Lardos to Marmaris
36 miles (approx)
I had an awful nights sleep, the hotel disco was really loud and went on until the early hours of the morning, the fire escape light in the room was shining in my face and my food from the meal earlier in the evening sat heavy in my tum. As the night passed slowly by I found myself getting more irritable with Gary who was peacefully unaware sleeping next to me. At about 5.00am he woke and gave me what he thought was a loving cuddle to be told in a rather grumpy voice ‘you’re a pain’ which was rather polite as I had only just dropped off to sleep. Whilst he had spent the night snoring, talking in his sleep, throwing him self from one side of the bed to the other and farting loudly I had led there getting more and more agitated. (Gary; Love is enduring your fidgeting and farting husband. This is the first time in a while we had a double bed so I hope she gets used to it again or Ginette may be suggesting separate rooms once we get back home).
Some how I managed to wake in a good mood, probably helped by Gary’s charm and wit (Gary; Did she just call me a twit in slang?). Breakfast was included in the room rate so we indulged as one does when breakfast is laid out for you. Greek breakfast was the usual continental breakfast, a choice of hams, cheeses, breads, tinned fruit, yogurt, scrambled egg and rolls (which we really liked).
The heat was rising so off we set on our bikes, we had a strong tail wind which really helped up the 10% climbs. We stopped for a light lunch in Faliraki, Gary had a greek pitta bread stuffed with donar kebab meat, salad and chips whilst I had a salad roll with ham and cheese. Not long after leaving Faliraki a dog (bitch who had recently had pups) crossed the road in front of us. She must have taken a liking to us because she proceeded to follow us up the hill, as we picked up speed she started running but after about a mile she gave up, which is just as well as we were cycling on a main road and I was worried for her safety. My choice of lunch was clearly a better choice when it came to providing energy, Gary was flagging as we arrived into Rhodes whereas I still felt fairly strong. We made good time we didn’t leave Lardos until 10.00ish, stopped for lunch but still made Rhodes town for 1.30pm.
As we had been in Rhodes town before we knew where to find the ticket office and made our way straight there, we had hoped to spend a couple of days in Symi but unfortunately we were informed there would be no ferries to Symi until the following day. We enquired about one of the other islands but the only ferry available would be the 5.00pm ferry that did the 5 stops that we had taken to arrive in Rhodes. The island that had been recommended was Patas but the ferry would not have arrived in Patas until midnight. With this in mind we enquired about a ferry to Marmaris and were delighted to find the slow ferry would be leaving in 40 minutes at 2.00pm. We quickly booked our tickets, cycled to the tax office and once the tax man arrived paid our €15 euros tax. We then spent another 10 minutes trying to find the passport office. Several people tried to direct us but all of the buildings were empty and we ended up going around in circles. We could see our ferry nestled between some luxury cruisers/ferries and as it was still having cargo off loaded from its previous trip we did not panic. Everyone in the harbour seemed really laid back. Health and Safety guidelines are clearly not as strictly imposed in Turkey as they are in the UK, we sore a folk lift truck used to carry a big sheet of glass, with only two men guiding it from the ferry and across the busy harbour. The same folk lift truck was sitting on the deck when one of the motorcyclists drove onto the ferry, the biker hadn’t seen the folks sticking out and drove straight over them, fortunately no damage was done.
Gary; it was weird waiting for out little old ferry boat to be unloaded by the very non-safety aware forklift driver, the passengers of the huge passenger ferry where drifting past, kids and all, and the fork lift was just driving in and off the ship just missing them all, all the time we was sat waiting with the other 3 motorcyclists, it appeared that the cruise ship passengers were from another world to ours.
I slept on the ferry and Gary spent his time talking to the passengers (there were only 5 passengers in total).
I woke in time to see Marmaris in the distance, it was windy on the ferry but really refreshing and the views were spectacular. The buildings in the harbour looked no different to any other harbour however they were surrounded by large green mountains and a summer haze. As we got closer to Turkey we could hear the call to prey, this was music to our ears, although we had heard this in Greece it felt more fitting for this stage of our journey.
Gary; Marmaris harbour has only one small entrance between a gag in the islands, leading to the huge natural harbour. in fact once in the harbour you cant really tell which is the way out to sea.
As we came into dock the man in charge of the ferry stood very proud at the bow of the ferry he had that look that said he was pleased to be home. As he passed us as we disembarked we told him how beautiful Marmaris looked, he agreed, smiled and kindly offered to take us through customs. I am sure having him with us made this stage of our journey much easier than it might have been without him. He even gave us directions to the town.
As we had not expected to be in Turkey for another couple of days, we arrived without any lira (money), no idea of the exchange rate, no turkish language. We needn’t have worried, Marmaris was full of British tourists and all the locals could speak english. We quickly found a bank and a cafe with internet access and booked a hotel for the night. The Turkish people seemed genuinely interested in our bikes and were keen to find our where we would be cycling to next. One young waiter was keen to point out that it would take us a long time to cycle to Istanbul, he informed us that he lived there and it took a whole day by coach to go home and he estimated it would take a week by bike. We do not plan taking a direct route to Istanbul so I am sure it will take us much longer than a week.
Day 56 – 30th May
A really good nights sleep, just what the doctor ordered.
Last night we went for a meal in a local restaurant, we especially liked ‘mama’s special bread and dips’ which was provided as a freebie. Marmaris is like the Costa del Turk, lots of restaurants serving cuisine from all over the world (except authentic turkish food, with the exception of kebabs) including english fish and chip shops, promotions for cheap beer and lots of cheesy waiters and English tourists.
All the restaurants were loud, with early music and TV screens. Not our thing at all but OK for a day or two.
In the morning we took a leisurely walk to the castle through the numerous shops selling ‘genuine fake’ goods. The castle was worth a visit and provided some useful and interesting information about the history of Marmaris and the local area.
On the way back from the castle we stopped for some lunch at one of the cabins selling stuffed pitta breads (Gary picked the fillings hoping they would be presented as dips to use with the pitta bread but this was not the case, he was disappointed when the wraps arrived toasted with all the dips inserted in the wrap).
The man who served us was interested in the map we were looking at and provided us with some useful information on places to visit in Turkey, he proudly told us he had completed a round the world trip some years ago taking in 9 countries.
The afternoon was very thundery and stormy so we found a bar and did some more research using local information guides and the information the stall holder had given us to plot our route on our newly purchased map of Turkey.
Lazy day and dinner in the same restaurant as the night before – boring but easy and the food was OK (we shared a chicken and lamb shish kebab, the Turkish menu seems to be very limited to kebabs, we’re hoping this will improve once we move inland)
Day 57 – May 30th
again no cycling
we went on a day trip to Dalyan, we had seen this advertised and wanted to go but it wasn’t on route and as it was only going to cost the equivalent of £15 per head we decided to treat ourselves.
The bus picked us up at 8.30ish and took us to the ferry. Fortunately we were early so we got a sun bed, passengers who arrived later had to make do with plastic chairs or the seats inside of the ferry. It was an all day trip and included swimming in paradise bay, which Gary did, I chickened out, not only was it too cold, but I had forgotten to pack my bikini bottoms and was having to make do with some black knickers; we also visited turtle island (which was idyllic) and dolphin islands we were fortunate enough to see some turtles but no dolphins; we also visited a mud bath and thermal pool and received an information briefing about the Kings Tombs which are set high up in the rocks – not bad especially as lunch was included in the price and we had on board entertainment.
On the way home we had a lovely meal on the sea front, which included free naan bread and dips (I suspect this is offered in all restaurants) no turkish food on the menu so I had penne arrabbiata and Gary had sea bass, I was warned that the pasta would be very spicy, and it really was, I love arrabbiata but this was a little hot for me. I managed to eat half of it and gave it to Gary to finish off, the waiter noticed and offered to get me something else on the house, how generous is that. I didn’t take him up on this kind offer because I was genuinely full and the food was lovely
Day 58 – May 31st
Marmaris to Golcuk, 40 miles.1440 metres total climbing (Garmin is kind of working).
We both had a really good nights sleep and didn’t even wake for the call for prayer which is sent out across the town at 5.00am every morning.
We had not left the hotel when Gary realised he had another puncture, fortunately we were outside the hotel, whilst Gary went to wash his hands one of the locals stopped to talk to me. He was keen to tell me he had worked in Harwich on the cruise ships. He also wanted to warn me to be careful because two french cycle tourists had been killed earlier in the week by a drunk driver, he was keen to point out that the driver was not from Marmaris.
So it was with some trepidation that we set off on our journey. We knew before we set off that the day was going to be very hilly as we were surrounded by mountains, but it was still a shock to the system to encounter the first hill within the first mile. It was a nice gentle 5% which went of for about 3 miles. I say easy, it was only easy when I compare it to the 8% and 10% hills that followed throughout the very hot day (36c).
Gary; the hill was a dual carriage way which was a good thing as it had a very smooth and clean hard shoulder we could safely ride along, lots of drivers tooting encouragement as they past by. The area around here is stunning. Lots of hills and craggy rock faces and all covered in pine forest, it is also really quiet except for the cars on the road (it really only got busy on one of the long climbs).
Ginette: I forgot to mention the beautiful butterflies that fluttered passed us throughout the day, we saw far more than we did at Butterly Valley, some of them were really colourful and unusual, If I had not been huffing and panting up the hill I might have been tempted to try and photograph them.
We have read a lot of blogs and books on cycling in Greece and Turkey and one of the issues that comes up regularly is wild dogs. Although we have discussed various strategies on handling dogs we haven’t really done anything about it other than buying a whistle which apparently distracts them. Until today we have been fairly lucky and have only been chased on a couple of occasions by small happy dogs but today we were chased by two very angry, ugly big dogs, I felt weary from all the climbing but boy did I move, I would have given Bradley Wiggins a run for his money, very scary!! Interestingly I don’t think any of the strategies we have read and discussed would have worked, these include carrying a big stick, throwing stones (not easy when you’re cycling really hard to escape), or getting off your bike and gently walking away – really?? As we expected the whistle thing was useless, not only was it in the bottom of one of the bags but there’s no way I could have blown a whistle whilst cycling for my life to get away from the devil dogs.
We stopped for lunch in a village called Ula, it was full of men sitting in bars and walking up and down the high street. I mentioned this to Gary and he pointed out 2/3 token women. I thought they were out for some type of political meeting as there were lots of bunting up for the opposition party but the penny dropped when we heard the call for prayer and they all disappeared.
Gary; as we cycled into town I spotted what looked like a coffin cover in a colourful blanket in one of the mosques front yards. We stopped in one of the many small cafes with all the other men and had a cup of Char and a toasted cheese and ham sandwich, which according to the owner was a gourmet dish – we don’t agree with. (The guy had very little English so possibly lost in translation)
Ginette – I really struggled in the afternoon, more hills and it seemed to get hotter and hotter, I felt slightly better when a lorry chugged slowly passed or a 50cc moped because even with engines these vehicles were struggling. I was also motivated by the occasional thumbs up or encouraging beep (Gary; Even a round of applause in one of the higher lay-bys. All the up one of these climbs in each lay-by there were toy donkeys laid out in big displays for sale, there was no variety
to the goods sold, every lay-by always the same donkeys).
Ginette – my simple mantra worked for a bit ‘you need to burn the fat, you need to burn the fat -’ as did the frequent breaks in the shade but as the afternoon wore on it had no effect and the bike started to dangerously zig zag across the road so I got off and walked for 50 meters until I got to the top of the hill exhausted. We agreed at 40 miles under our belts we could call it a day, Gary informed me the next village was only 3 miles away so we set off hoping someone would be able to tell us where we could camp for the night.
Once in the village it was clear to see our lack of Turkish would be a problem and when Gary asked about camping, after several conversations between the people in the cafe the cafe owner/manager said you can sleep at my house and promptly got his moped and escorted us to his humble abode. I was very apprehensive and only consented as I had heard of this happening to other travellers in the blogs we had read.
Once at his house (although he gave us his name the following morning we cannot remember it), he pointed to two settees and pointed to one and said you sleep there and at the other you sleep there. I was a little concerned that he thought we wanted to nap for an hour or two but Gary stressed we needed a bed for the night and he seemed to understand. This would have been OK but his bed was in the same room as our settees.
Gary; He was in for a surprise when he gets back home if he was not expecting us to stay the night.
Ginette: Can you imagine stopping in a village in the UK and enquiring about a camp site and being invited back to someones house to sleep? and even if they did would you accept?
To add to this act of generosity we think it was the hosts mother, but we’re not sure stopped Gary as he was unloading his bike and gave him a loaf of bread she had just baked.
Today for dinner; one stove and a one pot wonder.
Boil up some pasta, don’t drain it but add a packet sauce, chop and add some tomato, chop and add onion, add some pepper and hot chilli sauce.
dish up with the rest of the cold chopped tomato and chopped green pepper; 10 minutes and its in your tum, yum yum.
Ginette – I do hope the above is not Gary’s grand idea for giving up work because I don’t think he will get commissioned to produce a cook book, although I have to agree the food was yum, yum.
As you can imagine it was a rather unsettled night, our host came back early in the evening and took some pills and went out again, we were still unsure whether he would be staying in our room.
We settled down to sleep at about 8.30pm we (especially Gary) were very tired and with the mosque within spitting distance we knew we would be in for an unsettled nights sleep.
Our host came home somewhere between 11-12pm, he knocked politely and took his bedding and left, we are not sure where he slept, but he took a while to settle himself, which is not a surprise when he had two strangers in his bedroom. I woke with the call for prayer at 5.00am (I am still enjoying this melodic sound and find it quite soothing even at 5.00am) and waited for Gary to wake up at 6.30am. Once up we quickly packed up and said our goodbyes (our host was also up and about).
We think our host may have been making us breakfast but we were not sure and did not want to take advantage, we left thanking our host and took his picture, we did not offer him any money as we had read that this can be taken as an insult but it felt odd leaving without doing something in return for him. We eased our consciences later in the morning when we heavily tipped a cafe for a drink.
The morning started with another steep off track climb, this was made slightly easier by the fact that it was still quite cool. We stopped for breakfast in the wood but as it was on the cool side we didn’t hang about.
It was a long hard days cycling with lots of climbing, we took every opportunity to stop at roadside cafes, this served several purposes, it allowed us to rest our weary legs, buy a drink or two (we are now drinking our fizzy lemon drink and a cup of tea) and to use the toilet facilities. We always receive a warm welcome from the staff and the other customers. At one stop we bumped into some people who had emigrated to Turkey from the Netherlands and at the same stop we met some english people who were doing a two week coach tour of Turkey. Both groups were heading to Pannukkale which is our next destination.
Although the day was hard, it was made easier each time we received some encouragement from a passing vehicle (even vehicles on the opposite side of the road), some drivers were very enthusiastic and stuck their heads out of their windows to shout words of encouragement. A lot of the cars in Turkey resemble our old ford cortina’s and escorts they’re very battered and old but seem to get the Turks from A to B.
The scenery changed throughout the day we started in an area used for logging (and could hear the odd gun shot, a little disconcerting), as you can imagine this was off road and dusty, our next road was still being built, the road had been cut out of the mountain and the surrounding mountains were raw, rocky and a muddy brown. As the day went on we sore some amazing views some were almost from another world at one point the rocks looked a blue grey I think their must have been clay in the mud.
When the sun was at its hottest it was really oppressive and difficult to cycle (Stuart, Rob and Gary E will remember this feeling well from the Pyrenees) By 2.30pm Gary and I were wet through, dusty and uncomfortable, so we decided to stop at one of the big towns so that we could find some form of accommodation so we could wash and get clean.
We arrived in Kale at about 3.00pm and found a hotel as soon as we entered the town however the room price was a little high. We asked if there were other hotels in town and were informed there were, with this in mind we set off to find them, to no avail, we even logged on in an internet cafe but couldn’t find a single hotel or any other accommodation in Kale, so with our tails between our legs we went back to the original hotel.
Kale is an ugly, dusty town, with very few redeeming characteristics (maybe some of the locals), made even worse by the fact that they have no roads (although it is possible these are in the process of being rebuilt) and do not sell alcohol in their restaurants or cafes. Fortunately I had spied an off licence (a very small, dark shop mid way down one of the roads). Once we had eaten we went in search of some supplies and purchased a couple of beers from the ‘off licence’ and was amused when they were presented the cans in a small black plastic bag. We felt very naughty leaving the shop, some locals had seen us entire the shop (we had taken their photo earlier in the day) and called out to us as we left the shop, I think they wanted more photos but I felt like I had excited a sex shop and been caught buying something naughty.
Kale to Panukkale
Gary: today was a down day! but the good news is that this means the terrain was down not my mood. it was also kiss Ginettes t..ts day which has been fun. We have both been reading a book “every day is a holiday” which is very funny, and about the many holidays that fill the year for example 17th May is not only my birthday but it is National cycle your bike to work day. So I have made up my holiday day’s, hence the fun we have had with a part of Ginette’s anatomy.
Ginette: I have to keep reminding Gary that Turkey is a muslim country and although he would like to celebrate his ‘holiday’ he can’t do it where ever he pleases – he is a cheeky monkey.
Gary; I was woken at 1.30 with shouting and noise from down stairs the sound really travels in this hotel, anyway it leaves you unsettled what with the shouting all in Turkish so it took awhile to be able to get back to sleep.
Ginette – I slept like a baby, I didn’t even hear the call for prayer
We were on the road early and compared to the previous two days had a really easy ride. We covered 54 miles which were mainly down hill, I happily cycled and listened to my iPod pure joy.
Gary; As I said, down day – stats are: climbed, 529m, decent 1311m.
We left the hotel and turned the corner to be greeted with a view across a huge green cultivated valley surrounded with mountains, some snow covered, and we were on top of one these at 1000m. the drop to the valley was only down to 100m and levelled at 900m (or this valley, there are downs to come) but this was stark contrast to the last two days.
We stopped in a village called Tapaz for a mid morning snack, I was a little reluctant to come off the road but Gary was keen to explore, I am glad we did. I got a little excited when we entered the village because it looked like Stuart (our good friend) had popped over to Turkey to put some bunting out for us, but it turned out it was for the PDK political party (elections this Sunday). The town was lovely and a stark contrast to Kale it had paved roads and a market where we purchased some fruit. I am not sure they get many bike tourists as we seemed to generate a lot of interest, most of the women were wearing head scarfs and had their legs covered whereas I was in cycle shorts and a vest top, I did feel a little uncomfortable but not to the point of changing as a couple of younger women were dressed in western clothes.
Gary; We had tea with the locals in a sheltered wooded area in the village.
We stopped for lunch at about 12.30pm and had our first real turkish meal. A meze of 7 dishes which included a tomato and onion salad with chillies, peas and a tomato sauce, another tomato dish, rice and chips and roasted vegetables, freshly made pitta bread with a yogurt dip, it was lovely and the staff were really interested in our adventure however had very little english (but far better than our turkish). The owner provided us with a plate of free cherries and some lemon water to wash our hands and faces.
Gary; the next stage was a pleasant surprise as it was also down hill (see the running theme?) however we did have to travel through a city called Denzili, it was a busy city but we managed to traverse it on bus lanes and occasionally on the major road.
Ginette: Arrived in Panukkale at about 3.00pm and made our way to our hotel which was predictably up a hill. We had booked for the following night so we had to negotiate a change of date (not sure this has worked, only the bank account will tell). We quickly got changed and jumped in the pool. While sunning ourselves we struck a conversation with some greek men that had arrived at the same time as us on motorcycles, they planned to visit Pannukale in the afternoon which seemed like a good idea so we followed suit (we had planned on leaving this until the following day).
Pannukale is a place you must go to if you are in Turkey, it is truly amazing and it is easy to see why it is one of the wonders of the ancient world. I am not sure I can do justice to the place with words or pictures but you can look it up on wikipedia or better still plan a visit.
Gary; Let me try to describe Pannukkale “cotton mountains”
This is a must go to place, like no where else I have ever been or seen. To enter you have to remove your shoes and go bare foot. The surface is white like snow but hard like sea shells, so not easy going on the feet. Its surface is rippled like a sandy beach but rock hard – really weird. All the way up the path are little pools of shin deep water that you can wade in, again still not so nice for the feet. There is water running over the surface in places, waterfalls in other and stalagmites of frozen waterfalls on the cliff faces. And to top it all off there is a Roman ruin on the top of the hill, and even an old roman bath that for an extra charge you can go swim in.
Thats my turkey tourist guide bit done.
Ginette – I think we can rule out Gary being a travel writer as well : )
We probably didn’t do it justice as we were tired and there was a thunder storm over head which we meant we left after about 2 hours (you could easily spend half/whole day there).
Day 61 – Pannukale to Kuyucak
Had dinner in the hotel restaurant as the thunder and lightening storm entertained us. Lovely dinner as we had eater earlier in the evening we ask for a meal to share but this turned out to be a lot of food, we ended up with stuffed peppers, chicken shish kebabs, salad, rice and bread. We washed this down with a bottle of red from Pannukale which was very nice.
Woke early and was on the road by 8.30am – a very uneventful ride, Gary tried to make it more interesting by using the smaller roads but we ended up going down a couple of dead ends (much to the amusement of the locals) and getting chased by barking dogs (I was not amused).
The weather forecast was for further thunder storms in the afternoon so we headed back to the main road to ensure we arrived at our hotel by 2.00pm.
We arrived with a little time to spare however we struggled to find the hotel, we were reluctant to ask the locals after the last time but had little choice. Fortunately one of the locals knew where it was and jumped on his moped to direct us back the way we had come to the ‘hotel’. We were grateful for his help as we wouldn’t have found it, it was more like a big house or apartment block with no reception area, just metal gates with no welcome sign. The local who had directed us to the hotel knew the proprietor and rang him to indicate our arrival. It soon became apparent that our host was not expecting us, more on this in a minute. We were tired and dirty and were keen to get to our rooms and shower however the proprietor had other ideas rather than showing us to our room, our host proceeded to show us pictures of his trip to Ismer, his garden is summer and winter, his olive groves and a cycle race he had seen and in very broken English tried to make conversation with us (this took about 15 minutes but felt like an hour). When we were shown to our rooms we were to find two single beds with no bedding (we were later provided with a sheet and a pillow), no lock on the door and a shared bathroom with no lock (whoopee! Gary seemed fairly relaxed but I was cheesed off – this hotel was more expensive than any of the others we had stayed at in Turkey and we had only booked it to stay out of the thunder storm). The only saving grace was there was a living room area that we could use for writing our blog and reading.
We decided as it was early and the storm had not caught up with us we would venture into town however the proprietor (Alexander) had other ideas, he insisted on taking us by car to the old town. Alexander is a very proud man and took great joy in showing us his car (which was very posh) and taking us to his olive grove (in the old town). Once back in the town he took us for a couple of tea which seemed like a nice thing to do, but as we got up to leave he insisted we wait for his son. It was getting cold as the storm was overhead but he didn’t seem to care, he asked Gary questions in broken english and virtually ignored me (It seems to be a cultural thing). There were lots of awkward silences until his son arrived. It was clear his son had been invited so he could practice his english. This task was completed with the aid of his phone, he would tap in what he wanted to ask, the phone would translate into english and he would proceed to ask. This may have worked but unfortunately like most 16 year old boys his conversation skills with adults were a little limited. After some basic introductions and simple enquiries we were taken to the local restaurant (we were not given a choice but I am sure Alexander believed he was taking us to the best in town, he was very friendly with the owner). The son helped us to order our food and we sat down to wait. This was a little uncomfortable because neither Alexander or his son had ordered a drink or food, they simply waited for our food to arrive and then proceeded to wait for us to finish. Once we had completed our meal we were escorted back to Alexanders ‘hotel’ and shown to our room by the son, who kindly entered the password for the wifi, Gary in return showed him some of our pictures. Whilst this was happening Alexander’s wife brought in a vase of water with one glass! I was fast losing my grateful face, if I was in the UK I would have definitely complained but it does not seem to be the done thing here what’s more I don’t speak turkish and I would like to think they’re trying their hardest to be good hosts.
If my list of complaints were not long enough, when I went to the loo (with no lock on the door) it was only to find the flush did not work! Fortunately there is another loo further down the corridor where the flush does work but the door does not close and there’s no lock! I can only hope we have this part of the building to ourselves otherwise someone is in for a shock in the middle of the night.
The storm broke at about 5.30pm and we wrote our diaries to the tune of the falling rain and the call for prayer.
Gary; Anyone that knows Net well should be able to picture her mood from her notes above, its just as well the owners don’t speak English or they would have found Ginette a little hard too handle
The hotel is not really a hotel it just like a posh hostel with a huge kitchen and sitting area which is communal, however it is not ready for guests as there is no cutlery at all, old mother hubbards cupboards are bare. Even the swimming pool has no water in it.
The owner has gone out of his way to be hospitable, we were hoping to walk into town but he took us out in his new Mercedes people carrier up to the top of the hills, showed us his olive gardens, the views over the valley and the town he was born in, he even conjured up a huge snake which slivered away from us on the road.
Back in town he treated us to tea and tilted conversation, it was at this stage we started to feel like our lives were not our own, we couldn’t escape as his son turned up to do the same tilted conversation. They both escorted us to dinner and helped us order, it was very weird sitting eating and drinking while these two sat opposite at the same table but not joining us.
They were obviously being very kind and helpful but it is uncomfortable eating and conversing with two males, who are not eating and seem to only address me, not Ginette. We have no key to the hotel, it is pissing down but if we did want to go for a walk we have to rely on one of the owners still being at home to answer the door bell.
Ginette – like I said it’s pants!! on the upside it makes the next couple of nights wild camping more appealing.
Day 62 Kuyucak to 10 miles outside of Eupheus
Last night did not improve, as we were writing our diaries and relaxing in the spacious living room, our hosts decided to join us not to converse but to put the TV on (which we have avoided). On what may be deemed a positive note they did give us a cup of very sweet coffee (I suspect made with condensed milk) I don’t want to sound ungrateful but we were not asked whether we wanted a cup of coffee, we were happily finishing off a half bottle of wine we had in our room.
I politely made my excuses and went to our room, which was very hot as we did not have any air conditioning (which will explain, no bedding). I settled myself down and tried to relax by reading my book, Gary joined me soon after however we had to laugh when the call for prayer was sounded as it was like having the speaker in our room (seriously!) and we knew it would go off again later that night and at 5.00am. If nothing else on this trip I have learnt to be more tolerant and to laugh at adversity.
Breakfast continued the fiasco of staying at this hotel (I will not name it because on reflection I think the hosts were trying there hardest to please). Our hosts joined us, which would not have been a problem if they were eating but no they just sat there and watched us, Alexander took great pride in telling us the olives were from his trees and his wife filled our tea cups when ever we emptied them. Very strange, even stranger another guest had joined us for breakfast and it soon transpired he worked for the German branch of Sulzer pumps which is the same company Gary works for – what a small world we live in. After finishing breakfast and packing up our hosts escorted us to our bikes and waited for us to load them and wished us well on our journey. I think on reflection they truly meant well but they were very strange.
Cycling was easy, the road was flat and long we covered 38 miles by lunch time and stopped for some directions, the man who served us could not help but called a friend (Martin) who could speak english, he arrived 10 minutes later to provide us with some advice. He was surprised by the number of miles we were travelling and advised us to take lots of breaks because of the sun as we got back our bikes Gary’s garmin was registering 45c so he may have a point. In total we covered 62 miles by 4.00pm and camped up in some olive groves. I was a little anxious but my concerns were unfounded Gary asked a man working in the fields if we could camp and he said ‘no problem’ and over the course of the following 2 hours several tractors passed and waved to acknowledge we were camping. I know I have said it before but Turkish people are generous and lovely.
Gary; cycling past one of the small villages you could hear the speakers throbbing outs sound again, it is either the parties promoting themselves for the coming elections, or the calls to prayer. Not this time as we got closer it was Gangland style being piped into a children’s playground during playtime.
Sitting in the olive grove having even our cooked food drinking wine and beer and eating sweets, far more relaxing than the recent hotel experiences, even waving to odd tractor driver as he goes by but leaves us alone. A real feeling of freedom.
Turkey has it’s elections on Sunday and as a relatively new country there is great interest in politics, each town we pass has banners, bunting, posters and promotional vans playing music to promote their political party. We went through one town today where it appeared they were using the mosque tannoy system to promote a political party!
Day 63 Kuyucak to Kusadasi (South West Coast of Turkey)
Had a restless night although it was great to be wild camping it does take some adjusting to.
As we walked our bikes out of the field and down the off road track my bike bit me, it was my own stupid fault I was holding it by the handlebars and did not have the brake on, the pedal took a big chunk out of my ankle ouch!!
We had a nice easy ride to Eupheus which is an ancient ruins site, the best preserved we have seen on our travels and very much worth a visit if you are in Turkey. We opted to have the audio system rather than a guide or walking round clueless, this enabled us to walk round at our own pace and to listen to repeat sections we were particularly interested in.
Whilst playing in the ampitheater I fell down some marble stairs (clearly not my day), I not only bruised my pride (a group of chinese tourists witnessed me fall down the stairs, fortunately I had my cycle shorts under my dress), but I badly bruised and cut both arms and several fingers – double ouch.
We spent a couple of hours looking around Epheus before heading to the beach. We had hoped this was 4 or 5 miles away but it turned out to be 8 or 9 miles of hard riding, we had a head wind and the road surface was not very good. My body was throbbing from my fall and Gary was tired so the ride was very slow. Fortunately we found the camp site almost as soon as we entered the town so we quickly unpacked and went to the pool for some much needed rest and relaxation. We have decided to stay in this campsite for 2 days to allow our bodies to recover, the next stretch of our journey looks very lumpy.
Whilst eating our dinner we spotted two other tourers entering the camp site next to ours, as we had missed out on talking to any other travellers (because of language barriers or the fact that we were heading in different directions), Gary decided to cease the moment and introduce himself and invite the for a drink. It turned out that the Marijke and Diego were on a 5 week road trip (a kind of honeymoon) and were heading to Istanbul, but as they had limited time they were using buses and trains to cover quite a long distance. Marijke was 4 months pregnant but seemed to be coping really well, she explained that she had done a lot of cycling in the past. She had met Diego whilst cycling in South America. We had a really lovely evening with them and agreed to stay in touch.
Camping is great fun but I do wish they’d make sound proof tents, we were sent to sleep by the sound of dogs barking and growling (one right next to our tent) and the local disco.