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.
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.
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
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 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