After a teary goodbye to the island paradise of Telendos and our friend Yannis, we took sail for Turkey with a heavy heart. That was a month ago. Our smiles returned quickly.
Because here, we are never hungry
We’ve lost quite a lot of weight since our departure. Luckily, the Turks are here to make sure we eat enough. Really. There has not been a day without screeching brakes, hazard lights and food thrust through an open window. Apples, nuts, cookies, apricots, gozleme, bottled water, cookies, salty biscuits, peaches, çay (Turkish tea), quince (much better than those we’ve had before). When we can’t take our odour anymore and we are forced to take a room for the night, breakfast is always a real treat full of delicious local products.
Because here, it’s never flat
We didn’t suffer many hills back in Europe. Let’s say that we’ve made up for it well. From Bodrum to Çamardi where we are today, we’ve accumulated no less than 18000m of ascent in 1204km. Stressful for the legs, we are forced to slow the pace down. Rather than setting objectives by distance, we’ve established a time limit per day. 5-6 hours maximum and one rest day for every 3 days on the road. Days being longer now, we have got a lot more time to take breaks, rest, make a detour for a visit to the left, or a quick swim to the right.
Because here, we are never bored
There are horns, waves, headlight calls and much more. Children gaze awestruck and grin from ear to ear, their eyes follow us until we disappear from view. Sometimes we stop and show them our map miming and using our limited Turkish “England-Turkey, cycling, 6 months (it’s 7 now but we’ve only learned to say 6 so we stick with it), 6000km, sleep in tent.” Adolescents, while giving us fruit, take photos with us to share instantly on social media. Young adults, who speak better English than we speak Turkish, make a point on letting us know we are welcome and are always curious to ask what we think about their country.Then finally, the elderly ones first look at us with suspicion before exclaiming whilst looking at the map and weighing our bikes. ‘Mashallah’, big smile and hand movement show us that we ‘are crazy’. That’s the Turkish refrain that motivates us everyday.
Because here, nature surprises us every day
Here, a tortoise crosses the road. Further, a mountain on fire. Up there, a stork’s nest on a mosque. To our right, fragrant orange trees are in bloom. Rising sharply from the coast a backdrop of massive snowy peaks. There, a Roman theatre lost in the mountains. Right next to us, a family of rabbits on the beach. On the roadside, rock formations become more surprising than the last.
Our stay in Turkey is not over yet, but here are the first photos of it :