We said goodbye to Sixtine and Tom. For the first time in more than a week that we are with the two of us again. We go more into the centre of Turkey. It is always exciting to go into the unknown again with our bikes. Of course we do that every day, but now we are experiencing a big change again. The coast is different everywhere, but it still feels like a whole.
We start in Antalya from which it very rural for a long time. The largest hotels pass us by. It’s a bit ridiculous to see them. Each hotel has a theme and some look like attraction parks. Tasmahal, the Kremlin, the Titanic. But when we have passed them all, we arrive in a beautiful nature reserve. We cycle up slowly along a fast-flowing river. We arrive at a breathtaking place where we no longer want to leave. It is so beautiful here. We pitch our tent and read a book.
The following days are just as beautiful. We cycle through a Kanyon with the fast-flowing blue-black water finding its way down. We cycle up a some hard climbs where we occasionally have to push our bikes up because it is too steep. The mountains now surround us with their pointed rocky peaks.
When we cycle past a village restaurant at the end of the day, we are waved in. Come and drink a chai !! We start talking via Google Translate and one leads to the other and we stay for something to eat and pitch the tent on the terrace. The food is delicious and the family is very kind.
The next morning they show us their fish that they have on the menu. They have large pools of fish that swim in it. It is continuously filled with fresh running water from the waterfall and the water goes through a gutter where fish also swim. The young smaller fish that must become larger and stronger by swimming against the current.
When we say goodbye we get a warm farewell. One of the older ladies almost doesn’t want to let go of Nina and keeps giving hugs. The children wave from a distance and we continue our ride.
That day we have a climb to 1800 meters. But what we had not fully anticipated that we would rise and descend very often before that climb. And the last 10 kilometers until the top will be gravel path. It is hard work but oh so beautiful !! We enjoy the views, the green valleys, the rock walls that surround us and the beautiful flowers.
Mountains mean dogs, aggressive dogs. We did not miss them along the coast. But in the meantime we are used to them and we know how to deal with it. With a stone in our hand we cycle slowly or stop for a moment and continue walking quietly while we make contact with the dogs.
When we finally reach the top there are gusts of wind, so we start the descent tense. We have difficulty keeping our bikes straight, but luckily, the lower we get, the less strong the wind pulls on us. This side of the mountain is very different, green grass plains with pine trees and streams that flow through it. It is fairy-tale with the sun that is now low. We look for a place out of the wind for our tent and relax in the beautiful surroundings. Now that we are more inland, we can find quiet wild camping places more easily. What a relief that is.
The next day we cycle on to the city of Beysehir. Something doesn’t feel right with my (Nina) bike but we cycle on. At the end of the day as we are past the city, we will stop in a village to see if we can find the cause. We are not sure what the problem is, but it seems to be my tire. While we are standing there with my bike upside down, a man comes to stand with us. He invites us to Chai. We go with him and sit there for a long time at his house with a beautiful vegetable garden with chickens roaming around. He wants to help us and indicates to a good bicycle repair shop in the city. We can stay in the house because it is his second home. He lives in the city himself and is staying here daily. We cannot say no to that. We have a house to ourselves! We cook a delicious meal in the kitchen and go to sleep in a beautifully Turkish-lined room.
The next day we go into town to go to the bicycle repair shop, do our laundry and do some other chores. We are advised by the bicycle repair shop to go to a Lokanta for lunch, but we must indicate that we are there through him. So we do that. We eat a delicious lunch and when we want to pay they don’t take money from us and wave goodbye to us. It is incredibly moving how much we receive here and sometimes still awkward. At the end of the day we arrive at Abdullah’s second home with his beautiful garden. We can use it for another night. We drink chai with him again on his porch and a little later he lets us go our way and leaves for the city as we say goodbye to him.
Thank you Abdullah for all your help and hospitality. Now on to Konya.
The landscape keeps changing.
We cycle over hilly grassland where a lot of wheat is grown and arrive again at large rocky pointed peaks. The day has a lot of climbing again. And when we want to take a break in a village, we are immediately invited dor Chai again. We are sitting with two men. They are interested in what we do and where we come today. One man leaves but another replaces it. A man who speaks Dutch because he has lived in the Netherlands for 25 years. He offers us something to eat and will arrange it immediately. Slowly more and more men are sitting. In the end there are 5 men and every time someone arrives he gets a whole introduction from who we are and what we do from another man. We drink countless chai, eat toast and drink ayran. And if we want to pay, our money is dismissed. No you do not pay!!
It is difficult to say goodbye but we will continue. We have decided that we need a day of real rest, without chores, without physical exertion but maybe a short walk. We will do that in Konya!