Monday and Tuesday, 8/9 October 2012
I enjoyed the pension so much that I threw for several days when my week’s stay was finished. That is, I would do a day’s walk and come back by bus to the pension at the end of the day and spend the night. The next day I would take the bus back to where I ended the previous day, do a day of walking from there, then come back again to the pension by bus and spend the night.
I felt like I should be leaving Egirdir behind, though. The old struggle was back–moving on from people I knew and from places where I felt at home. It wasn’t that I thought it was wrong to enjoy the scenery, to sleep by the lake, to sit on the deck at Charly’s, but that the resistance to staying in the present, meeting new people, dealing with new situations was back. I found myself very uncomfortable with never having closure. Too many of questions were opened but almost none were ever closed.
But I had a job to do. The job was to walk across the country. It wasn’t to get attached to things.
When I finally pushed myself out of the village of Egirdir that Monday, I found the scenery on the eastern side of the lake amazing, much like northern Wenatchee along the Columbia River in Washington, country that was indeed home to me. As I walked down the narrow two lane road above the lake I passed apple orchards and exquisite views of the lake. A huge apple harvest was going on and many workers were out in the field picking their apples. Most of the trees in the orchards of that area are trained up haphazardly but every once in awhile I ran into a farm that had obviously been trained very carefully. I stopped to take photos of these for my dad.
I ate apples and drank tea with a family of farmers along the way who waved me over to them. I still grappled with the tendency to stereotype people even after a month on the road. From the parts of my mind that I tried to keep most hidden, pictures of farmers as hicks sprang out, no matter that I myself came from a long line of farmers. As we drank our tea together, I asked them about their family, none of whom were hicks. One of the sons lived in Ankara, the capital of Turkey. He was a nurse. Another of the children, a university student, was home on break helping with the harvest. I appreciated their gentility and their pride in their family and their farm. I was still learning.
Most of the time that day I just walked, gazing out over the lake on one side and orchards on the other, then on up into rocky bluffs beyond. The sky was crystal clear and the lake bright blue. Many days on the walk were like this, and I always asked myself how I got so lucky. Today, walking above the lake was one of those days.
At one point I pulled off to the side of the road and turned to look back, somewhat yearningly, at where I’d been—where I’d slept by this lake listening to these waves outside my tent. There, perched on the ledge overlooking the lake, I felt very much at home.
Then, beginning to feel akin to Lot’s wife who morphed into a pillar of salt while turning to gaze backward, I jumped up and started walking again. Lake Egirdir is pretty large so it took me a couple of days to get out of the area.
Wednesday, 10 October 2012
Road to Gelendost
On the morning of 10 October, I finally packed up, boarded the dolmus and rode away from Charly’s Pansiyon. At the Sariidris turnoff I got off the dolmus and started walking to Gelendost. Here the road began turning east away from the lake and the scenery began to change from Wenatchee-type orchards to packing sheds and cold storage plants.
There were still a few orchards but not as many. Most of the apples came from the orchards planted around the lake and were then transferred to Gelendost for cold storage and packing.
Along the way a number of the workers from the packing and cold storage places gave me apples.
Also that day I ran into a speed trap. Not that I was speeding. Hah, hah. The cops running the speed trap were sitting around drinking tea and invited me to join them. My favorite one, Officer Fatih bey, was an especially big jokester who got a kick out of giving me a hard time. He kidded me about walking too slowly, or my pack being too heavy, or I wasn’t a real man—the basic man teasing man sort of thing. While we drank our tea Fatih bey and another cop jumped in their police car to chase after a Kontor bus whizzing by—with Fatih bey muttering how much he disliked Kontor.
I had a couple cups of tea with them, ate an apple, and then they gave me more apples to take with me before I headed out. Later, they passed me on the road and honked and waved.
I stopped and visited a few apple storage places and took pictures of their forklifts and packing areas for my dad. I began nearing the end of my miles for the day and thought I’d scout out the packing sheds for a place to stay. They seemed too busy with the harvest still, so I didn’t want to bother them. Also, I wasn’t seeing any gas stations along the way with grassy areas to camp in. I decided I’d probably have to find a cheap motel in Gelendost.
Once I got to Gelendost I stopped and had tea with the guys at the municipal checkpoint (checking to make sure dolmuses are paying their fees, etc). I made plans with Sedat, one of the guys at the checkpoint, to stop by the same place on my way out of town in the morning so he could give me a bag of apples. Then I found a cheap motel where I spent my first night away from Charly’s Pansiyon.