Happy hitch-hiking towards Pamukkale

I hitch-hiked from Lisinia with Adele from Canada and Fahmy from Indonesia. Hitch-hiking at 3 is a lot easier than I though (especially form the lost village where were staying at), and a lot more fun ! We arrive early in Denizli and we spend the evening playing music and talking with our hosts Emre et Burak, students at the Pamukkale University.
The next day, we hitch-hike to Pamukkale to see its famous limestone formation. Trying to enter the place sideways, we meet a Turkish couple who bring us to the paragliding site and then to beautiful caves. Another lucky day !
Adele leaves us the next day to reach Croatia and I continue to hitch-hike with Fahmy. We leave late and have to spend the night on the road, at the back of a truck ! We finaly reach a lost village near Izmir, where a crazy guy is building the first Earthship of Turkey !! We walked the last kilometers to enjoy the mountaines covered with flowers and goats…

Here are the pictures:

another hitch-hiker already in the truck !!

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The Lisinia project: nature and wild life protection

The project started in 2007, when Öztürk, a veterinary doctor, decided to buy about 250 hectares of land. He wanted to reach various goals:
– Create a rehabilitation center for the wild animals hurted by hunters. The center is now healing mostly eagles and owls and one wild pig. The animals are released once healed.
– Create a educational center to raise awarness about cancer, organic farming, the local lake reduction and seed saving…
– Grow fruit trees, roses and lavender thanks to the help of some volunteers
Many shelters in wood, stones and wool carpets made the place look like a forteress. Among volunteers from Turkey, Ukrain, Russia, Amercia, Canada and Indonesia, I helped to cut trees and roses bushes, and feed the animals.
I also followed Öztürk in his nightly healing of cows. I was impressed by the way he checked them! I also had time to walk around, enjoying the flowers, the lake and the goats…

Here are the pictures:

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If you want to volunteer at Lisinia, contact Efe on the Facebook page of the projet.

On the road to Fethiye !

I left the Black Sea by hitch-hiking to reach Izmir next to the Aegean Sea. It worked quite well as I arrived in Izmir (500km away) before dawn. Kaan hosted me for one night and showed me the seaside and its animated streets. I spent the next days discovering the big bazar and its local specilities. Omer and his family also hosted me for one night and made me feel at home with an amazing Turkish breakfast. Then Alper showed me around and brought me to a Couchsurfing gathering.
After this relaxing week-end, I continue my way to Mugla, visiting on the way the famous ruins of Efes. I had the impression to be back in time and was impressed by this civilization who developed so much without electricity, plastic, petrol and computers: without pollution almost!
Cetin showed the white old city of Mugla and then had to go to prepare a demonstration. The whole country was getting hungry because of the death of a teenager after a demonstration or the raise of a Kurdish party… Hasan hosted me in Fethiye before I reached a very small community in the mountain. They are growing a cute garden and preparing medicinal herbal oils. I finaly spent one day with Mert, the sailor to see the Marina and his boat: the Siesta Zone.

And here are the pictures:

around Fethiye

If you want to sail with Mert around Fethiye or get a sailing licence just visit his website

Narköy: an organic farm next to the Black Sea

I spent almost one week in an organic farm in the middle of the mountains near Kerpe, next to the black sea. Narköy means pomegranate farm in turkish. I was welcomed by a nice barbecue with many salads and veggies with many other workers. The atmosphere was really nice…
Among other volunteers from Italy, Germany and Ireland, I started to help picking green onions, planting strawberries, breaking nuts and my favorite: milking the cows! Many cows, sheep, horses, dogs and cats are living there. I was staying in a nice tent made of wool carpets and heated with nuts shells !!
It was a great experience to improve my Turkish as most of the workers didn’t speak English at all ! It will be very usefull for the rest of my travel hitch-hiking…

Here are the pictures:

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Mehmet: the raw food king !!

I spent 10 days in Mehmet’s « farm » near Izmit. I spent a few hours working in his garden and greenhouses and I showed him how to make compost. But where I really spent my time was in his kitchen. Mehmet is a raw food chef. So he only cooks with veggies, nuts and spices. He also uses a lot of “super food”: food recognized for their health properties like spirulina, maca (Peruvian roots), raw chocolate, chia seeds or turmeric…

Twice a week, we prepared « life boxes » containing raw food meals for three days which are sent all around Turkey to people who want to eat healthier food. I discovered a new univers. I understood how by blending, soaking fermenting and drying, you can almost prepare everything with veggies and nuts: bread, cheese, pasta, pies, lasagna and even burgers !!

We also prepared our own meals of course. So I eat raw food for 10 days. At first, I have the impression the meals stayed on my stomach, but at least I wasn’t feeling hungry. After 10 days, I felt lighter and fitter: I didn’t need to spend so much energy to digest all these starch… Eating raw food was now a pleasure, especially with such a choice of meals, and some really delicious! I missed raw food when I left the place, but took a lot of great recipes with me, I can’t wait to prepare them again!! Here are some receipies…

Here are the pictures:

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Istanbul: mosques lost in the middle of shopping malls

My first impression of Istanbul was very negative. It is an enormous city of 20 millions inhabitants, full of traffic jams and huge shopping centers. I could understand why some people consider it as the nicest city in the world…

But I decided to give a second chance to the city, and I went back for a week-end. I visited the old city with its sumptuous mosques which rhythm the day through their five melodious prayers. The minarets are blowing a spiritual wind in all the markets, coffees terraces and public places… I got lost in the big bazar discovering new tasty food: baklava, locum, simit, Turkish cheese… I enjoyed the spices sent around the market, drank a Turkish tee and smoke a chicha on a high terrace, observing the mosques lightening up at sundown.

So I finally let me carry by the unique atmosphere of the city both in Europe and Asia. I discovered new drinks: ayen (a kind of yogurt) and salep (made with tapioca). But I didn’t enjoy the numerous kebabs, which tast more like fast food than traditional cooking…

Here are the pictures:

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Putu Budi’s farm: a real lost paradise

We were surely meant to cross Putu Budi’s path considering how we randomly met him! I exchanged emails with a Malaysian guy welcoming volunteers in his farm. But then I couldn’t reach him once in Bali. So we decided to look for the farm ourselves by hitch-hicking to the small village of Pelapuam. As we were still far away, Putu Budi’s, the real owner of the farm, stopped to offer us a ride, while he hasn’t been in his farm for 2 weeks ! We would never have found the farm without this unexpected chance !!

Budi’s lifestory looks a lot like a success story. As a child, he didn’t possess much… But thanks to his creativity and ambition, he decided to invest in wood and glass handycraft. He is now exporting his artcraft around the world, has 3 shops in Ubud, 3 farms, 2 wifes and 5 children !

We spent 2 great weeks in Budi’s farm cutting grass and taking care of the fruit trees (coconuts, cacao, coffee, mangustine, pineapple, banana, durian, longan…). We also played in mud to improve the kitchen and make a shower. Budi really shared his passion, teaching us how to cook the fruits & veggies from his farms and helping us to understand the Balinese culture: for example, never hang laundries too high to avoid offending the spirits!

Benji, a friend I met in Malaysia, joined us during the last days. After a last night under the full moon eating fish by the sea and meditating in the forest, I had to leave all my travel companions to fly alone to Turkey. A new adventure is ready to begin…

Here are the picture:

construction a guest house

If you want to volunteer in Putu Budi’s farm, you can directly contact him here by sending  him this contact form: