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?

 

79 Comments... Read them below or add one of your own

  • March 21 2012

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

    • Pete
      March 22 2012

      Cheers Cole. We really hope we get the chance to meet up!!!

  • Cat
    March 21 2012

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

    • Pete
      March 22 2012

      We do have to go back at some point and explore more. If we’re there when you are, we’ll send you a note :)

  • March 21 2012

    This is such a cool housesitting gig!

    • Pete
      March 22 2012

      Thanks Laura. It really is. We’re loving the quiet (apart from when the dogs bark at a passing camel) country.

  • 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.

    • Pete
      March 22 2012

      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.

  • Kim
    March 21 2012

    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?

    • Pete
      March 22 2012

      haha, yes. Daisy (the white one), Juno and Josie (sisters) and Zack (white with brown). Zack reminds me of the dog from “Up”. Quite Turkish rightz?

  • March 21 2012

    I am in awe of you guys! Amazing!

    • Pete
      March 22 2012

      Thanks Lezli! Great to hear from you. I hope things are good :)

  • March 21 2012

    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!)

    • Pete
      March 22 2012

      Thanks Karl, we’ll be sure to check out the culinary walking tours as we will be back at some point.

      Budapest is high on our “must-see” list. Enjoy!!

  • March 21 2012

    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

  • March 21 2012

    hadi görüşürüz means(see you later in turkish)

  • March 21 2012

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

    • Pete
      March 22 2012

      Thank you Mustafa. We are loving Burhaniye and can’t wait to show everyone more. It is Awesome :) We will talk soon my friend.

  • Ter
    March 21 2012

    <3 the doggies and the spring blossoms!

    • Pete
      March 22 2012

      Thanks Ter. The spring blossoms are so gorgeous. I wish we could pause and make it last for a long time…

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

    • Pete
      March 22 2012

      Yes, as I’ve said in other comments, they use their cuteness to their advantage… We’re suckers.

  • March 21 2012

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

    • Pete
      March 22 2012

      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 :)

  • jan
    March 22 2012

    Exciting and challenging – what fun!

    • Pete
      March 22 2012

      Thanks Jan!! It is A LOT of fun.

  • March 22 2012

    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.

    • Pete
      March 22 2012

      You guessed right, he is the ringleader, at least from what we can tell. We love them no matter how much trouble they get into…

  • March 22 2012

    those dogs are so cute!
    Maria D. recently posted..Fun & Affordable Things to Do in Portland, Oregon

    • Pete
      March 22 2012

      They are, but they use their cuteness to lure you in and trick you :)

  • March 22 2012

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

    • March 22 2012

      Thanks Jeff! Yes, we feel we’ve really lucked out with this one.

  • Ali
    March 22 2012

    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

    • March 22 2012

      After awhile I imagine it would be frustrating, but right now, we love the challenge. I hope we can handle it for three months – we are trying to learn as we go!

  • March 22 2012

    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

    • March 22 2012

      I know, crazy right? We’re all over the place (literally)! Keeps it interesting at the very least. :)

  • March 22 2012

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

    • March 22 2012

      YESSS!!! I am so glad someone mentioned that. :) I’ve been singing it in my head non-stop for days now.

      • March 22 2012

        Well, if there’s one thing I learnt at school, it’s that my brain is great at remembering pop lyrics :) Assume you have the original in your head rather than the Dario G Sunchyme version, which sampled the chorus?

        • March 22 2012

          The original – of course! I have the same “learning” abilities… :)

  • March 22 2012

    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

    • March 23 2012

      It already has been Laura. And as usual, the time will surely fly by too fast!

  • March 22 2012

    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

    • March 23 2012

      THe dogs are pretty damn cute! We are already having a grand time and excited to do some more exploring.

  • March 22 2012

    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

  • March 23 2012

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

  • March 23 2012

    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

    • March 23 2012

      Absolutely Natalie. Let me know if there is anything else you need from us.

  • 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

    • March 24 2012

      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!) :)

  • March 23 2012

    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

    • March 24 2012

      Thanks Reena! We really enjoy traveling this way because you’re right – it is a totally different experience. That’s why this house sitting opportunity is so perfect for us!

  • March 23 2012

    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!

    • March 24 2012

      They can be little devils when they want to be – but they are so awesome! We are sad at the thought of leaving already.

  • March 23 2012

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

    • March 24 2012

      We are just down the coast at a friends house today and I can see Greece out the window. I WANT TO GO!

  • March 24 2012

    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

    • March 25 2012

      Thanks Sarah! We are so lucky to have three months here, where we can visit other parts of the country as well as enjoy just “being” in Burhaniye!

  • March 24 2012

    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!

    • March 25 2012

      :) We are just traveling down the coast for a couple of days to visit a friend, and I find that I miss the dogs so much! They are so sweet.

  • March 26 2012

    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.

  • Cam
    March 27 2012

    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!

    • March 27 2012

      Yes, we are quickly becoming addicted to some of the great Turkish food. And it helps that most of it is so healthy too.

  • March 28 2012

    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!!

    • March 29 2012

      I hope you do get to do it Anne – it really is a tremendous way to see the world and spend more time getting to know a place.

  • March 28 2012

    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 ;)

    • March 29 2012

      Thanks Joe! We really are having a great time, hard to believe that the time is flying by as fast as it is.

  • What fun challenge!

  • March 29 2012

    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 (:

    • March 30 2012

      Harold – SOOOO incredible to hear from you my friend! I just sent you an email… :)

  • 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

    • March 30 2012

      Fingers crossed that we get to see you!

  • April 12 2012

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

  • April 27 2012

    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! :)

  • April 3 2013

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

    • April 3 2013

      You will LOVE Turkey! Well, I hope you do anyways, because we do so much. :)

  • Enis
    October 21 2014

    Hi.I am a student of Mr.Özkaya’s from Burhaniye/Turkey.
    He was talking about you two in the lesson.You two were awesome.And I hope to you meet you guys if you two come again in Burhaniye :)

    • October 22 2014

      Would love to meet you too Enis! We hope to plan our return soon.

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