We had an early flight from Esfahan and Istanbul, and there I had to say goodbye to my parents and Megan. Megan and I had spent almost every day together for six weeks so it was a big change to have her leave. We had an emotional goodbye before their 13-hour flight to Los Angeles.
I made my way to the bus station for the four-hour trip to Bursa. Bursa’s really not that far from Istanbul (about 80 km as the crow flies), but getting out of the city takes over an hour. Then the bus waits for a ferry across the Marmara Sea, and the ferry itself is rather slow compared to typical highway driving.
Gülşah gave me a warm welcome at the Bursa bus station. Indeed, welcome to Turkey. Ferda and I had met Gülşah, her fiancé Mehmet, and Mehmet’s brother, Selman, climbing in Olimpos last year. We enjoyed spending time with them in Olimpos and then a few days later they came to Antalya for a day of climbing in Geyikbayırı before going back to Bursa.
My main reason to go to Bursa immediately after Iran was to catch one of the last days of Yüksel’s beautiful artwork exhibition that was on display at the Merinos Textile Museum. Conveniently that’s exactly where Mehmet works, and Mehmet and Gülşah had invited me numerous times to Bursa. Selman, who’s divorced, and Mehmet live with their parents. That’s where I stayed, and their mother was super-welcoming to me (the father was recovering from an operation at the time). Gülşah, who’s divorced and has a child, also lives with her parents. From the US perspective it seems strange that people in this stage of life live with their parents, but it’s not uncommon in Turkey for people to move back in with their parents after they get divorced.