paul learns single turkish words, having heard that this is highly appreciated by the locals, but this only irritates the first border official. MERHABA, shoots over his lips. the officer looks up, peers into the passport, looks up again and back into the passport. he asks: are you a turk? no, paul answers.turkey greets us without control.
istanbul here we come.
on the way there we notice two things.
firstly, the lipstick of the turks is their flag. the big white half-moon around the embedded star drapes itself on the strong red and blows over land and people.
secondly, turks love grilling and populate even the smallest green area. nothing is missing. blankets are spread out, hammocks attached, chairs unfolded, teapots set up, whole bags unpacked with delicacies, vegetables cut, meat served. the smell of the barbecue spreads across the country, streets fill with wafts of mist that reach as far as the motorway.
istanbul, now for real. we get to know you properly. you’re big, no gigantic! an incalculable. number of minarets as far as the eye can see. which one belongs to the famous blue mosque?
from the lively bazaar with the old-established kebab restaurants to the lively quarters, with art exhibitions, cafés and design shops, where cats and tomcats stroll, we sail along the bosporus. a line of prayer houses, playful magnificent buildings and clean skyscrapers. here lives the connection of burka and summer dress, of old and new, of tradition and modernity and last but not least of europe and asia.
in the evening, when the sun bends mother earth and bathes the sky in dramatic pink, the prayer chants of the hagia sofia and the blue mosque unite to become a remarkable symphony.
there are still a few miles to go, so it’s time our car had a general check-up. emre is the man who gives our car a new shine technically and also takes care of us like a father. in the evening he puts his workshop keys in our hands. we are allowed to use the shower and toilet of the workshop. during the day luk lounges on daddy emre’s couch and we slurp tea every 10 minutes. for a few days we dwell in the car district between thick sleds, rusty leaves, sheet metal parts, lubricating oil and a lot of friendly turks.
with grandma on board we set off again and drive through the brand new eurasia tunnel. here we see the light of asia.
along the turkish aegean to antalya we meet wonderful lonely places like the altin camp. due to the extensive travel boycott everything seems to be swept empty.
unlike the slope of pamukkale, where paul dives into the historic ruins of hierapolis, we plunge into the famous lime terrace basins. we mask ourselves and morph into white ghosts. in this unesco world cultural heritage site high jinks prevail.
in the south we reach the sundance camp. a natural extensive area surrounds the idyllic bathing bay. as chance would have it, the j-fest takes place in a few days. an uncomplicated international festival for acrobatics and performance.
the gala in the yoga temple offers hula-hoop while doing a headstand, dance merges with fire, soap bubbles float over the jugglers, clownery tickles the laugh muscles. days of joy and diversity.
after so much sea we move to the north, to the region of cappadocia. here turkey turns into a fairytale land when hundreds of hot air balloons rise weightlessly from the pale reddish tufa rock at sunrise, you feel all the lightness and merges with your surroundings.
also the moment where you climb through a surreal kilometre-long gorge. a real natural kingdom with 600 cave houses of old priests.
not only the aegean, but also the black untamed sea are spread out at our feet with their dark sand pearls. we feel the last rays of the sun and experience a grey wild devilish cloud dance.
thick drops pour out, up above the hillside tea plantations and at the end of the path the gloomy castle fights with the densely woven veil of mist.
autumn is here.
a well-known holiday country, an unimaginable variety, easily one of the most multi-faceted countries we have encountered.