Stereotypical Turkey

Turkey has so many stereotypes about it. You might think it is only meant for going to an all inclusive resort as there are so many of those there. Or maybe you were thinking it is unsafe to go there because of the political and social unrest. I would not be surprised if you never even thought of going to the middle of Turkey to enjoy spectacular mountain views instead of warm and sunny beaches.

The truth is that even though some stereotypes about Turkey are there for a reason, the goal of your trip should be to enjoy all of them and visit places you never expected you would. Instead of booking a 5 star hotel, stay with locals in the middle of the country. Why not Cappadocia then? Unexpectedly old city built literally in the mountains. Also, rather than going on ordinary excursions you can arrange one yourself. Just pack a backpack and start hiking around as there are so many things to see and everything is perfectly convenient for the tourists. This is why Turkey actually is a tourist destination.

Try googling Cappadocia. Hot air balloons are one of the most popular things to do there. But is it a bad stereotype?

Try googling Cappadocia. Hot air balloons are one of the most popular things to do there. But is it a bad stereotype?

If you still want to have a vacay on the seashore, try the Lycian Way. Trail is located close to Antalya and Kemer, some of the most popular cities for tourism. Just walk along the perfectly designed trail and see all the best that Turkey has to offer, including the stereotypes about friendly and hospitable people, interesting old culture and other good.

You cannot have an opinion about the Turkish eyes without hearing their story from a local in Turkey itself.

You cannot have an opinion about the Turkish eyes without hearing their story from a local in Turkey itself.

Also, I hope you haven’t forgotten that we are always here to help. Just download TrailSmart to you phone or tablet and read all about the trail you want to take. The best feature about it is that you can modify it for your needs – skip a section, take an off-trail road, walk it beginning to end or the other way around. Oh, and it is FREE.

 

P.S. find these beautiful pics here:

http://bit.ly/2uyjEe4

http://bit.ly/2tgZ7L6

To pilgrim or to hike?

You’ve probably seen pictures from Camino de Santiago. Usually if a person decides to do it, he/she will share that information with you on any (every) social network. Part of the pictures will be full of deep self-realisation vibes, pilgrimage experience comments and other existential matter. Others will simply post beautiful views with even more beautiful Instagram filters. Of course, there are some posts in the middle.

The two categories described are so different due to how people see themselves: pilgrims or hikers. It would seem that all the pilgrims are hikers. But could all the hikers be called pilgrims? From the historic perspective one would consider pilgrims as people travelling to a holy sacred place. Meanwhile hikers are just walking in order to reach their final destination without emphasizing the place itself, but rather the experience from the way there.

But does the distinction still exist in the 21st century? The holy place for pilgrims is definitely still as important as it used to be. Yet if you stop thinking about the place and shift towards the action itself and the pleasure it brings, you can surely view the final “destination” (of satisfaction you’ve been seeking for) as holy and sacred, just as the city or attraction for the pilgrims.

Anyways, since less and less things have a clear definition these times, we probably shouldn’t stick to strict names for one or another. As long as you’re walking, cycling or using any other means of transportation in order to be happy and explore, you are a pilgrim and you are a hiker. The name makes no difference.

 

Call it what you want, but it would be better if you decided after seeing it yourself on Camino de Santiago.

Call it what you want, but it would be better if you decided after seeing it yourself on Camino de Santiago.

P.S. Picture is waiting for you here: http://bit.ly/2uZzGec

 

How to relax after relaxing?

You know you need to relax from your everyday routine once in a while. Go abroad, see new people, new places and just explore what other cultures have to offer.

Some people prefer to do that by laying on the beach, drinking mojitos, watching romantic sunsets and just chilling. Yet others need hard work to get tired, be it long long hikes, mountain climbing or cycling to recharge mentally.

If you need to tick both of these boxes to be fully relaxed, you have to choose your vacation destination wisely. After an adventurous hike between gorgeous mountains you will enjoy wavy salty sea way more than going straight there. And it works the other way around as well – a long walk will make you way happier after laying on the beach for a day or two.

I challenge you to take less than 10 pictures while you're on the Babadağ mountain.

I challenge you to take less than 10 pictures while you’re on the Babadağ mountain.

If you’re short on options where to go to have all of it in one place, I highly recommend you the Lycian Way in Turkey. Hills, castles, amphitheaters, woods, ghost towns, ruins, beaches… Name anything else and you’ll probably find it on this amazing trail.

P.S. Download TrailSmart app before you start planning. I’m pretty sure you’ll find everything you need (or more) there.

Patara Beach on the Lycian Way is the place to relax.

Patara Beach on the Lycian Way is the place to relax.

P.P.S. Thanks for the beatiful pictures, William and Luck. You can find them here:

http://bit.ly/2tfLUNu

http://bit.ly/2t5jPNQ

Interesting or not?

The first days of any hike can be exhausting. You’re tired of constant walking, different scenery, new people and foreign culture. But as you go, you will feel better every day and the hunger for new attractions will rise.

If you carried out a decent research before going on the road, you will probably have all the attractions listed somewhere and know which you want to see or visit. But even if you did, I can assure you, there are more!

TrailSmart app has all of them listed. All you need to do is to download the app to your phone or tablet. That’s it. You can access all the information offline, so whenever you start to feel bored, check what’s there to see close to you. For example, if you are in Turkey exploring beautiful Cappadocia, you’ll have a list of 79 attractions for you. Churches, mosques, old cities, ruins – you are the only one to decide if it is interesting or not. Feel like going somewhere outside? Check the valleys section to see if you visited all of them.

Feel rebel today? Off-route trails are for you then!

Feel rebel today? Off-route trails are for you then!

Also, if you feel rebel today, check off-route trails for some lovely detours off the original trail. Who know, maybe the funniest adventure is waiting for you there?

This is only a small part of what TrailSmart has to offer. It is free, it is always on your phone and it has everything covered so try it and then just hike&chill (you will Netflix&chill when you get home).

 

P.S. The picture is waiting for you here: http://bit.ly/2tFVZYq

How to find your way?

Sometimes it seems that everyone around you know where they’re going. They know where, why and how. And then you just wonder – what should you do? You may think this way about your lunch, vacation, career or just life in general. The latter is a bit more painful, but you can find the answer.

My mom always says that nobody was born with knowledge, so rephrasing one cliché quote to another you never know (what you like or want) until you try. Just go have lunch at the new restaurant you wanted to try but did not feel ready, buy the plain tickets and go explore. Do not be part of somebody else’s plan, just follow yours. Start planning the smallest things you enjoy and you will catch yourself planning your next adventure!

Do not be a part of somebody else's plan, follow yours.

Do not be a part of somebody else’s plan, follow yours.

Do not be afraid to go alone if nobody is there to join your plan. Just choose a trip you feel safe about. Camino de Santiago is one of the most popular trails with excellent logistics – it’s almost impossible to get lost there. Also, since there are so many pilgrims on the road, it’s impossible to feel lonely, too.

You will never feel alone on Camino de Santiago.

You will never feel alone on Camino de Santiago.

If Spanish is not your strongest side, you can try any of the routes in the United Kingdom. But you have to be warned – sometimes it might take a while to adjust to different accents there. I know you will do that fast, so just choose from many different trails there: Cotswold way, West Highland way, Hadrian’s Wall path or many others. It only depends on what you are looking for – more civilisation, wilderness, mountains, rivers or anything else you fancy.

England as seen in the movies is waiting for you on the Cotswold Way.

England as seen in the movies is waiting for you on the Cotswold Way.

If you don’t feel like going on any of these trails – good. That means you know what you don’t want. Just keep reading, google more, look at all the amazing pictures and find the place you want to explore. Follow your new plan!

 

P.S. The beautiful pictures can be found here:

http://bit.ly/2tmVpMw

http://bit.ly/2uH9Sm3

http://bit.ly/2uGWlek

 

 

What to expect when you’re expecting for Camino de Santiago?

One of the most popular trails in Europe, if not the world, Camino de Santiago, will bring you a lot of adventures. Thousands of people go there every year and if you’ve been thinking about going there, stop. You’re going.

And you can expect everything from it:

Some buildings will strike you with their beauty, some will look as tired are you are.

Some buildings will strike you with their beauty, some will look as tired are you are.

✓Exhaustion

✓Blisters

✓New people (friends)

✓Amazing views

✓Old cities

✓Architecture

✓Beautiful nature

✓Versatility

✓Interesting culture

✓Great local cuisine

Wild white horses may look like a dream, but just pinch yourself and you'll know they're true

Wild white horses may look like a dream, but just pinch yourself and you’ll know they’re true.

All you have to do now is to start planning!

Our Trailsmart app is always there to help. Read all about the trails, decide which one you will take, choose your favourite albergues – you can do everything with it. FOR FREE!

Flatlands, highlands, rivers and seas - the trail has it all.

Flatlands, highlands, rivers and seas – the trail has it all.

P.S. Find those pictures here:

http://bit.ly/2tDEhVo

http://bit.ly/2skaOvZ

http://bit.ly/2uiQfBt

Packing the backpack: to camel or not to camel?

One of the main struggles before any hike is how to properly pack all the things you might need. Sleeping bag, socks, sweatshirt, sneakers, cosmetics, etc. The list goes on and on. But where to stop? Are you ready to become a camel for the next weeks and have everything you might need? Or would you rather pack lightly and not worry too much about the stuff you did not take?

Are you ready to carry as much stuff as this camel in Cappadocia?

Are you ready to carry as much stuff as this Turkish camel is going to?

You never know the right answer until you go on the trail and see what did you forget or what was absolutely irrelevant. But one thing you can do here is to learn from other’s mistakes and lessons.

Here are some tutorials from people that have already taken the popular trails. You shouldn’t strictly follow their rules, but they might give you some smart insights.

Now go, watch and pack!

 

P.S. camel rests here: http://bit.ly/2rVhkcn

Meet the new extreme

I bet you remember at least few people who could not understand why would you go on a hike. On foot. With a back pack. Staying in a hostel. Remember their faces full of incomprehension? Oh and just imagine their faces after telling them you’d hike in the mountains. Or the steep hills close to the ocean. I can assure you they will say this is extreme. But is it?

What would you consider extreme: going on a hike alone or never leaving your home country (state)? Hiking in the mountains or always staying in some resort area? Going to a local market in rather unsafe country or not going anywhere?

In most of the cases not going anywhere, staying inside the resort and just never travelling abroad could be considered safer. But isn’t it extreme? I mean extremely boring?

So, people, meet the new extreme – huge fear, keeping you away from your next adventure. The same fear that keeps you locked in living a safe life that is so quiet it’s almost extreme. And still there must be the adventurous soul somewhere in you, so just do something extreme for you. Go on a trip alone, hike somewhere you never thought you could, go abroad!

Looking for some gentle extremes? Try Cappadocia and create your extremes yourself!

Looking for some gentle extremes? Try Cappadocia and create your extremes yourself.

 

Find the great pic here: http://bit.ly/2tfikMF

Visit the history

Have you ever noticed that streets are not blocked everywhere? In fact, ages ago there were paths, later – some roads and only now we enjoy nice (hopefully) streets.

The main thing about all the unblocked cities or villages is the age. Imagine walking on the path that used to be (or maybe still is) the main way for local shepherds or fishermen. The path that has been used for more literally thousand years.

Although this sounds fascinating, it is easy to do! Just plan you trip and start exploring the history.

Streets of Viana (La Rioja) count millenniums, not ages.

Streets of Viana (La Rioja) count millenniums, not ages.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Past meets present: Cappadocia.

Past meets present: Cappadocia.

And even though history does not always mean culture, you never know until you explore!

 

Hadrian's Wall was started being built in 122AD.

Hadrian’s Wall was started being built in 122AD.

P.S. Thanks for the great pictures:

http://bit.ly/2uaaBvS

http://bit.ly/2uasY3T

http://bit.ly/2rVr9GY

Versatile Cappadocia

If you’re having a hard time deciding on your next destination, you’ve probably thought about your preferences already. Are you looking for mountains, beautiful valleys, ancient history, amazing views, friendly people, or delicious food?

Nice change from the busy western cities, isn't it?

Nice change from the busy western cities, isn’t it?

Even better if the place could have it all… And actually, Cappadocia does!

Turkish heaven can offer almost everything: picturesque views, mountains, green valleys, old and thrilling history, ancient rock-cut churches, culture, entertaining activities and many other things you might be looking for.

Just don't forget your camera. Everything around you will look like a poster.

Just don’t forget your camera. Everything around you will look like a poster.

Want to go? One more tip for you – download our TrailSmart app. It’s free.

With TrailSmart, you’ll have everything on your smartphone – geo-located accommodations, hiking trails, detailed offline maps, attractions, useful tips, and everything else you need.

Hot air balloons are very popular in Cappadocia.

Hot air balloons are very popular in Cappadocia.

Find the photographs here:

http://bit.ly/2tHbFa2

http://bit.ly/2sMivPv

http://bit.ly/2sQgu4g