Istanbul to Cappadocia

Hello everyone. A much quicker update thıs tıme as ı wasnt goıng to let ıt buıld up agaın! Well after we have both ımproved health wıse me from my stomach thıng (whıch cost 400 lıra to sort out!) and jack from hıs man flu/pneunomıa….ha, we set of ınto the rısıng sun yet agaın.

A farewell nightshot.........

A farewell nightshot.........

Thıs tıme however we allowed ourselves a lıttle breather for the fırst day, by takıng the traın a short way out of ıstanbul, as the roads and traffıc were just too much for us to handle for a thırd tıme. We only went as far as we had gone west wıth Tım and Mıles though, so we dıdnt cheat too much!

Keithy boys shot of the tower

Keithy boys shot of the tower

On dısembarkıng from the traın we cycled a short way, before we were apprehended by a lovely bloke called Ishmail, who ınvıted us ınto hıs factory for a drınk and some food, whıch was really good of hım. Hıs factory made the badges for ford,landrover and a varıety of other car companıes, and he seemed to be doıng well out of ıt, as he had the bıggest telly ı have seen ın ages, and leather sofas to boot. And the best thıng of all was that ıt was aır condıtıoned to the max. So after being hosted by this awesome guy, and shown around his factory, we set of in search of a good camp site, which we had on good authority was around 20km up the road. And lo and behold, as we headed into the valley which dissects two rather large mountain ranges we found a beautiful field to spend our first night in. The morning found us admiring the clouds gathered at the top of the mountains around us.

Lovely 1st Spot, just lovely..

Lovely 1st Spot, just lovely..

Mountains in the morning

Mountains in the morning

After setting off, it wasnt long before we came across our next set of extremely hospitable turkish people, who we came across at the next spring we found, needingto fill up on water. We unfortunately found that it was dry or broken, but then we met Yavuz and his mate, who offered us first their water, and then all of their food for the day, which we gratefully took, as well as eating a load of their biscuits and drinking some of their fanta! They were really friendly guys, and we had a good laugh sitting with them for a hour or so, at which point the pictures started, group photos, and then these wicked ones of us in a tree, with Yavuz`s 9mm in hand, which was a big surprise, when standing in a tree, a guy youve just met hands you his loaded pistol to pose with is the last thing you expect! But anyway we did it, and that made our day, so Jack is not only a tree hugger but a tree shooter now aswell.

Us with Yavuz and friend........Quality guys

Us with Yavuz and friend........Quality guys

first gun ive ever held for a pose.......

first gun ive ever held for a pose.......

Lining up the stray dogs in his sights....Jack the Dog hater

Lining up the stray dogs in his sights....Jack the Dog hater

After this exciting episode we headed on up the valley, and torwards our first really big pass. As we started slogging it up the hill in the baking heat, a traqctor rolled past, and we got our first proper tow, and im glad to say i got further than jack, cos his arm was hurting…haha. But seriously its a lot harder haqn youd think, wrenching on your arm like that is like doing weights for an hour. so anyway, when we got to what we thought was the top, we met a guy who was the engineer of the new road we were cycling up, and who was really keen for us to record his momentous road with our precious camera……..some people are just a little too proud….not to take anything away from him though, is was a nice road! After reaching the top we stopped at Tarzans cafe (that was actually his name), and recuperated a little, as Jacks lungs werent at full capacity due to his ongoing cough. On the way down however, we had the longest downhill yet, but not the last in these last few days, and Jack wishes me to inform everyone that he broke his top speed of 46, and it is now set at 47mph (or 76kmph!), which is pretty bleddy fast really. As this day came to a close we had to stop and lie down for an hour or so, as the heat was unbearable, and we were seriously burning out. But luckily we foud a sweet campsite next to a river that was lovely and cold, and we gave ourselves a cold water immersion to cool off, which was fantastic!

they closed off 1 side of the road for us!

they closed off 1 side of the road for us!

halfway up the first pass, after the tractor tow

halfway up the first pass, after the tractor tow

the proud guys new road!

the proud guys new road!

climbing up the 1st pass

climbing up the 1st pass

How cool am I? Down the 1st sweet hill

How cool am I? Down the 1st sweet hill

The next day we had 2 passes to tackle, and the first was a brutal one, really quite steep, and what with jacks lungs, he was finding it difficult. But fair play to him, we still got to the top in good time. The downhill after this pass was another best yet, really long and beautiful, and well worth the climb up. We stopped at the bottom and had some liquid sugar (coke) and were gazed at like animals in a zoo by the men of the village, who seemed to be happy just to sit opposite us and stare….slightly strange but quite funny.

1st pass of the day

1st pass of the day

1st pass of the day done!

1st pass of the day done!

The next pass was a different sort altogether, and was really long, with a relatively shallow gradient, but it was still very hard work, and we had to stop for snack breaks and water refills/head dunkings every half hour. The scenery however was amazing, some of the most beautiful valleys so far, and by climbing up so far we could see how the valleys spread out………..really beautiful, as was the downhill after this, the  2nd pass of the day (1230). It just went on forever, and I mean that truly. It was at least 15 miles long, and probably more like 20, and after getting to the very bottom, and the next town, we stopped for some toasted sandwiches and a drink, just as the weather started to close in on the mountains behind us.

the next good downhill

the next good downhill

2nd pass of the day done!

2nd pass of the day done!

As we left this town, the winds and rain were starting to whip around us, and so we sprinted off in search of a sheltered spot to spend the night, but in the next hour, the landscape changed completely, from big mountains full of green, to a huge wide landscape of the closest thing to desert we have yet experienced, but again, incredibly beautiful. As we rounded the shoulder of a hill, we came across this seemingly barren land, full of reds yellows and greys of varying hues, and an amazing bit of road. We ended up camping in our first, but not last ploughed wheat field, which this area or Turkey is just full of, everywhere you look, there are corn/wheatfields.

Down the longest hill yet.......20 miles!

Down the longest hill yet.......20 miles!

At Nihili...end of the 20mile downhill

At Nihili...end of the 20mile downhill

from one climatic zone to the next.... rain on the left.....desert on the right!

from one climatic zone to the next.... rain on the left.....desert on the right!

camping in the "desert".......1st night

camping in the "desert".......1st night

The next day went by very fast, covering around 65/70 miles, and passing through some strange towns in the middle of nowhere, with nothing to offer anyone living there seemingly, but who am I to say. What i will say is that that town was bad luck (Beypazari) because as i rode out of it, i hit a pothole, rather larger than normal, and my front pannier rack snapped……..i dont have the kuck of placement that jack does it seems. Either way i wasnt going to spend the next week in this cruddy little town (or quaint and rustic…as the lonely planet put it) waiting for a new one, so I strapped the bag onto the back of my bike and pushed on, feeling more and more annoyed as the miles rolled by. Anyway when we eventually stopped for the day, we had just taken the road that was to take us around Ankara, instead of through it, and we found a nice little bit of a field to lay up in, whilst i bodged up the rack, rather well i may add, with some electrical tape. This sufficed to last the whole of the way here, with a reduced weight bearing capacity.

the desert....ish

the desert....ish

Colours reflected in the dam water......bit of, anyway

Colours reflected in the dam water......bit of, anyway

end of the days ride.....after repairing the pannier

end of the days ride.....after repairing the pannier

As the sun rose the next morning we awoke and set off in the cool morning, now entering a fantastic space of big hills, and bigger flats and plains. The road we had chosen turned out to be a great surprise, as i was easily one of the best roads we have ridden on yet, with long ups and downs, rolling hills, and smooth tarmac, as well as minimal traffic. En route we went through and stopped at some really small villages (talskiddy style) right out in the sticks, full of curious people and mud brick dwellings. This road took us to Polatli, where we had a wonderful experience of meeting a young lad who took it upon himself to help us in every way in theis, his home town. He showed us the internet cafe where i could order a new rack, then escorted us to the best pide place in town, then showed us the way to the next town…al in all he was a wicked little guy, full of smiles and helpfullness, despite our obvious language barrier. As usual, football was an easy subject to discuss, but we left feeling really heartwarmed, such was the effect this kid had on us, who we had only met and been with for a matter of hours. Later that evening we had our first encounter with shepp herders……and their dogs. the guy was friendly enough, but as soon as his lead dog sqaw us he let out a deep bark, which summoned all the others….and as we were in a hollow, we ended up being semi surrounded by this pack of huge hounds with their heads poking over the lip of the hollow, and them obviously envious of our food, from the slobbering jaws. But they were friendly enough, just startled to find strangers on their patch i guess, as with a word from the lord, most of the trotted off back to him, save one, who looked like he needed someone to play with, but there was no way i was going to play with a beast that big. Besides that the collars they have on are right out of Lord of the Rings….big spiky metal ones, probably to protect their neck in the event of a fight.

start of the sweeeeeet road to polatli!

start of the sweeeeeet road to polatli!

Us and our little helper......what a guy

Us and our little helper......what a guy

the climb out of polatli, and through our 1st dust devil

the climb out of polatli, and through our 1st dust devil

We spent the next day taking shortcuts recommended to us by local taxi drivers, who seemed to forget that some of the “shortcuts” go up massive steep hills that are a nightmare to get up…..anyway we did them, then ended up on the main road from Ankara to Aksaray…….fast but quite dangerous, with 3 lane traffic and no hard shoulder at times, and massive trucks whizzing by. but by the end of the day we had turned off that monstrosity, and struggled up another long steep hill towards Hirfanli Dam, where we got a little disorientated, as the map had the roads in the wrong place. We also hadnt passed a decent sized town for a while, so had no cheese, bread or tomatoes for breakfast, instead we had a packet of biscuits to share, and the hope that the next town had something in the way of food to offer us….how disappointed we were to be.

one of the short cuts......great views though

one of the short cuts......great views though

Climb from the main road.......looking back on the salt lake

When we set off we were still hungry, and it took us nearly 4 hours to get the next town with a market which was 50km away into the headwind…..the first real struggle we had with the wind. But thats not the worst of it….as we got to the village closest to our campspot, we came across a bitch and her pups, who immediately ran at us, forcing us to get off and stand our ground….but as the minutes wore on she got more and more aggressive and was really baring her teeth at me, being at the back. Now i love dogs, but this one really scared me, and made me think i was about to be chewed up, as she was big and wild looking……so i had to resort to out last stand technique….the pepper spray. I tried waring her by pointing it at her but she clearly had no concept as to what it was, so when she moved towards me again, i pointed it at her muzzle, and gave the button a light squeeze………………………. Never have i seen a big scary dog run away so fast, sneezing and rubbing her muzzle…… I felt awful, but very relieved that she wasnt on the verge on taking me down! At least we know it works anyway.

Later that day we were in a service station, refuelling after our period of starvation, and we must have looked really hungry or tramplike, as 2 seperate families gave us food offerings, cakes, bread, yoghurt, fruit and the like. Yet another show of the amazign level of hospility we have been shown by the turkish people. The next few days were filled with big hills, and some brilliant downs, and the first puncture of the trip, on Jacks rear tyre, before finally arriving in Cappadocia, and this wierd land of volcanic stacks and cave dwellings. We are staying in the Flintstones Hostel, which has a swimming pool, and is still only 15 lira……or 5 quid!

On our way we also learned that Keith, as well as Sara and Chris would be in Goreme at the same time!So now we have a regular reunion at hand, and a few days of mirth and joys to experience, and company when we set off!

So for now, take care all, and much love to everyone!

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13 Comments »

  1. Hayley said,

    ?detail much?

    ps. matt you look like a lord with that gun. great picture.

    x

  2. mum and marg said,

    what an amazing time you are both having
    love reading all about you adventures
    glad people have taken pity on you and seen fit to offer food
    can’t image what you must smell like though after a few days cycling covering the distance that you have and in those temperatures!
    make the most of it cos it will be back to reality this time next year
    Tarzan is proud that you have visited his eponymous cafe!
    love mum and marg oh and tarxxx

  3. Han said,

    well done again guys, mind you you have had long enough to rest!!!! glad you both are better, man flu can be terrible i am sure!!
    glad the pepper spray worked, lets hope it works just as well on the bears (almost put beers, but i am sure they aren’t a problem), hoping you dont meet any that is!
    Cant believe you manage to cycle so far, 10 miles would be enough for me, at least you have some nice hills to go down, not too sure we want to hear the top speed bit Jack!!
    Charlie is desperatly trying to type something, he is getting his first 2 teeth!
    glad you both ok, missing you loads, lots of love han, jamie and charlie

  4. kerry said,

    OMG what an amazing bit of blog you guys…. fab pictures too. Am so jealous that you are in beautiful Turkey in the sun whilst we are having possibly THE crappiest summer ever. ( I know riding bikes thru the desert in 40 degree heat probably not the same as sitting round the pool in a nice turkish resort but….you know…) Anyway, jack, make sure matt doesn’t get hold of any more guns in case you run into another stray…..keep up the good work xxxxxxxxxxxxx

  5. polly said,

    gonna have to use the same word again, i am dead imaginative! it’s amazing!!!
    think hannah is a bit brave saying she could do 10 miles, mind you i think i might be able to do the 15 miles down hill but not much more!
    cant believe how generous so many people sound, especially cause you must both stink! think i would run away from ya!
    anyone know what eponymous means? gonna have to check that one with mum!
    nathan is still following your progress with a little confusion -keeps going back to the aeroplane question!! beth still a naughty little thing but is now potty trained, yay!
    anyway guys keep having an amazing time
    love polly xx

  6. Tim said,

    47 mph, thats quite crazy fully loaded. Nice pictures, that must be some camera your using.
    To say i’m jealouse wouldn’t quite sum it up.
    Hows the mould on the t shirts comming along?
    Glad to hear you are both healthy again, keep it up!
    x

  7. Aunti Sue and John said,

    Hi J and M

    Hope Matt writes his blog off line!!!

    You didnt say how fast you did UPHILL?

    A little tip, dont have a haircut in Turkey, they will give you an arm massage and stick a flaming (literally) cotton bud into your ears to get rid of the fuzz!! If you think the dog was scary!!!!

    Lidl’s have a supermarket in Ankara – maybe you can do a deal on your wages???

    G and G say hello and keep going East!!

    Best wishes

    AS and J

  8. Aunti Sue and John said,

    Hi J and M

    On further consideration – dont go to Lidl’s – they may confiscate your bike!!

    AS and J

  9. mum and marg said,

    Hi Lads
    hope all is well and that Ramadam is now over and you can EAT!
    message Jack from G & G: “blogs and pics brilliant you are both doing really well and having an unforgettable time! Fancy and runner beans or peas from the garden?

    Message from mum to Tim your remote safety co-ordiantor
    Tim have you questioned these lads as to why safety helmets do not appear to being worn?
    xxxx

  10. Peter Green said,

    OMG we go away for a somewhat shorter cycling trip to return to your latest escapades!!That pic of you matt with no hands or stabilizers is terrifying but wow what stories you have to tell and you tell them well, they are a great read. Well done to both of you and although we love & miss you, its great to keep up with your trip.
    Keep it up! Take lots of care love from Dad,Mum & Hayley xxx

  11. garicanogabas said,

    Hola Melons!

    Aqui estamos, esperando recoger las Visas que nos van a llevar a esos magnificos mundos y magnificos noodles. Es un placer viajar con vosotros y es un placer conoceros. Buena suerte Jack hoy con tu rizoscita a las cuatro y media. no pierdas de vista los arboles: “ojos en las calles!”

    Respeto y amor!

    Chris y sara!

  12. Hi

    We’re currently a continent behind you and just stumbled across this while planning the next bit of our cycling tour through Turkey. We were curious about how you headed towards Cappadocia and how many days you did the trip in / what sort of milage per day as we’re looking at doing a similar trip before bunkering down in Istanbul over this winter.

    Thanks for any help!

    Cheers

    Emma and Justin

    • eurasianadventure said,

      hi guys…

      turkey is amazing cycling one of the best countries around in my oppinion…. enough space to feel like your in the middel of nowhere but enough shops around to get food.
      its been a while since i was there…im in australia at the moment, so i cant give you specific directions just a general idea of our route.

      from istanbul we took a train out of the city heading east for a hour (cycling into istanbul once is enough) and then from there we went in a kind of south east direction. we made sure take a road which went around ankara, and not through and then to a town called Polatli. and from there to goreme. i think from istanbul to cappaddocia is around 800km, and it took us around 8 days…we try to do 100km a day. if you take a similar route to us you wont be dissapointed it stunning, two large ish mountain passes in the way but the mountains are beautiful. thats wahts great about turkey there are some great minor roads that you can just pick off the map and decided to try out.

      a good hostel in istanbul is the netherlands hostel which is accross the glalta bridge which is probably the better place to stay…away from the tourists.

      good luck…enjoy turkey …feel free to ask any more questions and ill try and help

      ciao


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