So many good things have been happening to us that we can't sum them all up here on the blog. But here's our top few experiences since leaving Istanbul (in chronological order):
- Took the ferry from the centre of Istanbul across the Bosphorus to Yalova...slight cheat! But we didn't fancy cycling on 4 lane highways again, as we did on the way in. Dan had a bit of a gear issue so we stopped at a local motorbike repair shop. Such friendly peeps, fixed the bike for free and gave us tea (Cay). Not a bad start to the day.
- At the end of that day we were cycling along a big lake searching for a place to camp. We spotted a little lane leading down to the water where some farmers were working in the fields. We asked if it was ok to camp there and they gestured 'yes'. We made them tea and gave some cookies...they said we could pick our own peppers from the field. It really is the little things that make you happy :o)
-Cycled through the garden of turkey as we called it, cos there was fruit everywhere! Dan asked to take a picture of a whole family in one apple tree. They shouted 'Aufwiedersehn!!! Aufwiedersehn!!!!' a 100 times and then one came running over and tried to give us a bucket of apples. We took two and tried to explain that we didn't have room on the bikes for the bucket....he seemed to think we were weird.
-Fed a little puppy a tin of tuna...she followed us up the hill for ages.
-Cycled up some huge hill in the wind until sundown looking for a place to camp. We pushed the bikes over a ploughed field and ended up finding the most beautiful little spot under a tree with a view over the whole valley that we'd climbed up from. The early morning view was totally breathtaking.
-Had free Cay in a petrol station and grapes. Plus really nice chats...they thought we were a right pair of mentals for cycling from Scotland. (This seems to be common at the moment...free Cay and the mental bit)
-Had a big day of cycling onto the central Turkish plateau bit (looks a bit like Tibet...without the big hills, the monasteries, the yaks and prayer flags etc). Anyway, the whole day was cycle cycle cycle with not many free Cay stops along the way :o(. At 6pm we found a truck restaurant and had a lovely truckers meal. We asked the owers, the Dad and two sons, if we could camp near by and they said we could sleep in the restaurant...so we did. Very odd, but nice, they would keep coming over to check on us as we slept in the corner...putting more covers on us etc And the 15 year old boy said that Dan was very very handsome...I didn't quite know what to say! I thought 'Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagggghhhhh!!!!!' Really really nice people though :o)
- Dan gets chased by a herd of hungry turkeys...meh meh meh meh!!!!
- Watched a shepherd and his animals cross the road. Got barked at by the biggest dogs in the world.
- There were no shops on the way, but Claire was asking directions from an old man who stopped to talk to us. She asked about a shop for bread and he walked to his car and came back with free bread. We got free tomatoes and grapes that day too.
- Camped by a little village and were passed by a tortoise...weird :o)
- Spent an hour getting through a little village because everyone wanted to talk to us and offer us tea, coke, cookies, water, poopin role etc. Really nice.
- Another village, more free Cay, ice cream and coke. And chats in German and Danish...neither of us speak Danish???
- Passed a massive building site in the middle of totally no where, they were building a high speed rail line. Anyway, got invited into the site camp for Cay and the offered us Turkish builder lunch, stuffed peppers, soup and bread. We were begining to get overwhelmed with the amazing hospitality...LEKKER :o)
-That night we were standing on the outskirts of a tiny village thinking about where to camp. A pick up pulled up and we had a sign language chat about camping, they gestured for us to stay with them. So we did! We almost got adopted by the family and we are now called Fatima and Mustafa. Just the best food and the nicest people imaginable!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So to sum up we feel like the king and queen cycling through the countryside waving and shouting 'Marhaba' to everyone (hello). So wowzzzzzzzzers its GREAT!!!
Lots of love Dan and Claire
ps Dan almost got savaged by a dog after he cycle by it and said 'hello'. A good kick to the heed sorted it oot.
pps. We're moving to Norway in January!!!