Joined July 2022 Message
  • Day97

    Izmir, Day 3 (earthquake night) + 4

    November 4 in Turkey ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

    In the morning of the 3rd, I slept in at my couchsurfer David's place and spent the day organizing some stuff (upcoming trip to Pamukkale, hosts, routes, washing, fixing things on the bicyclez etc.). In the afternoon, I also went out into the city again for a stroll around before heading back to David's place in the late afternoon. I would move to another couchsurfing host for the next two nights a Turkish family with a four year old son. :) So I waited for David to come home from work to say goodbye. We had a tea together, chatted a little and by 6pm I was back on the bicycle to Bornova, the university area of Izmir about 8km away. It got dark already and I had to go on the city highway, which was really annoying due to traffic but I eventually made it.
    Arriving at my hosts place, Olcay, Şeyma, and Güneş, they had ordered Pizza for all of us along with some other food they had prepared. They were were friendly, even though Seyma didn't really speak much English, Güneş obviously neither being four years old. 😅 We were talking until 11pm, when we all went to bed. I was sleeping on a couch in the big living room. Their appartment is located on the sixth floor of the building.

    At 3:29am, I suddenly woke up from a weird noise, almost like a thunder but from underneath the earth. Being woken up from deep sleep, I didn't quite understand immediatly what was happening when suddenly the entire building started swinging horizontally for what felt like a long time, but actually only around 10 seconds. It was pretty intense, I cannot really put dimensions onto the movement of the building, but I think I wouldn't have been able to properly walk during the earthquake. I was sitting straight up on the couch in the dark, being very confused until it was over again. Next, I heard the imentire building coming alive, my hosts got up and lights were turned on, also the next door neighbours on the other side of my wall woke up. Luckily, Güneş slept through the earthquake!! I then also got up and met Olcay in the hallway. He checked in on me, making sure I'm okay and told me that earthquakes happen quite often in Izmir since it's a pretty active seismic area. The last notable one has happened just two months ago. However, this one appeared to be a lot stronger than the previous one (4.9 as it was later confirmed). Olcay told me that there may be more but less strong earthquakes following during the night, but the building we're in is built on good ground, so it shouldn't be a problem. We all eventually went back to bed, but I couldn't really sleep anymore. I was also receiving messages from friends in Izmir checking in on each other to make sure we're all okay in the middle of the night, which was comforting. :)

    The next morning, I woke up early due to the elevator tests they were running to check if the elevators go through without issues after the whole building has been moving. After some phone calls home and a long breakfast, I took the metro into the city again and strolled around Kemeralti market, clock tower square, and some other nice spots in the city. :) I went back to my hosts around 6pm to cook some sort of "Linsen mit Spätzle", a traditional South German dish with salad, for them with what I could find in the Turkish supermarkets. 😁 Olcay helped me preparing it and by the time Şeyma and Güneş came home, dinner was ready. We are together but I then went out again to the weekly couchsurfing meeting in Izmir with David. :) It was so cool, there were so many people from all over the world as well as many locals! :) It was much fun and around 1am I took a taxi home to Bornova. The taxi driver didn't speak much English and was going to wrong way initially, which I saw on Google maps. 😅 So he had my phone in one hand for navigation and his phone in the other hand for speaking translation while driving. 🙈😅 I got home safely though. :) He also told me about his experience with the latest earthquake. He was in his car driving when it happened, very scary. I generally felt like people in Izmir looked more tired today compared to previous days.. 😅

    The following morning I had breakfast with Olcay and Güneş, Şeyma was already off to work. Around 10am I left their place again and dropped my stuff at David's place until the next day. I was going to Pamukkale for one night by bus(es).. 😁

    Regarding the photos, I added some impressions of the Kemeraltı bazaar in Izmir. :)

    Also, here's more news about the earthquake:
    https://www.dailysabah.com/turkey/earthquake-hi…
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  • Day95

    Izmir, first two nights

    November 2 in Turkey ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

    I took my time this morning having breakfast with eggs and fresh bread that the family put out for me. They've gone to work already in the morning but I said goodbye to them in the evening before. Before leaving, I played with the little kittens outside in the garden for some time, they're absolutely gorgeous and I hope they will be taken care of well.
    The ride to Izmir was pretty relaxed, only about 20km, all flat along the seaside on a cycling road, just perfect. :)
    My couchsurfing host David was available from 3pm on, so I had some time left in the city before heading to his place and gotten a little hungry. So I searched for a nice Pide place and started walking towards it. I soon realized, that it is located right in the middle of the big and busy bazaar in Izmir. 😅 It was already too late to turn back, I was pushing my bicycle through crowds of people, I then arrived at the Pide place where I immediately was approached by a Turkish family eating there. They were amazing, keeping an eye on my bike and stuff parked around the corner, offered me to try all their food on the table, and even offered me to stay at their place if I want. Such nice people here, I cannot put it in words. :)
    Around 3:30pm I arrived at David's place, we managed to get my bike and bags into his appartment in which he just moved in, and had a coffee together. :) From the moment I arrived at his place he made me feel like home and we got along really well, felt like an old friend I've known for a long time. In the evening we took some beers and went out to a square on the seaside, from which you can see an amazing sunset and met up with some Turkish and international friends of him. They were super nice and we had a fun time in a bar and a delicious vegan restaurant after. 😊 We were heading back home around 11pm since he had to work the next day, I was pretty tired, too actually. Just outside his building, we found a huge and beautiful junk of tree, that David has been walking past for the last few days thinking he could make something nice for his apartment out of it, like a lamp. Having had some drinks, I was pretty conviced the two of us can manage get this at least 3m long piece of wood up the stairway to the sixth floor. 😂 So we tried, but already at the front door another guy had to help us to get it through. 😅 We managed to get it almost up the first floor, but there was no room for turning the corners. So eventually we gave up and brought it back out onto the street - again the guy had to help us. 😂 We placed it on the side of a construction site, thinking nobody would touch it there and that we'll get a saw tomorrow to cut it into smaller pieces. Still laughing about it I eventually fell asleep. 😅

    The next morning, I was woken up by the noise of the construction site and saw from the balcony, that the branch of the tree is gone. 🥴 When I went downstairs, I asked a construction worker about it via google translater, he went to the guy in the digger to ask and came back with the news that it was been smashed - such a shame.. :/
    A little sad about it still, I went to explore Izmir inner city by foot for some hours. At first I searched for some street art graffity, particularly a certain one with a girl with a bicycle from a Serbian artist. I found many other ones through google maps, but not this one. So I asked a group of younger people on a break from working at Pizza Hut whether they know where it is. 😅 One guy immediately took my phone, went into Google Street view and "walked" the streets of Izmir. After minutes he gave it back to me, having found the location of the street art. 😄 It was really funny, we talked a little and I then went off to the location of the graffity I was looking for. After that, I strolled around the old Bazaar (much easier without bicycle), had some really nife food there from some sort of a cafeteria, and went up an old castle called Kadifekale. The previous evening, David told me about a neighborhood that is considered not to be the safest at night, but I forgot the name of it. While walking up the hill to the castle, I kind of felt like I've ended up in this specific neighbourhood, which David later confirmed. It was a lot less developed than the neighborhoods close to the seaside, lots of men were sitting outside on the street who seemed a little confused about me walking around there, very young kids were playing by themselves on the stairs not being supervised at all, and all kinds of animals were running around in the streets. I did not feel uncomfortable, but I was certainly drawing unwanted attention towards me. 🙈 On my way down from the castle (the views were nice, lots of begging kids up there though which I find really hard to deal with), I was approached by a few men asking for my number, which I politely declined.
    I got a little exhausted and hungry after being back in the city center, also David was off from work soon, too. Once we met at home we went for groceries and cooked Mantı and some Lebanese dish I learned from my host in Kuşadası together. It was delicious but also very rich in garlic. :D After being out all day we both wanted to stay in and enjoyed some nice conversation and shared some stories. It was a nice relaxing evening. :)

    I will post some more pictures of Izmir in the next footprint. :)
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  • Day93

    Güzelbahçe

    October 31 in Turkey ⋅ 🌙 14 °C

    I woke up early already around 5am since it was pretty cold. 🥶 I stayed in my sleeping bag though until it got light around 7:30am and slow started packing my stuff together. By 8:30am, I went to see Nader for breakfast. :) He prepared a boiled egg with lots of spices on it, also cut some fresh vegetables and prepared Ayran and tea. It was really nice having a proper breakfast inside somewhere. I've gotten so used to grabbing some bakery stuff along the way by now. Around 9:45am, I was back on the road and almost immediatly had to climb a medium hill. On the way down I saw two bikepackers on a tandem going the other way, so I stopped and we talked a little. :) First time meeting bikepackers in Turkey. :) When talking about places to stay (I again had no clue where I would end up this say, probably camping again), they recommended me a very responsive teacher couple they found on the app warm showers. I know the app and used it together with Lara in Albania, but don't have an own account yet. So I thought I will figure out the sleeping situation for the day during my lunch break in Seferihisar. With a strong front wind, I arrived in Seferihisar around noon and went for a Pide restaurant with lots of locals sitting outside. It was so delicious, it even came with a salad and some sort of dip. I then downloaded the warm showers app, set up an account and found the teachers immediately. I wasn't sure whether they would respond in time, so I was just about to write another person, too when they responded and invited me to stay with them. :)) Only thing, they wanted me to get there by 3pm since they would be out in the afternoon and evening, but it was doable. I got there around 3pm and they immediately made me feel comfortable, offering me to help myself in the kitchen with all the food in the fridge and prepared me a tea! Such a lovely family with a beautiful home!! :) Also there were four really cute kittens running around in the garden. 😁
    The couple left for some family meeting around 4pm and I could enjoy their place by myself, showered, ate, and rested a little. In the evening we were sitting together talking, they also recommended me nice placed to go to in the area! :) I'm so happy warm showers worked out immediately, it was absolutely worth it the registration fee and I'll probably use it a lot in the next weeks in case couchsurfing won't work out. I'm not so keen on camping anymore and it'll get even colder and more rainy soon since I'm travelling north..
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  • Day92

    Ürkmez

    October 30 in Turkey ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    I left my couchsurfer's place around 9am, went to the bakery across the corner again for some breakfast sandwich and a snack for the way, and started my trip for the day. I left early to have enough time to explore the ancient city of Ephesus, which is almost on the way up the coast from Kuşadası. I reached Ephesus after about an hour. Since the site has just opened, it wasn't too busy yet. :) I could also park my bike with the security people, so I wouldn't have to worry about all my stuff, which is always a good feeling wandering off. :) When entering the site, one had to walk through (it was hanging almost to the ground) the largest Turkish flag that I've ever seen. :D Not sure if it was only there due to independence day and the festivities, but it was enourmous!! I first went to the remains of the church Mary which was off the main track a little, then I went towards the main sights including a huge Greek ancient theater (yes, Greek, they've really been everywhere) and the remains of the third biggest ancient library. By that time, many tourist busses have arrived and the place got super crowded unfortunately. After around 2h on the site, I continued my trip to the north. I didn't quite know where I would stay that night and how far I would get, I didn't have a couchsurfer, the cities along the way were also not big enough to find hostels there. So I decided on camping. There were many campsites indicated on Google maps along the way, most of them rated pretty poorly. 😅 But I didn't really care too much, it was just one night. The road along the coast was pretty nice with beautiful views. I could see across the bay to Kuşadası even. The only annoying thing was the strong wind from the front, which really slowed me down a lot.. it'll remain this windy all the way to Istanbul locals told me.. 😅

    About 65km and 5pm, I decided to stop at a campsite in Ürkmez. It was really hard to find since there was no sign on the road. When I asked a guy on the beach (couldn't speak much English), he pointed to the beach and said "no camp, sleep here". :D Eventually I found the campsite which was a huge construction site. Besides one older guy, Nader, who lives in a cottage on the campground, no other guests were there. The locals were fixing cottages and painting facilities when I arrived. Nader was also the only one able to speak English. He invited me over to his cottage and offered me to cook in his kitchen instead of my little camping stove, which I later did. Well he did actually, he insisted. :D After setting up my tent, I went for a nearby grocery store. I got some sort of turkish dumpling but didn't know what sauce I'd have to eat with it and didn't want to embarras myself bringing pesto or something like that, so I asked the lady in the store via Google translater and she had a lot of fun bringing me all these ingredients that are way too much in size for just one dish and to take on my bicycle (a whole pack of garlic, spices, 500g of yoghurt). Since it wasn't expensive, I took it with me anyways and decided to leave the things with Nader. In Nader's cottage, he insisted on preparing the food for me and I gladly accepted. Pretty sure it was much more authentic and more delicious what he prepared compared to what I could have prepared. 😄 It was really good and he also offered me fresh herbs, onions, and reddish with it. Later on he put some fruits and walnuts on the table, not long after that we were drinking his selfmade Raki. 😂 The Raki was surprisingly good!! I also really enjoyed talking to him, even though he's 76 years old he's quite young in mind and is very curious about what young people are up to nowadays and what they think about the world. :) He also shared his personal life story with me and showed me pictures. He lives in the cottage for about two years now, his wife is in a long-term caring facility close by due a health condition. I had a really nice evening getting to know him, Turkish food, and the country better through Nader. He also insisted on preparing me Turkish breakfast with Ayran in the morning before I leave. :)
    It was a pretty cold night, temperatures drop down to 10°C now and even though my sleeping bag is pretty good, camping is not that much fun anymore. 😅 I wasn't too cold though but it wasn't warm enough either to sleep properly, unfortunately.
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  • Day91

    Kuşadası

    October 29 in Turkey ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

    I got up around 7pm and slowly started packing my stuff. My couchsurfing host Aleyna got up around 7:30am and made us coffee, which we had while chatting until 11am. 😅 So I left her place quite late for my route plans but anyways. :D I then quickly got some breakfast from the bakery down the road and started cycling along the coast towards an old village called Old Doğanbey first, which was recommended to me by Kamil. It was a nice route through little villages and there was a lot of farming going on along the way. Around 2pm, I locked my bike at a car park in Old Doğanbey and was friendly with tourists and locals who wanted to take pictures of me with them. 😅 Especially in Turkey people are interested in me a lot in a very friendly way when I show up by myself with a bicycle. 😅 I then walked around the village for an hour with its beautiful old Ottoman style stone houses! Such a cute place and totally worth it the climb up the hill to get there! 😊 After I had some lunch that I brought, I continued cycling around 3:15pm with another 50km ahead. I don't know why, but since Turkey I generally start cycling a lot later while not having as much daylight anymore, not the best combination. 😅 When I was on the way down from the village, I was barked at by a dog on a property on the side of the road. It happened to me quite a few times that they shoot out at me kind of aggressively. Nothing ever happend though. This time I managed to get a short clip of the dog barking at me. He was wiggling his tail though at the same time. 😅 Still, it took me some time to get past him and he did approach me quite closely barking at me when I walked past..
    It was pretty flat first until Söke, where I had a short rest for another snack. It was pretty late already and still another 20km to go and a huge 300m elevation hill ahead, which I was a little worried about regarding my achilles tendon (more on that when I finally catch up on Greece). Just before approaching the climb past Söke, I wanted to add some air to my backtyre to make it a little easier. In doing so, I almost ruined the valve when unplugging the pump hose, so I left it screwed on the valve and decided to fix it later. 😅 I slowly made my way up the hill amd got to see a beautiful sunset on the way down. Still had 15km to go though, really not the best timing today.. I arrived at couchsurfer Erhan in the dark and pretty exhausted. 😅 He immediately understood my need for a shower and some food and quickly cooked a delicious meal for us (he has a cooking education)! :) We had dinner and some glasses of wine on the balcony with beautiful views onto Kuşadası together, it was really nice. :) Being super exhausted and him having to get up early the next morning to go to Istanbul, I went to bed around 11pm. I initially planned to wake up early since he also had to leave super early. He left me the keys though and told me multiple times that I should stay longer and enjoy having the apartment for myself for the next day. 😅

    Well, I did not get up early and stayed in bed around 9:30am. So I decided to take the offer of another day of rest in Kuşadası. ;) I then got breakfast at the bakery close by which I enjoyed on the balcony with a beautiful view! 😊 I could see the city properly now during daylight and also three huge cruise ships in the harbour. 🙈Before exploring the city together with another couchsurfer I was in touch with, I fixed my tyre issuepn the bicycle. 👌 Çağlar picked me up by around 2pm and we went for coffee together at the seafront. :) He's a nice guy and I enjoyed the conversation with him about Turkey and its people a lot. He showed me around the city, which was super busy with lots of events (live music, dances, stages) since it was independence day! 😁 That also explained the overwhelming amount of flags hanging everywhere!! We walked around inner city, onto a peninsula with a castle called bird island and the drove up a hill to an Atatürk statue next to seen the sunset from up there. :) Next we went to a place called ladies beach and other beaches locals would go to, which was nice. He dropped me off at home by 7pm. I did some grocery shopping and cooked some pasta for dinner. :)
    Then, I slowly packed stuff and made a little present for Erhan as a thank you for when he gets back from Istanbul. Initially, Çağlar and me wanted to go out again in the evening but I was really exhausted with a big day ahead of me. So I stayed in and wanted to sleep earlier for a change (obviously didn't happen..). 😅
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  • Day89

    Didim

    October 27 in Turkey ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

    Just before sunrise, I woke up by the muezin singing. I don't know why, usually I don't like the religious practices too much, but it was actually really beautiful due to the peaceful atmosphere at the lake. I couldn't really go back to sleep after but also didn't want to open my tent to enjoy the view onto the castle due to the many mosquitoes around. 😅 Around 9pm, we slowly started packing up our stuff (Karim and his wife are travelling by motorbike), and together we drove/cycled to a little guest house in the village to have some chai there and enjoyed the authentic atmoshphere of the place. Since it was not far to Didim, the place I was staying for the night, I had some time to explore this area with the two couchsurfers. 😊 After getting some snacks in a tiny little supermarket (one tiny room), we walked around the village a little. Thanks to Karim and his ability to speak Turkish, it was a whole different experience for me!! E.g. we went into some private backyard where some thousand year old pillars were laying around, surrounded by chicken and goats. 😅 Kamil was constantly talking to locals getting useful information (and pomegranates) from them! 😁👌

    After exploring Kapıkırı, we went up the hills behind the village to discover some old Roman ruins. We wandered around there for at least two hours, sometimes not even following a path but climbing. It was a lot of fun! :) In a really nice spot on top of a hill with an amazing view onto the lake, we had a break and ate the pomegranates. :)
    Around 1pm we slowly made our way back done, which involved proper climbing and helping each other down. I'm glad I explored the village and ruins with them, but my achilles tendon wasn't too happy about it actually. 🙈
    Almost back down, we ended up on a field with cows, who didn't bother about us at all. But when we wanted to cross the field on the other side of the stone wall, a very aggressive donkey almost attacked us!😅 It was bizarre, funny, and a bit scary at the same time. I've never seen a donkey behave this way, he was making weird sounds and was aggressively running towards us, so that Kamil had to jump the wall back to the cows. 😅 We eventually found a way around the donkey and back in the village , were we then split ways. The two were heading towards Antalya, whereas I was going towards Didim. Before leaving the village, I bought some bracelets off the local ladies there sinceI didn't really spend any money in the village camping was from free and I wanted to support the locals a little. :)

    The 45km to Didim were mostly flat with nice lake views along the way. :) I took some breaks and arrived at my couchsurfer's place (Aleyna from England) around 6pm. After a shower which was deperately craving, I cooked us a Persian dinner and we were chatted about very spiritual topics. I couldn't really relate but was interested to get to know her way of thinking. 😅At some point she was talking conspiracy theory stuff and showed me youtube videos, which was a little odd but I didn't felt like arguing about it. Also she was so convinced, it wouldn't have made a difference I think but ruined the couchsurfing experience, so I decided to move back to topics we can both enjoy. :D She also showed me her singing bowls (I found myself having one placed on my head at some point 😂), which was actually a nice experience. 😅 All in all, it was an interesting couchsurfing experience and I had a good time, even though me and my host are very different and did not agree on fundamental things! I think it was a good life lesson for practicing tolerance, one can still have a great time with people when focusing on common things I think. 😊
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  • Day88

    Bafa Gölü

    October 26 in Turkey ⋅ 🌙 13 °C

    I started cycling around 11am, even though I left Onur's place around 8:20am already. I was craving a proper breakfast which I got in a very nice coffee shop around the corner. After, I was changing the leaking inner tube on the front tyre. It has been leaking for at least two weeks already but it was sufficient to add air every couple of days. So I couldn't be bothered changing it yet. Also it would probably involve going to a bike repair shop again to get the bump out after changing the tube, so I wasn't really up for the hassle unless it was really necessary. 😅 However, in the last days the leaking got worse, so after I had breakfast I stopped in a car park nearby to finally change the inner tube. I also found the cause of the leaking, a tiny bit of a thorne was stuck in the outer tube still and probably punctured the inner tube. Plus I managed to get it done almost properly by myself, so there was no bump in the tyre that required professional fixing. I was pretty proud of myself and it saved me some time. ;)
    The route I took was quite nice for the most part. I planned on heading to Lake Bafa/Bafa Gölü today to meet up for a night of camping at a so called Tabiat Parkı in Kapıkırı with two other couchsurfers. These Tabiat Parkıs are some sort of nationalparks where free camping is permitted. Some of them have basic facilities, some don't. They all have a beautiful countryside in common! 😊
    Initially, after leaving Bodrum, I had to climb up a hill and the road was super busy unfortunately. During both my breaks along the side of the road road, military was walking past me curiously but didn't ask any questions. I don't think I look intimidating enough to search me luckily. 😅
    About half way to the lake, I stopped in a city called Milas around 2pm in a beautiful coffee shop filled with local old ladies. I ate some delicious rice pudding there that looked like Tiramisou and had a basic conversation with the local ladies using hands for communication, they couldn't really believe I'm cycling by myself I think.😅
    With another 35km or so to go, I continued cycling in the afternoon. By chance I also passed the ancient Greek site of Euromos right by the street, so I stopped for a quick stroll (entrance just around 1€) and the place fully to myself, except for a team of researchers who were excavation some of the ruins still. :) One of my favourite roads so far was the road along to lake to Kapıkırı. The sun was about to set behind the lake on my left hand side, and stunning rocks on my right. The villages I cycled through were pretty rural, there was a lot of farming going on. Arriving at the Tabiat Parkı with the sunset, I met Kamir and his wife and quickly set up tent before it got dark. I then realized, that I must have lost my spare 1.5l water bottle that I'd like to have for wild camping, and shops were kind of far. I managed to get water in a restaurant close by, even though it was closed. Again, people are incredibly helpful and friendly here!!
    I then cooked some pasta and got eaten by the mosquitos in the meantime. 😅 There were so many due to the freshwater lake.. -.- I was really looking forward to a shower or a swim, but there were no facilities there and you couldn't get too close to the water due to the low water level and the mud along the lake. So a quick wash was all I got that evening. :D Later in the evening, we were sitting together on the beach, chatting watching stars and listening to music. :)
    When I went back to my tent, I spent at least 15min chasing the mosquitoes inside. Stupid me, I didn't close the tent properly while cooking.. -.-
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  • Day87

    Bodrum

    October 25 in Turkey ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

    I had a really good sleep and it was easy to get up in the morning, which is nice for a change. :) So I wasn't rushed with packing, breakfast, and the checkout and got to the ferry terminal in time. It was a pretty big chaos there actually since multiple ferries were about to depart but all passengers going to Turkey had to pass the same border control check point and were gathered in the same crowded waiting area. Not much fun with a bicycle. 😅 The ferry ride took only 25min but again we had to queue for a check point once we arrived in Bodrum. They let pass without checking luggage or anything at all.
    I then cycled into town and searched for a Turkish simcard. Since prices for the tourist packages vary depending on the shop, I asked around multiple stores and ended up getting a vodafone 25GB/4 weeks free whatsapp usage package for around 17€. The people in the store were super helpful and friendly. Once everything was set up I went to marina for a second breakfast/lunch, I was pretty hungry. I was sharing the bench with a guy, who I eventually asked where I could store my bicycle safely while I'm off sightseeing. Via google translater he recommended me to ask the people working in a supervised parking lot nearby, which turned out to work fine! 😁 I'm usually not into museums that much, but there's an underwater acheologic museum in Bodrum!! That's where I spent the next two hours, looking at 2000 year old sunken wrecks that they've recovered and stuff they found with it! It was certaiy worth the visit. After the museum, I strolled around the bazaar area and got some amazing bakery goods that I'm still trying to find elsewhere again. :D I then picked up my bicycle and cycled to the mausoleums and theater a little outside of Bodrum. The mausoleum is one of the seven old world wonders and it's probably the only one where you can wander around between its remains and actually touch the stones!! It was pretty cool. :) I also met a Brasilian guy there and we talked a little, which was nice.
    Around 7pm I arrived at my couchsurfer's place Onur. He accepted my last minute request the day before since my former couchsurfer got sick. Just after I dropped my stuff, we were almost immediately heading to a batchata/salsa dance class that he's currently taking. It was so much fun and luckily only the second lesson, so it wasn't too hard yet. We were around 9 people and the course was held in Turkish, of course. 😅 Such a fun experience. :)) After the dance class we went to a bar together with the dance class people, where some of them were participating in a darts competition.
    Around 11pm we took a taxi back home, we both had to get up early, Onur for work and me to get out of the building. 😅 It was a really fun time with Onur and his friends and the best first day in Turkey I could have imagined!! 😁
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  • Day63

    Day 63/64 - Back in Sarandë

    October 1 in Albania ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    It was Nele's last day in Sarandë before catching a ferry back to Corfu the next day. Again we wanted to get to the Blue Eye, either hitchhiking or by bus. Attempt Nr. 3..😅 It was a little too late for either option already, we slept in and got stuck chatting with hostel people until at least 2pm. So we finally gave up going there after all and went into Sarandë for some second hand clothes shopping (not that I have room for that in luggage 😅🙈). However, business hours in Albania are strange and many shops are closed during the day but you would find them open at 10pm. We both found some nice clothes though. I so many days of rain I finally got myself a proper rain coat (funny one with sea animals on it including their names, such as Mr. Crabs) and a warm sweater. We eventually got surprised by rain again and rescued ourselves into a coffee shop, again. 😀
    In the afternoon, the sun actually came out and we went to a beach outside Sarandë where we met up with the hostel people. Even though it wasn't that warm anymore I went for a swim. In the evening we were playing shithead again in the hostel, cooking and sharing food, and having a good time sitting together. :))

    The next morning, Nele and me had porridge breakfast together and said goodbye around noon. Not sure what to do with my day, I joined Victor, another Victor from Switzerland (who I randomly met again in Vreece a few days later), Fabio, Dimitri, and Mike for a very delicious fish soup in a local restaurant nearby. After, we decirer to go up the castle for sunset (according to Victor that's a must do 😅). It took us around 1.5h to get up there, some of us where taking it really slow and we have to wait for them all the time, which was fine though. 😅 On the way we also found one of the thousand little one-man bunkers that are everywhere in Albania. I had a look inside, certainly wouldn't want to spend much time in there even though I'm not claustrophobic. 😅 On top of the hill (we missed sunset by a few minutes but the most beautiful colours appear after sunset anyways..), we found a poor little monkey in a cage probably belonging to the restaurant. We fed him some nuts and a banana and refilled his water. It was sad to see and certainly not the kind of attraction tourists would want to see.. we left a bad google reference for the restaurant but only referring to the monkey, cannot say anything about the food..
    The view from up there was amazing though, one could see all over Sarandë, Corfu, and also in the direction of Ksamil. After a while it was raining slightly so we decided to head back to the hostel. We were planning on having a nig movie night in the downstairs hangout area and got some snacks for it along the way. We were watching a movie called 'The art of travelling' on YouTube, which was entertaining to watch as a group as we would comment on it all the time ironically. ;) It got pretty late when I went to bed and I planned on cycling to Greece the next day.. I'm already used to lack of sleep from hostels by now though. 😴 😅
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