"We pass through a region that is not very touristy and our hiker looks do not go unnoticed. In the cafes, men often come and sit at our table and chat with us.
It took a long time, but here it is: we are in Turkey! And no chance that we don't notice the change. We arrive in Edirne and it hits us with full force. The life. We have left the austere Bulgaria and we are now in a city that swarms, that sings, that shines with a thousand colors, that smells the grilled meat, the pressed pomegranates and the hot tea.
After a few dozen kilometers of snowy forest, we arrive on the beach, facing the Black Sea. The sky is almost black, the beach is white with snow, the wind blows and we are alone in the world in the middle of this unusual landscape.
The small park at the entrance of the cave must be charming in summer: market stalls, restaurant, swings... But it was superbly empty and everything was closed when we arrived. The cave itself consists of two parts. One is open to visitors all year round, the other is closed to allow the bats to hibernate serenely.
Iğneada Longoz National Park is the largest flooded forest in Europe. For part of the year, the dunes along the coastline prevent the streams flowing from the Strandja Mountains from reaching the sea, forming lakes and marshes. To see this ecosystem under the snow is a chance.
"If the sixteen border crossings are unique, our arrival in Turkey is bound to be a bit special. It is the last of the journey, certainly also the most impressive. No less than five checkpoints and several kilometers of barbed wire separate the two countries.
Our route of more than 400 kilometers crosses Eastern Thrace, the European part of Turkey. It belongs to this historical region, Thrace, which is nowadays shared by Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey".
It is difficult to find a hiking route in this part of Turkey which is not very touristic. From the Bulgarian border, we cross a rather monotonous section until we reach the Strandja mountains. This area is the highest of the massif and culminates at a little more than 1 000 meters. The rhododendron forests we pass through are completely covered with snow. After the flooded forests of Iğneada, we discovered the snow-covered beaches of the Black Sea. We followed the coast for a long section towards Istanbul before entering the land again to reach our destination after two years of travel on foot.
Discover the pictures of our crossing of Turkey from the plains of the Bulgarian border to the biggest city of the country, Istanbul. An adventure in the heart of Turkey, its flooded forests, its hot tea and above all, the unique welcome of the Turks.