Entering Asia

We crossed to Asia on the car ferry from downtown İstanbul, out of the mouth of the Golden Horn and across the Bosphorus. It was the start of a reasonably stressful and uncomfortable ten hour trek out of the city to the old Ottoman town of Safranbolu in central Anatolia, near the Black Sea coast.

As we progress further east the culture becomes more and more Middle Eastern, but the shift is not striking. Headscarves are becoming more prevalent: maybe half of the older women and a quarter of the young women wear them around here. In İstanbul and Edirne they were more of a rarity.

Other cultural factors are more difficult to espy. The five-times daily Muezzin cry continues to be one of the most evocative aspects of the local culture, but the people don’t seem to pay it much mind. In fact, I have yet to see any reaction at all from any Turk when the broadcasts begin.

Safranbolu is wonderful, especially in contrast to İstanbul. It’s a small, friendly town. When we arrived one of the local cops invited us into the police station for a cup of çay and we had a nice chat with him. Hopefully we’ll be able to spend the rest of the trip in such relaxed environs. We’re within striking distance of our final destination of Ankara, so our plan is to more or less poke around the region in the general orbit of Ankara until we have to catch our flight home.

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