Unye ... 29/07 - 03/08
At last, a genuine camping ... The last one was in Serbia! If prices are European, the standards are not but it doesn’t matter, we are on the Black Sea! The weather is completely different, wet and cloudy. It's raining in the morning and few people are swimming because of the waves. We sympathize with the waiter and the guy from the beach and within a few days, we feel at home!
Ben’s bike and then mine get punctures. This how we discover we don’t have the right inner tubes. Too small for the width of our tires and as a result, the rear tire of Ben is teared inside. At the bike shop, they don’t understand us so they call Mehmet, an English teacher, to the rescue. With his friend Ali, who runs a TV store, they arrange everything. Mehmet orders spare parts from the shop in Istanbul and Ali makes the transfer from his account to avoid us the bank charges. We already told you how amazing the Turks are but we cannot say it enough...
We spend the afternoons at a table near the store. The wives of Mehmet and Ali are sometimes there as well as the children. We drink tea, eat fruits and chat ... Turkey, France, Europe (a sensitive issue!), and religion. Mehmet is very cultured and curious, it's great to talk with him! He can also relay the questions of his friends. Indeed, after 2 days, he tells us that everyone wants to learn English! In summer, between searches on the Internet for school books he writes, he is here. Next to the store of his friend and opposite the mosque, he sees the entire world go by and, inevitably, he crosses childhood friends on holiday here.
We are surprised: Mehmet is very liberal about religion. He goes to the mosque from time to time but did not appear to be very big about religion. His sons are circumcised but his wife wears jeans and a t-shirt. Ali and his wife are key members of the Muslim community. Ali asks us about religion but we are not very religious so the conversation quickly runs out of steam. Europe is always placed in the conversation when we meet Turks. They cordially loathe Sarkozy and we feel they are taking the refusal of Turkey’s application as a rejection. Mehmet sees it differently: "We must be up our standards before entering Europe".
At the campsite, we make 2 great encounters in one evening: a French family in a camping van and Katie and Zeynep, an American girl and a Turkish girl who are hitch-hiking. We are so pleased to meet some foreigners!
The Iranian visa being delayed, we decide to visit Cappadocia... an opportunity to try the Turkish buses. Mehmet kindly suggests to keep our bikes. He takes us to the bus station and says: "Send an email to say that you arrived." We are really moved, our parents would not have acted differently!