SU Story of the Week: Bring the Action for SUtisfaction – SU Eskişehir

From the 2nd of July till the 16th, it was time for 26 participants to embrace the Turkish way of life and go to the extreme! AEGEE-Eskişehir was the organizing local of this SU, with a program full of amazing activities that would make participants as well as organizers push themselves to their limits, all of it adding up to a wonderful summer. We would even become famous, since after a few days we were already featured in no less than four local newspapers!

The journey started in Eskişehir, where we stayed for five days, accommodated in student dorms at the University Campus. The first day after the city tour we had lunch in a park and were greeted by a castle that could have come straight from a Disney fairy tale and a ship from Pirates of the Caribbean. Then came the city rally during which certain groups found out they had a true fanatical player in their midst, as they race walked their way past a never ending array of golden statues, trying to find the right ones and then strike a pose in front of them. We also visited a real Turkish Hamam and were scrubbed clean, undoubtedly to get dirty again later on in the SU. The European Night was also held, and, next to all the typical foods and drinks of participant’s countries, the ever present Spanish sangria and Dutch stroopwafels, we also rejoiced in an overflow of Turkish delights, baklava, and Turkish dances!

Slowly, towards the end of our stay in Eskişehir, the level of extreme was being turned up a notch. We hiked through a Phrygian valley, we fought like real soldiers and protected our castle during a battle of laser game and, finally, we climbed rocks and did some real extreme trekking in Karakaya. Jumping from rock to rock, squeezing ourselves through tight openings between stone walls. We were born again, stood on top of the world to take a selfie extreme style, sang Poison when waiting in the shade and came down with scratches and bruises as souvenirs. Our bodies functioned as timelines for the SU, the more days passed, the more scratches and bruises could be added to our collective list of injuries. Even after that we kept on going, as many of us voluntarily stretched, challenged their balance and tried to outshine each other in a plank challenge. But even participants of the extreme have to sleep, which we did in a night bus tour to our next destination, Fethiye!

There, we also made time to experience some of the Turkish culture, for it was Ramadan during our SU. In Fethiye we ate together with the poorer part of the local community in a free Ramadan dinner. But, the level of extreme didn’t stop, it was only turned up higher! With this new destination came also the sea and beach, and during a twelve islands boat tour we all transformed into true water rats, jumping from cliffs, taking a shower under a waterfall, chilling in a cold spring to leave it five years younger and also the boat itself offered a great means from which to throw ourselves in the water. When going from one beautiful place to the other we didn’t sit still, for it was time to shake some booty and do some sexy belly dancing on deck of the boat. We also had another boat tour, but this time to discover the world below the water’s surface; a suit-up party with wetsuits, and we were ready to dive deep and feed the fish! The next day though, we switched from being like fish underwater to being like birds in the sky, paragliding from a more than 2000m high mountainside slowly down towards the beautiful beach in Ölüdeniz.

After flying in the air of course the organizers had to let us be like monkeys too, so when we travelled to our last destination Antalya/Manavgat, we went to an adventure park and moved from tree to tree by stepping on hanging logs, walking over nets and using ziplines. Already the end of our SU was coming closer, and with no more time to go to a Turkish Hamam again, we provided for one ourselves while hiking in Saklikent canyon, body painting each other black with the soft mud we found there. After the muddy hike we chose to add another activity to the program, as we let ourselves be transported along an icy cold part of river that flowed out of the canyon, grasping each other’s hands at the end in order not to be washed over completely and taken away to unknown places.. The last extreme activity was rafting, although it became more a question of splashing the other teams wet and being the boat with the best team spirit; ‘Cola, fanta, pepsi, OUR team is sexy!’ After all, what makes a SU special is the team spirit you create, all the memorable moments spent together. Singing Christmas songs in the back of the bus in at least five different languages, all at the same time, dancing on the bar in a club in Ölüdeniz, having two girls with us who were like a living jukebox, in any random sentence they would hear a song text and start singing, playing never have I ever on the beach, voting for the awards when a certain Spanish guy insisted on also having the category most handsome/pretty participant (he wanted to claim his award as Turkish Delight), going night swimming in the sea, and many more! 

Then, as we sadly left Turkey and most of our planes had a delay, we got one last taste of Turkish Time and could think back on all those amazing moments, made possible by the wonderful organizers from AEGEE-Eskişehir, who have done an absolutely great job in making this event possible. So many activities brought to us for a great SU price… all that is left to say is teşekkürler & see you somewhere in Europe!

 Written by Carina van Hoof, AEGEE-Utrecht 

Pictures courtesy of Andrea Saranti, AEGEE-Patra and Lenka Stancelova, AEGEE-Bratislava