With olive oil in the backpack trough hidden places of Turkey

 

After arriving to farm we finally got some time to settle down and stay at one place for total of 15 nights. It was a farm, somewhere around Kadiköy with around 2000 olive trees, 3 dogs and plenty of chickens and turkeys running around. We had our time to do yoga, painting, some jogging around, relax our feet and make a short video about processing olives. (which you can see in upcomming week in the video tab)

But we couldn’t stay put for too long. We went to visit the beach and the hidden Butterfly valley/ Kelebek Vadisi also known as hippy beach.

Butterfly valley (tips and climbing down in winter time)

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A view from the waterfall in the valley

We started our hitchhiking way from Fethiye and arrived to a dropping point at the cliff at night. Luckily enough our last ride invited us to stay in their house so we could stay to find our way early in the morning.

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Beehive boxes on top of the cliff.

So we did, we walked in the direction we thought the valley was (since the point is really hard to find on any map). And finally we found some signs showing us the way but unfortunately those signs only lead to the viewpoint. Two hours passed while looking for the path before we decided to try another route from the main path. From there we finally got on the right track which had many marks so we started to drop down.

To find that path you should first go to Georges house, from there there are marks to the drop in the cliff. It took us about an hour to get down. We had a huge bag and one small one for heavy stuff with us, with cameras, tent and sleeping bags all prepared to camp and chill at the valley. So we bought some climbing rope so we could drop our bags down the steep cliffs. We highly recommend you to do that in case you have travel backpacks that can take your balance).

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Backpack bigger then Ana

Path was ”secured” by people around there, with some ropes down cliffs but not much more. We were really happy to finally arrive but already there was a sign welcoming us with words: camping is forbidden and property is private. As we arrived to the beach they kind of gave us a choice to volunteer for 3 days, pay 15 eur pp/per night or climb back up. We tried negotiating but they didn’t give up on their terms and we didn’t have enough cash with us to even pay half. So we were confused what to do, since the climb is really badly secured and not to nice to climb at night with big bag and tiered legs. We went to see the waterfall nearby and decided to just camp somewhere in the back.

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Camping at the valley

Before putting our tent we thought, lets try again, lets ask for some food (we had some money for one soup) and maybe they let us stay for some reason. And they did. We camped on the beach, made nice fire and swam in the night under the stars.

 

 

Spending a night with Syrian Family and countless fields of green houses

After beach we had few more days at the farm before we hitchhiked in direction of Cappadocia. First night of hitchhiking we stopped next to the town Kinik, where we met a Syrian family, that invited us to drink tea with them and later spent the night. We wanted to continue but they were such a lovely family so after tea and a big dinner we decided to stay the night.

After beach we had few more days at the farm before we hitchhiked in direction of Cappadocia. First night of hitchhiking we stopped next to the town Kinik, where we met a Syrian family, that invited us to drink tea with them and later spent the night. We wanted to continue but they were such a lovely family so after tea and a big dinner we decided to stay the night.

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From Black Sea to Mediterranean

Our way to Turkey started in Sofia, but we ended up geting a ride to Burgas so we thought, why not, we wanted to see the black sea anyway. We went to check out the beach and camped on the edge of the city.

Next day we tried hitchhiking from there down south to Malko Tarnovo, but we ended up having only one short ride about 20 km, since then we waited nearly all day to get anywhere and in the end hitched a ride back to Burgas in the evening. From city somebody just gave us money to get to the outer petrol station with taxi, so we were really lucky. We decided to try getting at least out of the city that day, so we continued. Demijan got a ride to Stara Zagora and we stayed camping.

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Hijena on the other side of the fence #LionKing #border

Next day we got to Turkish border with 5 more cars, two of them were Turkish and one offered us a looot of food his wife has packed for him. By that time Demijan had already arrived, about 1,5 h before us. He got rejected with his ID card at the border, so we had to split. Sad and unexpected goodbye. 😦
Jelle needed to buy a visa on the border, apparently you have to if you are Dutch, but not if you are Slovenian. For that we had some complications because nobody spoke English, it took us an hour to figure things out.

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Mosque at the border and the first sound of  call for prayer

Starting time: Sofia; 9:00 and arriving to Burgas; 15:00
Starting time: Burgas: 8:00 arriving not that far in direction Malko Tarnovo and back to Burgas same day

Starting time Burgas: 10:00, Arriving time: Turkish border; 17:10, Demijan arrived around 15:00
After two rides we got just as far as Edirne, by then it was already dark and we were on the highway, but a truck stopped for us.


Fetina was so happy to pick us up he even bought dinner for us and offerd us so sleep over in his truck, which we did. It was overly warm. He made special Turkish breakfast for us too and after arriving to Catalca he even bought the bus to Istanbul station. Even if he only spoke few fords in german and all others in turkish, he liked us a lot. 


Arriving time Istanbul: next day around 12:00

Istanbul

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In Istanbul we were welcomed by Ana’s old schoolmate she met Groningen. He and his friends were great hosts. We even got our own room and some short tours around the city. We took a walk to old Railway station in Asian side that was build by Germans and it is not in use anymore. There was a area with a lot of old trains and it is now used for different events.

Istanbul is the biggest city we ever visited, it just never stops. There is a lot of diversity in the city; from poor to rich, in religions and in cultures.

All sort of transportation, a lot of small shops, big shopping malls, dog packs, free walking cats, huge areas of markets, street art, nut shops, bakeries, shops with sweets, carpets, clothing and on and on. We visited the Grand Bazar on European side of the city.

Istanbul is also separated with the sea, which splits the city in two continents. You can travel between cities with underground, boat or by road over the bridge.

 

People were collecting trash in huge bags put on two wheels, separating plastic and paper. They got money for those, but we heard government really doesn’t like them. We also spotted that all street dogs had chips in their ears.
After three nights we started hitchhiking to our Workaway place, we wanted to stop in Denizli to see Pamukkale on the way, so we gave ourselves few days extra, since there was about 570 km to make. We only needed two rides to get to Izmir, crossed the see with the boat in the second one.


Guy drove his truck to sell it, at least we think so. It was a new truck. Ana had a comfy seat in the back, a bit different than sitting on Jelles lap the car before. We got a dinner payed by truck driver.


We waited approximately 5 minutes for both rides.

Pamukkale

Pamukkale translated to English means ”the cotton castle” and it lays in the surroundings of Denizli. It has hot water spring on the top of it and many old ruins that remind you of the old city that was once there. We learned that around 10 years ago they started using hot springs as energy supply for villages around them. We expected to sneak in for free but had to pay 35 lira each in the end. Since we visited it in winter, water was pretty cold at the bottom of mountain, but we got some hot water on our legs by the time we reached the top.

Even if we were not too happy with the price we payed, view was pleasing and we might visit it again in summer. But for that time we at least know where to go in for free!

After Pamukkale we hitchhiked 3 rides to ending destination Yaniklar, where our Tatuta (Turkish volunteering page) host picked us up.


We really recommend hitchhiking in Turkey, it is one of the easiest countries we ever hitchhiked and there is a really high possibility you even get food or tea offered from the drivers.


Some information about expenses

4,5 lira =1 eur

Food: falafel: 1,50 eur, Vegan mixed meal: 4,5 eur (enough for two) vegan cake: 7 lira= 1,5 eur , tea: 2 lira, bread: 1 lt, tahin: 6 lira, grape syroup: 5 lira, lemons half a kilo: 2,30 lira

Transportation: Ferry to cross border: 3 lira, Marmaray train (cross continent) : 2,5 dira

Pamukkale 35 lira

 

 

The road and rail in Bulgaria

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Walk to the petrol station in Ruse

We left from hitchhiking spot in Bucharest around 9:30. Our first goal was to get to Ruse, which is the first city in Bulgaria that was on our way. We got two rides to get to Giorgiu and from there walked to the border.After that we needed to split up.

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The frequency of cars passing by was really low so as we took a ride to Ruse Demijan stayed behind.
Later we got another ride to Veliko Tarnovo and took a train from there to Trjavna. Demijan had a bit less luck, he arrived to Trjavna only the next morning.

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“Highway”

Hitchhiking wasn’t that easy, not many people speak English and all the signs were in ciliric. Luckyily enough Ana knew how to read it and later we figured out Slovenian and Bulgarian have quite some words in common. A lot of people also spoke Russian and Serbian, so that made things a bit easier for us. Hitchhiking trough villages was not that hard though.


 

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Agi and Norbi

Trjavna

In Trjavna we met old couchsurfing friends of Ana. A really cute couple from Hungary, that worked there with an exchange program.

They are creative souls that also love photography and design, so they knew all the best places to see in Trjavna and showed us all the nice vegan food we can buy there. You can check their blog as well:  (or only pictures, because its in Hungarian haha, still nice).

Trjavna is quite a historical village, some roofs are still made of stones and you can smell the burning wood, used for heating in most houses, everywhere.

Bulgarian Railway adventure

We found this abandond place online that we wanted to see and it as it turned out it was close by. We wanted to get a train to nearest town (since it was less then euro) and hitchhike from there.

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The conductor stuffed a hawk in front of the train

However our plans and reallity went two separate ways. First we missed one stop on the train then we decided to stay on it, because the train back was only in one and a half hour. On the stop we saw people observing a dead hawk, we thought the train must have hit it. As it turned out it was our train for the way back. The train stopped working in Veliko Tarnovo, karma. After some time waiting for train to be repaired we left to see the city and planned to hop on the next train.

 

 

Veliko Tarnovo

The woman on the next train didn’t look so happy about our ticket in the wrong direction, so we had to leave the train on the next stop.

“The important thing about Bulgarian Railroads is that they move. One day they will reach the destination. The timetables were never our cup of tea.”

This had been told to our second ride by a conducter once.

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Aaand we’re on the road again..

We gave up and hitchhiked back to Trajvna with help of two cars.

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Winter attack

After few relaxed days with them we continued our adventure to Sofia.
In 3 rides we managed to get on the highway to sofia half way our distance. But then winter came, it started to snow.
After 2 hours a touringbus stopped at the exit we were standing to drop some people of and we decided to buy a ticket to Sofia.

Sofia- The capital city of bulgaria

In sofia we met up with George, an old friend of jelle, he was our host the coming 2 nights. Sofia is a big city, a lot of trams and busses and uderground, we had to walk a lot to avoid paying all that and in the meanwhile we got to see some amazing buildings. We were lucky to get some free food at his girlfriends place and vegan restaurant that had a shoot for a TV program. They had a lot of food left overs that were just made for that shoot. And in beginning of the day we got ourselfs a new toy, an action camera, so soon there will be some Videos to watch!

Streetart

Food, Acommodation and Travel Expences

2 lev=1 euro

Falafel 2,50 lev

Piece of Vegan pizza 3,50 lev

A kettle of tea 4 lev

Some money for veggies and bread

Metro ticket(sofia) 1.40 lev

Busticket to sofia 10 lev

 

 

From Timisoara to Bucharest; The Road through Romania.

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We found this duck in Budapest his name is stucky ducky. He’s our mascotte.

Early in the morning we made our way to a petrol station southeast of Budapest. It took us an hour, 4 tram stops and 14 bus stops to get there, the bus driver was kind enough not to charge us. It’s always hard to get out of a big city by hitchhiking. There is always a lot of local traffic so it’s hard to get where you want, that’s why we always look for a petrol station at the outer side of the city.

 

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Breakfast time

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In 20 minutes we found our first ride. With his dog on Ana’s lap and a completely  packed car (the guy left most of his stuff at the petrol) we went to the next petrol station where he offered us a nice coffee and tea. We got a double feeling from him. He was really proudly explaining how he is working on a border wall.

 


There are a lot of problems with refugees in Hungary, mostly people are not from Syria but other war and terrorist effected areas. He mentioned a lot of them throw away the passports so they can not be identified, claiming they are from Syria to get in the country and get the benefits. He described that the wall is 3 m high and they are building it on the hole Romanian border. We found an article about the happening. Our friendly ride also mentioned, with a smile, that Ukraine border is not a problem anyway, since they only use guns.


We are really not the kind of people that would support that, more like ones that shout ”refugees are welcome”, but sometimes its interesting to hear the other side of the story. After we drank our teas and coffees we continued to hitchhike. Our next ride was a bit of a cheer up since the guy had exactly the same dog, Ana had company again.

From there we decided to split up, since we found a ride for two people. Ana & Demijan got a ride to Timisoara from a very nice Romanian.


His name was Roberto and he was importing some trucks and a car from Belgium. It was a very nice ride. Sometimes the truck stopped working but a mechanic was driving just behind them to fix the problem. Roberto turned out to be a really nice guy, he even offered that we could stay at his hotel in the mountains for some nights.


He put them of at a petrol station close to the city and from there they got to the city in one ride.

Jelle seemed to have a bit less luck and stayed at a petrol station just before Szeget for some hours. But then also he got a ride to Arad, Romania. And straight after that a ride to Timisoara. 

FOOT

He even arrived to the meeting point a bit before Ana & Demijan (partially because Demijan fell in a hole in the street, ups..).

Starting place and time: Budapest, 9.00

Arrival place and time: Timisoara; Jelle 20:20, Ana & Demian 20:50

 

Timisoara

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In the bar we met our host for the coming two nights, Razvan. He came from the football game with his friends, they were all really welcoming and happy to tell us all about their beautiful country Romania. They explained Timisoara was not the richest part of Romania, but they all liked the life there. We heard a lot of stories about Transylvanian part of Romania and its beautiful places like mountains, caves and waterfalls. They also told us about Delta and how travelling there is like in a labyrinth, but with a boat on water. Woow

The next day we wondered around the streets of Timisoara. The city has an old city centre with some interesting places like Orthodox Cathedral and food market.

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Food market
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Statue on Liberty Square

Fun fact: the electric busses and trams in the city, don’t really have a good connection everywhere so lights go off and the ride slows down for a short while. 

After 2 nights in Timisoara we continued our journey. We decided to accept Roberto’s offer
to spents some nights in his hotel in Predeal.
We experienced that Romanian highways are not that popular and petrol stations on them even less.
We had been warned that a lot of people ask for money if they pick up people but we only got asked by one driver so we seemed to be lucky.
In the last part we splitted up and all arrived in Brasov where we took the train to Predeal for 3 lev (about 0,65 euro).

 

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Highway dog

Starting place and time: Timisoara; 06.30

Arrival place and time: Brasov; Demijan 18.50, Jelle and Ana 19:35

Predeal

Predeal is a small town 145 km north of Bucharest on the edge of the transalvanian mountains and a popular winder sport location. Roberto, his wife and his staff welcomed us with open arms and a lot of food. Close to the predeal there are two castles to find, Bran castle (most known: Dracula’s castle) and Peles castle.

After Predeal we drove with Roberto’s wife Gizela to Bucharest.

Bucharest

Its the capital city of Romania, that explaines why we needed to walk for about 18 km to get around and still not see it all. Architecture of the city was amazing and we strongly recommend you to visit and see it yourself. Parliament building the largest administrative building in the world, but our choice was to see the inside of Romanian Art Museum instead.

At the same time we always try to keep an eye on streetart.

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Food, Accommodation and Travel expences

We stayed in Romania from 15th to 23rd of November, 9 days in total. Money spent for two people was 48 eur. So average money spent per person per day was 2,7 €.

We ate outside twice and went for a beer in Bucharest. Robert payed a huge vegan dinner for us in Predeal and breakfast, we also cooked in his hotels kitchen with food we bought.

In Timisoara and Bucharest we used couchsurfing and in Predeal we stayed at Roberto’s hotel so accommodation was free.

Train from Brasov to Predeal was around 1,30 eur for both of us.  Transportation in Bucharest cost us around 3 eur, since we only payed the bus to the city centre in the morning. The entry for Art Museum for two was 3,5 eur. When we left Bucharest we used a tram, so we didn’t have to pay.

 

 

 

 

First steps of an adventure: Slovenia and Hungary

Our days were long before we left and trip to our first stop in Slovenia longer then expected (we got stuck in Villach for 12h) but in the end, we arrived. From the Netherlands to Slovenia we sat in 13 cars that picked us up on the side of the road or gas stations. People were friendly, like most of the times. After some hitchhiking trips it kind of became our habit to ask around in restaurants and gas stations for food ready to be thrown away, which brings positive response in 1 of 5 times, sometimes we got even more than we can eat!

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Ana’s dad had a birthday so we spent the evening with all the relatives.

We spent some time with Ana’s family in Prekmurje. After that we went to Ljubljana, to get Visa for India done and headed to Budapest with another friend of ours, Demijan.

 

 

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big graffiti on the wall of one of the squats in Ljubljana
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Team 1
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Team 2

In the morning Ana’s brother brought us to the petrol station, from where we hitched a ride to Maribor in early hours. From there we had to split in two teams, since… well, we have quite some baggage.

Team one managed to get to Budapest with only one long car ride just near Budapest and second ride to city centre. Our one man team arrived a lot later, since no one seemed to be going to Hungary from Maribor.

 

Jelle decided to make a little detour to Vienna, because the connection to Budapest from there is more busy. It took three cars to arrive.

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Central station of Viena

 

Starting time and place: Lukovica, 7:00

Arriving time and place: Budapest, Ana and Demijan, 15:30; Jelle, 1:00

 

 

Budapest

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One of the things that can’t be missed is the Parliament building.

The capital city of Hungary, surrounding the river Danube that separates the city in two parts: Buda and Pest. It’s an amazing city to explore, especially for it’s baroque, neoclassical, eclectic and art nouveau styled architecture. We only spent a day in Budapest so we didn’t have much time to explore, but places we found the most interesting were the fountain in island Sziget, hills on the Buda side of the city and old ruin pubs.

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St. Stephen’s Basilica

Accommodation and Food

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View from the apartment.

Since its winter time, we are travelling with a tent, big sleeping bags that can zip together in one big coooozy one and an iso-mat, which is some kind of alu-foil material, to prevent the cold floor temperature to cool us down. However when we travel to cities we can’t really camp, so we use the website Couchsurfing to find hosts. In Budapest our host was Oliver, a really nice guy who happend to be vegan as well. Although he was quite busy he managed to chill with us sometimes and he gave us a key so we could do what we wanted at any time. We felt like home. On the way, we try to find opportunities to earn money for travel.

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Some people sleep
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and others don’t. (Ana is working on online illustrating job)

 

 

 

 

 

 

For food we didn’t need much than one cooked meal from all the vegetables we brought from home, falafel for about 2,30€ and the welcoming 3 big bags of leftover (unsold) breads from cafe/bakery that we got from Oliver.

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Walking through the city we stumbled on several of book stands where people could buy there books for on the way. Very useful if you forgot to bring your book that day.

We asked Oliver to say something, anything..

After some rest we continued our journey to Romania.