Back to the highway. Back to the noise, back to the sight of cars and trucks thundering in my direction. One thing is different from before Samsun, though: there is considerably less traffic here. The main artery connecting Istanbul and Ankara with the Black Sea region has left the coastline and taken much of the traffic with it. And so walking on this highway isn’t so bad.
The road goes uphill for a while. People have been warning me about the terrain in this part of the country. The road here, it seems, has lots of ups and downs. I pant and I sweat. Then I’m on the top of my first uphill, wondering what else is waiting for me further down the road.
Hasan is waiting. He notices me when I am resting in front of his house, and he comes out with bread and cheese and water. His two sons, he tells me, are in Istanbul. They are politicians. He shows me a picture of them wearing suits. They seem very far away.
The rest of the day feels more like physical exercise than like an adventure. I drag the Caboose along the highway, passing gas stations (haha) and farm houses, and it often smells bad because ’tis the season of manure (and sometimes because there is a lot of trash).
And then I see the leaves. They have climbed up a wall, covering it in light orange and blood red. I take a few pictures, and then I pick one of the leaves. This is a thing that I’ve been doing for the last few years: every once in a while, when I notice a flower or a leaf on the way, I will pick it up and put it in my notebook. So it can come home with me.