Updated: Jul 31, 2021
1 Travel and Sickness
Legal circumstances made us leave the country and we decided to leave to Europe. Germany is as rainy and cold as Vancouver is in this time of the year. But here we could borrow the van of my Dad and drive into warmer and sunnier regions in Europe. Like Turkey.
We built a wooden bed in the back of the car and taped the windows so no one could watch us at night. As much as I like the atmosphere and sustainability thoughts about old cars, I really appreciated the low gas consumption and the feeling that nothing is going to break down soon.
On our 3000 km drive we scheduled a stop in Venice to visit Akios relatives. After that we just stopped for one overnight rest. Our first night felt exciting, since we parked on a parking lot just in the city of Sophia. We were on the edge of a park close to community trash cans with the sound of single cars passing.
Sometimes it sounded like a street racing. By the surrounding and on the ground laying trash you got the feeling that other people would stay here at night as well, maybe not in a car though. But close standing apartment buildings and even single houses with a garden and huge fences or walls, made it feel more secure.
In another approx. 16 hours we made it on the second day finally to Antalya. Antalya is located south middle of Turkey, being a tourist city on the Mediterranean Sea.
Unfortunately, I got sick just after a few days of climbing. A painful and one-week lasting sinusitis hunted me. We all get sick in our life. And I had sinusitis before. I think sinusitis is my sickness because I almost never get any other infection.
Being sick is for everyone challenging. You feel miserable and you must lay down and can’t be active in any way.
Especially in physical terms and when you are outdoors in an incredible climbing spot. You see the people preparing in the morning for their exciting and adventurous day and you only get even more reminded of your incapability about enjoying life and sports.
For me being sick brings a lot of insecurities as well within. I am starting to question myself, why me? do I get sick a lot? what does that mean for me? am I a weak person? am I not fit enough? do I have problems in general that causes me this illness? Then I start judging myself and putting myself in a bad light.
Sometimes I tell myself, that I am such a weak person that I never can get better in climbing or hiking. Or I feel bad for my partners who are especially in climbing dependent on me. Maybe they don’t want to go on a trip with me anymore, cause they are scared I am going to be sick and destroying as well their climbing goals and holidays. These kinds of thoughts make me suffer even more of course.
So, I try whenever I can to remember myself that I am still a loveable and precious person. That I am sick and that is ok. There is no reason for me to judge myself for that. That is me and that is totally fine. I can’t change it anyways so better to accept it. And it is not a bad feature of someone to be sick, it doesn’t change my personality or abilities at all.
We all get sick sometime and nobody is because of that an unreliable, bad or unlovable person.
After that week of sickness, it was even more important to start climbing and my overall activities slowly. Even if that meant for my partner to slow down as well. Taking a swim in the sea and laying on the beach helped us to relax really well though.
2 Geyikbayiri is a in the 2000 developed sport-climbing area which had its first route setters mainly from Germany and Turkey. After some time, climbing campgrounds developed as well in a pedestrian friendly climbing area.
The summer is too hot for climbing, but the winter has perfect climbing temperatures. That’s why the main tourists flee from their winters in Germany, Austria, Norway, Finland and Russia to this beautiful place. Most climbs are single pitch and offer routes in every difficulty. There are climbs on tuffa, like Trebenna see Petzl Rocktrip, but also climbs on more slabby and crimpy limestone.
The campgrounds are well equipped and offer cheap dining and breakfast opportunities.
We also checked out the close by climbing area Citibi. This crag has several multipitch climbs and the routes are mainly between 7c and 8b.
So, I could not really enjoy climbing here, but Akio could try to project some route.
Both places are kind of romantic. In Fall, there are flourishing pomegranates, oranges and olives and you can just pick whatever you need for breakfast. Goat herds are crossing sometimes your way and singing birds accompany you at the crag. The people are friendly and smiling and are happy to hear any word you might know in Turkish. In Turkish "pazar" is Sunday and means market and on Sundays the little village Akdamlar had their regional market.
Here we got any seasonal vegetables, fruits, herbs, honey, eggs, butter and so on. For whatever reason the street is packed with breakfast houses or better gardens and you can watch the ladies baking fresh bread and Turkish specialties like "Gözleme".
Besides the weather, the great climbing, food, people and practicing my Turkish, Turkey is unbelievable cheap for western citizens. In my eyes, we couldn’t have picked a better winter spot.
Just after our real first week of climbing, the US embassy in Germany notified us to send our documents in.
We just spent two days on a peninsula 400 km west from Geyikbayiri. The town is called Datca and has a new unknown climbing area close to it. Datca is pretty isolated from the rest of the peninsula and contains a small old town with beautiful little shops. At night golden seeming street lights are shining on the pebbled streets and here and there you can find a little bit hidden an open restaurant. This is the off-season and I wonderd how the "night" life is down town in the summer. Approx. 20 min from town is the climbing area of this peninsula. I got amazed by the beautiful tuffa climbing in a huge open cave on top of a hill. Walking up the hill we met a handfull of turkish climbers. They were very welcoming and excited to see other people. When we asked how th local climbing scene looks like, they answered: "This is the local climbing scene, it's us and maybe 2 - 3 more people". The next days we saw two different couples (on different days) from Austria and Russia.
Besides the bomer tuffa climbing this area is stacked with multi-pitch limestone climbing and has tons of potential for more routes. The grades are all over the place for the multipitches and the cave's focus was probably on 7b. I hope to come back some time and help develop incredible multi-pitch routes.
On our way back to Germany we passed by Meteora (Greece) and climbed on the famous Conglomerat towers which are also home to 300 years old monasteries.
Back in Berlin, we started our application and got ready for a German Christmas...