We woke up to a small paradise today- the campsite turned out to be wedged between 2 sheer wooded hills, with 2 rivers converging where the almost Swiss style farmhouse sat. Our host was already awake and tending to his animals – goats, chickens, geese and his 3 Turkish hounds, each with their own quirky howl. I was the first to rise from the group, and once up and about, the older gentlemen- possibly the older brother, greeting me, and offered me to go with him to the house for tea. While Alpha Squad’s spoken Turkish wasn’t ideal for the role of introductions, charades was more than adequate – the older gentlemen said he hunted the woods, both with a gun and a bow, asked about where we lived. He was incredibly understanding and really broke the ice between language barriers. Our host came around from the kitchen and asked how many there were of us – he was making breakfast for the whole team. I thanked him and counted 7 for breakfast. I excused myself and went to wake the rest of the team. Breakfast was a full spread of meat pancakes, spiced rolls, breads, tomatoes, cucumbers and olives, various preserves and spreads, along with traditional Turkish tea, or cay (pronounced chai). After a quick dip in the river, we packed up and offered a tip to the host to thank him for his incredible hospitality – a recurring theme throughout this journey.
Saying our goodbyes once again to Back to Yak, they made for Góreme a day earlier than us, where we headed north to the Black sea coastline, and to catch up with our schedule through Turkey. Zonguldak – the first of a few towns along the black sea coast in this trip, was to be our stop for lunch. It was a bustling town with a fairly large police presence for reasons unknown, most likely to do with the recent pro-government demonstrations, the main high street and square were shut to traffic. Parking was very limited – we decided upon a dump-and-run technique, which for foreign cars seemed to work well in avoiding a parking fine or being towed away. We found a street corner café with surprisingly fast WiFi, allowing for various news and blog updates, and calls home. We tipped accordingly for the owner’s hospitality and the great food.
A word on local Turkish traffic; be pushy. Highway driving consists of prompt manuvers and keeping your wits about you, but in the towns and smaller streets, if you leave a car sized gap ahead of you, a car-sized-car will be there to fill it within seconds. When getting out of junctions no one really cares for indication – you have to use the car and be boisterous with other road users. Zonguldak was a perfect example of this – move with the traffic flow, which is usually ignoring every painted line and road sign.
With a campsite also sourced from the internet connection, ready for Sinop, we continued on to Sinop, taking a faster route instead of the coastline to realign with the Turkey schedule. We tried to contact the campsite through the late afternoon and evening, unfortunately the was no answer. We approached Sinop at bight and with the campsite successfully found, we pulled in quietly and setup the tent, setting reminders to deal with payment the following day.