Tag Archives: Turkey

riding the bus is harder than walking

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Everything happens so quickly. The bus door opens and closes, the engines start humming, then a stream of familiar places rushes by outside of the window. Sometimes I think of a person whom I’ve met here or there, or of a cat or a dog. Every time we go through a tunnel I find myself […]


forty million and two dreams

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I wake up late, and when I do, I remember my dreams. There were two. The first was about me arriving at my home on my final day of walking. There was a sense of relief that I had made it, but there was also a sense of panic that I had forgotten something. The […]


there comes a lion

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I spend my day doing something I dread: I plan things. I plan Georgia, Germany, Christmas, New Year’s, storage facilities, train tickets, plane rides, doctor’s appointments, etc. etc. In the evening, when my head is about to explode, I have dinner topped off with sütlac, then I get on a minibus to Atakum. A friend […]


rewind

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My visa-free stay in Turkey is coming to an end, and so I need to get out of here for a few months. The Caboose is staying in a friend’s garage, I’m boarding a bus back south to Samsun. Looking out of the bus window feels like rewinding a video-tape and watching the story unfold […]


lovers’ names on walls of suffering

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Sinop, they say, is famous for being Turkey’s happiest city. Why are people so happy here? Maybe because Sinop is located quite beautifully on a peninsula in the Black Sea. Maybe because the climate is less rainy than in the eastern parts of the coast. Maybe because there are literally no traffic lights in all […]


enjoy

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When I step outside to breathe the morning air, Korsan, the dog, is still asleep. Or maybe he just doesn’t want to get up because two of his friends are resting on top of him. Mustafa has prepared breakfast: fried eggplant, zucchini, and potato, toasted bread, fresh tomatoes, strawberry jam, honey, cheese, boiled eggs, and […]


the commander

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Staying in Lala felt like staying with a whole village rather than a single family. Everyone knew each other, everyone was always visiting the others’ homes, and the meals were lively gatherings. Also, it was the weekend, and those who lived in the city had returned to the village to spend time with their families. […]


Lala

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When I leave Gerze, I notice a few buildings that look like they might be old. Or maybe they’ve just been reconstructed. One of them is a large, empty villa that seems like it might get razed soon. Destroyed, as my friend Hairullah from Bafra would put it with a sweeping gesture. The road rolls […]


I HAVE THE POWER

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Gerze, someone has told me, used to be a very beautiful town. That was until it burned down a few decades ago. It was subsequently rebuilt, and now almost all of it looks newish and rather uninspired. After taking a little walk down to the harbor, I concur. Gerze has an awesome geographic location, and […]


winding up

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I wake up in the mosque, and because mosques usually don’t have any heating I burrow myself deeper in the sleeping bag and close my eyes again. When I finally leave, the sun is out and the road goes winding up the hills. It’s about five kilometers to the actual village of Yenikent, but since […]


the existence of Yenikent

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Nobody in Yakakent seemed to know Yenikent. Where are you going? they would ask me, and when they heard that I was planning to go to Yenikent, they would stare into space. Yenikent, right! There was a place by that name, somewhere. Actually, Yenikent isn’t that far from Yakakent. If you go by car it’s […]


obese street dogs

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Yakakent feels like Gonio. Okay, there is a mosque here and there are a few tea houses, and it’s generally a lot more tame than in Georgia, but the kind of touristy beach-town atmosphere Yakakent has is a bit similar to that of Gonio. This is Yakakent, the relaxed beach-town. I’m here during the off-season, […]


rain and spring invisible

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Finally, a small family-owned guesthouse! I found it last night with the help of the owners of the restaurant where I was having dinner. It was on the fourth floor of an apartment building, and the owners lived two floors down from it. It was simple and clean. I wake up feeling refreshed. I really […]


my leaves

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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 […]


destroyed

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I go outside looking for some mobile data for my phone and a bottle of lens cleaner for my cameras. I get 14 GB of data, and when I ask an optician for cleaning fluid he gives it to me for free. Then I stand around for a while. I like doing that, just standing […]


dark side of the planet

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The night was cold and wet. For some time, there was a dog somewhere in the distance that decided to have a barking match with a pack of jackals. The prayer calls in the morning sounded like ghosts, again. The inside of my sleeping bag was pretty cozy, though. The difficult part is always getting […]


empty homes

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I wake up in a large hotel bed, white linens and all. I brush my teeth and go down to have breakfast. While I’m stuffing myself with potatoes and omelette and casserole and bread and cake and mint tea, I feel very conscious of my scruffy looks and of my plan to walk home. Then […]


a different coast

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So this is what the whole Black Sea coast could have been like? Could have. Would have. Should have. Remember how the highway from the Georgian border almost all the way to Samsun was running basically always right next to the water? Well, not here. Here, in the north of Samsun, traffic is being confined […]


that ugly old fart

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People often ask me about walking and the difficulties that it entails. Physical challenges come up, loneliness, bad dudes, mean animals, illness, or just traffic accidents. But there is one major obstacle that looks a lot less exciting than any of above: it’s that ugly old fart called bureaucracy. For some of the countries on […]


the twelfth day

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Twelve years ago on this day I started my walk. It was the first day, it was also my birthday. I walked for a year, then I stopped. I started writing books. Walked some more. Wrote some more. Time passed. Then I started walking again. Last year, on the eleventh day, I was in Tbilisi. […]