Unable to bear any more partying in Istanbul, I sought a few days refuge in the Kaçkar mountains of northeastern Turkey.
Here are the characters:
Mutlu and Reynold: This unlikely couple of a Turkish Chocolatier and a Dutch color expert. They were kind enough to give me a ride to the nearest city. Despite their union being completely unnacceptable to Turkish society, they were some of the most charmingly straight-laced people I've met on this trip.
Adnan: Our guide through the mountains. Ardent Turkish nationalist, hiker, hunter, and defender of the environment.
Olee: My irrepressibly funny and outgoing Israeli treckmate. She's been traveling through Turkey with her friend Hadar.
Hadar: A thoughtful Israeli who speaks Turkish and is writing her PhD thesis on a secretive Kabbalistic cult of professed Muslims who have survived in Turkey for centuries.
Ayder: The secluded mountain town from which I started my hike. Pictured here is the lobby of my guesthouse. This town is so remote that when Nazli called the wrong guesthouse, they asked if she was looking an American professor. When she said yes, they gave her the number of the right guesthouse!