Bursa: Still Some "Travel" Experiences
Trip Start Feb 08, 2008
154Trip End Sep 11, 2009
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On Saturday, therefore, I sought to escape the heat and humidity of Bursa by going to the coast of the Sea of Marmara, at a nearby town of Mudanya. It worked. There the heat was less, and the breeze from the sea was as enlivening as Friday's heat in town was oppressive.
One here takes a metro line to one end, then walks across the street to a mini-bus, or dolmus terminus and catches a ride to Mudanya, on the coast of the Sea of Marmara. The metro is 1.50 YTL, the dolmus 2 YTL, so from the city to the coast it's only about US$2.85 one way. Not a bad deal.
I stayed on the dolmus to see how far it would go, and it went all the way through the town of Mudanya, which was great since I really wanted to go on to another smaller place called Zeytinbagi (which I think basically translates to "olive grove"). Furthermore, it was on up above town, which put me out in a nice hilltop, cliffside breeze. The dolmus driver said a lager bus would take me on to Zeytinbaği. But I decided to hitchhike in the waiting.
I was starting to stick my thumb out. I say starting, since I can't remember that my arm was actually straightened as the first car pulled up in my face. It was a father and son, and they took me right to quayside Zeytinbaği.
Nothing extraordinary there. Well, I mean, it's a nice Ottoman era town, with friendly folk. I walked around, bought two large, baseball-sized juicy peaches, ate them in the shade. Went over to the seawall and soaked my bug-bitten feet in salt water for a spell. Bought 200gr of pistachios and walked up to a higher park and ate them in the view and breeze. A fellow joined me and just started to share in the nuts. Fine. I was amused at the company, even though our conversational limits were of the very narrowest. When the nuts were finished I invited him for tea. He accepted, making that the first time I could treat a Turk to something.
I wanted to go back toward Mudanya to another, smaller village I had seen, Kumyaka. Walking out to the edge of town the guy at the dolmus stand caught me, and the dolmus left in about 5 minutes.
In Kumyaka I walked around a bit, read a bit, then had a fish dinner beside the sea, in the breeze, as the sun descended.
Back on the highway at the dolmus stop I think I was in time for the last two dolmus of the evening. Nevertheless, I sought hitchhiking in the meanwhile. Often I am troubled by being stared at as I walk around, the unmistakable yabanci, foreigner. But also it works to my advantage, too. Hitchhiking proves pretty easy, as the Turks are a kind and friendly lot, and invariably curious about a foreigner, especially, perhaps, an old haci-looking guy like me. And so it was that about as soon as I stuck my thumb out a man and his wife pulled up. He ordered the wife into the back, me into the front seat, and he offered, as well, a ride to the two young ladies also at the dolmus stop.
He pulled up at the Mudanya dolmus terminal, and I ran to catch a Bursa-bound dolmus that was just exiting the yard. Those Turkish Travel Pixies, working on a Saturday evening!
I took a metro train to a station I guessed to be parallel with where the road seemed to emerge out of the urban housing, and from there I walked up the hot, San Francisco-steep streets in search of the road beginning--trying to keep in the shade of buildings.
Eventually I found the dirt road and set out upon it. It was steeper than I had thought. From the valley it looks to be about a15 percent grade. On it it seems more like a 30 to 35 percent grade. Fortunately, there was not too much traffic, and I had to eat a minimum of dust.
When I rounded the bend seen from way below, there was a little village there! I walked through the village, heading, as far as the road would go, deeper into the canyon. At one point I encountered three people, and as often happens people often suspect me of being German. And, in some instances, my very limited German language can cover ground that my very limited Turkish cannot. The woman had worked in Germany, and so I could basically say that I was an American, had also lived a little in Germany, where, and that I was just "walking going."
And, I just kept walking along the crude road, seeing where it was to go. A couple of cars passed.
I had brought water enough, but in my usual carelessness, had not brought any food. And I was getting hungry, frankly.
I came to where the cars were parked, and heard voices. I came upon the people spanning the continuing trail, and was passing through them when "the questions" came. And, an invitation to stay and have some food.
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This fellow, Erkan, and I could pretty freely talk, and he, of course, could pretty fully explain me to all the others. His father-in-law was born and raised in the village I had passed through, and was something of a mountain man. He had blue eyes, as did his lovely daughter, and his parents were from Salonika (Thessalonika, Greece). I noticed their blue eyes were as Kemal Ataturk's, who was also from Salonika, or Saloniki, as they say here.