Air from the far land Posts

In winter, better to find a shelter…

Our stay in Mianyang was great, hosted by a designer in a nice apartment. We light some balloons again and some firecrackers. The next day we head to Longnan, with tunnels all the way. It crosses mountains and hills dried by the weather till Urumqi, with some valleys larger and larger. We are in a desert.

Unfortunately this travel on the highways and the nights in the huge chinese “villages” prevent us to take pictures. Again, everything is new and our hosts sometimes complain, talking about Beijing and Xi’an where some old districts are still preserved. In Longnan we ask in a shop if they know where we can stay, the beginning of a long serie. We finally find a church besides the city on a mountain’s side. We discover there the electric mattress for the first time, an amazing invention to keep you warm. Sometimes it’s replaced by a huge tank of warm water under the bed.

The next night in Tianshui is difficult, after asking many people in the street and tried mosquee and churches we find a shelter in an hospital. There, the night guard takes care of us but there is nowhere to sleep. At least we are warmed up.

In Lanzhou we are luckier. Close to a mosquee a woman and two siblings take care of us, we talk through the translators of our phones and we rest in a nice muslim house of the suburbs.

The next day, an English teacher we contacted on Couchsurfing host us in his university. He helps us to go out of this huge city, and he will find us an host a few days later in Yumen. We start to have a good network on Wechat! It is their local Facebook, and they even use it to pay in the shops.

In Haidong we sleep in a noodle restaurant, in Qingshizui in the house of the mosquee’s Chef.

In Hangshui we sleep with retired men in a buddhist monastery, where the female monks hesitated first to host us. They use a lot of coal there for the heat, the air is saturated, and our clothes too.

In Jiayuguan a night guard allows us to sleep in offices, and we lay down among computers.

In Yumen, a driver welcome us in his home, and his hospitality gives us some energy. He tells us how Chinese from the North West are reluctant to invite strangers to their home, but when the ice is broken they are really nice, actually taking care of us as we were relatives. We stay a second day in Yumen with a friend of our host in Lanzhou. It is cold, far under zero, but we are happy to visit the city and to finally enjoy some free time. It was an old town of the silk road, and around is the oldest oil field of China.

Today, the drilling is replaced  by photovoltaic farms and thousands of wind turbines. We could visit one of these metallic forests.

Therefore we spend too often our days walking, eating and trying to find a place to sleep. Fortunately, our wandering makes us discover poker players, geeks in huge rooms, factories, coal plants and mines, tree nurseries and so on. In the cars the landscapes are amazing, with 3500 meters pass and sceneries like those of Mongolia. The road between Xining and Zhangye is especially impressive and we dream to go one day deeper in the Qinghai. As we go closer to Urumqi, cows and sheeps are replaced by horses and camels. We can also observe many policemen and military units in the Xinjiang with security gates everywhere, ID control, and gas stations secured with fences and police. Apparently, it has been strengthened this year.

In Guazhou we don’t sleep. No one offered us some place to sleep, only some warmed-up ATM rooms. We discover there that there is someone behind the cameras, we waited only 10 minutes before the speaker’s voice was turned on. We wait then till the sunrise in a night restaurant.

In Hami and Turpan, we finally find some hosts on the street, quite easily, and we can talk and recover. We got experience, or luck.

The first host is student in informatics and he speaks English, which allows us to stay away from the phone’s translator. The translator is actually often useless and misleading, especially when we hitchhike, the technology cannot yet properly replace body language.

On the food side, and it is important isn’t it, we try all kind of fresh noodle plates and soups, usually with some beef or mutton, onions, pepper and sometimes green beans. We also find more and more breads, filled with red beans or dotted with sesame. Result: it’s great!

We are now in Urumqi for a few days, in snowy landscapes. We planned it and this time we have an host… We should move toward Kazakhstan.

China gave us a mitigated impression about the proactiveness and the hospitality of people. But our way of travelling is weird enough, so we understand their surprise and the misunderstandings, even if in other countries we did not have the same issues. On our side we tried not to use charity, trying as much as possible to be hosted spontaneously, but the task was hard. If we are quite stubborn not to stay in hostels in spite of the cold weather, it is to force ourselves to ask people and somehow to test the welcoming spirit and the character of the local people. It’s also a way to meet people of any condition and culture, and to discover atypical places. We would definitely use the tent if it was not -15 degree by night, the hitchhiking being already a big challenge under these conditions. The adventure will now go on in Central Asia!

See you!

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The Kazakh Steppe

In Urumqi we learn some details about Uygur and Han relationship. For instance, the administration staff has to do a one-year internship in a Uygur village, and should bring regularly some small gifts to the welcoming family. There are also free apartments and jobs available for Han people who want to settle in Xinjiang province, and so many policemen and checking points everwhere. These policies started in 2009 when thousands of Han and Uygur fought with each other.

We talk about all that eating a hot pot. We’ll stay 3 nights there the time to relax and get some information from Kazakh embassy. We stop in Kuitun, where a young chinese girl helps us find a host for a few hours, without success. Finally the police drives us to the police station, but we convince them to take us back to the center after we refused some free hotels.

The cold wind is biting us but we finally find two nice guys who bring us to their flat. Actually they are… Policemen. We have a nice evening with local food and Wusu beer, made in a village close by.

Next day, a young driver takes us, and then stops again for a father and his son. We cross a range of mountains with a nice view on a lake with amazing colours, with shades of green and brown mixed with the silver of ice and snow. Everything is frozen.

In Lucaogou we find a host quickly, it’s a preview of Kazakhstan. Then the border crossing is quite interesting, you have to pay a bus ticket 10 euros or you need a bicycle or a horse. We try to jump on each other shoulders, but it’s not funny… We try to force them to let us go, but after one hour fighting we finally pay.

It’s over! One month in China. And on the other side Kazakhstan is another world. Infrastructures are old, cars are from another era, and people drive mainly antiquated Audi, Mercedes, Lada and some Toyota Camri which is a brand following us for two months already. Military clothes are everywhere and faces are tough.

However we find our host with the first try. Arcadi is a Moldavian agronome in mission in the oblast. Not talkative but really nice, we ask him if they drink teaor coffee there in Moldavia and he replies “I drink all liquid”. No comment.

We have nice time with him, in a really cosy apartment within an ugly building.
If this first picture of Kazakhstan corresponds to the stereotype we have, the kindness of inhabitants, the comfort of their home and easy hitchhiking is contrasting with the hostility of the environment.

Our second night there we stay with a young guy, Azamat, met in a small supermarket. He talks about French history, Georges Sand and sings some Stromae songs by heart. His culture is really impressive. He earns 200 dollars per month, night work, the only salary of his family.

In Almaty we spend three nights with Madi, we cook, we visit the snowy city and we check Ouzbek and Iranian embassies. We decide to do our visas next week in Bishkek and we still have four days to visit the area. We then leace for Balkhash lake direction.

It’s infinite steppe, all frozen. The temperature falls down to -20°C by night.
We sleep in a small shepherd hamlet with a family, lost in the icy landscape. With some of their friends we kill a delightful kazakh vodka, so much better than what we find in Europe. Among us is a woman local champion in weightlifting, sport quite common here with wrestling and boxing.

In the morning we leave with a gas truck, but the traffic is low. We shake in the cold. Another truck and a car finally bring us to Priosjorsk, where Morat finds us walking on the street. This 50 year-old worker hosts us in his parent’s home, we cook for him and we visit the town. It’s an old strategic military base of USSR. Kazakh army is still in the place, and we see some tanks and artillery bazaars. We also see some old Mig 21 and huge radars, impressing. All this is besides one of the biggest lake in the world, all frozen with some fishers’ sled on their way to some holes.

When we wake up the frost covers everything, trees and grass. It’s -10 but the wind makes it worse and our feet suffer from the contact with the ground. Finally, after one hour Morat helps us stop a car which brings us to Shu, in the warm South. All in all this icy detour is worth it!

In Shu we sleep in an Orthodox church with the night guards and we also share stories quickly with a nice bearded pope. Then we go to Korday, we eat there and finally sleep in the house of the restaurant owners. Their son is really curious about our culture and way of travelling and we have nice talks with him.

It’s also the time we meet our first corrupt policeman, he find a pretext to put pressure on us to give him money so we can cross the border without problems. He finally understands we’re not easy to fool.

We easily cross the border to Kyrgyzstan, which villages and roads seems really similar. If there is a difference it’s these beautiful mountains on the horizon…

But let’s talk about it in another article!

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Waiting for the Visas

Kyrgyzstan is really open to tourism, and as many travellers we stay there to obtain our visas, Azeri, Uzbek and Iranian. We spend our first days there with Rakhat in the countryside of Bishkek. He speaks French really well and his talent for languages allow him to work for a travel agency besides his studies. We meet his father and some friends and we try traditional meals with him, like these breads stuffed with mutton, plov and fermented wheat beverage.

We learn some stories about Kyrgyzstan, Manas epic verses, kidnapping of brides which hopefully tends to disappear, or the role of Kyrgyz people during World War 2. There are also the movements of population in old and recent history, the nomad games and dances, the yurts in the spring, the animal fighting, which displays a powerful culture strenghtened by the developing tourism. Unfortunately for us, most of these cultural activities happen during spring and summer.

Bishkek city is visited quickly and after we launched some visa process we just escape in direction of Karakol and Issyk Kul lake. On the road we sleep in a small village close by Tokmok. We found an hospitable family after talking on the street. We play with the children and talk about families and price of things, a classical, with the translator as usual. After this nice moment we leave and cross the path to discover wonderful mountains and canyons surrounding the lake. The game of nuances between snow, soil and rock is amazing.

Karakol is not really welcoming, some alcoholic guys and junkies try to fight with us, but are fortunately easily pushed away. Besides this, tourism is omnipresent. We sleep in a worker’s home with a young guy, but he tries to get some money in the morning. It is as sad as it’s not representative of the kindness we found in the small villages and among the drivers. The next day we are welcomed in a mosque in a small village embedded between the lake and a cliff. We talk about Islam with a dozen guys, we share our meal with the imam and finally sleep in one of their houses.

On our way back to Bishkek we sleep again with the family close by Tokmok. We bring them some honey and they give us some homemade jam and bread for the road. In Bishkek again, we are welcomed by three Indian guys studying medicine, really nice and thoughtful people. We stay there many days, due to some process problems within Iranian administration. We eat everyday tasty Indian meals and learn a lot abour Rajasthan and Indian culture. So that we would love to visit them in the future!

We also meet Paul, a french cyclotourist who started in Thailand to reach Paris. He is following the same path and we exchange our impressions and tips. He is catholic and his trip is dedicated to religion, you can read his story here www.acrossintheworld.com.

Another delay to get Iranian visa threaten our own trip through Uzbekistan, whose visa dates are fixed, but we can finally get the visa in one day thanks to the Consul agreement.

Soon on the road again! We feel quite weird after this 10-day resting, used to run every day, but we finally know our exact schedule. As follow: Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Caspian sea, Azerbaijan, Iran, Armenia, Georgia, and Turkey.
We wish Erdogan’s political agenda won’t disturb our way to Istanbul…

Thank you guys for following our adventures!

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Across the Desert

The pass in the south of Bishkek is hidden by an icy fog. An impressive quantity of snow is piled along the road. This winter some drivers lost their life or some body parts in this place, by minus 50 degrees. We are lucky the weather is better now, and the dangerous beauty of the mountains follows us on our way to Osh. We sleep on the road with one of our drivers, a fruit and vegetable wholesaler. We eat plov and homemade bread with his family, watched closely by curious children. On the hills there you can see so many shepherds accompanying their herd on their horses’ back. Then we go to Osh and we cross the border easily, even if it’s the first border where they check all our stuff. Welcome to the Uzbek over secured society!

In Uzbekistan, Ferghana valley is really crowded, and it’s that much more people to wish us a nice stay along the road. People are smiling and helpful there, it doesn’t change from Kyrgyzstan. In Andijan we sleep in an electronic factory after we met one of its managers on the street. We share some mutton skewers with him and then we leave for Tashkent, taken by a nice pastry chef. We stop by his home in the countryside, we eat more mutton skewers and finally leave him to continue to Samarkand. An Uzbek hitchhiker helps us find cars, then we find a Russian guy who brings us to our destination with his big 4×4, stopping once in a while to play a sniper game on his smartphone. He offers us some coffee and we talk Russian politics and French cinema, this dear Gérard Depardieu… When arrived in Samarkand  we sleep for the first time of this trip in a hotel, and we hope it will be the last time. Uzbek administration forces us to get registered sometimes.

The next two days we are picked up by two Uzbek trucks to Nukus. We sleep on the truck’s couch, something we can add to our “first time” list. Villages are now replaced by a huge desert, where our eye catches some eagles, camels and small mammals. We move out of of Nukus, sleeping in a shepherd shelter and hit the road again, still surrounded by the dry land. We meet some young guys working in a restaurant, dreaming about travels, and eager to welcome cyclists and hitchhikers. After we try to continue but we are blocked by a sand storm, which forces us to sleep in a building under construction.

The road is more and more muddy and chaotic, but our Uzbek marathon finally ends. At the border, many seasonal workers are queuing, they’ll spend their next six months in Kazakhstan. Police forces us to cut the line, as usual, for our own safety. They won’t ask any hotel registration ticket.

Back in Kazakhstan, in Beyneu, we meet professors on the street celebrating the muslim new year. They invite us to their gala, and the dance teacher does a demonstration while we talk with the english professors. Unfortunately they are too drunk to find us a place to sleep, bad plans being part of the trip. So we spend another night on a construction site.

In Aktau we spend 3 nights with an host and his family, we discover Caspian sea and finally jump in the ferry to Baku. We stay awake 40 hours in a row due to the lack of organization, fortunately the owner of the harbour’s cafe offers us some food, tea and company. The boat stays out of the harbour 20 hours before the little waves and the wind calm down and allow him to reach the deck.
We spend the trip across the sea with kurdish drivers mainly, but after some chat we spend our time sleeping and reading.

In Baku we find a host late in the night, he speaks French and many other languages. People are impressive with their language skills in Central Asia! In the morning we talk eating baklavas and drinking tea, but we have to escape quickly to reach Shamakhi. The first Azeri landscapes are great, green hills everywhere over the horizon, without any tree.

We get lost in these hills for the night, doing selfies with a shepherd and finally setting the tent. We hear wolves singing all night, probably one hundred meters away. Such a beautiful lullaby!

In the morning we go to Salyan after some detour to see higher mountains. Dozens of cafe are built along the road, with shelters where families enjoy some barbecues.

In Salyan suburbs we meet an old man who invites us kindly in his home. We taste his own cheese and cakes chatting with his whole family, great grandmother and children… They are really warm and welcoming, we visit their big garden, we tease the geese and the cat, this one spending the next morning watching the fresh yogurt fermenting on the terrace.

South of Lankaran, in Xanbulan, we sleep in a beautiful forest, but under the rain. We chat with young guys, the bread seller, and so many people hailing us on the street to invite us for a cup of tea. Azeri people are really interested in us, proactive and smiling. We are quite sad to go that fast through their country.

The first Iranian police we meet at the border are awesome, they gather around us to shake our hands and they wish us a nice stay in their country with broad smiles. An English speaking soldier takes care of us all the way till our visa is checked. If we should note the borders we cross, this one wins.

In Iran we are ! A country often despised on our television, assimilated to Arabic world, to wars and radical islam. We are eager to discover how much is wrong behind these political masquerades…

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The Persians

We couldn’t find Internet for a while, sorry for the absence of news. The Iranians don’t have unlimited wifi, they have to pay for each gigabyte, which they rarely do.

After we cross the border we discover a colorful city. The urbanisation is well planned and blooming trees are all the way along the roads. We shake our first Iranian hands and we chat with some guys.

Our first driver and his friend take us to their home for the night. One of them is a retired photographer, Habib Zahd, the other one a plumber, Shide. They don’t speak English at all but we go along well. They live in empty rooms with some old carpets and a hob directly on the ground with which Shide does great soup and meatballs for us. In Habib’s room pictures cover the walls, some of it has been prized, and we can see a photo of him younger with a black moustache on an old motorbike. We spend good time together. They take us to a point of view on the city and the Caspian sea, we also visit a park along the sea and we do a quick detour in the mountains before leaving each other.

The next day we arrive in Rasht, where we meet Navi in a small restaurant. It’s a former boxer somehow unemployed. We spend the night in his home, meeting his dog named Michel.

We move to Isfahan, driving through beautiful dry landscapes. A couple offers us food, tea and fruits while driving: better than an airlines company. We discover what hospitality means for Iranian people.

In Isfahan we wander on Naqsh-e Jahan square, taking pictures, and some students join us. We spend the two next nights in one of their home, debating a lot and visiting the city. We also try good meals, for instance a great chicken in a caramelised granada and walnuts sauce.

Then, Shiraz and more deserts. We sleep in the tent not far from the city. During the day we visit the bazaar, the citadel and the narrow streets of the center. While eating in a park we meet a man working in the Iranian stock exchange. He explains us their inflation issues and the lack of investment in the country, and gives us some fried food he was carrying home. The food is good, Iranian situation less.

The challenge in Iran is to escape from welcoming people. We are invited ten times a day for a tea and a simple no is not enough. We often run away impolitely to be able to go forward. Between northern China and Iran, a world. We eat bread and sausage in a park on an intersection: a scooter brings us a tupperware with delicious hot meat and potatoes. The driver just says “food”. Five minutes later the fruit and veggie seller of the corner brings us a plate of yummy green melon he slices in front of us. This situation well describe Iran. Everyday we have to refuse them paying for us taxi, bus and food… We hope other European travellers or massive tourism won’t abuse of this cultural trait.

We move to Bushehr, with a step not far from Qaemiyeh. A young couple offers us ice-cream on the road. After the snow in Qazvin one week earlier the temperatures are now close to 30 degrees. We camp around a fire, not far from the tents of nomad shepherds. The environment is great, green and surrounded by canyons.

We reach Bushehr the next day, but after we watch the Persian sea (Arabic) and we drink some tea and we go back to sleep in an oasis among the date palms.

From then on we head for the north, leaving progressively date palms and blooming orange trees to almond and apple trees. A driver invites us to taste a fried fish filled with granada. Delicious. When in Nurabad Mamasani we spend the night in the house of a rich farmer and we talk for hours with his son about Iranian society. We also meet their Afghan workers, some of them expelled from Germany or Greece.

The driver who brings us to Behbahan invites us to sleep in his home. He shows us his clothes shop for women and we spend the evening with his friends doing a barbecue in a beautiful orchard. The process is well known. The picnic culture is impressive in Iran. We see everyday families eating in the parks, on some fields, or even on the grass between two roads.

We sleep the next night in the tent, enjoying the good weather, in a small canyon 20km north of Andimeshk. We are alone with pleasure after spending the whole day talking with people, negotiating with taxis or those willing to kidnap us for one week.

We are ungrateful in a country where being in a hurry is nonsense. However if we don’t fix a rhythm we would need one year for the same trip.

We are welcomed by a family and hosted by a student in political science in a village south of Hamedan. Unfortunately our host doesn’t speak that much English but he is taking care of us, we visit the hills surrounding the village with his 4 year-old nephew, running faster than us. The altitude on this side of Iran is mostly over 2000 meters. We feel it.

In Tikab it will be the tent again, in a kind of orchard. On the road we overtake many trucks full of sheeps and goats, and on the other way we see combines going south to harvest the winter wheat.

Our last days in Iran are on the hills of Sufian, close to Tabriz. We eat our sandwiches observing a shepherd on his donkey. His two dogs are hunting a kind of grey fox a few meters away from us… The fox wins the race.
After we hesitated spending another night in the tent we talk to two young guys in an farm building. They host us in a place which turns out to be an ostrich farm. Their neck is impressive, they look down on us.  It’s rainy all night. The next days we shoot some cans with a rifle and we wait for the sunshine, watching alternatively the Iranian television and the turtle of our hosts moving in the yard.

Another night and the sunshine comes back. We feed the ostriches, they bite our fingers affectionately and we finally have to leave our two nice hosts, Reza and Muhammad.

We quickly reach Armenia where the last mountains are waiting for us!

Iran is worth it. Don’t trust our medias! People are almost all moderate muslim and we met many atheists on the way. Women are driving and they hide more their neck than their hair with their hijab…  And so on. We hope they find peace between international, governmental and religious harassment.

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The last kilometers

Armenia has higher mountains than expected. The south has few villages and struggle with an old territorial conflict with Azerbaijan, for the control of Nagorno Karabakh province. We have therefore some difficulties to hitchhike as most of the cars stay in the valley and do not cross the pass.

We first sleep in Meghri, in the warehouses of the city, after we talk to the guard and we eat in his small room. The next night we stay in Goris in a French armenian hospital, with authorization of the director. However we wake up two times with the sound of ambulances, such an atmosphere!

Armenian cars are luxurious in comparison with the population’s apparent wealth. Is it the money of the diaspora? Our hosts in Yerevan tell us it’s more about 10 years loans, mafia and social status. Something we hear since Indonesia.

We observe another kind of machine. Two tanks are moving to south in Kapan area. During our two nights there we hear some loud noises during the night, without knowing with certainty if it’s the sound of guns. What is sure is that people don’t mind and everybody peacefully goes around the next morning. Many civils wear military clothes, a fashion of the region, as well in Armenia as in Georgia.

Mountains are dressed with snow, and are sometimes hiding some canyons with beautiful geological shapes, especially around Goris.

We hesitate to sleep in some caves but rain is threatening and the weather is cold so it’s not the perfect place to stay dry and warm.

In Yerevan area we dive into a valley in the direction of Turkey and Ararat mountain. This impressive and historical volcano overlooks the plain and is seen from any building of the Armenian capital. Almost all the population is gathered there, blocked between two huge volcanic foothills.

We walk a bit in this nice and lively city and eat a kind of lahmacun and fried breads. Our host Arthur is a kind guy, web programmer, and we spend good time with him and his friends. We have some drinks with them, and we exchange interesting talks as they come from different backgrounds, art, economy or army.

They don’t care that much about political and territorial conflicts with Turkey and Azerbaijan and they just want to escape from mafia, social and economic issues by moving abroad.

Unfortunately it is a short stay in Caucasia. We fixed our deadline the 30/04 and the road is still long to reach Istanbul. We therefore move to Georgia and sleep in our tent in Akhalkalaki, and the next day with hosts in a farm close to Adigeni. Everybody is in the field to plant potatoes, and we could also observe some neighbours repairing an old Lada car. Same model since the beginning of USSR, only maybe minor changes on the wing mirrors. Local people don’t stop doing jokes about this brand, as much as we do in western Europe.

We cross the border to Turkey in Posof (where they check our bags), and we sleep in a former military camp in the suburbs of Göle after we passed Ardahan.

On the street teenagers warn us about the danger in the area, and we’ll hear two or three gun shots during the evening. Four military vehicles enter the city the next morning. However everything looks normal when we go inside the city to buy some food. Weird atmosphere…

It is cold and rain is threatening again, the land there is over 2000 meters high. Hitchhiking is still not easy, traffic is really low. Turkey has however good reputation and is supposed to be easy to cross. Maybe recent events like the referendum, and military and economic tensions changed people’s behaviour. Police presence is important here and we cross 4 police check points between Posof and Erzurum.

We sleep two more nights in the tent, in Tortum and Torul. The wind blows away some roofs in Trabzon, not so far away, and we feel it in the morning. We’re not lucky these days.

Fortunately we have some fun asking people what they voted in the referendum. There are many Kurds around and “no” is winning. Some people, kurdish as well as turkish, use a lot of bad adjectives besides Erdogan’s name. The gap between people voting yes or no is impressive, probably impossible to recover.

In Tirebolu the rain doesn’t want to stop. But luck comes back and we are hosted by buildings’ workers in their camp. They offer us beds, tea and food with broad smiles and laughing about how crazy we are. In the morning after our goodbyes to the team and their cat we move toward Samsun. We find there an host on Couchsurfing, a young director of a metalurgical company and we taste together some Börek, Pide and Ayran with a view on the black sea.

We are now on the main road to Istanbul. Sun is finally back after one week of bad and cold weather, and meeting with nice people is back too. In Kavak we eat some börek again, invited by our driver. He is the manager of the local water company and we first think he is the mayor when we see his office with leather seats, Atatürk portrait and huge Turkish flag.
We meet his colleagues and friends, some international sellers of bull semen, and we absorb two teas, one coffee and dozens of selfies in half an hour.

Later a truck driver offers us a really good meal, as if prepared by a Chef along the road with his gas cookers. We are happy to eat a proper meal…
We continue and sleep in a small village in Ilgaz area, in a small house along the mosque. There the buildings are made of stone and the scenery is great. The imam’s family takes care of us, it’s a perfect day of travelling. The welcoming Turkey is back too.

After a yummy breakfast with honey, bread and homemade cheese we are on our way to Bolu.

Bolu is our last night in the nature. We climb a hill and we camp with the warmness of a fire, cooking some sausages on the embers. We hear “Ezan” (prayer) all around us sending us to bed and wakes us up in the morning for our last hitchhiking day.

We arrive quickly to Istanbul and we sit a few hours on the Bosphorus side, between Beşiktaş and Bebek. The city is warmed up by the sun and it’s a nice moment to finish this trip.

We spend the next days with two friends, Serap and Büşra, and we will take shortly our plane back home.

Thanks to anyone following us here! We will write a last article soon to explain what we will do with all the stories, photos and videos… It may take time but you will have all of it.

See you soon!

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