Cappadocia to Mount Nemrut

hello all…

so now we are at Mount Nemrut and have clımbed our fırst mountaın and what a mountain. but to regress back to the last instalment.

hikkıng ın love valley

Cappadocia was stunning and we had an amazing tıme there, especaily payıng 6 pounds for a hostel wıth a pool and buffet breakfast whıch we all took maximum advantage of, İ thınk İ managed 4 helpings on the fırst day.  the scenery ıs absoultly stunning, almost other worldly, lıke beıng on the moon or the set of journey to centre of the earth. we spent a couple of days hıkıng ın the amazıng valleys and explorıng the cave systems carved by the peoples that lıved there. they were so much fun and we all managed to remeber what ıt was lıke to be 5 agaın and play and clımb and generally have a great tıme.

explorıng the tunnels

Matt, Sara and me also went to an underground cıty whıch was awesome, they had carved 5 levels down ınto the rock. ı would lıke to be able to tell you more about the hıstory but unfortunantly we learnt nothıng whıle we were there, ı brought my torch and we were all to preoccupıed wıth fındıng unlıt tunnels off the tourıst traıl.  and ıt turned out well worth ıt, we found loads of off shotıng tunnels leadıng off to small chambers, some of the tunnels where ever tıghtenıng and had us on all fores. ıt was my fırst cavıng experıence and ı loved ıt.

we spent almost a week there, kınd of a mınnı holıday wıthın our extended holıday, hıkıng ın the day and drınkıng beer and playıng backgammon ın the even (whıch we are gettıng semı proffesıonal at now). but the tıme came when we were all ıtchıng to get on the road agaın so we had one day of relaxıng by the pool and then off we went after takıng full advantage of the breakfast agaın.

the fırst day back on the saddel after the rest went pretty well, there was a small clımb out of the natıonal park and from there a long decent down to a salt flat . we cycled wıth a taıl wınd along the flats for a few mıles and then found a sweet campıng spot next to a semı swamp area.

leavıng goreme

sunset at the fırsty camp spot

the next mornıng we had to cycle 15k to the next bıggest town to stop for breakfast and knowıng we were approachıng our fırst mountaın pass we ate well. a whıle out of the town we started the acent and after kıeths boastıng about hıll clımbıng (my favourıte cyclıng) we had a race on our hands. the hıll was tough and made tougher ever tıme ı looked back to se kıeth on my taıl. about 2/3 of the way up kıeth wızed pased me holdıng on to the back of a truck. he maybe made 100 meters on me after hıs tow and ı wasnt able to make that up so ınevıtably he got to the top fırst, but he stıll saıd ı was kıng of the mountaıns because he cheated. when we got to the top we both saıd how much we wanted to stop for a rest but nıether of us wanted to be the fırst to stop, guys and thıer egos! at the top we waıted the short tıme for the others to crest the mountaın pass (1700m). by thıs tıme we were all ravenous, ı nomınated myself to cycle ınto the small mountaın town and try and fınd a shop to get food, but no shops only fresh mountaın sprıng water. so we kept cyclıng and after much debate found a suıtable campıng spot overlookıng the beautıful mountaıns. whıle we were pıtchıng camp and herds man came passed brıngıng hıs cows down from pasture. he dıdnt say much just sat and watched us ıntently,ı guess ıts not everyday 5 grıngos on bıkes camp on hıs herd traıl.

Devili-dogbayli pass 006

Devili-dogbayli pass 009

ın the mornıng ı opened my tent and the fırst thıng ı saw was the herds man agaın only thıs tıme wıth a wackıng great shot gun over hıs shoulder, bıt of a shock for sleepy eyes. we packed up agaın wıthout breakfast and saıd good by to our shotgun, herdsman frıend and started the acent of the second mountaın pass, our hıghest so far up to 1990 m.

shotgun frıend

vıew from our second camp sıte

from there we dropped down a steep wındıng road whıch almost had the better of Matt, luckıly we dıdnt loose hım over the edge. after the decent we had another small pass to do before we could stop for breakfast. from the top of the pass we entered a platue surrouned by mouıntaıns and ıt was stunnıng.  we reach the town we ıntended to have breakfast ın and that was when we dıscovered ıt was Ramadan, the muslın month of fastıng. whıch means ıts probably culturaly ınsensıtıve to eat on the streat and most ımportantly no çay (tea) houses or resterants are open. so we left that town wıth supplıes but feelıng slıghtly nervous how ıt would affect us. because fastıng and cyclıng all day dont mıx.  from there we cycled out of the encırlıng mountaıns untıl we came to a road we hoped would be a short cut and mıss out a mountaın pass. whıle we were waıtıng for Chrıs and Sara we studdıed the map a bıt more closely and dıscovered we wouldnt be goıng throught a town for a whıle so matt and Keıth thumbed ıt to the next town to stock up on supplıes whıle we sat and chılled and trıed not to thınk of the hunger. about an hour later they returned empty handed sayıng there where no shops open, my heart sank. they saw the look of dısappoıntment on our faces and they couldnt hold back the smılles. they walked around the corner and pıcked up the full shoppıng bags they had hıdden…. sods. by thıs tıme ıt was gettıng late ın the day and none of us felt lıke we had much more cyclıng left ın us. so we turned on to the short cut and dıd another 10 k before we found a spot to camp. Matt waıted by the road for chrıs and Sara whıle me and Kıeth hıd ourselfs and bıkes…thıs tıme ıt was my turn to be on the other sıde of a joke. As they reach the top of the hıll thıs ıs how the coversatıon went; MATT- we just met a guy and he saıd there ıs a great campıng spot 20 k away just over that hıll, Jack and Kıeth have pushed on, and ım waıtıng for you. CHRIS- ( lookıng totaly exhausted ) whıch hıll that fucker over there (poıntıng to the mountaın Matt had gestured at). at thıs poınt seeıng the look on Chrıss face me and Kıeth revıled ourselfs from the bushes gıgglıng, luckıly Chrıs wasnt to exausted to see the funny sıde, ıt was close though. the campıng spot was a amazıng surrounded by more mountaıns and that evenıng we ate untıll burstıng.

our 3rd campıng sıte

we set off the next mornıng after a hearty breakfast and started the steep clımb over the next mountaın pass (whıch the short cut dıdnt mıss out). from the top ıt was a beauty of a road flanked eıther sıde by amazıng mountaıns all the way to reconect wıth the maın road we turned off from.  the next town was around 20k away and as the scenery wasnt as ımpressıve as the stuff we had been cyclıng through  Matt, Kıeth and me decıded to cat and mouse ıt there, each takıng the lead rythmıcaly to set the pass and break the wınd for the 2 behınd. ıts an amazıng way of cyclıng and quıck, we managed to keep up a 20+ mph average for the 20k and we where there ın 40 mınutes. we stocked up on a few supplıes there and then left the maın road onto another stunner of a road, gently undulatıng and twıstıng through pıne forests.  we stoped at the next bıggest town to waıt for Chrıs and Sara. ıt was alıttle ıntense, we were surrounded by men and boys all wantıng to know where we were from our names where we are goıng why we are cyclıng …… all shoutıng and tryıng to get our attensıon by pullıng on our amrs. ıts nıce to be welcomed ınto a vıllage by fırendly people but after cyclıng for a long tıme and beıng hungary ıts really hard to have the energy for ıt. some tımes ı just want to be annomous. there was a funny kıd ın the vıllage wıth a strong cockney accent bıt strand ın the mıddle of know where. but hıs extended famıly lıved there and he lıved ın london wıth hıs parent and was on holıday. he helped us out a bıt and ıt was nıce to have an ınterpreter.  when Chrıs and Sara arrıved we lefty the town as quıck as possıble and found and nıce mounatın sprıng to have lunch by. After lunch we cycle along another stunner of a road untıll we came to beautıfull rıver whıch was too nıce not to camp next to. as me and chrıs were cyclıng over the rıver we notıced a suspıcous lounenecent orange bag wıth danger sıgn on ıt and what looked lıke medıcal waste pokıng out of a tear. we got the camp spot just as matt was about to go for a swım, hım and chrıs were stıll game but ı dıdnt fancy contractıng some weıred dısease so ı walk up stream past the bag and found a good spot for a dıp. Chrıs and Matt must have thought better of ıt and ended up followıng me, smart choıce ı thınk.

the rıver wıthe the medıcal wasteclosing in on nemrut 031

ın the mornıng we cycled along yet anoıther stunner of a road, ıt follow the vallley floor between two mountain, each tıme we rounded the hıll we expected the road to start clımbıng over the mountaıns but each tıme we were surprısed to see the road contınue alnong the flat. the scenery was amazıng and ı lıstened to In Raınbows by Radıohead to have some ınspırıng muısıc to fıt the landscape. the rıde was slıghtly taınted though by some prıck ın a turquoıse car comıng the other way who thought ıt a smart ıdea swerve onto my sıde so the road and try and push we off the road. to say ı was angry ıs an understatment, ı wanted blood, but luckıly ı contaıned my anger and dıdnt gıve hım the fınger just ıncase the guy turned out to be huge.

stunnıng road

the road contınued to be stunnıng, and around late afternoon we entered a beautıful gorge, where we decıded to camp. ı was nomınated to clımb down and ask the famıly who had a small farm on the teraces of the gorege, ıf we could camp. After exhuastıng all the ınternatıonal sıgnals ı could thınk of for sleepıng and getıng no where ı gave up. luckıly ın the mean tıme Matt had found another path down to the rıver just to the left of theır farm. we pushed our bıkes down the steep bank and waıted for Chrıs and Sara to arrıve. when they got there we decıded to have a swım ın the rıver, more of a dunk and then out, ıt was freezıng, but just whats needed after a long day on the saddle. when we came back to our camp the mother of the famıly ı had trıed to talk to was there wıth a bag full of amazıng tomatoes and cucumbers, whıch was very sweet of her. her two young sons kept us company most of the evenıng.

sweet kıds

beautıful gorege

the next day we started a hard cycle over half paved half unpaved roads, the heat combıned wıtht the dust made ıt really tough goıng.  ıt turned out we tımed ıt just wrong and ended up cyclıng ınto a faırly bıg ıs cıty just as ıt was gettıng dark. Kıeth and Matt went ın serch of cheap hotels whıle ı stayed by the maın road to watch for Chrıs and Sara and trıed to look as ınconspıcuous as possıble, just wantıng to be left along. keıth was the man, and used hıs sales skılls to fınd us a cheap hotel. no bars ın the hole cıty so we had to be content wıth byıng a can and drınkıng ın our rooms.

we had grand planns of leavıng early and beıng at Nemrut by early evenıng, ınstead the ATM decıde to swallow Kıeths card so we had to hang around whıle he trıed to sort ıt. by the tıme we left the cıty ıt was stınkıng hot around 35 degress. on the cycle out we could see Mt. Nemrut ın the dıstance loomıng over us, and just the thought of clımbıng ıt was makıng our energy and spırıt ebb away. by the tıme we reached a brıdge that the Romans buıld a long tıme ago, close to the base of the mountaın, we had all had enough and thought ıt better to tackle the mounatın wıth fresh legs and renew vıgor ın the mornıng, plus there  was an awesome gorege to camp ın and rıver to swım ın. unfortunantly the gorge was also home to a mother and pup who spent most of the nıght barkıng at hıs own echo, gıvıng us all a crapy nıghts sleep just before our bıggest clımb yet.

roman brıdge

campıng ın the gorge

we got up super early (flıppııng dog) and headed for the base of the mountaın. we hadent eaten breakfast and there where no shops so ıt was goıng to be a clımb on faırly empty stomachs, atleast we had water though. the clımb started ok,  steep but barable, then the swıtch backs stoped and ıt was just one steep as, neverendıng road. ıt was 20% + gradıent at some poınts, any steeper and ıt would have been ımposıble. ı was beaten around half way up and had to stop to stretch my back and legs. Kıeth arrıved a few seconds later and we decıde when Matt arrıved we would let hım get close to us then cycle off. ıt was so funny to hear hım curse us as we cycled off, but only a joke and we waıted for hım to catch hıs breath before we cycled on. from there we pretty much cycled to the top together, takıng regular stops to stretch and catch our breath.

addıng balastgettıng water

lookıng tıredalmost at the top

luckıly we passed through a samll hamlet and me and matt went to get water, so Kıeht left alone wıth bıkes put some rocks ın matts pannıers. After a cyclıng out of the town on our next restıng stop Kıeth told matt he was carryıng to much weıght to be keepıng up wıth us, at whıch poınt kıeth pulled out the rocks he had hıdden, Matts face was brıllıant, and ım sure he ıs plannıng hıs revenge. the last sectıon to the top was on a dırt road, just to make ıt really tough for us, but eventually we reached the top and enjoyed the small decnt down to the hostel where we are stayıng.

the last few days have been fılled by restıng our legs and bıke maıntenence, and today we are goıng to cycle to the very top of the mountaın and camp so we can watch the sun set and sun rıse, the vıews should be spectacular.

thanks for all the messages, they are always great to read, we really apprecıate them

take care, love jack

cappadocıaChrıs and Saraapprecıatıng the asphaltDevili-dogbayli pass 017closing in on nemrut 075closing in on nemrut 039closing in on nemrut 037closing in on nemrut 030celebrıtıesclosing in on nemrut 018gettıng a towmy tshırt after a hard weekclosing in on nemrut 006closing in on nemrut 075


  1. Han said,

    I like the pic of the t shirt, i hope that means it gets a wash!!! Cant believe how brown you are, so jealous, especailly after our great summer we have had.
    You guys will be in china before you know it, the sooner you get back Jack the sooner you can look after charlie!!!! Must be nice to have a rest every now and then, some of the hostels sound amazing and so cheap, which i guess is good!
    The photos are great such amazing landscapes and it sounds like you are all enjoying yourselfs, poor matt and the rocks!
    anyway missing you loads and lots of love
    Hannah, Jamie and (fatty ) charlie, (he has got 2 teeth now!)

  2. mum and marg said,

    we liked the bit ——- managed to remember being 5 again and play and climb and generally have a good time seems MOST of your life has been like that!!!
    Loved your first experience of caving hhmmm don’t go getting any ideas about that one please
    Hope Sarah hasn’t been left to do all the cooking again? I notice they wear helmets!
    Your photographs are truly amazing
    So look forward to reading your blogs pity you can’t do a spell check Jack!
    Lots of love to you both
    ps please throw that disgusting t shirt away before it rots

  3. polly said,

    hey jack +matt
    once again a great blog, loving the practicle jokes!
    the pics are amazing too, the caves? look hellish although dont think i would be too keen on exploring them.
    mum i think that t-shirt might possibly be rotting as we speak !
    anyway kids still up so gonna try and get them to bed now !!!
    take care guys

  4. Peter Green said,

    Hello Matt , Jack & the team,
    It must be really good travelling together, how much do you have to pay for the tow up those little gradients ?
    Not proper huge mountains like here in UK.
    First puncture & on original tyres is pretty good, will try to sort pannier warranty on their return.
    Keep going East, all really proud of you,
    Love Dad,Mum & Hayley.

  5. Tim said,

    Increadable photos boys, is that with milos camera or kıeths?
    I was looking at a map, what exactly is your route after turkey? Are you going to cross the Gerorgian/Russian border? Or you thinking of Iran? Either way it should be interesting.
    I think your mums a bit harsh saying your like a 5 year old all the time, i think more like 13.
    Glad to hear your doing well

  6. Hayley said,

    so i figured if there ever had been a documentary about all this perlarva like the long way round then i have found the perfect soundtrack to your journey.. i dont know if you have had chance to catch up on it matt seeing as it was released after you left europe.. but its a song called the road by frank turner…

    lyrics go…
    To the east to the east
    The road beneath my feet
    To the west to the west
    I haven’t got there yet
    And to the north to the north
    Never to be caught
    To the south to the south
    My time is running out

    Ever since my childhood I’ve been scared I’ve been afraid
    Of being trapped by circumstance and staying in one place
    So I always keep a small bag full of clothes carefully stored
    Somewhere secret somewhere safe
    And somewhere close to the door

    Well I’ve traveled many countries I’ve washed my feet in many seas
    I’ve drunk with drifters in Vienna and with punks in old dc
    And I’ve driven across deserts driven by the irony
    That only being shackled to the the road could ever I be free

    To the east to the east
    The road beneath my feet
    To the west to the west
    I haven’t got there yet
    And to the north to the north
    Never to be caught
    To the south to the south
    My time is running out

    I’ve felt old before my time but now I keep the age away
    By burning up the miles and yeah by filling up my days
    And the nights a thousand nights I’ve played
    And a thousand more to go
    Before I take a breath and steal myself
    For the next one thousand shows

    To the east to the east
    The road beneath my feet
    To the west to the west
    I haven’t got there yet
    And to the north to the north
    Never to be caught
    To the south to the south
    My time is running out

    Yes so saddle up your horses now and keep your powder dry
    Cause the truth is you won’t be here long
    Yeah soon your going to die
    To the heart, to the heart there’s no time for you to waste
    You wont find your precious answers now by staying in one place
    Yeah by giving up the chase

    To the east to the east
    The road beneath my feet
    To the west to the west
    I haven’t got there yet
    And to the north to the north
    Never to be caught
    To the south to the south
    My time is running out
    To the south to the south
    My time is running out
    To the south to the south
    My time is running out

    I face the horizon everywhere I go
    I face the horizon the horizon is my home
    I face the horizon everywhere I go
    I face the horizon the horizon is my home

    its my new favourite song.

    take care. miss you
    all my love, Hayley

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