Deciding to set off cycling north from the sea coast of Manavgat towards Cappadocia, maybe if there wasn`t bombings coming from Syria onto Turkish soil i may of followed more of the coast round to Iran as a new border crossing had recently opened in the form of a bonding gesture between Iran and Turkey, northwards towards Cappadocia was the plan, climbing up from sea level to the small town of Akseki, being at 1500m Akseki is known for the first place for snow to fall in the Meditteranean region of Turkey, it was tough climbing at times with a steady 35 km uphill, the weather was becoming considerably colder with the first rainfall since Bosnia.
Heading to Erzurum the rain had been belting down the day before and early in the morning, as the temperature started to rise the surface water on the road was making the road slippy, cycling on down the main road, a white car passed at a speed, thinking he`s going to fast, next thing thud, looked ahead to see the car spun to its side, take out a sign and land in the central reservation with another car, a few cars stopped, we helped the man out of the car, with a cut to his head i made use of the medical pack and bandaged his head up, the lady in the other car had a bump to her head, luckily everyone was walking.
An eye opener in Erzurum was the Beyram festival which is a Muslim festivel that lasts for four days, where cows, sheep and goats are slaughtered and the food handed out to the poor, mainly i seen cows in the street, everywhere i looked a cow was being slaughtered, one guy offered me some meat, i said no thanks, thinking know where to really carry it, he replyed, you vegetarian?
The east of Turkey felt somewhat different from the rest of Turkey, maybe the fact the area sees less tourism than say the more coastal areas and tourist sights of the Cappadocia region, thinking about it tourism does play a big part in making a name for a country, it seems to be the coastal areas that are more popular, still the generosity and hospitality of the people was still there, though the further northeast the wilder and hungrier the dogs seemed to be getting, arriving to the top of a big hill, there was an army barracks to the right hand side of the road, as just to say i passed the entrance and was on the downhill part of the hill, when one Mastiff dog ran from the entrance, then two, then three, four, five, until my eyes couldn`t move fast enough to keep track of them all, the young guy on the gate post beckoning me on to carry on cycling, laughing with half a smile as though it was entertainment, i jumped from the bike, shouting at the guard to rein the animals in, he seemed to get the message.
Turkey`s pulled, stretched and put thought to the brain, the shear size and landscape of the place is huge, with going over a hill the temperature and weather would change dramatically, it`s defintaly not all sun, sunbeds and beaches, what made up for some challenging times was the amazing views from the turn of a corner to the friendly hospitality of the Turkish people.
Posted by Rob Brown