DURING MY 15-DAY guided Adventure Center tour of Turkey, our group managed to travel by train, bus, boat, and balloon, covering around 1,700 miles of the western part of the country. We visited cultural, religious, historic, and natural sites in villages and cities, and spent an evening in a local’s home. By the end I was brimming with new knowledge and interest in a country that I’d previously known almost nothing about.
As the trip drew to a close, though, I decided I wasn’t ready to leave. So I canceled my return flights and stayed for a while.
At over 480,000 square miles, Turkey is much larger than I’d thought. My original plan had been to travel into the eastern part of the country and map a route back through the west into Istanbul, but a few days into my new adventure I was warned about a military skirmish on the Syrian border. News of Muammar Gaddafi’s death reached me a few days after that, and three days later there was a massive earthquake in the eastern city of Van. All signs were pointing west, so in the west I stayed. I spent an additional 21 days in Turkey, bringing my total visit to five weeks. Here’s what I saw.
[Note: The author is a Matador Traveler-in-Residence participating in a partnership between MatadorU and Adventure Center. During 2011/12, Adventure Center is sponsoring eight epic trips for MatadorU students and alumni.]