As always, short meetings with locals of the territories where I’m passing by, impress me at least as much as the beauties of the land I’m walking on and looking at, proceeding with my slow rhythm. Turkey is really vast, sometimes has breathtaking landscapes and people are extraordinarily peculiar. Turkish people are made, further than meat and bones, of hospitality and lots of curiosity, they want to talk, understand, know every detail. They want to have a firsthand experience, they indeed touch everything like children do, honestly, sometimes also adults give the impression to be grown kids, with gestures and behaviours truly unique and amusing to who is observing them. Because at the end this is also what I am, an observer of everything surrounding me, I love looking at everything, almost greedily, trying not to miss anything. Sometimes I’d like to have as many eyes as a fly has, two or three noses and a ten ears more in order to capture everything.
On the D100, the road which goes from Istanbul to Samsun, on the Black Sea, I had the first experience with the desert, even if villages were frequent, thus I didn’t have to bring large food and water reserves. Thanks also to the various service stations on the road, I could camp almost everywhere and prices were really cheap, furthermore, thanks to the generosity of the people, often days were going by without the need to open my wallet. I have been offered several breakfasts and dinners simply talking and receiving compliments for my travelling style! How many çays I drank, how many I had to decline, sometimes the average was one or two çays every couple of kilometres, thus, besides the physical effort and the few showers, I felt safe and surrounded by good people most of the time.
I’ve also been host to a leather artisan, I stayed with my tent in the garden of this beautiful and characteristic family, profoundly religious, who gave me every attention, like providing breakfast and dinner, asking questions about my journey and my people, my lifestyle, and religion, slippery topic where there are no roads… At least for me… Thus, I tried to answer and change the subject at the same time. If it matters to you, I found that faith and belief are much stronger in women than man and this fact surprised me. You need a lifetime to learn a culture like the Muslim and all those that I’ll come in contact with, in the meanwhile, I taste everything I can, trying not to miss a single aspect of what I get from this journey. They also gave me a handmade leather belt and purse…My eyes were full of tears of joy, believe me.
Obviously, this happens especially in small villages, where, for example, everyone meet up in those çay bars to play Okey and drink this delicious tea… Young and old people, doesn’t matter, Okey is played with a kind of playing cards, made of hard plastic like poker fiches and big as a domino tiles, which they energetically smash one on top of the other making a lot of enjoyable noise. The funny thing is that, when I pass through these villages where there are never strangers, apart from some cyclists, with my technical trolley, if they don’t shout at me to join them for a çay, at least they stop, everything stops, even the wind, the playing tiles stop making noise, everyone is eyes and mouth wide open, people shaking the head or laughing, in those moments I feel like an astronaut or an explorer who makes the first contact with people never seen before…This is what I feel everyday when I walk through the people. Then, when I’m gone, I hear from far that life goes on like before, Okey tiles keep being smashed one on top of the other and people continue their conversations. This is the way it works in nature, isn’t it? Everything keeps going and moving forward…Problems, happiness, diseases, day and night rotate and will always do, everything will come to life and everything will eventually die, everything keeps going and I want to do the same.
I have to thank the engine of civilization: farmers, because everywhere on earth they are amazing, they are able to fresh me up with fruit and vegetables picked up in front of me still on the plant… Sometimes I dreamt about having my own piece of land to work, always being in contact with your land which supports and feeds you. But at the end I always feel close to this wonderful earth, thanks to my travelling approach, which gives me joy and pain, but makes me anyway always feel alive.
Here I interrupt the post, I will tell you about the long walk on the Black Sea coast , if I will have time, with more details…People were less friendly because of the looming tourism! It has been however amazing.
Hoping not to ever excessively bore you.
Thanks to Nicolò Capello for translation!