Kilometer 650: where hitchhiking works best and why in Turkey
Just a few kilometers out of Budapest we started to experience Turkish hospitality, having been invited into a truck cab graced with abundant artifacts which suggested utmost devotion to one of Istanbul’s football teams. Five shared meals, a dozen sweet, strong cups of çay, one lost pair of shoes and numerous mosquito bites later – we arrived in the land of friendliness and kebab.
Moving has never been easier – Turkey has taken the outright lead among the hitchhiker-friendly countries. Admittedly, a conversation with a Turkish driver is totally Greek to me, but with the use of hands, legs, a map and mutual good intentions we manage to establish that the driver has three kids, one of which works in England, he’s transporting milk from his home town, Cappadocia is beautiful, democracy is good and we need to get off on the Konya-Aksaray junction.
Whatever this junction would look like, whether it would have a bus stop, or traffic lights, a tiny shoulder, or a lack thereof – no worries, you’ll get dropped off exactly where you need to hitch your next ride. The next car will stop in less than 3 minutes, even if it’s only to take you to the next intersection, even if you’re in the city center of the capital city and for the last 1,5 minutes you’ve been cursing the previous good soul who dropped you off in such a moronic spot.
Indisputably, the greatest entertainment of a Turkish driver is to call their Friends-and-Relations so that they can listen to a foreigner speak in a strange language. Alternatively, the foreigner is asked to shout something in Turkish. What it is – I’m not really sure.