On the ferry from Rhodes to Fethiye I met Jordine from Australia. She has been traveling through Europe for 4 months. When we arrived at the harbor two things came to my mind: the people were suddenly friendly again and the food was just fantastic. 4 years ago I cycled through Turkey for the last time. The hospitality of the people had deeply impressed me at that time. I was curious how the country had changed so far.
Jordine and I went to a small restaurant together and ate a pide (Turkish pizza). One thing has changed since my last visit: the currency (Turkish lira) has become cheaper. The waiter gave us the aperitif and at the end another round of cay (black tea with sugar). This has not happened to me in any Greek restaurant.
Traveling without modern means of navigation can sometimes lead to dead ends. That happened to me the following day. I tried to search a road along the coast. After 30 kilometers, countless vertical meters and heat of 42 ° C, the road in a small village suddenly came to an end. Completely frustrated, I had to cycle all the way back to Fethiye. In front of a mosque some young men gave me a whole sack full of grapes and wished me all the best. With so much cordiality you quickly forget the frustration.
Road construction is unfortunately not the strength of the Turks. Slopes under 10% percent are a real rarity and the decking consists partly of very funny mixtures. But at least they thought a little bit about the cyclists and almost always built a small side strip on the edge. What is never missing in a Turkish car is the horn. You can use them as a replacement for the turn signals or just to greet each other. They seem to be a huge joy to me. Over time, I no longer really notice the horn concert and sometimes feel like a driver at the Tour de France.
From Fethiye there are 2 variants to Antalya. A short walk through the mountains and along the coast. The second variant, I find tempting. At a gas station I meet a road bike driver from Istanbul. He cycles with his racing bike and 10kg luggage through Turkey.
Sleeps there are more than enough. Best are still filling stations and otherwise I find almost always a piece of wood. No day passes without me not being invited to tea at least three times. People are very interested in my trip. But she is even more surprised that I am not married. Meanwhile, I have prepared a standard answer as soon as the question arises about my wife. I always point to my bike and answer: "this is my wife". Mostly this is accepted with a big laugh.
About 100km from Antalya I meet 2 Iranian tour riders. Hamed and Hadi travel through Turkey for a few weeks during the Iranian New Year celebration. I tell them about my trip through Iran and how hospitality impressed me so much back then. We discuss almost an hour, take pictures and at the end the two give us a little lucky charm.
The next day I meet again a tour driver at the turnoff to Cirali. Evert and a friend started cycling together from Istanbul. He wanted to visit Mount Ararat (highest mountain of Turkey). This is located in the Kurdish part of the country. For Evert, the situation there is currently too sensitive. He therefore prefers a little along the coast.
After 6 days I arrive in Antalya quite sweaty. From mid-June to mid-September, there is usually tropical heat (42 ° C and high humidity) here on the Turkish Riviera. But just this summer, the heat wave seems to last even longer. Since 2013, no more ships sail from Antalya to Cyprus. In Alanya there could still be connections. No one can confirm that 100 percent.
The 300km have pretty much done me. That's why I decide to spend a few days here. Coincidentally, Jordine is also in Antalya. We spend 3 days together swimming in the sea, are invited by a language school to English lessons and visit Termessos. At the same time I finally find a name for my giraffe. Her name is Lucy. After the oldest human skeleton found so far (in Africa).
Termessos was an ancient city in Asia Minor in southern Turkey today. It was located in the southwest of the Pisidian countryside about 30 km northwest of today's city of Antalya at about 1000 m above the mountain Solymos (now Gulluk Dagi). Around 500 BC BC, the Persian Empire had to grant Autonomierechte because of Termessos' fortification of the city. Alexander the Great besieged Termessos 334/333 BC In vain. Today you can see the remains of defensive rings, city walls, temples and other buildings. In particular, the well-preserved ancient theater and the Odeion worth the hike to the mountain fortress.
After Jordine leaves, Joshia arrives. We met a few months ago in Pristina (Kosovo). He decided to take a closer look at Turkey and also met the 2 Iranians on the way. We philosophize about the touring together for a whole day and let us show several board games in a vegan restaurant (unbelievable, but true!). That seems to be the favorite occupation here. Whole groups sometimes stand around the gaming tables.
After 5 relaxing days, I drive on and have no idea that now starts a big odysse for me.
Turkey has two areas across the country that are reasonably flat: Istanbul and the area between Antalya and Alanya. For 100km I can cycle for the first and only time. Nevertheless, I barely manage more than 50km. My 75kg heavy tractor can only be moved with muscle power. Before Alanya I experience a real summer storm. Within a few minutes, the sky is completely black. A wind blows leaves, trash and whole plastic chairs around. In a park I find a corrugated iron roof. A dry sleeping place, I think. But the night passes through one storm after another. At 5:00 in the morning, I suddenly realize that I'm in the water. The storm has flooded the whole park. At the port of Alanya I am told that since last summer there are no more ferries to Cyprus. So I have no choice but to drive another 400km to Tasucu.
In one of the murderous climbs, a tour rider suddenly overtakes me. Bulut is from Mersin and is cycling home. His english is about as good as my turkish. Nevertheless, we manage to communicate together. Since Bayram at the moment, he invites me to his sister in Anamur.
Seventy days later, from the tenth day of the pilgrim month (Arabic: Dhu l-hijja), the Kurban Bayramı "Sacrifice Festival" (Arabic:, Īd ul-Adha) takes place, which is considered the highest Islamic feast. It recalls, according to Islamic tradition, the prevented sacrifice of Ishmael by his father Abraham. An associated ritual is therefore the sacrifice of a sheep or a cow. The sacrificial meat is distributed to needy people, neighbors and friends.
His niece speaks a little English. I am treated like a king. While the family is dissecting a goat on the balcony, many neighbors come to see me and Bulut. Two crazy cyclists offer a nice change. After half a day I say goodbye to Bulut and his family.
The last 100km to Tasucu ask me everything again. A steep coastal road follows the other. I rejoice like crazy when I arrive there after 3 weeks and 800km distance. At the harbor I get a ticket for the crossing at midnight.
Although this trip to Turkey was not planned, I was very happy to come back here. The hospitality and openness of the people in this country I just love. You feel really welcome. As a cyclist you are always hungry and the Turkish food I will definitely miss in Africa a few times. I wholeheartedly thank all the people who have invited me during these 3 weeks. çok teşekkür ederim!