Just up the hill was a gas station so we stopped and ordered two coffees with the four waiters who were there, waiting to serve customers in a restaurant that was completely empty. The number of petrol stations along this stretch of road, all with attached stores and restaurants, is quite amazing and most of them seem deserted.
Our coffee – unfortunately instant and not the famously strong Turkish variety – came quickly and was steaming hot. We gazed around wondering about something to eat as we sipped our drinks but nothing looked promising so a few minutes later we asked to pay the bill.
“Four lira,” said the waiter. That’s a little over two euros and it was a rather optimistic figure since it nearly matched prices in Greece and we’d seen coffee listed at 90 Turkish cents on the wall of a roadside cafe yesterday.
“Too expensive,” we replied, pointing to the phrase in Turkish from a leaflet we picked up at the border tourist office. A discussion ensued between the gaggle of waiters and a few minutes later the decision came back: two lira. Still probably a bit above the going rate but much closer to the right price.
Our next stop was in a tiny village, just big enough to have a store and it was there we stopped to find breakfast. We were the centre of attention with all ten or so residents coming out to gawk at these strange souls who’d wandered in from the road. The only other thing on the road was a herd of cows, being taken out to pasture by the farmer.
The two elderly men who run the store came to see what they could sell us. Out came two large rounds of bread, wrapped in newspaper and kept in a wooden box. Next some cheese emerged from a fridge. Some cookies from behind the counter and finally some grapes, undoubtedly from a nearby garden. We braced ourselves to haggle again but were surprised when very little was asked for this bounty of food so we left a small tip, pleased with our tasty morning meal.
We fought the wind all day – yes, again – and passed through areas that had little of interest aside from the scenery over the surrounding fields and sometimes down into a green valley. Bargaining once again came up as we stopped to ask about ferries to Istanbul at a tourist information bureau. The man in the office was very helpful and called to ask about prices, then told us how much we should pay and to make sure we mentioned his phone call, as otherwise the ferry operators would probably try to get more.
There is no rest from bargaining here. You always have to be on your toes!
By the time early evening came we had little energy to search out a wild camping site and were pleased to see a sign offering camping. Of course we had to discuss the price. First 20 lira was asked, then we agreed on 15 lira for the night, including a hot shower. When the hot showers turned out to be cold showers in a dusty, dirty stall and the toilets appeared little better we offered 10 lira and it was taken, although not happily by the woman who had obviously hoped to get more.