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In Boyalik they were supposedly offering me a place above the teahouse but that wasn’t possible. Or camp in the garden next to the teahouse, but they recently reorganized the place and now it’s full of tiles.

e I have to take the bus to the next stop on the route; Salzibosna. Firki, the local contact for the Sultanstrail takes me in and I can stay with him for two days, finish today’s walk and start my last days walk to Istanbul. Firki looks at my scratched legs and arms. Came through the forest?, he says. Yes, I did, and the last walk turned out to be next to last. There are some fresh scratches adding to the old ones. Didn’t you bring a machete? No I didn’t, I feel a bit stupid suddenly. But I also don’t see me doing this: with a heavy rucksack on a small path on a hillside swinging a machete. Did I encounter wild dogs, he asks. Ha, did I now! I tell him yesterdays story. To be successful in dealing with dogs, Firki thinks you really need a taser. He himself is not totally for it, it seems to mess up the dogs’ brains permanently. He himself also doesn’t walk anymore, had one of his lungs removed last year. Easy for him to talk. But I get it now. A long distance walker needs, amongst other stuff like a compass, a machete and a taser. That’s not included in the standard gear of the average West European rambler. And actually, Firki says, you should always walk in group, best with a guide. Good thing I didn’t know all this beforehand. I would have evacuated my plans to safer regions and have missed all this.

One more day to Istanbul.


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