Go back to Turkey.
We set off on our two-week trip in mid-August: Portland to Chicago to Istanbul. This was the first time flying for us since the onset of the Covid madness. The last time we had flown it was to Colombia just as the leading edge of the epidemic was giving the world its first playful tickle. The near empty international terminal at O’Hare was pretty depressing. In contrast, the transatlantic flight was packed to the gills but masks were very strictly enforced. We arrived in Istanbul at god knows what hour and went straight to bed in a pre-booked, Star Wars style hotel inside the terminal. In the morning we caught a short domestic flight to Adana in south central Turkey where our road trip would begin.
We picked up the rental car, did some grocery shopping in the city and then drove 2.5 hours north into the mountains of Aladaglar. There we met Recep Ince, the proprietor of the Aladaglar Camping Bungalow and the author of the local climbing guidebook as well as many of the modern routes in the range. We used the afternoon to scout the driving approaches to the first couple of climbs we wanted to do. One of those little excursions involved some vigorous off-roading which banged up the tire pressure sensor on one of the wheels of the Opel and so we had a warning light illuminating the dashboard for the next two weeks. Not to worry – karma would repay me as I’d end up leaving my phone behind in the said Opel two weeks later. Post-Script: Happily re-united with my phone a month later. Thanks to the kind folks at Antalya Airport’s Avis office!