We have only just left Cannacale and soon we meet other heavily packed cyclists. A couple, she is German and he is Austrian. We chat on the side of the road and decide to cycle together. It’s a very nice encounter! He is retired and she works at an outdoor nursery, all year round she works outdoors on a ridge in a beautiful forest with children from 3 to 6 years old. She talks about her work with great passion and we are completely enthused by her stories. That day we cycle through beautiful surroundings. Along coastal towns, through Troy national park, on fine roads that are not too busy. It is so hot that the asphalt is melting and we are leaving a trail. That evening we find the perfect place to camp with two tents. We take a dip in the sea, enjoy the sunset and Franz cooks a delicious meal for everyone.
The next day, the four of us continue cycling. The day starts beautifully at the coastline. We come across breathtaking places where you could go wild camping. The rest of the day remains beautiful and the landscape continues to change throughout the day. We climb a lot in height, the landscape becomes drier, rougher and we see low stone walls with thatched roofs meant for the sheep and goats. We are making slow but steady progress today and make a lot of altitude meters. We cycle past Assos and are starting to get tired but have set our minds on the coast and a swim in the sea. So we descend and climb some more before we look for a place to sleep. We notice that the entire coast has been built up here and we know that it will not be possible to find a wild camping spot. We go to a small bungalow park. They let us set up the tent even though they are not a campsite and they are not open at all. Normally they are only open for friends from Turkey who go on holiday. This evening Franz and I (Nina) are preparing a meal together. We drink a beer and have a nice chat.
These two days of cycling with Brigitte and Frans were very nice. They are very beautiful free spirits. They showed us what fruit to pick from the trees and we were invited by a couple to pick apricots in their orchard. After which she filled our bags with their home-picked apricots. It was an awful lot, probably around two kilos for us and two kilos for Franz and Brigitte. Fortunately we meet Frans and Brigitte later. But for now we say goodbye.
After being with other people continuously for such a long time. First in Istanbul and at the festival and now with Franz and Brigitte we are happy that we continue together for a while. Even though we enjoy the contact, we notice that we sleep later than usual and we need some time to recharge. But even though we really want to be together for a while. When traveling you don’t always have a choice and this day many beautiful and hospitable people cross our path. It starts with a woman who sees us sitting in the shade of a tree. She invites us to her home and gestures for us to take our empty water bottles with us. She fills them all with her own water tank, gives us a bottle of sparkling water and introduces us to her husband who speaks proper English because he studied in London. We stay there for a while, have interesting conversations and thank them for their hospitality, after which we receive a very large bag of walnuts from their own tree. Later that day, at the end of the cycling day, we stop at the beach. There is a field full of picnic tables. A number of families are having a barbecue. We are not there long before we are invited by a family. They are people we would never come into contact with in our normal lives. You can see that they have little to spend. Two of them have big wounds on the feet and legs that don’t heal well and while they are sharing their food with us, one of them quickly makes a drug deal. One of the women is pregnant and lights a cigarette and asks if I want one too. If I say no, everyone looks at me crazy and laughs with each other. They ask us if we could smuggle phones but can quickly maneuver us out of this conversation. And yet they are very nice, interested and hospitable. They warn us before they leave that we should not camp here because the chances are that our belongings will be stolen here and ask if we would rather sleep at their place. We thank them but prefer to sleep in the tent.
We think for a moment about what she told us. It doesn’t feel like the best place, but we can put all the bags in the tent and attach the bikes to a tree. We are setting up the tent when a man walks by with his children and warns us. Here are snakes and drunken people he says. We thank him and decide to pack everything to continue cycling. When we want to leave he invites us to his family and they give us food from their bbq. Our second dinner! It’s a beautiful big family. We communicate through photos and a map and with hands and feet. When the sun has set, one of the men suggests that we come and stay with him and his family. It’s hard to say no to that now that it’s getting so late. That evening we play with the children, learn to count to ten with them and drink Chai with freshly baked cookies on the side until the wee hours.
We slept badly because of the heat, the mosquitoes and the family who were awake until much later than us. Even the kids were up late. In the morning everyone is up early again and we are warmly welcomed, we play some more with the children and a delicious extensive breakfast is made for us which we eat in the kitchen before the rest. When we are finished we go sit in the living room while the rest goes to eat in the kitchen. After breakfast they take us to our bikes in the storage and we say goodbye to the whole family. Everyone comes to the storage to see us and wave us goodbye.
The next day we meet James. He is from New Zealand and flew to Istanbul to cycle here with no real goal. It’s a very nice meeting. We decide to cycle and camp together for a day. It is getting very hot and today we make a lot of altitude but the views are rewarding. Beautiful cliffs along the coast with deep blue and turquoise sea. In between we take a dip in the sea and then continue cycling. When we arrive in Foça, what is a very nice coastal town, were we decided to stop for a while to refill water and do some shopping. The moment we get off the bikes we come across Frans and Brigitte, what a surprise!! We go to dinner together somewhere in the village and say goodbye to each other again. But agree with them to meet again in Izmir.
Together with James we look for a place to sleep just outside Foça. On top of a hill with a beautiful view we find a good spot next to what seems to be abandoned beehives. But just as we are in our tent, a car arrives and two men get out and go to work. Fortunately, they don’t mind that we camp there. Make us laugh and give us a jar of honey and a 10 liter water bottle!! The next day we say goodbye to James. He wants to keep a little more pace in his journey for now.
In Izmir we stay one night longer than we planned in advance, but because of that we can arrange some things such as going to a bicycle repair shop. There is a very large bicycle maker there that has everything in stock, sells Ortlieb bags and Brooks saddles. We’ve never seen that in Turkey before. The shop is called Sundu Bisiklet.
We have a very nice Airbnb host who invites us to her sister’s birthday party and gives us a lot of tips for wild camping for the upcoming time.
The next day we cycle again with a goal. And that is a beach where you can camp well. It is a beautiful cycling day and we arrive at our destination early. We arrive and the first thing that happens is that our neighbor comes over with his own brewed beer. And walks back to his campervan. We enjoy the beer. We clean the chains of the bicycles and oil them again. Which is always a big job and in the evening we visit our neighbors who cooked delicious meal for us!
They are nice and well traveled people. They live in Izmir, are retired and come here every week to relax and enjoy their time. They will soon be going to North Cape on motorbike for a month and he has also traveled by bicycle in the past. We decide to stay one more day at this place and the next day they invite us again.
Now we have had enough rest! We want to get into a cycling rhythm again. We leave the beach with another goal in mind. Pamucak Beach. From there we can go to Epheseus the next day. We are picking some fruit from a tree when we meet another cyclist. Adrian from France. He’s been on the road for about as long as we are and has also cycled from home. He is a history teacher and during his trip he found a job in Istanbul!! We are secretly a bit jealous.. we also talked about working and living in Istanbul for a year. That seems like something we would like to do. Adrien also goes to Epheseus so we decide to cycle to the beach together.
Another nice day. Every cyclist we meet does the same, we travel by bicycle but we are all so different. Adrian is very funny. We can laugh a lot with him. After a long day of cycling we arrive at the beach where we quickly set up the tent, have a swim, shower and start cooking. And then we have visitors! People from Germany driving their car. It’s a nice evening. We make a fire, eat marshmallows, drink a beer and chat about everything we have experienced on our trip and how we experienced the different countries.
The next morning the five of us have a big breakfast. Everyone has something different and everything is shared with each other. We feel a bit Turkish 😉 The breakfast takes a little longer than we planned because there is such a nice vibe. We say goodbye to the Germans and go to Epheseus in the after noon. When we get there it is very busy. Crowds of people come and go and are transported in large buses. We doubt for a moment whether we want to go in, but we want to go there. The moment we buy a ticket it suddenly rains. Everyone flees the park but we put on our raincoats and go inside. Adrien waits at a restaurant until it is dry. It is very quiet in the park and we are amazed by the well preserved and restored historical buildings. We try to imagine how life was back then.
When we walk outside we meet Adrien who is just entering. We agree to sleep one more night on the beach and see each other there. We briefly enter Selçuk where we arrive at a large market where we buy delicious fresh vegetables and fruit, dried figs, rice, olives and olive oil. In the meantime it is already very warm and we are completely dried up by the sun. That evening we chat a bit with Adrien and go to bed early. The next day we will go our separet ways.