[Up to date, as of 9 April, 2013]
This is the planning page for the walk’s final day. If you would like to take part on that final day, this is the page to keep checking. I’ll be posting updates as the day draws closer.
The walk’s final day is Saturday, 13 April, 2013.
IMPORTANT: BRING IDENTIFICATION (passport, nüfüs cüzdanı, whatever you have); the Jandarma have multiple security checkpoints along the road.
IMPORTANT: MAKE SURE I HAVE YOUR CELL PHONE NUMBER. If there are any last-minute changes Friday evening or Saturday morning, or if our group gets split up on the road, I need a way to get in touch with you.
I already walked to 5 kilometers before the border. Therefore we will only have to walk for one or two hours on Saturday the 13th.
I will be staying in Van Friday night, the night before the final day. Van is about 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the border.
Saturday morning we’ll have breakfast and then leave Van by bus around 8:30am or 9:00am. We will ride the bus until the day’s starting point (a bridge over a river 5 km from the border).
Finding a bus between Van and Özalp (a town 40 km from the border) is easy. However, finding rides between Özalp and the border, especially for 8 people, is pretty unpredictable. So we’ve already called the local minibüs kooperatıf (thank you, Yonca), and they are ready to help transport us to and from the border.
On Saturday, when we’re in sight of the border I’d like to break a bottle of champagne on the road. We will also have a few photos that need to be taken during the day. So it’ll be kind of a festive atmosphere.
After we reach the border, we’ll just ride back to Van and celebrate by stopping somewhere in Van for a beer.
Who is planning on coming:
This is an open invitation to whoever wants to come. You don’t have to notify me in advance. You don’t even have to walk the final 5 km if you don’t want to. You could just meet us at the border.
So far, though, it looks like there will be 5-8 of us: two of my friends from Istanbul, two from Ankara, one from Tarsus, me, and a couple other people from the Van area.
Road conditions and weather:
We’ll walk whatever the weather conditions are, since A. I’ve been on the road for 7 months, and I want to get this walk over with, and B. there are people coming from a long ways away.
I’ve been walking in the Van area for two weeks, and it’s been warm enough so that I’ve never had to wear a jacket while walking. I wear wool underwear (top and bottom), thin polyester sports pants, a thin cotton undershirt, and a thin polyester long-sleeve shirt. I also wear a hat and sunglasses, and I put on sunblock, because the sun is bright at this altitude.
The roads are nice and clear. There is snow on the mountain peaks, but not at the elevation we’ll be walking at. Hopefully we’ll have a nice sunny day.
It’ll probably be a pretty small group of people who join me for the final day, so direct contact will be more useful than updates to this webpage. To contact me directly, email me at email@example.com or call me at +90-535-680-9680.
I like the Van-Sisli Ogretmen Evi. I stayed there for a few nights while I was walking the last few days between Van and the border. I paid 40 TL per night (40 TL per person for a two-bed room, but they didn’t put anyone else in the room, so I had the whole room to myself). Breakfast is included. It is a nice, new, clean place — it was built last year, after the earthquake destroyed the school building that was there before it. Reservations are not necessary.
The Van-Sisli Ogretmen Evi is centrally located, in a part of the center of town called Maraş. There is a city bus that passes right in front of the Ogretmen Evi and goes between Maraş and Kampüs, passing right in front of the otogar, where we’ll probably be meeting Saturday morning.
FYI, there are two Ogretmen Evi’s in Van — the Sisli Ogretmen Evi, and the older Iskele Ogretmen Evi.
Istanbul flight information and local lodging (thanks Alper!):
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Matt Krause
Date: Mon, Mar 25, 2013 at 3:47 PM
Subject: Re: [istanbultoastmasters] Joining Matt on April 13-14
OR you can cut expenses big time with CouchSurfing.org. I highly recommend that site. Stay in someone’s home. It’s more homey than a hotel, and you make some great friends. I don’t think I’ve stayed at a hotel in three months. If you aren’t familiar with CouchSurfing.org, let me know, I’ll help you get set up and find a place.
On Mon, Mar 25, 2013 at 2:23 PM, Alper wrote:
As I mentioned in our meeting last week, one of our founding members, Matt, has been on a journey on foot from the west end to the east end of Turkey.
On April 13th, he will be finishing this voyage on the Iranian border in Van, and has invited us to join him for the last 5 KM of the walk and then to celebrate the finish. I will be going there with a few friends who have confirmed.
We have two options of arriving late Friday evening or early Saturday morning. We can then return on Sunday evening. Matt told me that we would have to gather around 9:30am Saturday, so we can either take a very early morning flight that day or arrive one day before.
There are planes both from Ataturk and Sabiha Gokçen airports with the following times:
4/13 Leave Atatürk 06:45am – Arrive in Van 08:50am (direct)
4/14 Leave Van 15:40 – Arrive in Atatürk 19:05 (Stopover in Ankara)
This ticket is currently 490 TL
4/12 Leave Sabiha Gökçen 10:00am – Arrive in Van 12:05pm (direct)
4/14 Leave Van 12:35pm – Arrive in SG 14:45 (direct)
This ticket is currently 270 TL
Matt mentioned an Öğretmenevi in Van. There are also other alternatives on booking.com, and a decent hotel seems to cost 59TL per person per night including breakfast (double occupancy) http://www.hotelmirva.com/
So here are the rough estimated totals excluding activities:
Arrive Friday by Pegasus, stay 2 nights : 390 TL (double occupancy)
Arrive Saturday by THY, stay 1 night: 550 TL (double occupancy)
If you have any questions, Matt will try his best to answer them via this mail group. Hope to see you all, and have a great week!