So I ended up leaving Istanbul a little later than planned, but this had two valid reasons;
1. I accidentally magnetised (or de-magnetised) my bankcard.
2. I met two guys who had roughly the same idea as me (to head east)
So we left the city together and apart from a slightly dodgy stomach it felt great to be on the bike again.
We headed up along the black sea-coast where we camped on beaches and in the forest.
Its real nice being with a few and having a fire every night in which we roasted potatoes and bananas with chocolate.
Every day again I’m amazed by the genuine friendliness of the turkish people.
The three of us arrived at a petrol station and the 10-year old ‘boss man’ gave us çay, cold drinks, ice cream, wipes, cookies, air freshener (..?) and a rose… well, the last one was just for me 🙂 I carried it around on my bike till it was dead.
The only minor downside of cycling together was that the boys had a much faster pace, so they had to wait around for me many times and even though they didn’t mind it wasnt nice cycling. So after we spent our last night together in the small village of Tascilar, where we were invited by just about the whole population and Kurt and Scott stayed with a mad old lady who splashed them with perfume
(fair enough,they hadn’t showered since Istanbul)
And I got showed around by Nurgul who let me stay in her house and gave me hot milk with sugar straight out of their cow (the milk…not the sugar), we split up.
They went on to Ankara and I drove with a big loop around it and had a brilliant time!
Its crazy the things I get offered on the road! Not just çay, but ayran (turkish yoghurt-drink with water and salt), coffee and lots and lots of food. And not just once, but four, five sometimes six times a day.
One day I cycled into a village and at the first house I was stopped to have çay and some cake. The elderly couple gave me necklaces, a ring and perfume they got when they were in Mecca…
Another time I cycled past two cowboys who called me over for çay. Wondering where they would get it from I stopped and within 10 minutes they’d build a fire and the kettle was boiling, they even had three proper little çay-glasses. So we sat together under the olive tree while a storm passed and enjoyed the çay and gözleme (big pancake).They even let me ride the donkey 🙂
There has been a lot of rain lately which I didn’t expect, I’ve seen towns flooded and traffic signs blown over. It’s actually great cycling, not so hot and not too cold either. The sky is beautiful with the lightning and dark thunderclouds you can see coming for miles and miles. It’s just trying to avoid them that proves tricky. Ones I tried to make it to a shelter when the sky broke and I was soaking within seconds. About 6 trucks offered me a ride in one hour but I was actually having a great time, singing my lungs out with the storm wind in the back.
When I did make it to a shelter it happened to be a hotel, and the people felt a bit sorry for me (no need to) but let me stay, and eat there for free! It was called hotel Cappadocia, and I was warned by a nice man who used to live in Holland not to let anybody into my room and to keep the door locked. Halfway through the night two men climbed through my window… I didn’t think of locking that one since I was on the 2nd floor! They were lucky cause I nearly pepper-sprayed them but it turned out they were in the room next to mine and locked themselves out.. just counted the windows wrong.
I’m now in Göreme and the day I arrived in town I saw Kurt and Scott standing on the road, they’ve just arrived a couple of hours before me so we put our tents on top of a hostel next to the swimming pool
where we can watch all the hot air balloons coming over in the mornings.
And for the 3rd time this trip I have to wait around for some mail to arrive. This time it’s a new bankcard, without it I can’t continue. But to wait around in this surreal and wonderful land of the fairy chimneys isn’t a problem at all.
And it’s been real good since Kurt (which means large turkish dog in turkish 🙂 ) is a bike mechanic and he’s been making us all wiser. I now know what derailers, hubs, cassettes, cranks, chainrings, bottom brackets and spindles are… things I don’t even know the names of in dutch. We had a crash course in bike maintenance in the park, it’s great to get to know my bike and learn to take proper care of her.
Tonight we’re camping out again. Gonna find ourselves a nice cave to sleep and watch the sun rise.
There is four of us now, Koko has cycled here all the way from Japan http://whereiskokoro.blog34.fc2.com/
and Scott. http://worldbiker.blogspot.com
We all be going our own way again soon but for now it’s good fun spending some time together.