Ok, this is turning more into a travel journal than a blog, hope you enjoy reading anyway! Here`s Albert`s part........ en español.

31 März 2012

South coast continuation

...we continued our trip toward Dalyan and stopped by some hot springs with a big pool just by the shore of a lake. There were some Roman looking broken pillars laying around which gave the whole place a kind of majestic touch. We arrived in the evening and had the whole place for ourselves. Nothing better than hot springs and a sky full of stars when you want to rest your body and soul - simply wonderful!! Actually, I find the physical challenge on a bike trip to be the rather smaller part. Because it is more obvious and therefore easier to handle when I get tired or hungry etc. What’s more difficult is to stay aware of the mental and emotional effort, dealing first with myself, then the surroundings and of course last but certainly not least, my partner.

But we are doing well, I believe. With time, we learn more and more about ourselves and each other. We try our best and it is fullfilling to see the improvements. We do have a long way to go... but so is our trip and hopefully not only that.

Anyway, the hot springs. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful (did I mention this before?)!!! I just love them.

The next morning we found these two huge trucks next two the springs.

There was a French family with two children living in one of the trucks and a couple in the other one. Every year, they would dive to a country in Africa (I forgot which one) with several trucks. Then they would sell one and live off the money for around 6 months. They buy fabric and clothes etc. and transport them to Marokko where they sell the goods. In Marroco they buy things again, transport them to Spain and sell them there. Then they’re back in France and start all over again. They recycle old oil (which they can usually get for free) with a filterng system as petrol.

Many ways to live life!

Francien and Pirza stopped their jeep to ask us where we were going and if we needed anything. They invited us to their house and we ended up spending the night there. A very memorable experience.. Francien is from Holland and it was interesting to hear the story of a European woman in a small Turkish village.

And then... bad times...

..and good times..

See this tough look in his face?  We take him as an example...

....to be continued.

South coast

..was a constant up and down and, in our case, a lot of head wind.  But we were grateful for the much milder climate there - even had a few summerlike days riding in t-shirts.

One of the highlights were the days we spent with Fügen and Toni in Marmaris.  A wonderful, inspiring couple! Three years ago, Toni sailed from England to Turkey and liked it here so much that he decided to stay.  He is 70 now (though Fügen was not allowed to tell us), but I think he can be proud to have the spririt and energy of a young man...!  He had just come back from a mounaineering trip in the Himalayas a couple of months before, WOW.  Fügen is a keen cyclist and another free-spirited, active and positive soul.  They found each other, you could say.  "Beautiful you and beautiful me" Fügen would say : )

We toured around Marmaris on our bikes to an enormous cave..of which he have no pictures :(    But here, superFügen taking off..

The same evening, a helicopter contest at their place..

Toni took us and his friend on a tour on his beloved second home- the boat. 

I had a big smile when we left.  Feeling full of good energy and excited about the gift I was taking with me: a kind of lightness and confidence that everything will go well (and if not, it would be just a part of it all.. just a part of this big thing called life..) -thanks to Fügen and Toni!

27 März 2012


From Lake Bafa we continued southwards to Bodrum.  Empty secondary roads.. beautiful scenery..  we lost our way...  some extra kilometers uphill... no problem for us of course!

..a small tea house at the summit.  Albert chilling out in the sun, enjoying his book. Very rewarding.

While I had to repair a puncture.  Pushing up the bike uphill because Albert had the pump is no joke..! ; )

Datça.  Datça is situated almost at the tip of a peninsula, where the Aegean Sea meets the Mediteranean.  It is a one way road so cycling there would mean backtracking 70km up down, up, down, up, dpwn.  Even though looking back, the scenery was so nice and there was almost no traffic at all, maybe it would have been worth it.  But our knees would have different opinions about that, I guess.  We decided to take a ferry directly from Bodrum to Datça and and cycle from there instead.

There were only two ferries per week.  Still three days to go.  The whole town seems to be laid out for mainly tourists.  At this time of the year, the town is a ghost town.  Good for us, we enjoyed walking around in the narrow cobble stone streets between white houses.  We pitched our tent behind some empty apartments in the middle of the town. A friendly Turkish couple invited us to stay at their place for two more nights.

We don't get too lucky with ferries.  Another thunderstorm.  The ferry was cancelled.  No buses to Datça that would take our bikes and the rain was coming.  But we get lucky with the people we meet. Servet, a man from Datça who Albert had been in contact with per e-mail for some time (while looking for eco-farms) was expecting us.  When we told him the ferry was cancelled, he gave us instructions by phone, advising us about bus companies and time schedules.. he called us every hour or so to keep track of us!

We were very much looking forward to meeting Servet in person, so finally we hopped on a bus to Mugla in the evening.  The rain was pouring.  Mugla was only 80km or so away, about a third of the way to Datca but at least we felt like we were going somewhere and finding solutions. In fact, it turned out to be more than worth it.  We pitched up the tent right next to the bus station and cycled to town in the morning for breakfast.  Mugla is situated at an altitude of 660m, at the slopes of a flat-topped rocky hill that you can hike up and from where you can overlook the vast scenery with snowcovered mountains at the horizon.  Mugla's old town -like Bodrum's, but just a lot more authentic- has narrow streets and all the houses are white. 
The day was so beautiful that we decided to ride our bikes in the afternoon.  Down to the coast and to Marmaris, from where the road to Datça would start: 

Wild donkeys that were on the side of the road..   Beautiful, healthy and strong looking donkeys.  I believe they were running away from us but Albert is convinced that they were just coming along (because they liked us?). 


The ride was hard.  Neverending ups and downs.  We thought we could get some food on the way but there was simply nothing.  So our lunch consisted of carrots and organges.  It had already gotten dark and started to rain when we finally arrived in Datça. Servet came to meet us on his bike.  A gray bearded man with high-tech bicycle outfit, "to celebrate that you are here now", he said and brought out a bottle of liquor "and this one for the energy."  He held out a dried fig for each of us.

We spent some enjoyable days in Daçta.  Unfortunately, the weather was not too good and we couldn't go to the beauttiful spots that must be spread around the peninsula and people had told us not to miss.. but we joined Servet in his daily routine of having a simit (sesame ring) and tea by the seaside and simply enjoying the view. 

We took advantage of the so-so weather whenever it stopped raining for a few hours.

16 März 2012

Bafa Lake

It was the puncture.. or was it my hunger that had led us to that secondary road from where we finally found a place to spend the night?  It was a hassle to find a good spot to camp, since it had already gotten dark and all the fields to our left and right were muddy.  Eventually, we found a small, solid patch of grass between a million piles of cow shit.  The next morning, we had breakfast, packed our tent and pushed our bikes back up to the road where we had come from the day before.   Ah, there was more grass and less cow shit on the other side of the road!  Probably less wind as well... but wait a minute, what was that?  Two people packing a tent!  ..and two bicycles!

Lena and Markus, an German-Austrian couple, traveling on their bikes in Europe (www.radlerse.de).  Very nice.  After a few "chai"s, Markus and Lena decided to join us to Hereikla, this unbelievably beautiful small village situated right next to lake Bafa.  Albert decided to grill some fish for us.  Only in the evening we found out that it had been Lena's birthday that day- a wonderful way to celebrate another year of life!

A turkish dog with turkish manners: We were his guests and he would protect us.  From cows and dogs but also from invisible enemies.  Sometimes he would take off running in one direction, bark a little bit, then in the other direction, bark a little bit, another direction... and finally join us again.   One day another dog approached our tent - they fought - what remains is a small hole in our tent and the memory of our good brave friend...

fish soup with the left overs.. and lemon leaves!  Mmmhhh...  

15 März 2012


Bergama (Pergamum)

The ancient town of Pergamum once was one of the richest and most powerful small kingdoms of the Middle East.  I read that there was a „Library war“ between Bergama and Alexandria around 150BC.  At that time, the world greatest library was in Alexandria (Egypt).  So when Bergama's library started to grow, the Egyptians got afraid that famous scholars from Alexandria would be drawn to Bergama.  They cut off Bergama's supply of papyrus (?) from the Nile.  It is said that the scientists in Bergama then came up with pergamen, a paper-like material made from animal hides.  I remember making lanterns of „Pergamentpapier“ when I was in Kindergarden.  And here I was now, 25 years later in an ancient town in Turkey, finding out the origin of this paper.  I liked that. : )

There were the very impressive ruins of an asclepion  (an ancient medical center) from around AD 150.  Patients went there to sleep and dignosis were made by dream analysis...  Another very impressive site was the Acropolis, situated on a hill overlooking the town.

From Bergama we rode along the Aegean coast.  There were some very pretty villages on the way..

Albert.. unable to decide what he wants.

...and then Izmir!  Ohhhh, the way to Izmir was hard.  This video shows only the beginning of the day!

The only time I had ridden against a wind like this before was in Iceland.  We packed the tent thinking that we could at least make it to the next small town to have a tea and wait for the wind to calm down...  haha.

LUCKILY we found a last-minute couch through couchsurfing,  Murat invited us to his home.  It seemed like an angel holding its hand out for us (hear the small bells rining in the background?).  By the time we arrived in Izmir (which was around 15km from where I took this video and it had taken us several hours to get there), it had already started to rain and the wind got so strong, the people were throwing away their umbrellas.  We found out that the district, where Murat lived was not just „to the right“ from where we were as I had understood in the beginning.  It was „15km to the right“.  Another 15km through a big city with dense traffic and a crazy wind and rain against you us -argh....
But we found out there would be a ferry to the other side of town, straight to where we needed to go!  Yeah!
And then we found out the ferries were not running due to the storm. URGH.

So, we did what we had to do.  Keep on going, once again.  We took the road next to a very busy main one.  We got stuck somewhere, when the main raod kept going but not ours.  Even worse, we had gotten away from the main road and were stuck now on a flooded field of grass underneath some bridges.  We pushed our bikes back toward the big road and tried to find the best place to lift our bikes over a fence. Our shoes were like small swimming pools by then..

On top of everything, the wind had blown off my brain:  I knew where we were supposed to meet up with Murat, by I had forgotten to write down his phone number.  And we were late.

A man was standing in the rain, checking his mobile phone.  When he looked up to us, he waved and gave us a big friendly smile.  Murat!  We shook hands.  Albert and I started to talk him at the same time: We were so sorry, the rain, the ferry, the road, we got lost, and the number, oh, the number!  Have you been waiting long blablabla..
But the man was not Murat.  He was a passionate cyclists and curious to know where we had come from in this rain and storm!

(When we finally found the place where we were supposed to meet with Murat, he was not there.  I rode around the area to find an internet cafe to get his phone number, tried to call him from skype but it did not work.  Rode around the area to find a phone.. and finally, when he picked up, he was laughing and saying that  he hadn't waited for us in the rain, because he had understood that we'd give him a call once we got there! Ayayayayay......)

After this, Albert and I were sick for two days.

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