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Life In A Northern Town

After only two nights in Istanbul and an almost nine hour bus ride towards the Aegean Coast, we arrived at our eighth housesitting job, and our home until the end of May.

It is, without doubt, our most ambitious job to date. But at the same time it’s also a total dream.

There’s the house itself, while sometimes a little cold for us, is overall very comfortable and an easy place to ‘just be‘.

The House

 

View from the Gate

Beautiful mountain views from our gate.

 

Olive Garden

An olive grove out back, complete with walnut and pomegranate trees (too bad we are here off-season!)

 

Cherry Blossoms

Springtime in our backyard.

 

Then there’s the pups, or rather, four big dogs, that lap up all the love and attention they can get. We have lots to give, as one of the major things we miss about having a home is the fur babies that come with it.

And while most of the time they are quite innocent, they have already given us a good number of trying moments. It is, however, impossible to stay mad at them (look at those sweet faces)!

The Four Dogs

 

Dalene and the Pups

Looking for love.

 

Dinner Time

Waiting patiently for dinner.

 

What makes this an ambitious housesit is the fact that we are somewhere few have heard of – Burhaniye is a small community with nary an expat in sight. Hardly anyone speaks more than a few words of English. Familiar products, brand names, and the like are nowhere to be seen.

Camel ride into Burhaniye

We are a short walk, or bus ride, into town. Sometimes we have to deal with camels in traffic.

Streets of Burhaniye

The town itself isn't much to look at. It reminds us a lot of a Latin American pueblo - a scattered stage of slow construction, with mismatched colored buildings and uneven sidewalks.

Save for a couple of new friends, we are actually quite alone to fend for ourselves, stumbling through town and constantly flipping through our dual dictionary to find the right words for the things we need. The biggest blessing is that the people we have met are friendly, warm, and incredibly patient as we surely butcher every Turkish word we try to use.

We wanted cultural immersion, and we got it. We’ve been told that this is one of the few places left that is authentically Turkish with few outside influences. What makes it difficult is also what makes it immensely satisfying – every trip to the market and every connection with a smiling stranger brings us closer to understanding life in another corner of the world.

And isn’t that what we left home for in the first place?

 

77 Comments (Add Yours)

  1. Loving it! Keep us updated with the amazing stories and hopefully we will see you over there soon :)

  2. If you’re at all in Istanbul between the 31st and the 5th, let me know – I’ll be there!

  3. This is such a cool housesitting gig!

  4. Awesome! I was considering a house-sit in Turkey myself (hey – maybe this was the one I applied for, and you snapped it out from under my clutches! ha ha)…and I had wondered what life in a small Turkish town would be like.

    Enjoy your total cultural immersion! I look forward to more updates and great photos.

    • Thanks Nora! We are definitely enjoying the cultural immersion (although it’s frustrating not knowing more of the language and only being able to learn so much). I am certain these guys will need a house-sitter again.

  5. I can’t wait to housesit. How better to really get to know a place. Those dogs are adorable… what sweet guys. Can you pronounce their names?

  6. I am in awe of you guys! Amazing!

  7. Wow, that is plenty cool! Too bad you didn’t have more time in Istanbul. Are you going to do a longer visit on the tail end of your stay? If you do, be sure and check out Istanbul Eats’ culinary walking tours.

    Our next trip is to Budapest – another place with what are for me mostly unpronouncable words/names! (and not a coincidence that the two languages are linguistically related!)

  8. I am mustafa the dogs really look lovely I like your photos as someone living in this rural part of turkey.I wana say hello to everybody following your amazing trips and want to see them around.BURHANİYE is awesome ı love this word

  9. hadi görüşürüz means(see you later in turkish)

  10. you are not alone to fend yourself.. here is a safe place and you have friends here like me.

  11. <3 the doggies and the spring blossoms!

  12. What an incredible place to housesit!!!! I’m sure those dogs are trying, but they are soooo cute.

  13. How cool! Do the dogs understand what you are saying or have you had to learn commands in Turkish?

    • Funny, I was just saying this to Dalene the other day. The owners are English, but they are Turkish dogs. I tried using Turkish commands and they just tilted their heads and looked at me funny. I’ll stick with the English :)

  14. Exciting and challenging – what fun!

  15. What a wonderful adventure! I love it when even buying groceries is an adventure. And the dogs — beautiful. But I reckon the brown spotted one is the ringleader when they’re naughty. I think he will punish you for not being his “real” parents. I hope they don’t act up too much for you.

  16. So jealous. Would love to hanging out in Turkey for 3 months. Have a great time!

  17. Sounds stressful, but also really amazing. I get frustrated trying to adapt to living in Germany, mostly because I don’t speak German, but at least here there’s a good chance someone will speak some English. I can’t imagine living somewhere with almost no English speakers, and somewhere as remote as this sounds. Can’t wait to hear more about it!
    Ali recently posted..The Great Ocean Road and a Bit of Parrot Poo

  18. Wow. That is a really amazing adventure. And talk about a contrast from your previous location.. somewhere which was about as commercial as you could get! Have fun :D
    Laurence recently posted..Six weeks in Australia – an itinerary from Sydney

  19. PS, extra points for 80′s pop reference ;)
    Laurence recently posted..Six weeks in Australia – an itinerary from Sydney

  20. You have the most gorgeous views and cutest dogs. I’m sure it will be an amazing experience :)
    Laura recently posted..The UK Through 8000 Hands: The Olympic Torch Relay

  21. Hope you enjoy your time in Turkey – sounds like you are. Looks as though you have a new friend in Mustafa above, anyway. :) The dogs look so cute.
    Julia

  22. So awesome you guys! This will be such a wonderful experience – Turkey is one of my favourite countries.
    Andrea recently posted..Prioritizing Travel: How to Make Those Travel Bucket List Trips a Reality

  23. Oh, wow. This sounds like an absolutely incredible experience!

  24. Looks like you found a great place to be. Can i use some of these photos in your interview and expand on the house sitting a little bit more. Love the four dogs as well

  25. We’re in sort of a similar boat! We just arrived in France for a month-long housesit, and we’re in a tiny village with like 65 people… none of which speak English. Thankfully we have use of a car to get around to bigger towns near us, but even there most people only speak French.

    The folks in this village are so sweet and friendly — two people have already come by to give us eggs, another to invite us to lunch on Saturday, and a 21 yo asked if we wanted to go to a discotheque w/ her while we’re here! Al least I think that’s what’s happening… we don’t really speak French at all. =P
    Christy @ Technosyncratic recently posted..Photo Essay: Elephants in Thailand

    • One month in France! Not too shabby! :) We’ve been invited over for tea to our neighbors house several times now, and I’m so scared to go – what on earth would we talk about (she speaks no English either!) :)

  26. I love hearing about people who venture off the beaten path and try to immerse themselves in the local culture. I think you have such a different travel experience when you head for the small towns where people still live using traditional products and methods. Kudos to you for doing this!
    Wanderplex recently posted..What’s new ’round the web: week of 03/23/12

  27. Those dogs look absolutely gorgeous! Also, I’m not surprised that they sometimes get into trouble. The city looks friendly from the photos. Great shots!
    Alexa Meisler recently posted..A Perfect Day Up North Down Under – Cairns, Far North Queensland, Australia!

  28. Those dogs are AMAZING! I would love this housesit. Loooooove. You’re so close to Greece, too. :)

  29. It’s hard to imagine how cold it must be as I type this from Laos! And despite the challenges, (or perhaps because of them) I’m sure you are in for an amazing month, away from the tourist trail, being immersed in a completely different culture. Good on you, I look forward to hearing about your adventures and misadventures :)
    Sarah Somewhere recently posted..A Midnight Exit in Vientiane

  30. This is an absolute dream. I want you guys to come to Vegas so you’ll photograph my dogs — I have no good photos of them! Yours are gorgeous. I want those pups!

  31. Aww, Anatolian Shepherds! My godmother used to have one who was just an amazing dog, so I’ve got it in my head that all of them are just as great. Enjoy your immersion experience.

  32. I spent a few weeks living in an apartment in Ankara last year, it was a great experience. I LOVE Turkish food and the whole Turkish dining experience.
    Looks like a fun place to dive into the Turkish culture!

  33. This is so awesome! I would love to do something like this one day. I have been to Turkey a long time ago, but I have never done house sitting and that would be such a good way to immerse yourself in the culture. I love that you got the dogs too, what a bonus!!

  34. This is exactly why you guys are my inspiration to do house sitting soon. Great pics, I enjoy them as if I was there, you guys must’ve been having a blast there, keep having fun ;)

  35. D, Been wondering what u are doing now. Holee!
    What a wonderfull surprize. I am so happy for the both of you, to be able to do what most only read about. Great pictures and stories. Going to take me some time to see where ya all been.
    Safe Travels
    p.s. love the name
    h (:

  36. How exciting (and pretty!)!! I hope you have guest space… I’ll be in Turkey in late May!
    Aaron @ Aaron’s Worldwide Adventures recently posted..A Photo Journey Through the Striking Makhtesh Ramon

  37. Wow looks like it will be an amazing adventure… housesitting is definitely something I want to do some day!

  38. AMAZING! Such a cool place to be … glad to hear that although it’s challenging that you’re working your way through it.

    And those dogs are cute! :)

  39. Looking forward to more posts. We will be in Turkey in Sept/Oct. I love that they have camels on the way into town!

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