The tragedy of Turkish tourism…

We’ve been now more than two week in Turkey and instead of going straight east along the Black Sea coast, as was our first idea, we decided to take a little bit more time to visit some of the great sights Turkey has to offer. This was also due to the fact that we applied for our Iranian Visas in Bulgaria and still didn’t have an answer if we would get them or not, so there was no rush. I guess I just spoiled the surprise of where we want to go next… 😉

But first things first, getting hold of a Turkish sim card to put in my phone, so we can have internet. What would one do these days without internet?! After 3 cities and a couple of hours we got an unlocked Vodafone sim card and we’re good to go! Great, as at least now I can do some research everytime we get somewhere or wonder what X or Y is. Or so I thought… Apparently there are some websites and servers that are blocked. Annoyingly, Wikipedia is blocked and impossible to reach. Well, we can’t have it all, do we? Whatsapp and Instagram are working, so is my email, so good enough. Our second night in Turkey was here:

We took the brand new bridge north of Istanbul to cross the Bosphorus, that only opened a couple of months ago, end of December 2016 and later turned southwards through the mountains to Eskisehir. Then we really got the see the Turkish backcountry roads… there was no more tarmac, and this is where I am happy that I choose this old and very, very sturdy Mercedes, as she holds together in places that a VW or Fiat would just fall apart. Finally some “roads” where I can have some fun trying to get us in one piece through…

We went to visit the place where supposedly King Midas lived, and had a nice walk around. There were these caves where people used to live that are rather well preserved.

After getting lost some more on the backcountry tracks, we decided to get back on the normal roads to continue south towards Lake Egirdir and Lake Beysehir. We were certainly not disappointed of the views, that is for sure!

One of the other places we visited is Sultanhani, the biggest and best preserved Karavanseray of Turkey. Karavanserays are the old trading and stop-overs for the merchants along the Silk route. We’ve already done mayor parts of the silk route on our trip to Mongolia, but I still have a weakness for everything that has to do with this.

After our visit we went to the local bakery for some fresh bread. There was a Turkish man who spoke really good German, so we started a conversation. He’s the owner of a local tapestry there and we got a lot, and I mean a lot of interesting facts from him. One of the things we wondered, was where are all the tourists? I mean, Turkey is a very, very touristy destination. We haven’t seen a single tourist since we’re here! Where is everybody? As it happens, since 2 years, tourism is almost dead in a big part of the country. Local shops are closed. No one is coming anymore. A lot of small shopkeepers are out of business. Apparently tourists are “afraid” to come to Turkey. I don’t understand this, to be honest, it is a great country to travel through with a campervan. You can stay anywhere and nobody will bother you. In any case, we’re happy we’re here and we have the place to ourselves, but we pity all the local merchants and shopkeepers that aren’t making any money anymore from tourism now. He also gave us some places that we really had to see instead of only going to Cappadocia, where everyone is going. So we’re on our way now…

Aug 25 2017

  1. Gorgeous photos! (What camera are you using?). I’ve been aware that tourism in Turkey is down, but didn’t realize it is so extreme. Political turmoil and a few terrorist attacks in cities seem to be all that it takes, and even if there are some questions to be raised about the government, it’s the common folk who suffer. I would have thought that mostly Americans would be staying home or going elsewhere, but it must be Europeans as well

    08-25-2017, 12:09 pm Reply
    • SEB

      Hi man, sorry it took so ling to answer you. Yes, tourism us really really low as far as we can tell. In 3 weeks time we’ve seen 1 (!) other campervan, this says everything. Our view and take on the situation we’ll explain later on, once we crossed back this winter into Europe.

      08-31-2017, 9:50 am Reply
    • SEB

      I forgot, all pictures are taken with ny iphone… 😉 😉 😉

      08-31-2017, 9:51 am Reply
  2. Het is zo mooi. Spijtig voor de mensen daar. Dikke kus xxx mam en pap

    08-25-2017, 12:54 pm Reply
  3. Beautiful pics !!
    Have a nice trip !

    08-25-2017, 3:02 pm Reply
    • SEB

      Thx! Merci!

      08-31-2017, 9:47 am Reply
  4. Ted

    Cool, I know you have heard this before, your living the dream!

    08-25-2017, 4:41 pm Reply
    • SEB

      Haha, thanks man! We do our best to enjoy our limited time on this planet… 😉

      08-31-2017, 9:47 am Reply
  5. Oh, what a lovely place! I had no idea. Thank you for your continued posts and travel write-ups! 🙂
    I’m living vicariously through you two until I can get back on the road!

    08-25-2017, 5:36 pm Reply
    • SEB

      Hi Dawn, thx for your message! We do our best and for the coming months we’ll still be on the road!

      08-31-2017, 9:46 am Reply
  6. zo spijtig voor de lokale bevolking dat het toerisme zo slecht is. Prachtig land te zien op jullie, zoals gewoonlijk prachtige foto’s. Dikke kus aan beide en, zoals gewoonlijk, keep it safe xxxxxxx

    08-28-2017, 2:28 pm Reply
    • SEB

      Doen we!

      08-31-2017, 9:44 am Reply
  7. Wat is onze blauwe planeet toch wondermooi!
    Ver weg en dicht bij ….
    Dank om al dat moois met ons te delen.
    Geniet nog van elk moment van jullie reis.,
    Allerbeste groeten en xxx,
    Marie-Paule, Christian, Simon, Joakin en Mieke, Egon en Ugo

    08-29-2017, 3:51 pm Reply
    • SEB

      Bedankt en we doen ons best! X

      08-31-2017, 9:44 am Reply
  8. Dear all, I think it is not only “some terrorist attacks and some political turmoil”. The problem ist that Turkey is moving to become a dictoatorship, with all that goes with it: violence against oppositioners, unfounded detentions, silencing the press … Who wants to go there for holiday? We did not go South Africa either during Apartheid times!
    And yes, it is the “small businessmen” who suffer, but yes, it is Erdogan’s voters who suffer.
    Germans (at least) will stay away form there for a long time, I gues.

    08-30-2017, 3:28 pm Reply
    • SEB

      Hi Mike. We’ll answer that once we’re back in the EU. We still need to reenter and cross Turkey again from west to east… 😉

      08-31-2017, 9:43 am Reply

Perhaps the network unstable, please click refresh page.
Wandering Souls