Making the News in Georgia

“Its pishing rain still”

“I know”

I sat on the edge of my bunk bed, Connor was sitting on his. An old friend from when I lived in Scotland, we were travelling together these days and currently in a backpacker hostel in Batumi, Georgia. Not the Georgia in the USA but the one beside Turkey for all you geographically challenged people.

It had been raining now for two days straight, pelting down. The kind of rain that would make Noah build an arc.

“What’ll we do?”

“Buy a boat”

I said, half joking but half serious.

“Alright then”

Connor said seriously.

A half hour later and we’re soaked to the skin standing in a toy store that had a boat in the window a couple of blocks from the hostel , I spotted a picture of a blow up boat on a box.

“Boat, how much?”

The shop assistant looked confused, a curly haired, middle aged lady. She walked over to the window and pointed at the boat used in the display. Then she drew a 30 Lari (13 Euro) with her finger on her hand. We bargained with her and got two plastic oars for free and off we went, feeling chuffed to now be sailors.

Myself and Connor sailing
Myself and Connor sailing.

An hour later we were drinking beer and floating up and down the flooded street outside the hostel. The locals were splitting their sides with laughter when they seen use, shouting encouraging words in the strange Georgian language and taking photos. At one stage a Georgian Student around my age arrived on the street,

“Want a boat ride?”

Connor and I had an old-school boombox travelling with us, he put on some romantic music and I pushed my new Georgian friend, a pretty girl with curly hair (all Georgians have curly hair) around the block on my boat. I held an umbrella above her and it was all Venice style in the rain. Some elderly lady came up to me with a glass of home-made white wine and all, really setting the mood.

Then Connor got pulled around town in autopilot by a local in a jeep and I retired my oar, I was bloody freezing.

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Someone must of sent footage of my sailing to the local news.

If you watch the youtube clip I’m in the first clip after the presenter finishes talking to the camera.

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Croatian War Veteran and Truck Driver

I was by a petrol station, where I spend most of my time hitchhiking in countries with motorways. I was in Slovenia trying to hitchhike from Ljubljana to Zagreb. There wasn’t much people around, just a few cars getting petrol and none with Croatian license plates. Behind the station there was some space for trucks to pull in and I spotted one of these trucks reversing out of its space, so I ran over waving before he pulled off. It had a Croatian plate.

I hadn’t yet hitchhiked a truck before (this was back in 2013 and before Croatia joined the EU), so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but he rolled down his window to hear me.

“Hey, speak English?”

“So, So”

“Austostop to Croatia, Please!”

“hmmm, I can take you to border”

He didn’t seem thrilled but he was happy to drop me off at the border, so I climbed into the passengers seat and threw my rug-sack onto the bed behind me.

We did the standard introductions and what-not. An elderly Croatian man (sixties I presume), his English was great and he seemed to enjoy the fact I was Irish. A bucket of tobacco sat on the floor in between us and I watched him reach down, grab some tobacco and roll himself a cigarette with one hand (filter and all) while steering the truck. I was impressed to say the least.

“I had friends from Ireland”

“Did you? Where”

“When I fight in Croatian Army”

“There was Irish men in the Croatian Army?”

“In war with Yugoslavia, Irish men come here. You are Catholics like us.”

This seemed to explain everything to him, but not to me. I thought the days of Irishmen going abroad to fight had long ceased by the nineties, though maybe there was a couple of Irish men here, possibly ex-IRA men who came to fight with other Catholics. It was surely possible. I even heard of a man from Clonmel (a town near my hometown in Ireland) who died fighting for Afghanistan against the Soviets.

“How many Irish?”

“I knew some, one still live in Croatia I think”

He didn’t seem bothered by the subject of war, and my curiosity got the best of me.

“So you didn’t like Communism?”

“No”

“You liked Communism?”

“In Yugoslavia, Yes”

“But not Tito?”

“Tito was great leader”

Now I was confused..

“But you fought to leave Yugoslavia in the war?”

“Yes and before that I was in Yugoslav army”

Really confused now…

“And you liked Yugoslavia and Communism and Tito?”

“Yes, we had many jobs and one month holidays every year, education, doctors.”

“Why did you fight against it then?”

“It is not easy say, I am Yugoslavian but also Croatian. When Tito was leader, no problem, we are all Yugoslavian. When Tito die, problem. Politicians make problems, I am Croatian, and Serbians no longer my brothers. I fight against my brothers because of politics but I am only soldier, no question. After war I drive truck.”

This shocked me really that a man could fight the army he was a part of originally. Also the praise for communism was news to me. I did history in school, I suppose a typical Western education will tell you that Communism was awful and no-one appreciated it except for the corrupt dictators. This man spoke so nostalgically in favour of Communism.

“Is Croatia better today?”

“No, but Yugoslavia is not possible without Tito, I must stop at border for hour. Why? In Yugoslavia we were all brothers, I could work and take my holiday. No holiday now, I never see my children, always driving trucks now. Croatia join EU soon. Good but not good, more tourists but hotels, restaurants all bought by Germans now. Money not staying. Understand?”

“Yes, you don’t see your children”

“They are big now, but I never see them small, always driving. In Yugoslavia you work and take break, now in Croatia if you find job, big if, then you always work. I will retire soon and become taxi driver I hope. Taxi driver is good job.”

He then proceeded to tell me about his house on the hills where he will retire and fix a Lada (old Russian car).

I guess for the man who wanted the freedom to move around Yugoslavia, earn just enough to support a family and still go fishing or fix his car at the weekend then Tito’s Communism must of been a dream come true.

In the end he took me past the border where we chatted for an hour and then onto Zagreb.

I wanted to share his story I guess to remind us all that the best way to learn about a countries history is to speak to someone who lived it.

It might just contradict the history book you had in school.

Hitchhiking in Poland Tips

Hitchhiking in Poland Tips

Capital : Warsaw

Population : Around 38 Million

Languages : Polish

 English (Younger people in the cities)

 German (A lot of the male population)

 Russian (Possibly the older folks)

Difficulty : OK for Hitchhiking.

Money : Zloty (Cheaper than Western Europe but dearer than Eastern Europe)

Hitchhiking in Poland is very popular, many backpackers pass through Poland on their eurotrips and use hitchhiking to get from city to city. The trains aren’t cheap in Poland.

Poland has good motorways between all the main cities so hitchhiking needs to be done by the petrol stations outside of the cities for the best results. The cities are highly populated in Poland though so getting outside of cities can be difficult. Ask around about the local public transport or check hitchwiki’s guides to each city.

Poland’s economy has grown a lot in recent years and is a far cry from communism but the older generation still remember them days well. Older men are likely to offer you a lift but spoken English is less likely. Unfortunately Polish is a difficult language to grasp so just say “Auto-Stop” for hitchhiking and they will understand.

Unless you are willing to approach people at the petrol stations and ask for lifts then you could get stuck for hours just trying to leave a city. You have to make the first move.

Krakow is a nice city but a bit expensive to stay more than a night in. Smaller Cities like Poznan have cheaper hostels (about €5) and aren’t a popular stag night destination for Brits. Krakow’s center is full of annoying strip club pr staff because of this.

Since Poland is in the EU and Schengen it has no borders with Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Lithuania. It does however have borders with Belarus and Ukraine, most EU citizens don’t need a visa for Ukraine but the border at Medyka is the only one that can be crossed by foot.

Any suggestions for things to do in Poland? Then comment below.

Hitchhiking in Bulgaria Tips

Hitchhiking in Bulgaria Tips

Capital : Sophia

Population : Around 7 Million

Languages : Bulgarian

 English (Younger people in the cities)

Difficulty : Good for Hitchhiking.

Money : Lev (It’s Cheap, Cheapest in EU maybe)

Hitchhiking in Bulgaria is not hard but can be slow. At times I had long waiting times because of the lack of traffic and only travelled short distances due to the bad roads.

Travelling from East to West and back is faster then North to South and back because of the one motorway. Don’t be deterred from travelling this way though, I went from Turkey up to Veliko-Tarnovo in the North near Romania. It took two days but I meet some great locals travelling South to North.

In Bulgaria I hitchhiked with Gypsies for the first time and had no issues, (I wasn’t robbed like most people said). The countryside is mostly safe even if many villages look extremely run down and lawless.

Most of the men who will offer lifts used to hitchhike themselves back in the days of Communsim. Quite often they speak highly of Communism and the “old days”. They often complain about the modern politicians and Turks, especially the Turkish truck drivers.

If you are going to Turkey then try catch a truck, most will be going to Istanbul and like the cars can be flagged down simply with your thumb on any road.

Camping in Bulgaria is easy in the countryside seen as there are miles of open fields between the villages.

Bribing Border Police in Romania

Bribing Border Police in Romania

Ever forget to buy a Romanian Vignette? We didn’t forget to buy it, we just didn’t bother because we are a special kind of idiots.

A Vignette Tax is a compulsory road tax which is needed in many European Countries such as Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria. You need to buy one if you drive through each of these countries. Usually they are bought at any of the petrol stations near the border and can be bought to cover you for one week, a month, a year etc.

We never bought one this time in Romania, only remembering the vignette just a few days before driving to Bulgaria. We decided to chance it and see what happens since we had already been driving around Romania for a week without any police-officer noticing a lack of a Vignette displayed on the car’s windscreen.

We approached the Romania/Bulgaria Border near Ruse in Connor’s Peugeot 206, there was little traffic so we drove straight up to the first checkpoint.

The police-officer lady asked us for the car’s documents, that’s the log book or some form of proof that Connor owned the car. She also wanted to see proof he had Insurance, his regular UK insurance covered all countries of the EU so a printed sheet with the details sufficed.

Next she wanted the vignette… shit. So we played dumb.

“What? Who? We don’t speak Romanian”

We were ordered to pull over to the side and summoned into a little office by another police officer, this time male.

“You have no Vignette”

“What? we were unaware?”

“You need Vignette, No Vignette then pay”

He wrote out €260, and pointed at the numbers.

We kept on looking surprised and saying stuff like, “what we were never told” and “we are students, haven’t got so much money” etc. Every lame excuse under the sun not to pay. This went on for about 10 minutes, until the guy was getting seriously annoyed. Myself and Connor were prepared to stand around all day though, so then our officer left to get his boss in a huff.

A woman in her forties returned, pencil skirt and shirt. All business like and she wrote out €260 on a piece of paper just like the guy did.

“What no, we are students” and so on we began talking nonsense again (we weren’t students but were fairly broke).

She then wrote down €50 on a piece of paper.

“For you, but normally this (pointing at paper saying €260)”

Connor then produced US $50 from his wallet, she didn’t look too amused but took the money from his hand.

She then warned us that the police in Bulgaria would not be so nice and told us to leave.

Another day hustling in Eastern Europe, but it could have all been avoided by just buying the stupid €10 Vignette in the beginning.

I hope this story however demonstrates the fact that you can bargain in Eastern Europe over anything (including fines). I have no doubt that $50 went into her pocket and we were marked down as having the Vignette to begin with. Everyone wins and cash is king.

My advice would be to buy the Vignette anyway.

 

Chopping Wood in Transylvania, Workaway Experiences

Workaway Experiences

I got free board and food in Transylvania in exchange for five hours of work each day.

I landed this gig through Workawayinfo. Simply sending a message to my host Andras wondering if he had any vacancies for a labourer.

I was happy to stay there for a month, one of my positive workaway experiences, because I was deep inside the Piatra Craiului National Park but still not far from Zarnesti. On the weekend I would go hiking up the mountains which surrounded the location.

The work involved cutting up fallen trees with a chainsaw, maintaining the chainsaw, chopping the wood and staking it for the winter. Straight forward labour but hands-on so I was kept happy tipping away for five hours in the morning in the good Romanian weather. I was never expecting to do more than the five hours.

The food was fantastic, the house itself was a B&B so all meals were well prepared (three a day). Usually Romanian or Hungarian food, Goulash Soup being my favourite and sometimes a shot of Palinka after.

There were two other guys working here too, one painter and another labourer so I was never too bored. There was only internet though for maybe two hours in the evenings when the electricity generator was switched on. Showers had to be taken during this time too.

As with most Workaway hosts you have to be prepared to work unsupervised, if you are then the host will develop trust in you. A bad attitude will land you in an awkward situation fast. One other Workaway volunteer was more or less asked to leave, being unimpressed with his task of scything in the garden.

I can understand why he didn’t want to Scythe for the next few hours when he wasn’t being paid. Workaway in Romania and other Eastern European countries isn’t a chance to relax though because your host at the end of the day could hire a local professional labourer for the cost of feeding you each day.

Once you do five hours and are social when around the host’s family then you should be fine to stay for a couple months. The ability to go without electricity was needed here too, I could hike during the day and read a book in the evenings, so I was happy.

Have any Workaway related questions then just leave a comment below.

 

Facing Arrest in Turkey

Facing Arrest in Turkey

I was surprised to see an SUV switch lanes and pull in a few yards in front of me. I hadn’t been even looking at the traffic never mind thumbing as I walked along-side the main road from Istanbul to Silivri. It wasn’t a motorway but the traffic still had been speeding by quickly for the last hour.

I stopped by the window of the SUV, a fella alone probably in his mid-thirties with a tidy beard and serious yet friendly face, he wasn’t on the phone he had pulled over to offer me a lift even though I hadn’t signalled him.

Some people are just on the look-out in life for chances to be sound human beings I reckon and I love it when they spot me on the road.

“Autostop?”

He nodded in reply so I opened the back door and wedged my rucksack in between the passenger seat and the rear seat. Then I left my tent-bag, camping-bed-bag and my plastic-bag with food and water on the empty child’s car seat in the back.

There was the obvious language barrier between myself and himself but he gathered I was Irish and hitchhiking to Bulgaria via Edirne.

He brought me further than Silivri to a busy crossroads near Corlu where I had to jump from the car in a hurry since he wasn’t allowed to pull-over. I grabbed my rucksack plus the bags from the child’s seat quickly and let them drop to the ground as he took off again. When I looked down I felt the blood drain from my head.

“Shit, how the fuck?, o no”

I could see the guys fanny pack, you know them sort of wallets that tie around your waist on the ground with my bags. It must of been on the child’s car seat and had fallen out when I pulled my bags out in the hurry to get out of the car.

Might aswell see what’s inside sure I thought as anyone would.

About €320 in Turkish Lira, the guys driving license, some prescription medicine and a set of keys. Well that’s enough to land me jail time in these Muslim countries I figured.  A loaf of bread or a car? Isn’t all the same to Muslims I thought once you steal then your a thief and you get fucked into some overcrowded jail for years.

Arrested in Turkey.

I can’t go a year without a bacon sandwich I nearly cried.

I wasn’t thinking rationally in my mini panic.

OK lets sort this mess out I thought, one things for certain is I can’t hang around here. I got to move, if he realises his wallet is gone and comes back here then he will probably just drive straight into me, or at least get the police involved.

No way will the police believe some smelly hitchhiker with about €100 to his name accidentally robbed the law abiding citizen by accident. How can I explain myself anyway without Turkish?

I had to get out of here fast, then make a plan.

I began thumbing immeditaly and the third car to pass pulled over, thankfully hitchiking in Turkey isn’t difficult.

I jumped into the back of the old Citroen Xsara, there was two local guys in their twenties in the front who spoke English, it took me a second to regiister the potent smell of marijuana because of my panic.

“Where you from my friend?”

“Ireland”

“Aww, nice. You want a smoke?”

Just to calm the nerves I thought, then a plan will come to me. Weed dosent get offered to me that often when hitchhiking but what a potentially disastrous time this could be for a joint to be passed around.

We talked for a bit then the guys pulled over at a petrol station, they wouldn’t go further. I ended up explaining the situation to them.

“Fuck it man, do what anyone else would do and keep the money. Sell the ID to some fucking Syrian”

“But he knows I’m Irish and on my way to the Bulgaria border, supposing he called the cops then I can’t get out of the country because the border police will be waiting on an Irish hitchhiker”

“Shit your right, hmmm well don’t go to the border then just, well fuck I can’t help I’m stoned man. Don’t leave the country for a few days, just disappear for like a week. Don’t go to the police either, they won’t understand you and will definitely put you in a cell tonight, that story won’t check out with them man. Turkish police are shit they can sometimes be bastards. Good luck though”

“I can’t keep the money of someone who offered me a lift too, I’m not a suspicious person but that would be completely shitting on Karma. Thanks anyway for the lift”

I began hitchhiking again and got collected soon in a small hatchback. The guy looked like a young father and a good guy. Don’t you know when you see a guy and just know that he’s an honest, decent guy, well an honest, decent Muslim will always try to help anyway they can.

“Hey do you speak English”

“A little”

Good a plan had come to me by now.

“I have a problem”

I explained everything right from the beginning and he (Givi) believed my story about the accident. Now I wanted to find the man who owned the wallet on Facebook using Givi’s phone to find out if he had contacted the police yet.

Givi found him on Facebook using the drivers license and messaged him in Turkish asking for his number, no reply though.

Givi then rang the doctor who wrote out the prescription for drugs in the wallet. The nurse provided a contact number he could use.

The man’s wife answered the phone and Givi chatted for some time. The police had been contacted, the border police at Bulgaria were aware of my Nationality and description. She said however that her husband had remarked to her that he wasn’t sure if I was a thief. We needed to go to the nearest police station and her husband would clear my name.

First though we had some Chai (Turkish Tea) then went to the police.

They didn’t quite like my story, there was four of them in the station, luckily they only spoke to Givi. I became uncomfortably aware that there might be a smell of weed off me too so I kept my distance.

When the wallet owner did call and declare the inventory of the wallet and exact amount of money it matched up perfectly with the contents of the wallet. He told the police he believed I made an accident too and they did clear my name.

They had actually been driving the roads I hitchhiked looking to arrest me!

Givi dropped me off near the main road and I hitchhiked one more lift to Edirne before camping there. I will forever be grateful to that guy, I couldn’t of gotten out of that messy situation where I had no Turkish or internet without his help. All I had was my word that the wallet had been an accident and he believed me.

 

Getting into Transnistria

Getting into Transnistria

Getting into Transnistria isn’t as difficult as I thought. The border only took about half an hour and we were issued with 24 hour transit visas.

I arrived at the border after hitchhiking from Chisinau in Moldova with two friends, one from France and one from Germany (all EU passports). Our driver was a local of Tiraspol (the Capital of Transnistria). Each of us was issued with a paper slip allowing us 24 hours backpacking in Transnistria before we had to move on to Ukraine or back to Moldova. Our passports were never stamped and the border police refused to stamp them when my friend asked.

I had taken out my phone to for a quick photo of the sniffer dogs at the border when a soldier approached me asking to see me delete the picture.

No journalists allowed, or crap amateur photographers like me.

We then passed across the border without further questioning.

That’s it really, the border had shuttle buses heading to Tiraspol, we were of course hitchhiking onward with our driver. In Tiraspol we got some money exchanged to the local currency, all that seemed to be accepted by the exchange shops was Moldovan and Ukrainian money plus Euros and Dollars. There are no ATMs in Transnistria.

We left the country (or half country) into Ukraine later that day. Make sure you don’t lose the paper slip and overstay the 24 hours and you won’t have any issues.

For more information about my day there see Hitchhiking in Transnistria.

TransnistrianRegionMap

15 Tips to Save Money Backpacking Europe

15 Tips to Save Money Backpacking Europe

1) Travel in Eastern Europe

The prices of everyday backpacking necessities in Europe such as pasta, beer, buses and hostels will vary greatly depending on your area. Needless to say if your a broke bagpacker then head East (especially if you smoke) to save money backpacking Europe.

As a general rule Scandinavia and Iceland are the most expensive (around €25 for a bed in a hostel dorm). You will probably feel short here too.

Then comes Western Europe or the countries which use the Euro currency, the UK and Switzerland (around €15 for a bed in a hostel dorm).

Then there’s Central Europe, the EU countries without the Euro like Hungary, Poland and Croatia (around €10 for a bed in a hostel dorm).

Eastern Europe comes a big sickle and hammer Soviet first, cheapest but definitely not least interesting. All of the Eastern countries that are outside of the EU such as Ukraine, Albania and Serbia. (Around €5 for a bed in a hostel dorm).

Turkey doesn’t geographically apply to the rules because of it’s stupidly high alcohol taxes and the fact it’s more developed then Eastern Europe. So to avoid any confusion let’s just leave Istanbul in the Asia category.

2) CouchSurfing

Getting accommodation without paying for it will certainly help keep your travels prolonged. Couchsurfing isn’t always straight forward but it certainly can work wonders and isn’t just limited to writing requests on Couchsurfing.org.

You can try posting on back-packer FB pages to find hosts or meet people at Couchsurfing meetings. Be positive and outgoing and you should be able to find a host in every city that has over a million people.

Girls will have no problem finding a host.

Guys won’t be successful just sending requests to hot girls unfortunately.

couchsurfingKeep in mind that Couchsirfing isn’t just about free accommodation but rather getting to know locals. Your host will want you to be a good guest who shows an interest in the countries culture, if your just here to party then stick with the hostels.

3) Pasta Diet

Time to pack in the three course meals and drunken kebabs. Pasta cooked in the hostel kitchen will suffice to keep you alive, add tuna on a Sunday for extra nourishment.

4) Responsible Pre-Drinking

Budweiser or Guinness? No, how about two bottles of the cheapest yet strong wine to wash down that pasta with then head out.

Pre-drinking

5) Shop Around with your Cash

The exchange shops furthest from tourist attractions and train stations will offer better exchange rates.

6) Bring a Student Card

Student discounts creep up in cities with high student populations like Budapest regularly.

7) Forget Taxis

Just work out the cities local public transport, ask people at the metro or tram stations. Most young folk in Europe have enough English to help.

Better still just walk

8) Free Maps

Maps can usually be got free at your Hostel, or use screenshots from Google Maps.

9) Free Walking Tours

Every city has them, and a small tips is all that’s expected in return for a tour. Ask at your hostel.

9) Book Hostels Online in Advance

You will probably get a better deal if you book online using websites like Hostelworld.

At least use the search function to find the cheapest hostel’s location and rates.

10) Work Exchange

Websites such as Workaway, Woofing and HelpX offer backpackers the opportunity to find places to do a few hour’s work (usually five) a day in exchange for free food and a bed. Jobs can vary from farming and labouring to language help and cooking. Signing up costs around €30 though yearly.

Asking in hostels too (especially Central and Eastern Europe) might land you a free bed in exchange for some cleaning work.

11) Hitchhiking in Europe

Of course I would suggest that you hitchhike, but it’s by far to best way to reduce travel costs. I have went thousands of km without paying a penny. I don’t car to know what these journeys would of cost in train tickets.

Hitchhiking in Europe often lands you some free food too or drink with generous drivers.

hitchhike sarajevo

12) Bring a Tent

Works best when hitchhiking since the chances of being out in the open countryside are higher. A tent and sleeping bag gives you the freedom to sleep anywhere for free.

camping in turkey
Bring a pot too and some water.

13) Cheap Airlines

Keep an eye on Skyscanner, airlines such as Ryanair and Wizz Air often have ridiculously cheap flights, I’ve flown Dublin to Glasgow for €9 in the past.

14) Tips?

Don’t bother…. Unless the foods exceptional that is, or you fancy the waitress/waiter.

15) Don’t use your phone

Keep Mammy posted through Skype, Email, FB or with a drunken message in a bottle cast into the Danube (all free).

Don’t feel the need to text her all your terrible selfies.

piatra climbing
Even if your on top of a mountain in your beautiful Celtic top.

Have your own secrets to save money backpacking Europe, then be sure to let us know by leaving a comment.

 

 

 

Hitchhiking in Turkey Tips

Hitchhiking in Turkey Tips

Capital : Ankara

Population : Around 78 Million

Languages : Turkish

 English (Common in Istanbul)

 German (Common in Istanbul)

Difficulty : Good for Hitchhiking.

Money : Lira, (Not very Cheap in Istanbul to eat and sleep, Alcohol is expensive too)

chai
Turkish Tea

Visa : Gotten online from here (USA and most EU countries) for about €10. Print the receipt and bring it to the border.

Hitchhiking in Turkey is not as difficult or dangerous as many people assume.

Though I did nearly get arrested here.

Waiting times are quite minimal and truck drivers can be very helpful, often making you Chai (Turkish tea).

The roads in Turkey are far superior to those of Eastern European Countries such as neighbours Bulgaria. The traffic often moves fast and Turkish drivers are unpredictable on the roads.

Its best to find somewhere good to hitchhike at the edge of towns and cities where traffic moves a little slower and a car can pull in. Hitchhiking with your thumb or a sign works. Looking clean will also help a lot hitchhiking in Turkey.

I found camping easy here too, at one stage I camped for three nights in a row with two friends on a beach without any trouble at all.

camping in turkey
Cooking up a meal in Turkey by the beach.

The country is absolutely immense but moving long distances in a day is possible because of the good roads between most cities. Getting out of Istanbul is a nightmare though because the city is so huge.

To get off on the right foot with your driver just be sure to complinet the nice Mosques and food (lovely kebabs). Don’t ever joke about Turkey or insult Turkish men or women! Some guys are quick tempered and have huge pride in Turkey and the language. That’s why learning a couple words in Turkish is great to help get lifts.

Is it safe for girls to Hitchhike in Turkey?

I’m not being ignorant here, I’m just trying to be honest about the culture in Turkey.

Women definitely are not respected 100% as much here by the men, even if you visit Turkey with your girlfriend and walk around holding her hand clearly stating that you are a couple. She is still likely to get hit-on by at least one idiot virgin.

Not all Turkish men are awkward like this around girls, most are friendly people but there is one every now and then.

That said I did meet girls who have hitchhiked extensively and safely in Turkey with truck drivers and regular traffic, having a great time. So don’t fear it! But I would recommend not hitchhiking alone for girls, because of what has happened in the past.

My friend Lea of L’Spirit Cross from Switzerland hitchhiked in Turkey and told me about her experience.

“To travel in turkey as a woman is a must.

Imagine standing on the road with thumbs up, you well get right away chai and sometimes a chorba (Soup) but mostly you even don’t have time to finish it, because cars stops soon. 

I had a good experience with trucks drivers. I learned the basic turkish.

It’s beautiful. the country and the people and they are very happy if you know some words and they really like to talk to you, try hard to understand English.

No worries they all have smartphones and you also can use translation app. and also they love to take selfies.

About the men, they have a different attitude,but if you travel and understand the history and culture, I feel is not that much different as somewhere else.

Take care , go for what you love and enjoy having no plan. Turkey is a organised chaos and will surprise you. have fun.”