How to get around in Turkey

Turkish Hospitality is great - To clear up with some stereotypes I will tell you my experience.

 #DontBeAfraid


Turkish people had to experience Terror Attacks already far more often compared to my home in Germany. But different than at home they don't act crazy when something happens. In times of Terror we all have to start living with the fact that danger could be anywhere. The chance to be hit by a car is probably still bigger than to die in a Terror Attack. So don't be afraid, just be careful. 

#Couchsurf!


I love Couchsurfing. Yes, it's  a cheap way to get around, but moreover and most importantly it is the greatest opportunity to get in contact with locals, have the greatest talks, get the best insights, sometimes being shown around and build up some really great friendships. 
So far my Turkey experience shows that if you ask spontaneously people to host you, it works the best, also it is less stress for yourself. Just ask in the morning or even just before, if you can stay with this person over night. Also it is really helpful to make the message you are writing as short as possible: Introduce yourself and your travel-partner, say when you coming where. Most of the time I am also only asking for one night, that's less complicated for the host and also if you get along very well, you still can talk about staying longer. 

For me the unique thing about Couchsurfing is that as soon as I was with a Local somewhere I entirely lost any fears of the forgein and it was always so much nicer to experience places with a local!

 #Speak!


When I arrived in Turkey I found Max speaking Turkish. He learned it via the Babbel-App. And although the majority of Turkish people speak a nearly perfect English, you will find yourself in some situations where English can't help you anymore. Moreover you will find yourself often in situations where it is more polite to speak Turkish. You make people happy that you are trying and nevertheless learning another language its a great impact for yourself too. A lot more drivers tuck us hitch hiking after they noticed one of us spoke a little bit Turkish.

#HitchHike!


Turkey seems to be the perfect country to hitchhike. We actually never waited longer for 30 minutes to be taken from someone. I highly recommend to follow the advices at hitchwiki.org. They tell you the best places and some behavior rules, which you definitely should read before hitch hiking. Specially when you are boy and girl- or just girls, it is nice to avoid any confusions. So an easy summary would be:

  • Don't look too much in the eyes and don't smile so much at men, they take it easier for flirting then in your home country.  Do the easiest is to look out of the window.
  • You don't have to do anything you don't want to just make it a very clear No. Hospitality is huge in Turkey, which is great, but sometimes you just know better what you're want.
  • If there is a man with you, let the men sit between you and other men.
  • Don't get offend by the fact that everyone will ask for you relationship status and  tell you - or more likely the man with you - that you are beautiful.
  • If someone rubbing two fingers in an offensive way together, stay away from that person. This symbol has many meanings of getting close/together... also in a sexual way.
  • If someone calls you "Natasha" that is not a good thing. This name is a synonym for slut - it comes from the fact of many Russian prositutes in Turkey. So as a girl simply don't dress up to hitch hike and maybe tie your hair up. 

To be honest the biggest chance in getting a ride is when you look like a foreigner. People are interested where you come from and most of them want to improve their English, still it is always nice to start a conversation in the native language :)