Friday, September 30, 2011

Day 090 Beysehir - Konya

A pretty normal day: breakfast, cycling, break, cycling, arrival in Konya. But on paper it was a very exciting one: somewhen today I crossed the 5000km mark, it was the 90th day and I climbed up a pass as high as never before (there will be a lot more of those coming soon).
Konya is something like the religious capital of Anatolia. In no other city I have seen such a big portion of women wearing headscarf on the street.
I felt a bit tired and weak all day and in the evening I experienced the first proper stomach problems of the trip, örks ! I just went out shortly to organize some water and spent the rest of the day running between bathroom and bed. Let's hope it will get better tomorrow.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Day 089 Beysehir - Eflatun Pinar - Beysehir

I liked Beysehir so I decided to leave the luggage at the hotel, stay one more night and do a roundtrip to Eflatun Pinar - a hittite spring sanctuary from the 15th to 13th century B.C. A very beautiful place and we had it all for ourselves.
I guess I did not bike without luggage for more than 2 months now. It felt as if I could fly.
When I stopped on the way back some  guys had fun trying out my bicycle.
The rest of the day I just relaxed :o)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Day 088 Bademli - Beysehir

I woke up when the women from the village started preparing çörek - a flat bread with a thin layer of cheese inside, best eaten warm. The owner ladies albino son offered me the first results of their work and tea for breakfast. The women were very communicative and literally forced me to photograph their work.
After 2 days of climbing todays ride was easy. But nevertheless wonderful - very very beautiful mountain views. At the first stop at a gas station I was immediately offered tea. Shortly after one of the guys commanded me to stay there until he would come back. A view minutes later he arrived with a bag - full of çörek. Turkish hospitality forced me to a second breakfast.
From there on I could just roll down to the central anatolian plateau and soon I saw the green waters of beysehir gölü - Turkeys biggest freshwater lake. A short trip on the lakeshore and on early afternoon I arrived in the town of Beysehir. This gave me enough time for some errands: reanimating my mobile internet connection at Turkcell, shopping for groceries, organizing new guitar strings, preparing the Haiku contest winner package and finally just relaxing in the bathtub :o)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Day 087 Mahmutlu - Bademli

Record day! I climbed as high as never before on this trip (at least on the bike): > 1400m. And despite starting at about 600 some ups and downs made me gather more than 1500m of ascend, puh!
It was easier than expected: I had still some extrapower from the holidays in Antalya left and the wonderful landscape along with the cool mountain air kept me going. I reached an area which has snow in winter as can be seen by the long safety sticks lining the roads. Wherever I stopped I met only extremely nice people. In the evening I tried to find a place to sleep in Bademli, but the only Otel was full with road construction workers - no problem in extremely hospitable Turkey: a guy who spoke a bit of German guided me with his car (even stopping to guard me from the herding dogs)  to a nearby place where I could put up my tent and spend the evening drinking beer and dining with the old men from the mountains.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Day 086 Side - Mahmutlu

If you want prettiness stay at the sea.
If you want magic go to the mountains.
As soon as I left the coast magical things started to happen:
The first third of the ascend was perfectly set up for sportsmen - with fruit stalls every few hundred meters. When I stopped at one to eat very small, very tasty bananas I was treated to some huge beans (tasting sweet, a bit chocolaty) by a Turkish girl with beautiful blue eyes. Women in Turkey are usually very withdrawn towards strangers - as long as Turkish men are around. If you are alone with them or only other women are around some become much more outgoing, friendly and communicative (again regardless of the lack of a common language).
Shortly after reaching the top of the first hill I finally met someone as crazy as me! Winston started cycling in Singapore exactly 1 year and 1 day ago. Now he is heading for London. Of course we shared some hints on what will lay ahead of us, made photos and enchanged contact data before moving on. With the motivating thought, that I am not the only crazy person in the world the next mountain went smoothly (ok, several days of relaxation also helped a lot). As I got deeper into the woods the fruit stalls stopped and I was already afraid of running out of water when I came across a small hut selling tea, water and toast. Of course the other guests were interested in my story so I explained it in the few words of Turkish I know. When I was about to leave it turned out that the lady did not have change - after some asking around one of the other guests just decided to pay my bill - no refusal allowed - wow!
The landscape became more dramatic and the sun began to hide behind the mountains, so I decided to stop at a mosque in the mountain village of Mahmutlu. After asking the mosque keeper (in sign language) I started to set up my tent and was immediately joined by Ali, Hussein, Recep and some other boys who were very interested in my bike, my tent, my journey and everything else. At prayer time a German speaking guy appeared, so I could have a deeper conversation before withdrawing to my tent. For the next two days I will go further up the mountains, so there will be more magic to come...