Bicycle Touring Southern Turkey
While relaxing on this beautiful Greek island, I have tried to work out a sort of vague plan for the rest of the year and beyond. I want to be in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Malaysia for the drier months, which means I’m aiming for India for the monsoon season.
For now, I will continue around the coast of Turkey, then after a bit of messing around with a few repairs like a new screen for my iphone, a professional machine sensor clean on my Sony a7r2, and a few other preps, I will be landing in Mumbai within about 4 to 5 weeks from now, at most I hope.
I will cycle right down the west coast of India to Kerala, then on to Chiang Mai in Thailand. Well that’s the plan anyway, from there I may lay low for a while doing some side adventures and exploring, as I hope to have an amazing Christmas in Vietnam.
All sounds wonderful. My cycle through Europe is almost complete and I will soon be into Asia. The wheels will be turning again tomorrow and it's going to be great. My butt has healed nicely, in case you're wondering
The image is of Rhodes as I was leaving today, and on arrival in Turkey I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was on first sight.
Cycling through the town in a bid to find some digs before it went dark, I picked up a 6gb data sim plus calls, for just a tenner.
Then I stumbled on some great digs where they said they are keeping my bike safe, and for £12 with breakfast.
I’m in a little restaurant having some really healthy food and I can’t wait to be heading out in the morning.
Got a bit seasick on the ferry crossing though 🙂
60km’s of lumps and bumps in temperatures over 30c with no cloud cover, and I’m knackered, to the point of feeling quite sick. So I found this spot at a noisy junction. It has water on tap, as well as an electric water cooler, so I did my washing, got scrubbed up, and now I’m cooking up tortellini.
The petrol stations were great and plentiful along the route, and there are taps with fresh water by the sides of the road quite often. At one station I was given a hot cup of tea, a tomato and chilies all for nothing, so the chillies have gone into my pasta.
Another station didn’t charge me for a fruit juice which was nice. Lots of smiley faces, waves and beeps, and I just have to be right for morning as I’m at the base of a huge hill that I was never going to make it up tonight.
A dozen chickens have been over to see me from wherever, and just now a load of goats. It’s thundering and started to rain so I’m glad I’m under this big tin roof. People passing by are amused at where I’ve plonked my tent, but I sleep like a log :)
I just didn't notice the graves until this morning, as I was too busy getting the tent up, washing and cooking, and not feeling very well. I'm lucky I didn't wake up to find a tombstone at the end of my sleeping bag :)
It was a pretty restless night due to all the animals around, farm animals and dogs, but so noisy. It was like I was camped out on Noah's Ark and not all like you would imagine a graveyard.
I'm heading to Kas tomorrow, which isn't too far, and will hope to find some cheap digs there too. There isn't much in the way of campsites along this coastline, and I guess that's because hotels can be had quite cheaply.
I've put my view from my balcony in the picture of Kalkan.
A great and fairly short ride today to Kas, where I found a campsite and booked into a chalet with all mod cons. I will give you my full run down on this place tomorrow or the next day.
The roads were typically hilly, but in really great condition, and stretches like this in the photo I took today as I dropped down from a hill were just stunning and a real pleasure to ride.
I thought I’d better write this now while I’m having an amazing lamb shish meal at a roadside restaurant, somewhere 🙂 , just in case I’m out of luck finding a campsite or digs.
Trying to plan for flights to India and all that it involves: Visa, transport, dates, the bike, and of course the onward journey from India, is really hard work on your lonesome and while already enjoying another country, such as I am with Turkey.
I’m loving it in fact. Friendly people I’ve met, great food, great prices, great everything really. I will be back and wishing I had allowed more time than I have.
But after lots of planning ahead, I now only have a few days left in Turkey in order to get ready for India in a few weeks time, so I had to make a choice this morning.
No matter how I looked at it, I would never have made Antalya in time, which I need to, so the manager at the wonderful Kas Camping Campsite helped me out with a lift to cover the first 40km of the day out of Kas.
It might not sound much, but it means I’m back on target to Antalya, and, avoided a monster hill out of Kas in the process :)
Not that I'm adverse to hills, because as you know I've cycled through some pretty mountainous landscapes, but time is now limited and I want to see as much as I can.
I asked the driver to pull over and let me out early, he was scheduled to take me into Demre, but.the road and views were just too nice to not cycle.
I soon made up that time and cycled through Demre, Finike, Kumluca, and now I’m somewhere farther along the D400 with the wind behind me.
I couldn't find a hotel in Kumluca.
My sat nave told me there was a couple, but each time I arrived, it didn't exist, or at least I couldn't recognise it.
So much to add but the post is already so long.
From there it's a case of finding a good bike shop for getting a bike box or other form of packaging for the flights.
The cycling is nice, really nice. The roads are in great condition and even on the D400 it is like new in places.
The D400 has some roadworks going on between Belen and Ulupinar, but way short of Ulupinar and the detour takes you on a lumpy but brand new tarmac road and the views are unbelievable, when you can catch your breath that is and get the sweat out of your eyes.
The hotels here now on the coast are bigger, like huge gated communities. There doesn't seem to be much outside of them other than a few shops selling the usual tourist tat.
Loads of orange sellers though, a pint of orange juice squeezed while you wait is less than £1.
I'm at a hotel right now, I couldn't understand why all of a sudden, everyone was unpleasant and would totally blank me out. I mean everyone other than the hotel staff. I'm in a busy hotel, on my own :)
I don't know about you, but as I am from Northern England :) I let on to everyone and I'm very well mannered, which no doubt can make it difficult at times, as you sort of expect reciprocation, and shouldn't really as cultures can be so different.
It felt like another country all together, so I just had to ask the manager where all these people were from because I couldn't work out the accent, and there was no way I was going to believe they were from Turkey, based on everyone I have met so far.
Now that I know, I can just blank the lot of them out now in return without feeling like crap, like they are doing with me.
Anyway, I'm not going to tar a whole people over just a few miseries, that would be so wrong, as it is no doubt a cultural thing. This last sentence is my get out :)
But anyway, I will miss Turkey and the Turkish. Igoumenitsa to Patras in Greece still holds the No1 spot for me, but it's now followed by Southern Turkey up to now.
The people, the food, the land and seascapes were stunning, and I know I said yesterday that Turkey was in my No2 spot, well not anymore, it's No1, and almost a shared spot too.
I have no idea what it's like in the north or anywhere else in Turkey, but the parts I have cycled have been great.
The last part of my cycle towards Antalya was through a series of tunnels on the D400, and sadly the nice hard shoulders vanished too.
I don't know what it was about these 3 tunnels and this section, but my arse went a little bit at times. I had cycled through so many tunnels around the coastlines of Southern France, Monaco, and Italy, and although some were a bit dicky, it was OK.
These tunnels however felt much different, the speed of the vehicles, the 2 lanes in each direction, no hard shoulder, and with one being a km long, or it may just have been me.
Other than that, the D400 has been great. I came off it a few times to find digs or to see sights, but nearly all of my travel was on the D400.
I'm now settled into some great digs in Antalya in the thick of it, and as part of my prep for onward travel, I called into a bike shop to arrange a box for the bike for the flights.
A big thank you to Bikehouse Antalya bike shop, we worked together today taking my bike apart and boxing it all up nice and secure. It was like a Rubik puzzle, well the handlebars were, but I'm sure it will go back together in India OK, :)
These guys at the shop and the lads that I met as I entered Antalya who told me about Bikehouse have been great, and not only have I got my bike packed and ready for the airport, but the shop is even taking me to the airport from my hotel with all my gear on their pickup when it's time to go.
When I started this journey I told myself that it was never going to be a case of just getting through countries as quickly as possible and clocking up km's, although I temporarily changed my mind about that in Italy :) Actually, it took me 3 weeks to cycle across Italy from Sanremo to Brindisi.
I did say that I would not rush, I would take my time and really get to experience places and I have done just that. I'm going to spend what time I have left now here in Antalya enjoying it some more.
And so my fine feathered friends, I'm as pleased as punch that I have cycled across Europe, including a great loop through the middle of Spain. A journey of 5680 km's.
It's had it's ups an downs for sure, and I have learned much about cycling and touring, and some other countries I have never visited before. But what an experience.
I bid you adieu until you hear from me again in India, so bare with and stay tuned for the next exciting chapter :)