February 11th to 18th. 422km
On our last night on the yacht, it was super windy. Not the nice warm wind that comes from the south, but the harsh, bitter wind bringing cold from the north. Enthusiasm to get back on the bikes and ride north into the cold wasn’t particularly high on the morning of the 11th. We were risking overstaying our welcome on Encore, so we layered up and hit the road after breakfast. It was only a short day, we rode up and over the middle of the peninsula to the western coastline, then up past Anavyssos to Bike Shop 34 (https://www.facebook.com/34Bikeshop/) on the main Athens road. We’d realised that our current drivetrains had done almost 10,000km so were well overdue a change. We hung out there for a couple of hours while Argiris and Tasos got on with giving our bikes some TLC. We used the wifi to scope out a camp spot on Google Earth just around the corner. Back in the tent for the first time in a couple of weeks, protected from the wind behind a beach resort in a sheltered cove.
As always, it is hard to summarise a country from a relatively short time spent there. I’m sure we don’t fully understand a lot about Turkey, and with it being such a large country there is so much more to see. What I do know is that we absolutely loved our time there. Turkey offered us so many amazing things. It is a very beautiful country and we are leaving wanting more. I think that is always a great sign. We’d heard many wonderful things from other touring cyclists but I still had my reservations. I was worried by the horrible stories I’d read about savage dogs, the cold weather coming, and of course by all the violence that has happened in the last year (more that others were worried than us). But as always with most of my worries (not Andy’s) I really shouldn’t have fretted. It was such a brilliant part of the trip that overall I think it may be my favourite country we have cycled in (excluding Japan because that was home)!
December 3rd to 12th. 520km
Our few days in Alanya were very well timed, we had storms and rain most of the time, so we were happy to just hang out in our nice apartment that we’d rented via Air BnB. Being here in the off season really is working nicely for us, there’s lots of deals to be had on vacant apartments. I like to think we’re doing our bit to help out the local tourism industry. The centre of Alanya itself was actually pretty nice, even if the outskirts were full of big souless resorts. There’s an old castle on a headland which juts out in to the sea and a couple of nice beaches, which we had a quick walk along when there was a break in the rain.
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.