Samsun: The end of our trip

The last time we posted pictures only, here are the stories we promised to tell.

Øyvin

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.

Ali

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.

The end

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.

Statistics

We have cycled till Samsun, Turkey. We cycled 4269 km in 74 cycling days and 15 resting days.

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Pictures of Turkey

This time pictures of beautiful Turkey only. We love it here! Enjoy the pictures, the stories will follow another time.

Ben and his friends.

Ben and his friends.

A turkish wedding.

A Turkish wedding.

Yedigöller National Park

Yedigöller National Park

Yedigöller National Park

Yedigöller National Park

Yedigöller National Park

Yedigöller National Park

Yedigöller National Park

Yedigöller National Park

Yedigöller National Park

Yedigöller National Park

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We met Oyven from Norway and cycled a few days together with him.

We met Oyven from Norway and cycled a few days together with him.

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Cyclıng on salt lake Tuz Gölü.

Cyclıng on salt lake Tuz Gölü.

Salt lake Tuz Gölü

Salt lake Tuz Gölü

Camping on salt lake Tuz Gölü with our norwegian cycling friend Oyven.

Camping on salt lake Tuz Gölü with our norwegian cycling friend Oyven.

Tuz Gölü

Tuz Gölü

Cappadocia

Cappadocia

Cappadocia

Cappadocia

Mt. Hasan

Mt. Hasan

Ihlara Valley

Ihlara Valley

Mt. Hasan

Mt. Hasan

Underground city Derinkuyu

Underground city Derinkuyu

Cappadocia

Cappadocia

Çay with local people and Oyven.

Çay with local people and Oyven.

Cappadocia

Cappadocia

Cappadocia

Cappadocia

 

Ben meets Allah

Our arrival at the big mosque in Edirne has been a special moment. Peter has been touched because after more than 8 years he arrived again at the same place but now with his wife and son. He also felt happy to travel in islamic countries again. After 10 days of living in nature the sounds, colors and smells of islamic culture shocked Petra. We held each other for a short moment and stayed for some time to calm down.
Ben was asleep all the time till we cycled to a small supermarket. We took off his hat and immediately people started to kiss and touch him. There are not a lot of children as blond as he is in Turkey. Suddenly a car stopped in the middle of a turn. The driver kneeled down in front of Ben, kissed him, prayed (we only understood “Allah” which he said almost all the time), kissed him again and jumped back into his car. Certainly Ben was overwhelmed by this warm welcome and the first two days he felt uncomfortable that people touch and kiss him all the time. But by now he is used to it and just ignores them.

Lost in Bulgaria

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Back in Bulgaria we had some tough days of cycling. Our map of Bulgaria was not so good and after crossing the border from Macedonia we only knew that we had to do one pass but it didn’t show us how high it was. We have been surprised by 4 passes and 4443 altimeters in 4 days. After the mountains we had a few days of rain and cold. On the second rainy day we lost each other because Petra stopped to put on her rain jacket. Peter continued but took the wrong road while Petra took the right one. In the expection to overtake Peter soon again she cycled on. After some while she realized that something went wrong. She asked three men at a crossing if a cyclist had passed but they told her that they have seen Peter behind her. Some tears caused that one of the men drove back to look for Peter. He found him 6 km away heading back where he had come from (we have the agreement that if we would loose each other we would cycle back to where we saw each other for the last time and wait there) and told him to turn around. We were relieved to see each other again after one and a half hour of uncertainty.

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After the rain a cold head wind started which lasted till İstanbul.

Generosity

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Islamic countries are well known for their generosity and hospitality amongst cyclists. We experienced this generosity also in the Balkans. In Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Turkey we got something each day, no exaggeration. Apples, pears, nuts, honey, juice, breakfast, bread, cookies, chocolate, candies, grapes, peanuts, tea, an orange safety jacket and so on. Ben is the main reason why we get so much. People love his blond hair, his blue eyes and his cute face. Even now, in a hostel in Istanbul, it became a habit for Ben and Ahmet, the owner of the hostel, to go together to the supermarket and buy chocolate for Ben every day.

Fears
We can’t deny it: our fears have increased
We are parents, responsible for another human being.

We could rent a house, lock the door against beings with wrong meanings
Instead we bought a tent which can be damaged very easily.

We could buy a car, travel safe within a bubble
Instead we cycle, are vulnerable between the trucks.

While traveling others use hotels and campings
We choose to wild camp, create safety ourselves.

We learn to recognize dangerous nature, animals and humans
Everyday again sharpen our senses and travel safe.

Ben is our miracle, we love him a lot
He trusts us completely a beautiful feeling to us.

Whenever he thinks there is danger and gets scared
He would run towards us and we have to pick him up.

We choose to travel like this, it enriches our lifes
Our way to teach Ben what is important to us, enjoying nature, respecting people and life

We can’t deny it: our fears have increased.
We are parents, responsible for another human being.

written by Petra on 21-09-2013

Main gate to Asia: Istanbul
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Cycling into Istanbul is a hell which most cyclist might know. Peter found a website which describes a different and more quiet route. (http://abikejourney.blogspot.com/2010/08/cycling-into-istanbul-on-d020.html) We had no problems at all and didn’t get scared by heavy traffic.

Statistics

We are now in Istanbul, Turkey. We cycled 2683 km in 45 cycling days and 6 resting days.