Saturday, 17 November 2012

More action on the Evliya Çelebi Way

The September ride on the EÇW came and went, and was as fabulous as ever.  Ercihan took us by new tracks, paralleling the 'official' route as written up in the guidebook—Evliya Çelebi Ways looks to be a better name than the singular Way.  Varying the route when repeating it annually on horseback adds interest for the regulars, though walkers with backpacks would doubtless prefer to keep to the known route; few, I am sure, would want to take detours for the sake of it.

At last, at last, after several months patiently waiting, I am delighted to report that the metropolitan municipality of Bursa is now putting up signposts along the Way.  This year we are concentrating on the section of the route in Bursa province, and will hope to continue in Kütahya etc next year.  The signposts are not intended to be as frequent as the waypoints that can be downloaded from the www.evliyacelebiway.com website, but indicate to the local people that the route is a reality, and because they are often located where the Way meets main roads, might inspire drivers to leave their cars for a while.  The route will not be marked with the red and white flashes on trails such as the Lycian Way, which was established before the era of GPS.  Instead, the guidebook, GPS waypoints, and signposts that indicate the distances between villages should be adequate to enable everyone to follow the route.

Once the signposts are up, we intend to visit the villages to try to arrange homestays, so that tents will not have to be carried, and can then produce some programmes for walking trips on the Way which tourism agencies will be able to sell.  We will also be going to the big tourism fair in Holland in February 2013.  Soon, we hope, some money should begin coming into the villages as travellers stay the night and eat there.  Bursa municipality is putting a lot of effort into making the Way well-known to the city folk too. The municipality will run the Turkish website, www.evliyacelebiyolu.com.

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