November 19th to 29th. 658km
The ride away from Goreme was beautiful, but steep. We layered up when we left as it was a cold morning, but we warmed up very quickly into the climb past Uchisar and into the hills of southern Cappadocia. There was still a light dusting of snow on the rocks and hills, giving us some good last views of one of the most stunning places we’ve seen on this trip.
I’ll jump straight in and say that Cappadocia is one of the most spectacular places we have seen on our entire trip, and that’s saying something. It lies in the centre of Turkey on a high plateau over 1000 m. Volcanoes have sculpted this magical landscape and the rocks near Goreme (where we were staying) eroded into amazing pillars that are called fairy chimneys. Surrounding this stunning area are tall mountains, the largest being Mount Erciyes (3916 m) which we had seen since Kayseri.
From these rock formations people carved out houses, churches and monasteries from the soft rocks of volcanic deposits. During this time it was of Christian faith. Later when Turkish clans began to settle in the area some of the population converted to Islam and of course today it is a Turkish state and all Islamic. A very interesting place with a lot of history.
november 9th to 15th. 512km
We stuck around for a couple of hours on the morning of the 9th to follow the news of the US Election and to watch the social media world go mental. It was a good feeling to turn off the gadgets and head off into the hills for a week. Leaving Unye, we immediately turned inland and said goodbye to the Black Sea. Within a kilometre we started climbing, stopping soon after to shed a couple of layers to ride in tshirts for the rest of the day. We passed Unye fort, an old ruin perched on a rocky outcrop above the town. Progress was slow and we stopped after a couple of hours to pick up some bread from a bakery. The guys in there invited us in for chai and, as we were in no hurry, we gladly accepted. The basics were covered, where we’re from, going to etc, do we have kids (why not!?), what is our profession, all the standard questions. Then when we showed a bit of interest in the bread being baked, they let us look around and showed us the oven, explaining the whole process, in Turkish. Returning to our bikes, a kitten had perched on top of my pannier, giving Clare another cute animal to play with for a little while.
Video of a day cycling along the coast in the sunshine. No music, just the raw video.
November 3rd to 7th 462km
We had some crazy weather in Batumi. The whole coastline was pounded with rain, thunderstorms and hail so we spent a lot of time in our hostel checking the forecasts online. We delayed leaving by a day, and were very glad we did. When we woke up on the 3rd, there was silence outside the window, no rain falling, and pulling the curtains, we saw the sky was a deep blue. We packed up and hit the road, cycling through the city towards the sea front. We liked Batumi anyway, even in the rain, but it was really lovely on a sunny morning. Once we got to the sea, we turned left and joined a perfect cycle lane which took us along the beach out of town.