27 August 2011

This could just be the friendliest place in Turkey.

This would arguably make it the friendliest place in the world. I’m certainly not going to suggest anything less after the day I’ve had today. I still have many miles to travel on my Turkey motorcycle tour – but Sinop will be hard to beat.

Everywhere I’ve been in Sinop the people shine. They make you feel so welcome. How I wish I could speak their language so I could engage more with them. And this is genuine. They are proud of their town. With good reason too.

The day started like most others. Breakfast in the hotel, included in the room rate of course. Tomato, cucumber, cheese, bread, olives, coffee or tea. Who needs more? There is culinary genius in the simplicity.

A stroll on the pier and a local resident asks me the time. I show him my watch.

I just hate that I have no language skills. It’s just part of being Australian I guess. We have no borders and simply don’t learn or need these skills. And speaking English makes you lazy. Well me anyway. I wish it were different but I have a mind like a sieve – I just cannot remember the words.

My new friend Ali walks with me some. He likes fishing. He is in the right place. His English is good but every now and then we don’t understand. But this doesn’t matter. My Sinup host for the day is excellent company. Rightly proud of his home town.

It’s another spectacular day. Warm and blue skies. The Black Sea is sparkling like a jewel. Fishing boats intermittently disturb the pond like surface. The only south facing city on the Black Sea, there is not one view of this town that doesn’t look good.

Our brisk walk out of town along the coast is most enjoyable. Ali explains many things to me. Teaches me Turkish but I am a poor student. We catch a mini bus back to town.

He has friends everywhere. We visit some of them. He always introduces me and I shake their hand. He explains I’m from Australia. There is a mutual respect there that I will learn more about later in my trip.

We visit his friend at the finest barber’s in Sinop. He has photos of fish he has caught in his shop. I get a haircut – why not if he is the best in town. And he is the best I can confirm, although number two’s all over is probably not quite the challenge he is capable of.

Next we go for tea, and then Turkish coffee. It is a holiday here today, many people like Ali have the day off. Tomorrow also.

He then shows me the city walls/fortifications. These are old and most impressive. Must have been a hard life when these were built.

Then we go to the local newspaper office and I am introduced to more people who match Ali’s hospitality.

Then we go for a short ride on the Family Truckster to get it washed. He has a yet another friend here to and the is no charge to wash the bike. Is there anyone in Sinop Ali does not know?

We return to the main part of town near my hotel and on the way Ali points out the best Turkish bath in town.

I’d been wanting to experience a Turkish bath since getting to Turkey. Now was the perfect opportunity. Ali shows me through the Hammam. It is so hot. But I decide to stay and have a massage. And it was great. I feel re-energised afterwards. Everyone should do this.

Ali meets me again at the hotel. He is going fishing later this afternoon.

Time for me to stroll down there now to meet him to see if the fish are biting.

I’ll show you around Sinop in my next post.