Day 7: Ottoman Village Safranbolu

We left Istanbul driving south which meant we crossed the Bosphorus bridge, one of 2 suspension bridges across the Bosphorus. By doing this we drove from Europe to Asia. The view when you cross is incredible. It is amazingly high!

We then struck our usual problem. An Istanbul traffic jam. It was the first day of the Ramadan feast, when families often drive away on holidays. They were all going our way! It was 40 kms of bumper to bumper stop-go traffic. Eventually it cleared and we were able to travel along excellent roads at high speed to our next destination. Safranbolu.

Safranbolu a town of Karabük is in Northwest of Blacksea Region and its population is nearly 50.000 people. Safranbolu’s history is approximately 3000 years old and hosts many different kinds of civilization in this time period. By means of these different civilizations today it reaches a very impressive cultural richness. Especially Ottoman Traces such as baths, mosques, fountain, bridges and unique halls are very impressive and fascinate people. In 1994 it was listed as a World Arcitecture Heritage City by UNESCO and also in Europe Historical Cities Union Congress held in Rhodes in 2003 it was chosen one of the best protected city in 20 cities of Europe.

You can walk through the narrow streets of rough cobblestone pavements, lean against the walls 200 years old, drink natural fountain water in every corner and in a guild cafe enjoy your coffee with Turkish delight made of Saffron, a herb that gives the name of city.

We had a meal at a family run restaurant where they could not speak a word of English. Luckily there were some pictures of food. It was an incredible meal, very simple but absolutely delicious and cheap as anything. We had to sit to one side, actually in the grounds of the restaurant next door, as our restaurant did not serve alcohol, and we all wanted a beer. No trouble. They cooked and served, the other place provided the drinks, and finally for sweets, they had run out of baclava, so some other place supplied it. Community co-operation. It was easy and it was delicious!

We walked the cobbled streets after dinner and were amazed at the activity and colour. The sweet shops were amazing. We bought saffron turkish delight. AMAZING!

Back at the hotel we planned our next day. A long drive along the Black Sea coast tomorrow.

Andrew and Jeff

Andrew Bochenek
Mongolia Charity Rally 2015

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