A Rediscovery of Turkey: Troy, Turkish Markets and a Van Break-Down
In our first official ‘living in a van’ moment, we went to Turkey from Bulgaria in 2012. Actually, we went to Istanbul and stayed a few months blog post here: , but didn’t get to see the rest of the country.
This time when we went back, we avoided Istanbul and focused on places we’d always wanted to visit. Troy was certainly at the top of my list. I didn’t know what to expect, but it wasn’t what I expected. There were stalls on the way to the main gate, with little security. No lines, lots of parking.
When you first go in, you’re greeted by a ‘replica’ of the original Trojan Horse. I appreciated the effort and the sentiment, but the visual didn’t quite match my imagination. It was a small, wooden ‘horse’ on wheels. Which most certainly wouldn’t have tricked a child into opening a gate.
The rest of the ruins were interesting, and well-maintained if small. It was one of those places I had higher expectations than the reality was. Gallipoli was the exact opposite. I didn’t have any expectations, and it was unexpectedly emotional. Nearly-forgotten cemeteries filled with unknown soldiers from WWI, on both sides. The still-scarred countryside with canons. So much loss.
We lucked out with almost perfect weather, which inspired Armando to fish a lot and test out Morkenstein’s new* synchro capabilities. We discovered our van doesn’t do well in thick, sticky mud and sand. I discovered I don’t like going down hills steep enough to have me brace my feet on the floor, nearly standing upright. A few white hairs sprouted. Ha.
We visited a ghost town, Kayaköy, and timed it perfectly for Armando to catch the perfect light for the abandoned buildings. It was interesting how many tourists were there, and how the locals had adapted to it, with lots of advertising signs along the road.
We found a lot of gorgeous free parking spots, wild camping and rarely coming across people. Armando met a group of Kurdish sheep farmers who invited him to have a meal (they roasted a fresh sheep) and the leader of the clan asked him a lot of questions about his religious beliefs. They were very kind and generous.
Izmir was a larger town we visited, so we could send Christmas gifts back home. We didn’t realize that a.) you need a Turkish address and b.) it’s more expensive to send gifts from Turkey to the States than the gifts were themselves. There was also a nice market, and we took turns visiting. I bought two scarves, just in case I’d need them.
Armando was in contact with a Turkish WiFi company – I think it’s one of the best we’ve had in our travels. That was around the same time we broke a part of our transmission, so we opted for an AirBnB, since the van was pretty much undriveable. Such as is always the case, what should be a one-week fix took a month. We were mainly waiting on the part to be shipped so the mechanic could actually work on it.
Thankfully, we stayed with a man named Fatiq, who has a small farm (geese and chickens, a cat and a dog). He was really understanding and it was great getting to know him.
His next door neighbor, however, had a dog. It was an evil, vicious, vile little beast that really had something against our zen dog, Ziggy. It actually stalked us, nipped at our heels and jumped out from hiding places all around the driveway. It was a bane.
Unfortunately, we found out the dog died. It was run over by the owners’ son-in-law. I am sorry for it, but karma sometimes works. The part came just in time for us to book our ferry to Northern Cyprus. We had a 3-month limit in Turkey. We loved it so much, we’re looking forward to revisiting, maybe this year.
Next Catch Up Post: Northern Cyprus