< 3. In de spotlights
26.09.2014 21:11 Age: 4 yrs
Category: Turkey

1. Traffic Turkey

We’re making our way to Turkey, and at the moment that our sweet navigator (aka Ellen) tells us that we are only one hour from our destination, we send our next host a text that we are almost there. We shouldn’t have done that! Are you bored at home and you want some excitement? Join us on our drive through Istanbul during rush hour, we recommend it!

Thousands of cars just driving wherever they want, “snaking”, people walking on the highway, trying to sell flowers and bread… Impressed, humbled, fascinated, we’ve never seen anything like that, but we survived and arrived safely in Pendik (Istanbul).

When we arrived in Pendik and got out of the car a Turkish guy came over to us wondering what the hell we were doing in Pendik!? We had a little chat with the man, telling him about our travels, how we experienced our first Turkish rush hour; the man was very interested and after 10 minutes he wished us safe travels and we continued on our way.  At first we were a bit surprised when the man started talking to us ‘total strangers’, but it felt so nice. Back at home I don’t think we would ever walk up to stranger to ask what he was doing in our city.

After this little street intermezzo we met our next host Kemal. As Kemal had already had dinner we told him that we could go out to find some food, but he insisted that he cook for us. We had a nice Turkish dinner and then it was time for Turkish tea, biscuits and stories. We were Kemal’s first couchsurfers so we tried to leave a good impression J.

The next morning Kemal made breakfast for us, which was also delicious! 

Unfortunately we had to leave after breakfast, but we had a very nice stay. This trip is the first time we ever used couchsurfing and we’re so impressed by the hospitality of all these people; we hope one day we can repay them.

After Pendik it was time for Aksaray, we arrived safely in Aksaray but we had trouble finding our host. We had run out of phone credit and we could only top it up online and couldn’t find any internet around (we still carry around big old cell phones, no fancy smart phones for us). So we tried asking if we could borrow a cell phone to make a quick phone call in a local supermarket. Unfortunately, no one in the supermarket spoke English, but with our best sign language we managed to get our hands on a Turkish cell phone. When we called our host Kemal (yes, Kemal again!) we found out he lived above the supermarket! (Know your neighbours!)

Kemal took us out for dinner, köfte, yummy! Than we had a few drinks at home and went to bed, it was a very nice evening. (Again, we know!)

This morning we had breakfast and then we continued our journey to Iskenderun.

Did you know that

-          Rush hour in Istanbul lasts from 5 pm till 9 pm?

-          Alcohol is very expensive in Turkey?

-          This is because of the high taxes?

-          You still have to go to the army after school?

-          Dries is happy he’s not Turkish?

-          Diesel cost almost €2/l?

-          That the reason for this is that 65% of Diesel is taxed?

-          We were happy we topped up our car and jerry cans in Bulgaria?

< 3. In de spotlights