Translation to english by Mila T. <3
So it was time to cross Turkey from Istanbul to its southeastern border with Iran. For many, this huge country is known mainly for its beautiful beaches on the Mediterranean, for its breathtakingly beautiful metropolis of Istanbul, or perhaps for historically significant cities like Ephesus. But the fact that also the north with its access to the Black Sea has a few hidden gems to offer, as well as the east of Turkey with an incomparably great mountain scenery, is quite unknown.
On Saturday the 17th of November (day 35) after distributing the food with Sefkat der,we left Istanbul and its surroundings late in the evening, so we would not have to fight our way through the traffic during the day. Our route took us via the picturesque coastal town of Amasra and the more famous big city of Samsun to Trabzon, where we camped for about five days. Amasra is a popular holiday destination for locals, especially in summer. The colorful cityscape, the antique flair underlined by an old castle wall as well as the more leisurely everyday life of the 15,000 inhabitants comprehensive village was something we approved of immediately and gave us a desired change of scenery to the fast city life of Istanbul. Since the route to Iran was still far and we felt the urge to spend some time in nature again, we quickly set off for Samsun for only a quick pitstop, to wash our laundry and visit the known Atatürk Museums , which made it possible to continue to Shahinkaya Canyon the same day. Once there, we did not let the bad weather spoil our good mood and took advantage of the moment to enjoy a “private tour” through the narrow waterways along the steep cliffs.
The next destination was Trabzon. As so often on our journey so far, we had the luck to be able to stand very close to the center for a small amount of money, which allowed us to easily explore the city on foot. We used our slightly longer stay to indulge in a traditional hammam visit and to give some smiles on the city streets. Our route then took us to the East Anatolian highlands. There was not only an impressive landscape waiting for us, but also an adventurous interlude with a mouse, which had gotten comfortable in our camper. Via the platform “Couchsurfing” we got the opportunity to spend our time in Erzurum in a student flat share together with three locals.
We had some very enjoyable days, visiting the local ski opening, playing with our roommates’ mates on the football field at 12 noon and, as always,giving out a few WeCare packages in the streets. Erzurum is one of the largest cities of eastern Turkey and is located on the border with the Kurdish part of the country. After a four-day stay, we left to this kurdish part and stayed with our very caring host Kevin in Van for our last few days in Turkey, whom we also met via couchsurfing.
The fact that he still lives with his parents gave us the chance to become part of a Kurdish family, an extraordinary experience. He also took us to an English lecture at his university and made contact to five very poor families, we should visit during our stay and provide donations to.
After these three eventful days, we headed for the Iranian border, where our travel plans should be turned upside down. It was a great week in a country that seemed so familiar to us beforehand, but had so many unknown and wonderful surprises in store.