Turkish hospitalityAugust 29 in Turkey ⋅ ☀️ 32 °C
Turkish wake up times seem to be a bit different than our. Esin and Şashenem slept til 9:30am, so we could have a relaxed morning. Once they woke up, they prepared Menemen for breakfast, a Turkish dish with eggs and vegetables.
After breakfast, we started cycling. It was already so hot that we sweat without even moving. We headed South on backroads and were going to meet Şeref about half way to Uzunköprü where he had organized a place to camp for us. On the way, we wanted to message him about our progress, so we stopped at a gas station for wifi. The family who owned the gas station was very friendly and their daughter was happy to use her basic school English to communicate. And what does a family do with total strangers coming for free wifi here in Turkey? They offer them some watermelon which we were happy to accept. It's pretty much the only food you can eat in the heat.
Then we continued cycling on the backroads. 10km later, a farmer, Mr. Ali, indicated us to stop. It looked like he wanted us to fill up our water bottles in his house, so we followed him up the hill. At his little house, he served us tea, coke, cheese, bread and biscuits. And then, we could also fill up water... He also invited us to stay for the night, but we told him that we already had a place. He could speak only very basic English, so Google Translate was our best friend. Mr. Ali showed us a photo of him shaking hands with the president which he seemed to be very proud of.
We couldn't stay too long because we were still going to meet Şeref on the road - which we did another 10km later. He had brought coffee and homemade sourdough bread for us, so first thing we did was a picnic in the shade. Some more cycling, another break at a gas station for cold drinks, then a tourist stop at the long stone bridge, that gave the city its name (Uzunköprü means "long bridge"). Finally, we arrived at another gas station near the city center where he had organized for us to camp. It wasn't the cleanest place, but we had water, toilets and a great sunset view. Şeref also ordered a Köfte (= meatballs) sandwich for us and got some beers from a nearby shop. We spent a memorable night with him discussing all kinds of things. Even though we tried, he insisted on paying everything for us. Today, we are absolutely overwhelmed by the Turkish hospitality!
The final impressive gesture came from the guy working at the gas station. He saw cars/customers parking in front of our tent with their headlights on. As soon as they were gone, he parked his car sideways in front of us, so other cars wouldn't bother us. Just incredible that he noticed this!Read more