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Gül, me, and Salih

by Matt Krause on April 15, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Gül, me, and Salih by mattkrause1969

Barbecue and volleyball at Lake Van

by Matt Krause on April 15, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Barbecue and volleyball at Lake Van by mattkrause1969

Sunday Salih and Gül and I joined some of Salih’s students and fellow teachers for a barbecue on Lake Van. The teacher crouching in the front row is wet because moments before he had jumped into the lake to retrieve a stray volleyball.

Burku, me, and Merve

by Matt Krause on April 15, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Burku, me, and Merve by mattkrause1969

Salih holds a weekly reading session with some of his students on Sunday mornings. They get together and read silently for an hour, just to get in the habit of reading regularly every day.

After the reading session two of Salih’s students were adamant about showing me around Van, so we toured around and saw some stuff, much of it closed, since our timing was bad (we were touring around on a Sunday morning).

We might not have been able to see much, but we sure did eat a lot of junk food. We had ice cream, and then a few minutes later fısıtklı burma (ground up pistachios, sugar, and honey, folded up into a roll) and fısıtıklı baklava (Merve likes pistachios, and she did the ordering, so there was no shortage of pistachio on our table). The shop was owned by Merve’s father.

Me and Hasan Yıldırım at the border

by Matt Krause on April 15, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Me and Hasan Yıldırım at the border by mattkrause1969

Alper, Yonca, me, and Tolga at the border

by Matt Krause on April 15, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Alper, Yonca, me, and Tolga at the border by mattkrause1969

Group photo at the border

by Matt Krause on April 15, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Group photo at the border by mattkrause1969

Kneeling: Vahap, Salih, Hasan, Diego.

Standing: Ulrike, Alper, Donna, Gerdi, Joy, Matt, Tolga, Yonca.

Me and Joy touch the fence at the border

by Matt Krause on April 15, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Me and Joy touch the fence at the border by mattkrause1969

Joy joined me for the first day of the walk way back in September, a day of the walk about halfway across the country, and for the final day too. Here we are touching the fence at the Turkey-Iran border.

Touching the fence at the border

by Matt Krause on April 15, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Touching the fence at the border by mattkrause1969

Diego, Vahap, and Salih, and Joy and Ulrike

by Matt Krause on April 15, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Diego, Vahap, and Salih, and Joy and Ulrike by mattkrause1969

Walking to the border

by Matt Krause on April 15, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Walking to the border by mattkrause1969

Foreground, left to right: Yonca, Donna, Tolga, Alper, Hasan, Gerdi.

Background: Diego, Vahap, and Ulrike.

Hidden or barely visible: Salih, Joy.

Working the camera: me

Gerdi and I collect broken glass at the border

by Matt Krause on April 15, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Gerdi and I collect broken glass at the border by mattkrause1969

Writing a name on a bottle

by Matt Krause on April 15, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Writing a name on a bottle by mattkrause1969

I was going to break three champagne bottles on the road at the end of the walk, but there was no champagne available, at least not conveniently.

So I broke three bottles of apple-flavored sparkling soda water instead. Sometimes the bottles would not break, no matter how hard I threw them at the ground, so at the left you’ll see a rock on the ground. Hasan got me that rock so I could drop it on the bottles that would not break.

This walk was for Pryor Gibson

by Matt Krause on April 15, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

This walk was for Pryor Gibson by mattkrause1969

Pryor is the son of my good friends in Seattle, George and Napua Gibson.

Saturday’s early birds have a group breakfast

by Matt Krause on April 15, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Saturday's early birds have a group breakfast by mattkrause1969

"Van kahvaltısı" (Van breakfast) is famous around Turkey. So when in Van, have breakfast. And have breakfast we did. Oh, what an orgy of food it was! We ordered enough for "two people," and six of us barely ate half of it.

Fortunately, Yonca suggested we pack it up and take it on the road with us, so we were eating breakfast all day!

Clockwise from left: Tolga, Yonca, Alper, Salih, Donna, and me.

Today is for Mom and Dad

by Matt Krause on April 8, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Today is for Mom and Dad by mattkrause1969

Friday, 5 April, the last full day of the walk, was for my mom and dad.

Without them I would be unable to do pretty much anything in life because, well, I probably wouldn’t be here to start with.

But seriously, thanks Mom and Dad. Your restraint when your sons have gone off to do unusual things that would worry any parent to death is, I think, one of the greatest gifts parents can give their children.

Today is for the people who help me

by Matt Krause on April 8, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Today is for the people who help me by mattkrause1969

I get a lot of help from strangers who, I have to continually remind myself, consider me a stranger too.

It astounds me that people here stop regularly to help, or offer help to, a foreigner who barely speaks the local language and is, get this, out WALKING in a deserted area miles from the nearest town, and who talks some bizarre BS about walking all the way across the country. And they offer that help without even blinking an eye, as if something unusual happens here every day. Because, as I’ve learned, it kind of does.

The walk’s highest point

by Matt Krause on April 8, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

The walk's highest point by mattkrause1969

This was the walk’s highest point. I reached it Friday. 7500 feet (2300 meters) above sea level. For some reason I was expecting a marching band, a big parade, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony of some sort, but all I found when I actually got there was a stiff headwind. No traffic, no people, nothing but wind.

Second to last day

by Matt Krause on April 4, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Second to last day by mattkrause1969

Today I walked to Saray, the last little town I’ll see on the way to the border.

By the way, my heavily-accented Turkish doesn’t work really well around here. "Is this the road to Saray?" comes across as "Is this the road to Syria?" and is more likely to garner the response, "No, this is the road to Iran" than anything else.

Tomorrow’s walk will be 19 kilometers to a turnoff that marks the "5 km to go" point, where I’ll leave the rest for Saturday, 13 April.

Today is for Gary Rayl

by Matt Krause on April 2, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Today is for Gary Rayl by mattkrause1969

Gary was one of the Resident Heads (read: adult supervision) at my dorm at the University of Chicago. We have stayed in touch since. He is a retired teacher, runs marathons like a maniac, and does things like hike the Appalachian Trail.

Today’s walk was 30 kilometers, from Van to the town of Erçek. The walk started at an elevation of about 5550 feet (1700 meters), but spent most of the time between 6100 and 6200 feet (1900 meters).

Temporary housing in Van

by Matt Krause on March 31, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Temporary housing in Van by mattkrause1969

There’s a lot of temporary housing for earthquake victims in Van. Mile after mile of these things. Entire cities, with police stations and grocery stores, also housed in temporary housing.

For weeks I’ve been passed by hundreds of trucks carrying empty housing units to the Syrian border. I thought they must be clearing them out. Yesterday I realized they were just carrying a drop in the bucket.

Lunch on the shores of Lake Van

by Matt Krause on March 31, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Lunch on the shores of Lake Van by mattkrause1969

Yesterday’s lunch was a plate of ızgara köfte (grilled meatballs) and homemade ayran at Kadenbas Köftecisi, between the lake and a cement factory in Edremit, about 15 kilometers south of Van.

This was some of the best köfte I’ve ever had, and this region is known for many things, but köfte is not one of them. The outside of the köfte was crunchy, and when I broke the köfte open with my fork, the meat was so fresh it crumbled into a thousand pieces, practically under its own weight.

There are many things I will miss about this region. Kadenbas Köftecisi is now one of them.

Today is for whoever gave me that piece of advice

by Matt Krause on March 31, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Today is for whoever gave me that piece of advice by mattkrause1969

Someone told me months ago that I thought about the end result too much, and that there are some things in life that are just too uncontrollable and too unpredictable to make decisions based on how you think they will end up. He said sometimes you should make decisions based on how you feel about the situation at the outset, not based on how you feel about the reality you think will exist at the end.

I have at best a tenuous grasp on that concept.

I’ve been trying for a week to remember who gave me that piece of advice, but for the life of me I can’t remember. Whoever it was, I am glad you put that bug in my ear. I owe you one, thanks.

Today is for Kate Repp

by Matt Krause on March 31, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Today is for Kate Repp by mattkrause1969

Kate is my cousin. She lives in eastern Washington State and is studying to be a nurse.

The day’s walk was 37 kilometers (23 miles) around the southeast corner of Lake Van, from the town of Gevaş to the city of Van.

Waiting for spring

by Matt Krause on March 31, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Waiting for spring by mattkrause1969

Taze balık bulunur. Fresh fish here.

At the southeast corner of the lake, on the road to Van yesterday.

Not this one

by Matt Krause on March 31, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Not this one by mattkrause1969

The Turkey/Iran border is about 360 kilometers (224 miles) long. There are multiple border crossings. I will not be walking to the one this sign points to. I will be walking to the one east of Van.

And Van makes 95%

by Matt Krause on March 31, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

And Van makes 95% by mattkrause1969

On 1 March I blew out of Urfa like a bat out of hell, telling myself that in March I’d walk 572 kilometers (355 miles) and end the month in Van. Actually, I thought it was barely possible. It was almost 2-1/2 times my monthly average for the walk.

Yesterday, on the 30th of March, I arrived in Van.

Van is a city of 353,000 people. It sits on the eastern edge of Lake Van at an elevation of 1727 meters (5666 feet). Van is the last major city on the way to the Turkey/Iran border 100 kilometers (62 miles) to the east.

On the road today, between Tatvan and Van

by Matt Krause on March 28, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

On the road today, between Tatvan and Van by mattkrause1969

The light dusting supplementing the older snowpack is from last night (it rained at lower elevations, snowed at higher ones).

Today is for Andrea Gilkinson Krause

by Matt Krause on March 27, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Today is for Andrea Gilkinson Krause by mattkrause1969

Andrea is my brother Mark’s wife. Andrea and Mark are expecting their first child in June. Yes, I’m going to be an uncle!

Today’s walk started with a brief visit to a rural primary school, then came my normal time on the road, and then hitchhiking my way back to Tatvan.

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Pile of gravel for road construction on shore of Lake Van by mattkrause1969

Today is for Erin Özen

by Matt Krause on March 25, 2013

This was a temporary blog, specifically for the walk across Turkey. Visit Matt's permanent website, www.mattkrause.com.

Today is for Erin Özen by mattkrause1969

Erin is a cousin of my friend Aytuğ Sözüer. She joined us for breakfast in Istanbul back in August, and has followed the walk since (hello Erin!).

Today’s walk was 32 kilometers (20 miles) from Tatvan to the village of Yelkenli. It was a nice, sunny day, and the views of Lake Van were incredible.

At the end of today’s walk I was trying to hitch a ride back to Tatvan. Hitching a ride is unpredictable — sometimes it takes 20 seconds, sometimes it takes 90 minutes, and you never know which one it’s going to be.

This afternoon I tried unsuccessfully for a full hour to flag down a ride. The police noticed I was having trouble. They stopped and flagged down the first car that came along. I was back in Tatvan in no time at all.