After our destination was the town called Sultanhani, where we were visiting the family Aslanhan (parents of a good friend of us living in Paris). We arrived in Sultanhani that same sunday. We asked one person, who directed us to the house of the family Aslanhan. We were warmly welcomed by the family, that was not really informed about our coming. But it didn't change anything. We were friends of Metin, so we were friends of the family. We spend most of the time with Ozçan who could speak english. At the house of Aslanhan, we had an invitation to traditional turkish life and cuisine. That night we were served a big plate in the middle of the room covered with a thin bread, topped with pilav (beans and chicken). You take a piece of the bread and serve yourself of beans and chicken. Everybody eats from the same big plate. The next morning we were woken up at 7:30 to have one of the biggest and richest breakfast we ever had. There were french fries, fried pepper, boiled eggs, olives, cheese, butter, bread, honey and off course turkish çay (tea). After eating this breakfast you will not be hungry for ours. It was just fabulous. I was wondering at what time Kadine woke up to prepare all this meal.
In the afternoon we went to visit Askaray with Ozçan. Askaray is the biggest city in the region. He had to run some arronds and afterwards he and Olivier went to the barbershop. Between the hammam and the barbershop, we figured that turkish men liked to take good care of their body. In every town there were many barbershops and always with some clients. The hairdressers for women were less obvious. They were not on the groundfloor, but on the first or second floors of the building. I wanted to be pampered too and decided to have a manicure and pedicure. But I had more of a hard time finding a beauty saloon. Finaly I did find and we all had our beauty moment.
Ozçan wanted to take us to a nice site in the region: the Ilhara Vilasi. Ones we got there, it was already dark, so we visited the park with flashlights on our heads. We did get a glance of the parc, which indeed seemed nice. It must be worth it to visit during daytime.
The next moring, Kadine woke us up again around 7:30. The breakfast was taking place in the back of the house. Kadine and her friend were making bread. We had freshly baked bread for breakfast and also could assist as how they make the bread. It is also a social activity, as Kadine and her friend Marziye had a lot of talking to do in between the labour activity. We made a video that we would like to share with you.
This is a huge palace dated from the 13th century very well preserved and restaurated. In this palace, traders and merchants were welcomed on their routh. It is a huge building with parts reserved for men and other parts for the animals (i.e. camels, horses). In this palace the merchants could rest before continuing their journey. You could find a mosque, hammam (for women and men). It was primarily merchants of carpets, metal objects and also silk (from China). After our visit of the centre, we left the family Aslanhan and the town Sultanhani.
The country side was quiet dull, very flat and nothing interesting to see. We continued to a town called Emirdag. That night, we realised that our There we realised that we had some trouble with the headlights of the car, as they were not bright enough. The next day we went looking for a mechanic to fix it for us. We found one quiet easily and wth our knowledge of Turkish we succeeded in explaining the problem. There was another client in the next door garage that use ti live in Antwerp, Belgium. He helped us with the translation understanding what the mechanic was proposing us. We didn't really agree as he wanted to put another device inside the car turn the lights on and off. So he started screwing back the different screws. Then the mechanic asked me somethingand I said OK, without really understanding what he was saying. Before I knew it, he started unscrewing again and working in the motor of the car. At a certain moment, I said to Olivier, I think my OK was not a very good idea. In any case the guy fixed us the headlights changing the electric circuit in the motor alla Turkish. At the end it worked (without this replacing the sparepart in the car, like he suggested earlier). He asked us 80 Lirasi and Olivier negociated for 60 Lirasi. So for 30 euros we had the headlights fixed.
That same day we celebrated our 8.000 km milestone not far away from a town called Cifteler, so the milage of the van was showing 130.446 km. That day we drove for most of the day. Continuing our journey in direction of the north-west in order to get to a place where we can take the ferry boat to cross the Marmara Sea.
After driving quiet a lot of kilometres, we decided to stop in a town called Bursa, which was still a big town, arround 1,8 million inhabitants. It was already dark (sun is going down earlier), so we couldn't really see the beauty of the city. We decided to park the car somewhere and have a walk in the city exploring it. We didn't walk a lot to find a marketplace that was still open. The market was semicovered with stands outside and also shops. Before we knew it, we heard the sound of music coming out the back of a tea house. We followed our ears and got into a room filled with musicians. There were three musicians playing saz, one playing the darbuka, one playing another percussion, one singer and one gentleman playing an instrument made of wooden spoons that he hitted against eachother. The instrument is called Kasik. It was perfect. The space was small but still it could receive a little audience. An audience that was a mixture of tourists and turkish people and young and old. I even got a chanec to dance on the turksih sound. The musicians were okay with us recording them, so we recorded a few songs. Afterwards to followed two other tourists and Ahmet, a teacher wholikes to show Bursa around to foreigners to an impressive performance. We went to this cultural centre where every night there is performance of the dervish (whirl dancers). The room is round and with two floors. Men are on the ground floor and women go on the first floor where there is a balcony to see the dancers. There are musicians playing and singing and six dancers in the middle of the room dancing. The dance consists of whirling around. One dancer stay in the middle and the other five turn around themselves and around the middle one. The dancers seemed quiet young. After the performance that lasted for about 30 minutes there is a small prayer. There were mostly Turkish people attending the show. A lady told us afterwards that they come to rest at the end of the day, as the music and the ambiance is very peacefull. I thought it was impressive seeing this type of dancers.
The next day we spend time visiting the city of Bursa. The location of the city s very nice. It is situated in a valley and surrounded by mountains. There are quiet some historical monuments in the city and it is not so a hectic, despite its number of inhabitants. It seemed to us like a nice place to live. Walking through the street, we encountered two street musicians. We have made a small video recorded with our small photo camera, that we saved a few days ago on this blog. We left Bursa by the end of that Friday in direction of Canakkale.
The next morning we woke up in the middel of a rainy day. Ones we were ready to leave, we realised that we couldn't leave as our van was stuck in mud. We were not very far from a bigger road and Olivier went under the rain to look for help. He found a tractor who succeeded in pulling us out of the mud. The adventure still took us around three hours in total, between the moment we realised and the moment we got pulled out. We drove to the city Canakkale where we took a ferryboat that could help us cross the Marmara Sea. The crossing didn't take more then 20 minutes.
That night we spend in a hotel in the small village called Ipsala.This town is situated at 6 km from the Turkish and Greek border. We had hard winds almost the whole day, so we were tired of the driving. The wind was not only hard but also fresh. In those wheather conditions we had the impression that our journey in Turkey was coming to an end after a stay of a total of 26 days in the country.