The Evliya Çelebi Way Project: 2009 Expeditionary Ride, Part 4

The 2009 Ride: On Setting out and Returning…
Contributed by Gerald Maclean

Ready to Go! Thérèse, Caro and Susan, 22 September, Hersek.

Ready to Go! Thérèse, Caro and Susan, 22 September, Hersek.

The core group of riders set out on 22 September 2009, accompanied by our cook and driver, Metin Aker, and Sedat Varış who took care of the horses.

Sedat often stayed up all night feeding and taking care of the horses.

Sedat often stayed up all night feeding and taking care of the horses.

Riders who joined for shorter or longer periods included Patricia Daunt and botanist Andy Byfield, Turkish Jockey Club vet Ayşe Yetiş, Cappadocian entrepreneurs Özcan Görürgöz and Alper Katrancı, trekkist and academic Pınar Durmaz, and Montreal advertising executive Thérèse Tardif.

Tea-time: Özcan and Alper assist Metin welcoming our guests, Paçacıoğlu, 2009.

Tea-time: Özcan and Alper assist Metin welcoming our guests, Paçacıoğlu, 2009.

First evening by the camp fire: Thérèse, Caro, Donna and Susan, 2009.

First evening by the camp fire: Thérèse, Caro, Donna and Susan, 2009.

The expedition was accompanied for early stages of the journey by Mehmet Çam and other members of the Istanbul production company Ajans21, who shot footage for a potential documentary about Evliya and the expedition.

Caroline chats with camera crew, Hersek, 21 September 2009.

Caroline chats with camera crew, Hersek, 21 September 2009.

From Hersek, on the southern shore of the Sea of Marmara, we followed Evliya to Iznik, Bursa, Kütahya, Afyon, Uşak and Simav, before turning back through Çavdarhisar and returning to Kütahya, Evliya’s father’s city.

Patricia Daunt, Donna, and Andy Byfield arrive at Ovaçık camp, 2009.

Patricia Daunt, Donna, and Andy Byfield arrive at Ovaçık camp, 2009.

While finding the Way, we established beyond a doubt that the Turkish countryside remains ideal for riding, trekking, and other forms of independent and sustainable tourism.

Ways best travelled by hoof or foot.

Ways best travelled by hoof or foot.

So long as traditional agricultural practices of semi-nomadic grazing and farmers’ shared use of the land keep the countryside open and unprivatised, Turkey remains one of the very few places in the developed world in which it is possible to make such long distance cross-country journeys unhindered by ‘No Trespassing!’ signs and barbed wire fences. Turkish hospitality guarantees travellers safe passage and a warm welcome.

An early-morning farewell from Ovaçık, 2009.

An early-morning farewell from Ovaçık, 2009.

Another thing we learned was just how widely Evliya is still known wherever he went. In every village that we passed through where there was a school, the children had mostly heard of him.

Not everyone was sure they had heard of Evliya.

Not everyone was sure they had heard of Evliya.

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About

Tracey M Benson is a lover of travel, having a diverse background as an artist, writer and researcher. Working with online environments since 1994, Tracey's experience includes providing digital media, web and social media solutions to government, non-profit, private industry and tertiary sectors. Tracey has made many contributions to TripAdvisor and is now concentrating on writing about her love of travel and many adventures.

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Posted in Evliya Çelebi Way Project
4 comments on “The Evliya Çelebi Way Project: 2009 Expeditionary Ride, Part 4
  1. Jet Eliot says:

    Sounds like a fun adventure! 🙂

  2. trailingtim says:

    Way to go! This looks like a good way to keep ‘track’ of your progress… Love the pictures!
    Best wishes – Tim

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