them is to have a reduced environmental impact. We thus thank strongly Mathilde, Antonia, Natacha and Fabian to come and visit us by plane (they probably would have stayed at home watching TV otherwise) and thus making our carbon footprint explode.
For practical information, it is possible to look for a sailing boat to Cyprus or other from several marinas. From East to West: Fethiye, a bit South-West of Antalya, Alanya and Mersin. Look at these two websites for more infos he he: Wikipedia and another website (in Turkish, but totally understandable).
Paprika, eggs, jam and cheese to all of you.
To see more pictures have a look at the gallery!