Return to Geyikbayiri. Turkey in Flames

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Main crag Geyikbayiri

Well, it’s been nearly four years, but we’re back. Yes, time does fly fast, still the moment we landed it seemed as if it was only yesterday that we left. Did anything change? Of course. Looking deep within ourselves, we find we all have. Our perspectives and views of the world today are not the same as yesterday.

Geyikbayiri is changing too. New routes have been set up, lines are being bolted as we speak, with a huge potential still waiting to be explored. The 2014 Petzl RocTrip helped promote the area even more, opening some new spots as well, like the incredibly aesthetic tufas of Citdibi. During those long winter months, new campsites welcome an international community of climbers with common goals, breaking all social boundaries.

Rido Camping

Back to us, this time around we chose Rido Camping, with wonderful views of Trebenna sector and Geyik Sivrisi, pure Turkish vibes, our home and family for five whole weeks.

Dinner time at Rido Camp

Things not to miss in Geyikbayiri

The Sunday bazaar in Cakirlar is as bountiful and colorful as we remember it. And while we’re at it, pomegranate juice, Turkish coffee and gozleme (a sort of pancake with various fillings, cooked on the stove) are the first things you should try. Buy local products – almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, all kinds of dry fruit, olive oil, honey, traditional coffee pots and tea kettles. I’m not sure why, but everything here just tastes better, and once you start, it’s hard to stop.

Antalya Beach

Go to the beach to disconnect from climbing and recharge your batteries. Take a dip in the Mediterranean. It doesn’t matter if it’s cold. After all, how many people can brag about swimming in winter? Get a tan. Get sunburns, they’ll be worth it. Get lost in Antalya, but make sure you find your way to the Old Town, Kaleici, and shop for souvenirs, spices, baklava and Turkish delight.

Climbing in Geyikbayiri, sector Echoes

Spend your whole day at the crag. Make new friends. Learn Turkish. Look out for turtles. Watch the squirrels climb the hardest grades you can imagine, you might actually learn something from them. Lay back and enjoy the sunset, when the crags and towering Geyik Sivrisi catch fire, only to be reborn from their own ashes the very next day, like the mighty Phoenix. Yes, new hope will rise.

Geyikbayri

Is it safe to travel to Turkey?

During our stay, there was another bombing in Ankara and one in Istanbul. The overall death toll just keeps rising. We can pretend this doesn’t affect us, but it does. It’s hard to realize we are close to a conflict zone, I guess our families worry more than we do, yet things aren’t going very smooth here either. Business is bad this season for campsites and guesthouses in Geykbayiri. While the atmosphere is as relaxed as always, the precarious situation in which Turkey currently finds itself does reflect in everyday life. The Turkish Lira dropped, prices went up, and tourists are reticent to come to these parts. The war at the south-eastern border and terrorist attacks these past months send shivers down everyone’s spine.

View from the crags

Now to answer your question — is anything safe in our short, ephemeral life? No. So what are you waiting for? There’s no war in the touristic areas. Antalya is quiet, people try to stay positive, they go to the beach no matter the day or time, families and friends get together in weekends to celebrate life.

 

View of Sarkit and Anatolia sectors from Trebenna

Why do people fight? This is one question I’m not sure I will ever find an answer to. It is just something we grow used to. Should we worry? Perhaps we should find a middle way. The lesson Turkey is teaching us right now — the future is a surprise we can’t predict.

 

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