Bus ride from Istanbul
It was really easy to get a bus ticket from Istanbul to Fethiye. I already knew there was a nightbus with a company called Metro. I just asked around in a few of the many tourist offices in the Sultanahmet area until I got directed to an office caled TourIsta. They among a few others sold bus tickets for that company. I got to choose my seat and it cost me 65 TL. I pre-purchased the ticket, but as soon as I got to the central bus station in Bayranpasa (Otogar Metro station) I realized I could have just bought it there.
We left the bus station at 9 p.m. sharp. After picking up more people in the many suburbs of Istanbul we finally started the trip down south. By then it was already after 11 p.m. Istanbul is an unimaginably huge city. The suburbs spread over many many kilometers. We crossed the first bridge that connects the European to the Asian side of the city, which was pretty amazing, especially at night time. It was beautiful to see the city all lit up, I saw the huge skyscrapers including the trump towers on the
other side. Its probably the biggest city I have ever been to and that includes New York city! Just unbelievable.
The trip was more or less comfortable. We had our own bus attendant serving water, tea and coffee and snacks. There was a screen on every seat. I didn't use it because I figured it would all be in Turkish anyway. But all in all, 65 TL (approx. 28 €) for that distance and that comfort is a pretty good deal.
As soon as the sun came up, I got to see a beautiful mountainous area. The real Turkey. I enjoyed the ride until we arrived at the Fethiye bus station at 10 a.m. sharp the next morning. So thumbs up for Turkish bus travel and punctuality! The HelpX Host
I already knew a few things about my next destination in Fethiye. The description on the helpX website was quite informative, so I knew I would be staying in a small hotel in Fethiye and go to a small farm outside of the city a few days a week to work there. For everyone who doesnt know what helpX is, here's a quick description: HelpX, Wwoofing, or workaway
are pretty much based on the same principal. I generally use www.helpX.net as it costs 20 € for a 2 year membership and lets you access every host listing in the whole world. It includes Accomodations, Homestays, Organic and non-organic farmstays and other rurual settings to work in. Wwoofing is short for Willing Workers on Organic Farms and as the name already says, it was originally meant for Organic Farms. But as of a few years ago, a lot of non-organic farms were able to join. As a helper, you have a buy seperate memberships for each country which makes it a lot less flexible than HelpX. Wwoof generally has a bigger selection of farms, but not necessarily and I think HelpX has enough farms to choose from. The membership fee varies from country to country. I have never used workaway but I think it pretty much the same as HelpX but with less listings. The principle is the same though. For a certain amount of work per day (4-6 hours, depending on your host) you get food and accomodation for free. Lots of hosts take you out to the touristy areas or help you
get around on your days off. I've mainly had good experiences, but after a while you just know which place to choose from the listings.
My expectations for this place were more than exceeded. My host Ali picked me up from the bus and took me to the hotel were I met my Iranian fellow helper Majeed. I had a delicious and relaxing breakfast and a nice chat with Ali and Majeed. The rest of the day was pretty much free and I used the time to catch up on some sleep. When I woke up in the afternoon another helper from the States arrived. We went for short walk along the beautiful promenade of Fethiye and had our communal dinner before I went to sleep. I have my own (hotel)room and my own bathroom. Not to mention the pool. So, yeah... It's pretty awesome! Fethiye
What can I say about Fethiye? It is breathtakingly beautiful. It's a small touristy town on the Aegean coast, the town is set on a peninsula, surrounded by mountains. After the breakfast of my second day, Ali took me and my fellow American helper into town. We went for a short
drive to the other side of the Bay and got to enjoy some breathtaking views over the bay and the harbour. It was just amazing and there are so many things to do here and I have only so little time... Afterwards we went to the local farmers market to buy some fresh fish, fruit and veggies for the next few days.
Kadiköy is a tiny little village around 45 minutes inland from Fethiye. It is the location of Alis farm. A few days a week, Ali takes us away from the seaside, where the Pomgrenade trees grow and goats block the road. Village life in Turkey is just a completely different story. Out of sight from the touristy areas and pretty much inaccessible by public transport, the farm lies in a beautiful valley surrounded by high, cloud covered mountains. Alis neighbour Mustafa and his family await us with a great deal of hospitality and a generous, homecooked lunch with fresh ingrediants from the farm. Although being foreigners, we were treated like family with a hospitality I have never encountered before. So definitely thumbs up for
Turkey and their great hospitality!After we worked through these mountains of food, we get a cup of coffee or Turkish tea to flush down the last piece of bread. Ready to go to work! The work on the farm is easy and I think we could never ever make up for all the great food we got with this little work we are actually expected to do. Picking up fallen olives from the ground, picking a few buckets of olives from the uncountable olive trees or planting a few onions and leeks are a some of the tasks we have on the farm. Of course, the most important task is the tea break! It is in fact a real holiday down here, with great food, great people, relaxed atmosphere, authentic Turkish life and a truckload of sunshine. Can it even get any better? Stay tuned to hear my experience of Bayram, an important Muslim holiday coming up at the end of the month.
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