My first visit to Turkey was in 2010, at that point I was part of a tour group. The tour focused on the Western side of Turkey. During that time, most of my meals was taken cared of by the tour company. I didn’t get to choose the restaurant or budget. There was menus in Turkish and English. The tour company looked after the logistics of hotels and transportation. I just followed the leader and took lots of photos.
This time in 2014, I spent 2 months (cumulatively) in Turkey. I traveled alone, met fellow travelers along the way, some we simply connected in the hostel others we toured the location together. One travel friend met up with me in 5 different cities within Turkey, it was quite the experience of separation and reunion over the span of 2 weeks.
A small town in the area of the Kaçkar Mountains in Turkey reminded me of the beauty of the Swiss Alps – without the exorbitant prices. It is within the Kaçkar Dağları Milli Parkı so park fees are charged to each vehicle entering the area.
The Kaçkar Mountains are unlike anything I have seen so far in other parts of Turkey. It is in the north east part of Turkey close to the Black Sea. Due to the higher elevation, the temperature is much cooler. I actually had to put on a jacket!
Ayder is quaint, friendly, mountainous, affordable thermal bath, lush forests, hiking trails and plenty of waterfalls.
Van is an urban city in southeastern Anatolia, Turkey. Sitting on the east coastline of Van Gölü (Lake Van).
It is only approximately 200 km from the Iranian border.
The surrounding area offers much history for those interested in Kalesi (castles) and Türbesi (tombs).
One Urartu castle, Çavuştepe is guarded by Mehmet Kuşman who is one of 25 people in the world who can read, write and speak Urartian. He makes souvenirs with Urartian inscriptions.