Camping on unofficial campsites; wild camping, is slowly starting to be our way of life. Every day we are considering what would be the best place to camp, is it windy and are we visible for people on the main road for example. Most of the time we find a hidden spot and at times we don’t it mostly works out in our advantage. There are always some curious locals who want to know what these two crazy Dutchies are doing with their roof top tent. They come and talk to us and they help us with things we want to know. With hands and feet and broken English and even less Turkish we always find a way to communicate. If nothing is clear we still have the google translate app.
Through extremely bad weather we drove into the Kaçkar mountains. The screen wipers made over hours just like us. Like real adults we kept avoiding the subject “what if it keeps raining like this”. We drove around in this big mountain area without a plan and we decided that as long as if it was not dark we had to enjoy the views of these beautiful mountains from the car. The extreme rain had stopped and became this horrible drizzle rain. Also the beautiful views were gone and had changed into clouds and fog. We ended up at a new part that could definitely be called the end of the world, a village called Elevit. We had reached this remote village over a dirt road with holes and big stones. At 18:30 we had to start searching for a place to sleep as it got dark soon. We found it pretty fast and we crossed our fingers it would be dry the next day.
The next day it was dry (for a moment) and we drove over small roads, through cute villages and stopped at pretty bridges that could be part of a fairytale. We were driving in the direction of Ayder, THE big town of the Kaçkar mountains. Our plan was to score a map of the area so that we could plan some hikes and routes for the car. We saw the whole town and went to ask for a map in every restaurant, hotel or something what looked like a tourist office but nobody could help us. One waiter described it as “amateurs”, that’s what we are. There was no other solution than searching for a place with internet and trying to organize our stay. Meanwhile it started to rain pretty bad again. The rest of the day we just drove around, a little lost without map and working gps, but we saw beautiful things. We just had no idea of where we were, there are road signs in the mountains, also with the “must sees”. The only problem is that if you follow one of these signs the follow up sign which should tell you to go left or right at the is always missing. Besides there are some signs with maps of the area, but it’s all in Turkish. Not even a “we are here” point in English (or just a point). In other words here signs were helping us either, but no further complaining, because we had a good time.
The second night we found a place to sleep on the other side of the Kaçkar mountains. It was not a perfect spot because we were pretty close to a dirt road that led to a village. We decided to stay here for the night anyway, because we were under the trees which gave us a bit of shelter against the rain. When we unfolded our tent there were two boys coming up to us to say hi, they gave us something that looked like two small explosives, like rats. It was against the bears and wolves they explained. If one of these animals would come up to us we could just light it and it would explode. The animal will scare from the sound and should run away. Okay, help? Should we take this to serious? On our question if there’s a chance that we would run into one, they answered “maybe”. So that’s it. We cooked some food and while we were eating there were two explosives on the table that could help us if any bear or wolf would come to visit. We had some more visitors later that night, an older couple came to talk to us and curious looked around. While Tom was trying to light a fire with wet wood, Dani was nicely talking with the couple. When they saw that we couldn’t light the fire because of the very wet wood, they started to help. Within two minutes we had a beautiful campfire. We gave them our last Dutch cookies and they left laughing. Although we tried to keep the fire going it died soon that night because of another rain shower.
Because of the thick, fat fog we decided to skip our planned hike the next day. We love hiking and everything that comes with it, the suffering and yes, the beautiful views. These beautiful views are quite important for us after heavy climbing. We knew that there wouldn’t be any view so we drove further. Out of the Kaçkar mountains to the border with Georgia. At 08:00 we found a place to have a delicious Turkish breakfast and after that we drove in the direction of Posof. There are two border crossings between turkey and Georgia. Posof is close to a mountainous part of Georgia that we wanted to visit, so Posof it is. It was a beautiful route and we even saw the sun so now and then. We had a fun stop at a gas station to get rid of our last Turkish liras. At about 60 kilometers from the Georgian border we found a place to spend our last night in Turkey.
Turkey you were fantastic. We enjoyed every minute here. A little skeptic, just a bit, we crossed the border between Greece and Turkey. This little bit of skepticism was directly taken away from us by all the friendly people we met. We enjoyed the delicious food, the breathtaking and surprising nature and the open conversations we had with the extreme friendly locals. We learned about life and culture, what a beautiful country. We hope to come back one day.
For more pictures click here.