Caroline and Sven's Geriatric OE 2012 travel blog

Cupboard toilet in Safranbolu.

Cobbled streets of Safranbolu.

Painting the boards for the roadside fence.

Nevzat and Sven making nesting boxes for the chickens.

Removing nails from used wood.

Selecting 2 x 4's from the used wood pile.

Hacking a track through the pine forest.

Typical lunch/dinner - lentil/pasta soup, some type of beans - and always...

Mudurnu village with a river running through the middle.

Cave dwellings hacked out of sheer cliffs in Seben.

Vertical ladders allowed you to climb from one level to the next...

Tea Turkish style - black,with lots of sugar, served in a tulip...

Our home in Mudurnu for two weeks.

Trimming boards to the correct width for the boardwalk.

Boardwalk partly finished.

Caroline and Sven's parkaru (track).

Overlooking Mudurnu.

Family and hotel employees waited with us at the bus stop to...

Added hardware in Turkish toilets - built in washing nozzle.

Buses are equipped with personal screens, and serve hot/cold drinks and cookies.

Aquaduct across deep ravine near Safranbolu.

Our R and R for 3 days between WWOOFing farms was at Safranbolu, which

during the 17th century  was on a main trade to the Black Sea and was a wealthy area.  Large houses made of sun-dried mud bricks, wood and stucco were  built.  They are generally two or three stories,the upper stories jutting out over the lower ones.  Mostly animals/tools were at the bottom of the house, and the houses were divided into men's and women's quarters.  There are lots of built in cupboards and little niches for storing things.  The guesthouse where we stayed is 300 years old and has the toilet/shower in a cupboard!  The town is under UNESCO protection and restoration of the buildings is going on.

Saffron, after which Safronbolu was named,  is harvested from the crocuses that bloom in autumn instead of spring.  (Trivia for the day - saffron can dye a fluid 100,000 times it's own weight).  Safronbolu is also famous for its Turkish delight.

We took a local bus to an aqueduct originally  built in  Byzantine times and later restored and hiked back to town through a steep gorge.

We finally had to sleep with a duvet as we were up in the mountains - for such a long time a sheet (or nothing) has been all that we have needed.  We are getting used to hearing the calls to prayer 5 times a day from the nearby mosque.

Our final WWOOFing farm in Mudurnu turned out quite different again. We were lodged in a nice room at Hotel Yanşkaşı on the outskirts of the small village.  The wife,  Mukkerim,  ran the hotel and the husband, Nevzat, is a retired engineer.  With only solar heated water we had a warm shower....sometimes.

Confusion reigned the first few days as to what our jobs would be. We cleared the bean patch, picked tomatoes, harvested potatoes, made nesting boxes for chickens, and then proceeded to bring old stored wood boards out for Sven to remove  old nails from and Caroline to paint  with thinned tar. 

We de-barked rough sawn planks and painted them with a mixture of stain, wood preservative and thinner. These turned out to be for the  horizontal  boards  on the fence along the main road that the regular worker Raçab was constructing.

A few days into our stay,  we were shown the future development plan for the farm site, so what we were doing made more sense. The plans showed motel units, a hammam,  restaurant and swimming pool. A track through a small pine plantation connecting the motel area to the ski area on top of the hill was to be our main work project. 

After a day and a half of cutting wild roses and other scrub through the trees we were shown how the gently climbing walkway should be constructed using rocks as foundation with the used timber that we had been retrieving for the rest of the material. The only new parts were the nails!  Nevzat was a real hoarder, but Sven was happy because he also had so many tools!

This was a satisfying project and we finished about 50 metres of the boardwalk by our last day of work.  As a surprise, Nevzat named the track after us and made up a plaque with our names on it!

We found one local pub located in a cellar where we were welcomed with open arms.  On hot days after a full days work we walked the 10 minutes into town for a welcome cold beer.  We passed many tea drinking establishments en route!

We went to the local hammam a couple of times when we felt like a really hot bath.  It was built in mid 1300's with the water heated by wood. It was divided in two halves with separate entrances for men and  women.

We joined the family for dinner and lunch sometimes, visited a chicken farm and a fish restaurant also owned by the family.  We were invited by Aysha, the cook, to her  house to drink tea a couple of times after she finished work at the hotel at 9pm.  Neighbours and relatives came and went during the evening to meet these people from Yeni Zealand!  

How we wished that we could speak Turkish!  Very few people in the town could speak any English at all, yet they were very friendly.  We have "discovered" Google translate on the ipad but even so  we still had many unanswered questions.

On our day off, we travelled by local bus to Seben where we climbed up vertical steel ladders in the mountain side to explore caves hacked out of the rock where early Christians fled from the Romans and hid.

We have travelled west of Istanbul to a little fishing village by the Black Sea for  two days before making our way to the airport tomorrow and our flight to Dubai, overnight there, and straight on to Nairobi for the next part of our adventure.

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