It's been so long that I feel a bit depressed. But I'll try to keep it up more regularly this time. Promise :D
I told you all about my first time in Bucharest. The amazing experience of hitchhiking. After doing this in some cities in Romania it came the time to try it in another country. And the first choice was Turkey.
I have to be honest, at first I was very very scared. I was stressing that this was a crazy idea, specially because of the country. I know I know, I was being stupid, judgmental and stereotyping everything.
The truth is, it was one of the best trips ever.
We left Rm. Valcea on the 15th of April 2014 to start our adventure. Me and my two Polish friends Martyna and Kuba. Since we were going to Turkey we took our secret weapon: The Turkish flag. There are a lot of Turkish drivers working in Romania, and in all good tradition if they see someone with the flag they will, most likely, stop to help you. (You can count that as a tip for your next travels in Eastern Europe, thank me later). So we went to the side of the road, and it looked like this:
Even thought I was very excited about this I was still anxious. Being Turkey the first country with a strong Muslim majority that I visited, let's just say that with all that was going on in the media I was fearful, I didn't quite know what to expect. Something on the lines of a closed minded country that we would have a hard time getting in to, even though we had the visa. Before this trip I heard a lot of volunteer stories saying they got stopped at the border, or weren't aloud in the country and so on, and I really didn't want that to happen to me. After this trip I realized that I was the closed minded one. Turkey is AMAZING.
Of course most of these fears were implemented in me by stereotypes created in our consuming society. The media that keeps Muslims as the root of all that's evil, but when we think clearly we know that is not true, there is good and evil everywhere and in every religion.
But this is about the trip not my opinion on what's wrong in the world. Moving on.
We managed to get a ride fast, I think we stayed there for 5/10 minutes before someone stopped and just like that it began. From our city in Romania it's basically a strait line until the border with Turkey, so in more or less 12 hours of traveling, we crossed Romania and Bulgaria, reaching the entrance to Turkey.
These 12 hours were not without stress or tribulation. One of the drivers asked Martyna to be his new wife. We politely declined because me and Kuba wanted to marry her off in Turkey. Another driver left us in the middle of nowhere in Bulgaria with very little traffic to help our quest. Imagine an intersection where a car passed every 10/15 minutes and most of them do not bother to stop at all. AHH Help us!! We decided to hide Kuba, and be just me and Martyna waiting. Soon after a truck passed, the two of us almost jumped in front of it to make it stop. When he asked how many we were we said three and Kuba runs from the bushes like he's the surprise at a party. After some convincing and "please take us, please take us" he did help. More like saved us from that hole. And left us in another one already close to sunset.
We thought we'd have to put the tent in the field and wait for the next day. While we decided what to do we kept trying to have someone stop anyway using our secret weapon, you guessed it, the Turkish flag. The driver that stopped for us was actually going into Turkey so he could literally takes to the border. We were such lucky people.
At the end when we already saw ourselves getting into Turkey on the same day our journey started we found out that there was a "technical" problem in the border and no one was getting in. Apparently there was something wrong with the computer systems and we would have to wait until the next morning to cross. Our driver was a really nice person so he let us sleep in the truck. The driver in the drivers seat, Kuba in the co-pilot seat, Martyna in the bed behind the seats and me in the bed up to Matyna's.
This was the first day to our journey. Pretty awesome right?!
The night looked very nice! But it was quite cold. Glad we had a truck to sleep in.
I'll tell you more on the next post.
It starts with a 6 km walk to the border of Turkey!!
Remember that this was 2 years ago. Things have changed a little in Eastern Europe, so always prepare ahead of your trip. Ask the locals, research online any questions you might have about your destination and talk to people that have been to the countries you want to go before you make any final decisions. They may give you some tips for hostels, hosts, restaurants, night life and transportation.
Make the most of you trips and stay safe.