Unye ... 13/08 -16/08
We arrive early in the morning with the bus and pitch the tent around 4 am, just in time for the first call for prayer. At least we won’t be woken up by it this time...
The weather has improved and there are many people on the beach now.
It’s a great pleasure to see Mehmet, Ali and their families again! Everyone is looking forward to see whether we liked Cappadocia or not. We are quick to satisfy everyone’s curiosity around a good cup of tea.
We are then invited for lunch at Mehmet and Serpil’s. Serpil is an outstanding cook, she prepared a delicious meal: börek, a sort of cake made of pancakes cooked with meat and fried in a pan (this is extremely good!), chickpeas balls, vegetables and homemade ayran (drinkable yogurt).
We tell them about our stay in Cappadocia and, as usual, we end up discussing about several subjects especially around social issues. Cem (Djem) and Sina are playing in their bedroom and Serpil is with us. She understands a little bit but unfortunately does not speak. She is a Chemistry teacher, she teaches during the weekend in a private school while Mehmet teaches during the week in a technical high school. The courses only last half a day but many children take extra classes during the week or even the weekend. Therefore holidays are really the only time they can spend together.
The notion of holidays is not widespread in Turkey, Mehmet and his family have a good standard of living but they only leave a few days during the summer: last year in Antalya and this year at Mehmet’s sister in Istanbul. We talk so much that without us noticing, night has fallen. Unable to go back cycling to the camping, Mehmet offers to drive us back to the camping with all our bags. On the way, we pick up the tires we ordered a week ago from Istanbul at Ali’s place. Ali no longer works at this time of the day but he is watching football in the shop, with Richard is very friendly assitant.
The next day, we spend several hours on the Internet. Good news, we just received the authorization codes for the Iranian visa. We can go and pick them up in Erzurum. We then walk to Mehmet’s place to get our bikes or at least this is what we intended to do... but we end up visiting Serpil’s cousin who just moved from Istanbul to Unye for the holiday. The flats are very modern wooden floors covered with carpets, fully equipped kitchen and brand new bathroom (way better than in London!!!). After a nice afternoon tea (Tea, biscuits and cakes), we return to the camping, but it’s again too dark, we will take the bikes tomorrow! We were supposed to leave on Friday but Serpil promised to make some hashashle çörek (delicious warm bread with poppy seeds), we can of course not resist the invitation :o)
That evening we meet Isabelle and Samuel, 2 Swiss Germans going across Europe and Asia in a 4x4. We must admit that we envy their comfort a little (they made a great job at setting up their car). But we also know that we would not meet as many people and that’s what we really want. We spend a nice evening discussing itineraries, travel ...
This is our last afternoon with Mehmet and Serpil. We realise that we will have to say goodbye to them and Ali tomorrow. It will be difficult, this is like a second departure for us. To cheer up, we talk about meeting up again. We will definitely return to Turkey and spend a couple of days ina Unye. Mehmet also would like to show France to his family. In the meantime, we enjoy Serpil’s delicious börek filled with hazelnut.
Last day in Unye. Ali has generously invited us for breakfast before leaving. The table is setup in the garden behind his shop. He lives in the same building as Mehmet, but his mother and sister live in the beautiful house above the store. His two older girls are helping with the food still half asleep, poor them they had to wake up because of us! Ali’s mother has made a sort of omelet with tomatoes, it’s delicious. Halva, cheese, bread, jams, honey ... "Eat, eat! You need energy to ride."
Ali offers us a very nice book on the life of the prophet Mohammed. We look forward to learn more about his religion and we hope both our Turkish and Ali’s English will be better next time so we can discuss it. So much kindness touches us a lot, we only stayed a few days in Unye but it feels like we’ve been here for a month thanks to such a nice welcome, we have never ever seen such kindness and generosity! Ali tells Mehmet: "I hope next time we can exchange a few words." We really hope there will be a next time, here or in France! We leave under a wave of applause. Ali throws a bucket of water behind us so that we travel "as easily as water."