Yeniçaga - Unye ... 21/07 - 29/07
We leave early, there are still some uphills waiting for us. Benoît goes first, goodbye! But after a turn in the road, we see a small silhouette far ahead ... he has decided to wait for us one last time!
Today the scenery is finally changing. We can see the road ahead of us, a succession of ups and downs across yellow hills. We go fast in the downhill and it's easy to go up ... well nearly! We have lunch in a touristic restaurant with a beautiful view. It was worth going uphill yesterday. On the road we see a lot of foreıgn cars, franch, german, dutch ... it's people from turkish origine coming back to visit the family.
We camp rough for the first time on our own. Ben is anxious, he can't find a perfectly safe spot! Sylvie gets angry, we will end up setting up the tent in the dark! A big fight follows. We manage to find a place but Benoît wouldn't be very proud of us: we are below the road and the lights flash on the tent! We don't sleep well, Ben even thinks some people are coming our way ... the next morning, we discover it's a bush of thistles!
The road is the same the next day but we don't mind, we like this arid scenery. During a baklava break, we meet a french family who invites us for tea at the restaurant. They have crossed Italy and Greece with the boat in 2 days! And tonight they will sleep in Amasya. Sylvie is a bit depressed, we won't be there before a week. We each have our worries: Ben for the safety and Sylvie because trucks and cars go faster. Until Serbia, we met a lot of cyclists and in Romania and Bulgaria, horse-drawn carts were slower than us. When it's difficult, we wish we could be in the next nice place quickly. We also hear that Fanny and Gaël (travel by recumbents to China) have dropped out, too many hard times. The news doesn't do any good to our morale. But a few days later, we find our antidote. At a patrol station, a Nissan Micra stops and 2 young british guys get off intrigued by our bikes. They are doing a rallye, crossing Europe and Asia in 5 weeks! We look at each other startled, they won't see anything or meet anyone! Now we remember why we travel by bike ...
"There isn't enough shade for the bicycles, we have to carry on" says Ben. And what about us? The wind is so hot, it burns our skin when we go downhill. We see less patrol stations and we suffer another hour before stopping in a Petrol Ofisi, Ben's favourite brand. We spend a great afternoon with the cousin of the manager and his family. They live in Denmark and have come to visit the family. We drink tea and talk in the air-conditioned office. They write a message in turkish for us so that people can help us find a place for the tent. We try that same evening and it works! Even better than we thought. An old man in a pick-up truck takes to the patrol station where we had dinner. We can setup the tent in the garage! Lucky we bought a self-standing tent. We spend the evening with Omer, the manager and his friends, Mustafa and Ido, in the office. We drink wine and eat fruits and crisps. It's also a Petrol Ofisi and Omer knows the manager of the station we stopped at for the afternoon! Mustafa has studied in the US and his english is perfect so he translates for us. We visit his factory of marble and our reflexes of consultants quickly come back:' how many people? how long to satisfy an order?'. We talk until 1 o'clock comparing tastes and cultures. Ben and Omer share a taste for nice cars and expensive watches! We sleep at Mustafa's chalet. It's great to sleep in a bed and have a shower!
The next day, after a great kavahlti thanks to Omer, we leave with a good address, Ali's motel. It belonged to Omer before he came here. The patrol stations all seem linked by an invisible string! The motel is great, we have a massive room.
After dinner, Ali suggests we go and visit Osmancik ... but is there really something to see? It's a big surprise ... a river crosses the city, we didn't see it when we passed on the road 100. The river is lined with terraces where people drink tea, eat gözleme (a big pancake stuffed with cheese) and play or talk. Esin, a niece of Ali is here with Hanand, a childhood friend. Esin studies in Ankara to be a teacher and Hanand studies in Izmir to be a dentist. Their english is very good and we can finally communicate with Ali. We end up in one of Ali's brothers' garden ... He is a retired teacher and loves taking care of his garden with his wife. They have a beautiful garden full of vegetables and fruits. We spend the evening answering questions about our trip, asking questions about Turkey while drinking tea and turkish coffee ... We feel so well here we decide to stay for a day. It starts with an interview for the local newspaper! We then visit the mausoleum of a famous religious man and a few mosques. Esin and her friends are muslims but not too much ... She and Hanand wear dresses and short trousers. In Turkey, women chose how they dress. Some dress in European fashion while others wear headscarf and a long jacket below the knee. Ataturk forbade the headscarf in universities and at school ... it was in the 30's! And to think the french law was so badly received ... For lunch, we have manti, small raviolis with yogurt and mint, it's delicious! We spend the afternoon playing pool and talking. Nothing extraordinary but for us, used to worry about where to sleep and finding water, it's wonderful! It's with great regrets that we say goodbye to Esin and her friends. In the evening we show the pictures to Ali who in turn shows them to the truck drivers. None of them believe it 'Osmancik is not that nice!'. Of course, they only know the big road. Ali is very proud!
Disappointment the next morning. A truck driver has kindly suggested he could take us and the bikes 50km on. But he wants to put the bikes on the spare tyres support, below the truck. Too dangerous! Too bad, it was so tempting to try one of these beautiful trucks! A lot of wind today, against us of course and the scenery doesn't look so great. We decide to have a lunch in a small town, it is cheaper. It is but people see us and a man comes to us 'come and have tea!'. 1/2 h later we manage to escape with our sandwiches!
The road to Amasya goes down but we don't really enjoy it, we will have to go up again to reach the Black sea coast. Big dogs run after us. Sylvie is in front, she wakes them up. Ben, behind, has to pedal fast to escape!
Amasya is famous for its houses hanging over the river. The city is at the bottom of a valley, along a river. We have great views from the top of the hill. We try the turkish ice cream, not much taste but the texture is funny, elastic.
Sylvie has a tendinitis and Ben doesn't want to do twice the same road so we take a bus to Samsun and then pedal 90km to Unye. It's easy, it's all flat!