Friday, May 3, 2013

We went to Lapseki

Last Friday, the kids and I decided we need to get out of the house.  Cam's been swamped at work the last 4 months so our family trips have primarily consisted of dashing to town for groceries in between rig operations.

Before we moved I read about the buses which connect the towns and villages. Knowing we'd likely have only one vehicle, I asked a Turk, Cam introduced me to in Calgary, about them.  He sneered and said "You will buy two cars."

Car ownership in Turkey is an expensive proposition. Purchase price, insurance, road tax, fuel and maintenance are all beyond what the average Turk can afford. People drive scooters or small motorcycles, share vehicles with friends or family, walk or take the bus. Early on we decided to see if sharing one vehicle could work for us. It takes a bit of juggling, because Cam's work can be physically demanding and there are times when he can't be available to us. He's worked hard to make sure we get to town when we need to go, but as I said, Friday we just needed to get out and away for a while.

The little buses, called "dolmus" carry 15 to 25 seated passengers and as many as can stand between the seats. Dolmus means "stuffed". Catching the bus is as simple as standing beside the highway. Buses flash their lights and if you wave or step forward, the driver pulls over. The trip from our village to Gelibolu costs 4TL per person. The driver might send his helper around to collect the money during the trip, or in some instances you pay before you get on or when you get off.  The driver can usually make change for smaller bills. There are bigger more luxurious buses on the road which make longer trips between larger cities. We haven't had any experience with these. Because of our location, we also see a lot of tourist buses.

The bus made a few stops before we got off at the ferry terminal.  We had to wait a few minutes for the next ferry to arrive.  We were allowed to board as soon as it docked, so we could stand on the upper deck and enjoy Gelibolu from a different perspective and also watch the vehicles unload and load. It took us nearly 90 minutes from the time we left the house until we landed in Lapseki, but most of that time was spent waiting for the ferry to leave the harbour.
What looks like sand in the bins is actually metal. The coloured bins have metal fittings in them. (Photo by Nicole)

Lots of seats outside and quite a few inside. (Photo by Nicole)

Waiting patiently. (Photo by Nicole)   
During most ferry crossings there are vendors carrying bags or wooden boxes (like old fashioned shoe shine boxes with handles). They sell designer perfume (Chanel etc.), prayer beads, metal key chains and other small items.  This crossing had a bus load of Japanese tourists. It was fascinating to watch the peddlers make sales to these people.  One peddler spoke, English and Japanese to his customer in order to be understood and make the sale. It was lovely to see the tourists (funny we don't think we fall into this category any more) and the vendors walk away smiling and happy. The peddlers were persistent but didn't hassle us. Once we'd all said no, they moved on to the next person.

Crossing the Marmara means crossing from Europe to Asia. The Marmara is one of the world's busiest shipping lanes.  We are always awestruck at the size of the cargo ships moving through this channel from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea and grateful that the ferry boat Captain is paying attention!

Our ferry docked in Lapseki. (Photo by Susan)

The Lapseki shore line. (Photo by Susan)

Pegasus and friends at the Lapseki feribot terminal. (Photo by Susan)

We've been through Lapseki quite a few times in the car, but never ever on foot.  We walked along the sea from the ferry terminal and then headed toward the main street.  I encouraged the kids to path find and pick a restaurant for lunch.  Johanna spied a PIZZA sign and when we got there we discovered a nice clean restaurant.  We were served by two women dressed in the traditional Muslim way (long coats and head scarves). It's very rare to be waited on by women, most of the serving staff are men.  I asked for a "menu" using hand gestures and my best Inspector Clouseau accent.  We each ordered Pide and pop.
This is a fine example of Turkish parking. The cone in front is likely to allow for deliveries or customer parking. (Photo by Nicole)

Diced Meat Pide with peppers and tomatoes (Photo by Nicole)

After lunch we wandered some of the shops.  We spent the most time in a Turkish "Walmart".  This store is smaller than the average North American fast food place but carries everything! (small hand tools, fine china, school supplies, towels, plastic dishes, toys, underwear and shoes.) I bought glue sticks, a ball for Sam and Johanna bought a small utility knife. Afterwards we checked out a couple of clothing stores and headed back to the ferry terminal.  We boarded right away and twenty minutes later we were back in Gelibolu.  We all had dondurma at the ice cream shop.  It has three employees right now.  One man spends all his time rolling flat waffles into cone shapes and the other two wait on customers.
Fanta, and Cheese Pide - Sam is one happy boy! (Photo by Susan)

We took the bus home of course.  It's a simple matter of sitting in a particular spot a few blocks from the Ferry terminal and waiting until a bus comes which is headed for a town or village beyond where you want to get off.  The driver will drop you where ever you like along the highway.

In Canadian dollars, our day out cost $51.00 or  about $12.75 per person.

Bus return $18.00 (32 TL)
Ferry return $9.00 (15 TL)
Lunch in Lapseki $21.00 (37 TL)
Dondurma in Gelibolu $3.00 (6 TL)

This was a great day. We were tired when we got home, but it was nice to explore at leisure some new ground. It still amazes me that we make out so well with a little Turkish and the kindness of strangers with a little English. 

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