The last time we posted pictures only, here are the stories we promised to tell.
After Istanbul we cycled along the black sea till a small town called Alapli (see Maps for the exact route). We didn’t like cycling along the black sea, too much traffic and nature is not that beautiful, so we decided to turn inland. Near Bolu we met Øyvin, a Norwegian cyclist. The first impression was that he is a strange man. He looked as if he has not been washing himself for some weeks (which was true) and he seemed to talk in an odd way. But after an hour we were laughing about his jokes and enjoying his company. We decided to share the road for some days and so we did. Øyvin not only had interesting and funny stories to tell but he also is a master in making campfires and cycling on a very bad and old bike. We camped together with him on salt lake Tuz Gölü and visited the beautiful area Cappadocia with Ihlara valley and the underground city Derinkuyu. Derinkuyu is a very special place. The city has been built down into the ground, not into a hill or a mountain, just down in the middle of a flat and wide valley. The hallways are very small and narrow and go down approximately 60 m. Men start building this city in the 8th-7th century B.C. and there have been living 20,000 people together with their livestock and food stores. While walking around in these underground hallways feelings of astonishment, disbelief and happiness arose. On our last night with our dear friend Øyvin we have been sleeping in a cave in Cappadocia which completed our visit of this area.
Wintertime and illnesses
Till then we have been very lucky with the weather. We had sun and about 18 degrees everyday. The nights have not been cold and there has been no wind. Øyvin’s fires kept us warm from the outside and çay (Turkish tea) kept us warm from the inside. After we left Cappadocia we slowly felt winter coming. We had 3 days of rain, fog and about 3 degrees up in the mountains to the north. Those days have been tough for all of us. Ben had to wear a lot of clothes, including gloves, which enabled him to play in the trailer. We could not let him sit in his little chair in the front of Petra’s bike. As parents we find this situation unacceptable for our child. At the same time we found out that we had a parasite called Giardia, which caused diarrhea and made us limp. Peter took some medicine which made him limp and weak too. We took some more resting days but finally decided to descend to the black sea again.
We have been invited by Ali to visit him at his parents house in Samsun. Ali is a very attentive and friendly man and his family was very hospitable. We had deep conversations, we heard warm stories and listened to the beautiful music Ali is able to make. This family has been our best encounter with Turkish people and culture. Thank you so much Ali.
Samsun is the unexpected end of our trip. We didn’t make it through Asia but flew back to Europe. We have some big news we have been quiet about:
Somewhere in the middle of Turkey we found out that Petra is pregnant. We thought about continuing our trip and get the baby wherever we are. But the coming wintertime and the visa problems we had to face through Asia let us decide to fly back. Furthermore we think that traveling like we like to do is not possible with two little children. We will have to wait a few years, till they can cycle themselves.
We have cycled till Samsun, Turkey. We cycled 4269 km in 74 cycling days and 15 resting days.