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Turkey

Curious what backpackers do in Turkey? Discover travel destinations all over the world of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.
  • German Version and more photos on www.cyclingfornepal.com

    Since my last entry, a lot of time has passed. You're probably wondering where I am right now! More on that later.

    After my arrival in Turkey, I began to reflect the previous journey. I had been traveling for about 80 days. 65 days I was on the bike. As with any type of travel, traveling by bike has its advantages and disadvantages. One of the advantages is surely the sporty aspect, the kilometers traveled driven by their own strength, the constant proximity to nature and the quick contact with locals, who stop you out of curiosity on the roadside.

    In spite of the hardships that often accompany you, I still believe that traveling by bicycle is the ideal pace to get to know a country and its culture. Nevertheless, there is a big drawback, which always catches me: the lack of social contact to like-minded people. The journey has been so far as I had imagined. Cycling lonely mountain roads, set up the tent under the stars, and find proximity to the locals.

    Nevertheless, I realized that I am not happy with the current situation and must change something. So it was on the time to slow down the pace and find like-minded people. Where do I best meet them? Either you meet somebody by chance at the supermarket, like Ruggero and Brian, with whom I cycled together through Greece or you do not leave it to chance and stay in a hostel.

    After arriving in Fethyie I checked into the hostel "El Camino". It was low season and not busy. But I immediately got to know some people, including Marc. He had given up his job in July, packed his backpack, and took an plane to Greece. There he had spent almost three months before he went on to Turkey. Marc does not have a precise schedule, just an approximate goal: Japan. Marc also writes a blog, which is worth reading: www.schillis-roadbook.com. The next day, we decided to make a hike though a canyon, which became more adventurous than expected. This should not be our last joint venture.

    In the evening I met a young couple in the hostel. I told them about the trip and the fundraising. As coincidence has brought us togehter, they were still looking for a way to make a donation for a good cause. They quickly picked up their laptop and immediately gave a donation to "Cycling for Nepal". Chapeu!

    Actually, I wanted to take the pace out of the trip, but I was little under time pressure, as I would meet my father in Antalya three days later. So I had to start the next day again. But before I made a paragliding flight on recommendation from Marc on a nearby bay. Afterwards, I went back to the bike with a stiff stomach, but it was an unforgettable experience.

    I would have liked to stay longer in Fethiye, but I was also looking forward to see my dad. After a three-day trip along the coast, I arrived in Antalya in the evening. A short time later also my dad reached the hotel and the joy of the reunion was very big. We had a lot to talk about, enjoyed the sunny weather and looked at the city. Of course, a bit of action could not be missed. So we did a rafting trip in the nearby national park, which also joined Marc, who had also arrived in Antalya. After a week, it was time to say good-bye. Thank you Franky for coming.

    Marc and I had already made new travel plans: First we wanted to stay at the small village of Olympos and then continue to Geyikbayiri, the hot spot for all sports climbers who want to escape the winter. Olympos is a small ancient city on the east coast, about 70 km from Antalya. Besides historical ruins, the picturesque location by the sea and the cabin-villages giving the town a special flair. In the summer, festive backpackers from all over the world meet here to celebrate and dance together in the surrounding cabin-villages. On recommendation from other travelers we stayed at Kadirs Tree House.

    Due to the low season we were only a group of 20 people, but we enjoyed the relaxed and quiet atmosphere. In the high season, up to 300 backpackers make their way to the Kadirs Treehouse. Olympos also has a lot of activities to offer. So Marc and I took a kayak tour along the coast and went climbing in the surrounding rock faces.

    The great thing about hostels is that you quickly meet like-minded people from all over the world, who like to travel and are open to any activities. Among them were Dave, Helene, Simon, Marija, Deniz and many others. Over time, we all got along so well that it was difficult for us to move on to Geyikbayiri.

    Before we went on, of course, we had to look at the nearby main attraction: the Flame Mountain. With Marc's Guitarlele (quote Marc: Guitarlele = When a guitar and ukulele have sex) on the back, we set off late in the evening to the Flame Mountain. At first we were all still somewhat skeptical, but when we arrived we were totally from the stool. There were flames coming from the ground, without smoke. We made it around a fire place and Marc played his best campfire songs.

    It was a great ending of an outstanding time. Next stop was Geyikbayiri. But Marc and I were not moving on alone. Dave quickly reversed his flight and joined us. Simon and Marija also came along. With a packed car we drove on to the one-hour distant, Geyikbayiri.

    Geybairi is a world-famous climbing spot. Especially due to the warm temperatures between 20 and 25 celcius, the area is ideal for climbing. There are 5 climbing camps, where you can either pitch your tent or rent a cabin / caravan. Marc and Dave moved into a hut, and I pitched my tent. The area is extensively developed with routes and it never gets boring.

    I had climbed a lot during my sports studies, which was 5 years ago. Even though it was a few years back, I had already licked blood again in Olympos. Our days were quite simple: food, climbing and relaxing. Everyone had his projects. The motivation increased even more as soon as one had completed his project.

    You could get used to the lifestyle, but unfortunately it was time for our paths to separate. Marc had to go to Ankara to look after the visa for Iran (he has now arrived in Tehran / Iran). Dave, Simon and Marija have flown back to Innsbruck/ Austria. I had a memorable time in Turkey and have made great friendships. Through these beautiful encounters I had fulfilled my plan to find like-minded people.

    My original plan to travel through Georgia was no longer a question. It had already snowed. In thought of my homeland, I thought of a very special person who I wanted to see very bad. So I decided to fly to Munich.

    Of course the journey is not finished, because Kagate in Nepal is still my goal, which I am looking forward to. By the way, the school building in Kagate makes significant progress (Photo).

    How are things going on now:
    On January 10th I fly to Dubai to visit a friend. A week later I continue to Sri Lanka. There I will try to work on my surfing skills.

    I would like to thank all the supporters who have shaped the donation project and the journey so successfully. Thanks to your great help, this donation project is realizable.

    I sincerely wish all the like-minded a Merry Christmas and a good start to the new year.

    Janosch
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  • Zwischenstopp in Istanbul, gleich geht's weiter nach Dubai.. Grad noch die letzten Euro auf den Kopf hauen, Abendessen 💪
    Fazit: Toiletten ne glatte 6 und einziger Unterschied zu Hamburg: türkisch ist hier offizielle Sprache!

  • A day and night here. Off to see the city sights now...

    Caught the BigBus hop on/off and saw some city sights. Crossed the Bosphorus strait (?) which runs through Istanbul and separates the two continents it's built on ... Asia and Europe. Toured Hagia Sophia museum, which was a church from Byzantine era, now a museum. Mosaics inside amazing. It's the 3rd rebuild and many of the original ruins are visible. Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque) the mosaics and decor is fabulous. Shoes off head covering on, this is a functional Mosque and closed for prayers an hour after we went through. Minarets everywhere ... 3000 mosques nearly 2000 churches, synagogues - seems the various religions exist peacefully together here.

    Huge city 20 million population, housing and buildings as far as the eye could see. Modern, old and ancient...of particular note the remains of the old sea wall all the way round the waterfront.

    Everything is "$$ normal price, for you I reduce it to $$" seems bargaining is a much loved game by the locals. We probably paid too much for everything. .. ah well, kiwis not so practiced at the art eh.
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  • After arriving at the hotel and checking in, the group headed to the hotel dining room for much needed food... The unfortunate part was that it tasted like it was ready three hours before, which was when we were expected - communication and subsequent adjustment could have done wonders. Oh well, maybe next time.

    A few of us went out after dinner to a lounge around the corner... I ordered raki (traditional Turkish digestif that's like Ouzo, but significantly more potent, as I discovered) and a highball glass full arrived, accompanied by a bottle of water. This was much more than I expected, so it went around the table for all to try this Turkish "treasure". After the trials were completed and there barely a dent in the glass, the proprietor came by and explained that you ship the raki and then take a sip of the water - we all tried that and it did help with the harshness, but by the end of the night, we still hasn't finished it. You've got to know when to fold 'em...

    I also tried sheesha (flavoured tobacco from a hooka). I tried each of the three flavours (grape and cherry, grape and orange, and apple and mint) that the table ordered throughout the night... I wouldn't describe it as bad, but it's not good and definitely not for me. Now I know. The other thing was that it turned into a very late night!

    Our full day in Turkey started with breakfast at the hotel followed by a walking tour around the oldest part of town. Then, my highlight of Turkey... A Turkish shave and haircut! Most of the guys of the group (most had bears or some level of scruff) stopped shaving about a week before, in preparation. The "Turkish shave" is really just a straight razor shave, but I've never had one before and it was fantastic to have one performed by such a professional! That was definitely an experience I would seek out again! The haircut was needed and I already love those, but the next two pieces were new and interesting, to say the least: wax applied to ears and nose, as well as threading. The customers being served while we waited both had it done, so maybe that's just part of the regular experience. There was a language barrier, but i think , while the nose wax was to remove pore impurities, while the ear waxing and threading goal was to remove stray hairs and/or peach fuzz. He applied the got wax very liberally with a massive tongue depresser-type wooden stick and started threading while the wax dried. I'd heard of threading before, but never really understood how it worked: thread is wrapped around fingers and hands, and twisted, then some rhythmic motion pulls hairs out... Magic! By the time that was completed, the wax was dry and could be peeled off - this was done rather aggressively, but it wasn't painful. The overall results: an pretty short haircut (good, especially for the hot, hot weather) and smooth skin! Success!!

    Next up was the Turkish bath experience: essentially a wet sauna, body scrub, and massage. You start of in a large, hot room by laying on warm marble slabs in a towel, which is quite relaxing. But then "aggressive" is the descriptor that dominates the rest of the experience. The scrub removes dead skin, which is great, but they want to continually show you how good a job they're doing, so I kept having to open my eyes, which disturbed my experience and caused me to almost lose a contact lens. Then the real fun began - the massage - a Turkish man brutalizes you for 30 minutes. We left with bruises, and I left with a knot in my left shoulder that was so mad that I could hardly turn my head and it took 4 days to improve. Needless to say, the Turkish bath was not a positive experience.

    We then went to check out the Grand Bazaar and have some lunch. The Bazaar is definitely grand, but my opinion would categorize it in the same manner as the Athens markets (Manny's vendors selling the same junk), except on a much bigger scale!

    Our last so of the day was the Blue Mosque... Surprising to me, it wasn't blue from the exterior, but rather the interior is decorated with thousands of blue tiles. It was free to enter and appropriate cover-up garments were provided to all. We arrived just after the mosque re-opened for viewing after lunchtime prayers. The wait time was minimal and the inside was quite beautiful.

    After getting cleaned up at the hotel, the group went for our official Turkish dinner and a show... Food was was mediocre, plus I want feeling particularly well, but the show was great fun! Historic cultural dancers, belly dancers, and a singer. He went through the entire audience to learn where people were from and then sang a song linked in some way to their country from memory... Oh Canada!
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Republic of Turkey, Türkei, Turkey, Turkye, Tɛɛki, ቱርክ, Turquía, تركيا, ܛܘܪܩܝܐ, Türkiya, Турцыя, Турция, Turiki, তুরস্ক, ཏུརཀི།, Turkia, Turska, Turquia, Turecko, Турци, Twrci, Tyrkiet, Tırkiya, Tɛki nutome, Τουρκία, Turkujo, Türgi, ترکیه, Turkii, Turkki, Turkaland, Turquie, Turkije, An Tuirc, તુર્કસ્તાન, Turkiyya, תורכיה, तुर्की, Turkowska, Törökország, Թուրքիա, Turchia, Tyrkland, トルコ共和国, თურქეთი, Uturuki, Түркия, Tyrkia, ទួរគី, ಟರ್ಕಿ, 터키, तुर्किये, تورکیا, Turki, Turcia, Tierkei, Ttake, Törkieë, Tiliki, ຕຸນກີ, Turkija, Tuluki, Turcija, Torkia, Турција, തുര്‍ക്കി, တူရကီ, Thekhi, Törkie, टर्की, Turtchie, Turkanmua, ତୁର୍କୀ, Турк, Turkiya, Turkie, Turcja, Turkya, Tirchia, Turukiya, Turchìa, Durka, Turukïi, තුර්කිය, Turčija, Turkiga, Turqia, Турска, Turkiet, துருக்கி, టర్కీ, ประเทศตุรกี, Türkiýe, Toake, Türkiye, Төркия, تۈركىيە جۇمھۇرىيىتى, Туреччина, ترکی, Thổ Nhĩ Kỳ, Türkän, טערקיי, Orílẹ́ède Tọọki, 土耳其, i-Turkey