The Summer of 2021 hasn’t been a very happy one. After a major breakup in my personal life at the beginning of the summer, I have gone through a few minor health incidents, lots of writing work, a massive renovation at home, Istanbul’s hot and humid weather that triggers intense allergy attacks. But in the meantime, an 8-day break. The last is what I had been intending to do, a long road trip and I managed to do with the persons I value a lot. That was a happy moment.
In 8 days, we drove 3600 km (I drove 3300 km of it) from Istanbul to Artvin and back. I had been curious about a particular region there: the Turkish part of Machakheli, a heavenly mountainous region divided between Turkey and Georgia. Well, the place is for heavy campers. I, Hakan (my brother), and Atınç realized that we were not naturalists. Even the mobile phones could not get enough connection. That means Hakan and Atınç could not enjoy themselves watching TikTok. The weather did not help. It was hot. At such a high altitude, we witnessed 40 degrees.
We drove through Erzurum, visited a few places there, and ate Cağ Kebap. We visited Bayburt, which happens to be my parents’ hometown. Among the close relatives, only my elder uncle lives there, owning an animal farm. Bayburt is Turkey’s smallest city and is known for being a notorious Turkish Islamist hotbed. However, Baksı Museum and a newly opened ethnographic museum (Kenan Yavuz ethnographic museum) are making a little bit of positive reputation. After a quiet long drive in the two-lane intercity highways, we arrived at Amasya for a rest.
Then we drove to Hattusa in Çorum. It was a bigger ancient city than I thought. A car is handy to look around. I was meaning to stay in Ankara for the night but then we drove to İstanbul and finished up my long-awaited road trip.