Posts Tagged ‘Turkey’


This valley in Turkey is famous for turkey and garlic. After an interview with the local rag, we may become famous as the ANZACs in this valley 100 years after the Çanakkale victory. After meeting the local English teacher, James may become famous as the New Zealander of Boyabat.

Selling garlic

Selling garlic

Sitting in front of a small shop in Hanōnü, we were being asked the usual questions – where are you from? Where are you going? What is you name? The answers were being written down, and it soon became apparent that this was for a newspaper. From Australia and New Zealand? Great!! That’s the story – 100 years since the Çanakkale victory, two ANZACs (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) return on bike. Then the camera was whipped out, and before we knew it, we were posing with the bikes in front of the local iconic buildings.

Me getting interviewed

Me getting interviewed

Our lovely warm showers host Yalçin – a philosophy teacher at the school – invited the school’s English teacher over for tea. The excitement mounted when we heard that they were studying New Zealand in the English class, and they invited James to talk to the students at the school.

Thank you, Yalçin for your great hospitality and for an enjoyable evening of food, photos, tea and stories!

Yalçin - our host

Yalçin – our host


A kerfuffle at 3am as a strange man stumbled around the hotel corridor in Araç. He was shooed away by the man responsible for the corridor wood stove. Other than that the usual – climbing over a pass and down the other side – this time to Kastamonu. A shave at the local barber, a talk with some couch surfing students, and a nice warm comfortable hotel. 🙂

An oily snow field

An oily snow field

The day was cloudy and cold – especially at over 1000m. James and I both agree we have had enough of mountains for the time being, and are looking forward to reaching the flat Black Sea coast.

The pass before Kastamonu

The pass before Kastamonu

One has to look one’s best at the beach, so, time for a shave.

A shave in Kastamonu

A shave in Kastamonu

I think there was some language barrier confusion with our Couch Surfing host, and James and I are now staying in a nice hotel in Kastamonu. The weather forecast is for much warmer weather, and we are looking forward to the next chapter in the trip. Swimming, camping on the beach, cruising along the coastal road. But tomorrow Boyabat and then one last pass to the coast.


On this day 44 years ago, I appeared on this earth. Back then, my loving parents could not have imagined that I would be cycling from Holland to Australia, and would be celebrating this joyous anniversary by eating a birthday cheese with a New Zealander in the mountain village of Iğdir. But, so it has come to be.

My birthday cheese

My birthday cheese

My mother could have had an inkling that I would have gorged out on numerous cakes and chocolate bars before indulging in the birthday cheese.

Indulgence

Indulgence

The first day of my 45th year was spent eating a birthday breakfast with my Karabük friends, and drinking copious amounts of çay.

Çay

Çay

The sun made a brief appearance, and shone on the Unesco Historical Town of Safranbolu.

Safranbolu

Safranbolu

Safranbolu

Safranbolu

Safranbolu

Safranbolu

Then the clouds returned. Mood changes with the weather. Some days you feel on top of the world. Sometimes you just feel like curling up into a warm bed. Following a river up into the mountains, James and I both felt a bit unenthused. It was cloudy, cold, and the wind couldn’t make up its mind if it wanted to help us or hinder us. We pressed on – a birthday cheese helped us on our way. We ended up in a cheap hotel in the small town of Araç. The wood stove in the hotel corridor provided some warmth. The room is basic – there are two beds. My sleeping bag should do the trick in the linen department.

Wooden stove

Wooden stove

Hotel room

Hotel room


Today I ate birthday cake – one in the morning, and one in the evening. In between birthday cake eating sessions I cycled across a high snowy plain, and then 1000m downhill into the student town of Karabük. And today wasn’t even my birthday.

Snowy plains

Snowy plains

The first birthday cake was for a friend in Taiwan, and I ate some cake to celebrate that in the snow.

Kaiwen's birthday cake

Kaiwen’s birthday cake

The second birthday cake was in anticipation of my upcoming birthday tomorrow. This was eaten together with our wonderful warm shower hosts Kaan and his friends in Karabük. They not only welcomed James and me into their home and cooked for us, but insisted on celebrating my last evening on the planet aged 43 with a cake. Great people!

My birthday cake

My birthday cake

The cycling today was cold and white. My phone thought it far too cold, and went on strike. I had to keep it snug and warm next to my chest to prevent it rebooting. It wanted to be near the birthday-boy to be.

Snowy freeway

Snowy freeway


The mountains are white, and it is snowing. Snow angels, snow balls and a thaw-out at an alpine tea house made for an enjoyable if cold and strenuous day over a 1600m alpine pass.

Snow on the way to Gerede

Snow on the way to Gerede

Our plan was to make an early start, steam over the high pass, and make it all the way to our warm shower host in Karabük by evening. With the road long, and the headwind, snow and sludge slowing us down, we found that this was quite unrealistic. It was good, though, to have a change of scenery, and see everything enveloped in white.

Snowy village

Snowy village

James made a nice snow angel. I didn’t dare – it was cold enough already.. 🙂

Snow angel

Snow angel

The high pass between Kızılcahamam and Gerede

The high pass between Kızılcahamam and Gerede

We made it to the ski town of Gerede. Tomorrow on through the snow. In a few days it will warm up to 21C. Hard to imagine.. 🙂


I learned the cycling word ‘bumpy’ in Finland. A short climb and then a drop followed by another climb. The road to Kızılcahamam was bumpy, following a gorge up into the mountains. When we arrived, we felt like we had done some exercise. Oh, and I clocked up my fastest speed ever on the bike – 67 km/h.

James before the drop to Güdül

James before the drop to Güdül

Güdül was at our customary 30km lunch stop.

View from near Güdül

View from near Güdül

Güdül

Güdül

Some pandas hanging in the window

Some pandas hanging in the window

Kôfte

Kôfte

Kızılcahamam is a tourist town near Ankara with lots of hamams and hot spring water. Rather than take a hamam, James and I decided to… eat.

Kızılcahamam 30

Kızılcahamam 30

Road to Kızılcahamam

Road to Kızılcahamam

Ayran fountain

Ayran fountain

James and me at dinner

James and me at dinner

Unpacked, we have a mountain of clothes.

Unpacked, we have a mountain of clothes.

Tomorrow will be interesting. It is meant to snow tonight, and we have been advised to take the main road rather than the small road we were planning to take. I guess it might be icy and dangerous. It will be our first snow.


Up over the mountain in the sunny but crisp morning, and a spectacular vista opens out before us, breathtaking in its size and scope. A canyon of epic scale with a lake far, far below. Today was a day of rolling down into the canyon, through cherry blossom fields, and across a white, chalky landscape to the town of Beypazarı.

Drahtesel on the way to Beypazarı

Drahtesel on the way to Beypazarı

Down through an alpine forest from Mihalıççık to open out on a canyon lake-bed vista that went on forever.

Looking out over the vast panorama

Looking out over the vast panorama

Dropping down to the valley, we passed a village of cherry blossom.

Cherry blossom village

Cherry blossom village

The lunar landscape was bright in the dazzling sun. White and creamy brown cliff faces on the side of the lake, with a layer of green. The road rolled over the undulating landscape, with the blue lake on the left and chalky cliffs of the right.

Chalky landscape

Chalky landscape

James cycling through the chalky landscape

James cycling through the chalky landscape

Beypazarı

Beypazarı

Famous Beypazarı 80 layer baklava

Famous Beypazarı 80 layer baklava


Feeling down and out? Cold and unmotivated? Try cycling across plains through a panoramic vista landscape, bathed in a soft light. Add to that a gale-force tailwind, and you have all you need to break those cycling blues. And try passing 6000km while having tea in a super friendly village. That will do the trick.

A long straight road

A long straight road

Sitting in cold and grey Eskişehir at 750m, the road into the mountains of over 1600m with a forecast of colder and snow was not appealing. Our headwind into Eskisehir had us expecting the same. Well, the universe gave us a gale tailwind, even though in the beginning it was still cold.

It's cold

It’s cold

A lunch of soup and pide in Alpu gave us the energy to climb up to Mihalıççık at 1300m.

Lunch

Lunch

Tea

Tea

The climb was nothing, being blown uphill, and my, the scenery was stunning. I thought, at last these views are like I have seen on world cyclist blogs. Long roads disappearing towards the distant mountains, puffy white clouds breaking up the clear blue sky. This was an amazing ride. James and I are really happy to be alive!

Vista

Vista

Vista

Vista

White vista

White vista

James approaching the summit

James approaching the summit

The sun getting low

The sun getting low

I passed 5999km from Eindhoven in the village of Kayi. There was an appealing tea shop calling out to us, so I cycled back and forth in the village – much to the amusement of the locals – until I hit 6000km, and then took a selfie with everyone watching.

6000km

6000km

We were invited to tea by a lovely man who had lived in Germany for 5 years and spoke good German. He told us of a shorter, new, downhill road to our next destination – Beypazarı and he arranged for a place for us to stay in Mihalıççık. I like him! Go to the town hall and ask. We did, and ended up in a hidden hotel with a lovely big electric bar heater. That hit the spot!

6000km tea house

6000km tea house

Bar heater

Bar heater

Day 80. 0km. Eskişehir

Posted: March 25, 2015 in Cycling, Turkey
Tags: , ,

Our 300km detour to Eskişehir was to have the spokes on our new wheels readjusted. That took all of 30 seconds. The mood fluctuated today as we considered the snow-filled and -10C options of getting to the Black Sea, and why we are doing this.

Sepa, James and me

Sepa, James and me

We were woken up today by a cat that jumped up from the balcony, latched onto the door handle, and opened the door.

The clever cat

The clever cat

We then fell asleep again, adjusting to the rhythm of the student house of Sefa – our cool, laid-back warm showers host. Breakfast was at 13.30, and our 30 second spoke examination at 15.00.

Eskişehir – at an altitude of 750m – is cold. Our planned route to the Black Sea climbs to 1600m, and the weather forecast there is for -10C and snow. Plagued with fluctuating blood sugar levels and low motivation, we considered our options over a salad or two (each). We will continue and reassess – cycling to Ankara if it gets too cold where Sefa has offered to help us find a place to stay. Thanks Sefa, for everything!


There are the side roads that are steep, strenuous and peaceful. And there are the main freeway-like roads that are less steep with many lanes and lots of trucks. Today we chose the second option and slowly climbed to Eskeşehir, accompanied part of the way by our Bilecik friends. Oh. And my first flat tyre of the trip.

Cycling to Eskesehir

Cycling to Eskesehir

The fluorescent troop made it down the freeway-like road.

On the road to Eskesehir

On the road to Eskesehir

And then my first flat tyre on my Koga bike – over 15000km, and nearly 6000km since I left Eindhoven on my world trip. I successfully changed the tyre. Yay!

My first flat tyre of the trip

My first flat tyre of the trip

We are staying with Sefa in Eskişehir – a student at the university, and in a place with lots of cool students popping in and out. Thanks Sefa for the great hospitality!

Dinner at Sefa's house

Dinner at Sefa’s house