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Sunday hiking in Bozdag, Turkey

I feel very fortunate to have found and joined the Manisa Tennis and Mountain Club. This club meets every Sunday for adventures in Manisa. Many of the members are mountaineers and this Sunday I joined them for my first mountaineering adventure in Manisa!

Every day I’m in Turkey, I find that this country and these people suit me more and more. Turkey is an incredibly beautiful country and the people are warm, friendly, and have a hearty zest for life that really suits my nature.
hiking in Manisa
Of course, part of what led me to living in Manisa was that the city’s mascot is ‘Tarzan’ and finding the Manisa Mountain and Tennis Club was a great thing for me. This Sunday, since Hanane felt a little under the weather, I went to join them for a hike, not really knowing what to expect. I wasn’t too prepared for a big adventure, just a pack with water and a few pieces of fruit. I thought it would be a hike of a few hours on nearby Sypil, boy was I wrong!
hiking in Turkey
They had a bus waiting and we drove about two hours to the mountain town of Bozdag. On the way we passed the ruins of Sardis which is where money was first invented, one could say that it is the place where the root of all evil emerged into the world, but the ruins looked quite serene from the bus. Our first stop was a little mountain bazaar where we had tea and breakfast. In addition to the resident mountaineer, Fuat, two other members spoke great English and befriended me. When I went to pay for my breakfast (tea and a sort of burrito made of spinach and cheese) I found that the president of the club had already paid for mine! It was just the first of many acts of generosity and kindness I experienced through the day.
mountain town Turkey
After this we went to Bozdag where we split into two groups, those who wanted to explore the town and those who wanted to climb to the 2600 meter summit. I joined the climbers.
Turkey hikes
There were about ten of us climbing and perhaps 20 who stayed to enjoy the town. The hike was a beautiful 15 km stroll with a little bit of scrambling, but no technical climbing. On the way we found wild apricots, juniper, and plenty of chestnuts scattered on the ground.

At the top, I was surprised to find that we had climbed to the peak of a ski mountain from the back side. The chair lift wasn’t running though, so we had to hike back down which was, of course, not a problem for any of us.
lunch on Bozgar
At the summit the other climbers shared a delicious meal of bread, cheese, cookies, tea, fruit, dolmoths, and other Turkish goodies with me. One new friend told me that in Turkey the rule is that if you see food, you eat and if you get punched, then you run! I really love the way Turkish people share food. If you are going to eat, you share what you have. My orange and pear didn’t go very far, but were appreciated none the less.
I love hiking in Turkey
Along the way we met other hikers and there was always a true sense of warmth and as we hiked, it made me feel good to hear the hearty laughter of my companions. I’ve been starting to think that Turkey is perhaps the most civilized nation on the planet. The hospitality and caring people show for one another is reflected well in the sharing of tea and the good natured companionship one finds here.
Old man in Bozgar
After the hike we sat and enjoyed tea before climbing back on the bus and coming back to Manisa. It was a wonderful Sunday and I’m so happy to be back among people who love the outdoors and appreciate nature and culture for the wonders they are.

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Vago Damitio

Mr. Damitio  (@vagodamitio) is the Editor-in-Chief for Vagobond. Life is good. You can also find him on Google+ and at Facebook

5 thoughts on “Sunday hiking in Bozdag, Turkey

  • October 25, 2010 at 10:08 pm
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    Would never have dreamed Turkey was such a wonderful place with such warm and delightful people. Very nice to learn about it.

  • October 27, 2010 at 3:09 pm
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    Vago,
    I’m glad that you are acclimatizing to Turkey. The club you’ve joined sounds great. I’ve really enjoyed my travels to Turkey, as well.
    Nice post!
    Jason

  • October 27, 2010 at 6:21 pm
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    Now we are really jealous – the trek sounds amazing. Nice of you to share your pieces of fruit between your food carrying companions! :) Manisa sounds really good – maybe we’ll head up your way one day…

  • April 19, 2011 at 7:11 am
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    I am moving to Manisa next week and would love to join the hiking club. Do you know if it is still up and running? Please let me know. I would also like to get connected with some cool down to earth people in Manisa and you sound like you might be a great connection for this. Thank you.

    Graciela

  • April 19, 2011 at 7:47 am
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    Graciela….It is still there. Manisa Tennis and Hiking Club, find them on Facebook. I’m no longer in Manisa. If you are moving there to teach, please be very careful of AKD Manisa and British Culture. They are rip off schools who prey on foreign teachers. Get everything in writing before you begin…

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