Yavaş Yavaş

It took me about ten days to cycle from Fethiye to – the not so far away – Antalya. Between those towns stretches the Lycian way, Turkey’s most famous long distance hiking path, wich leads through the mountains, and crosses an overload of archeological sites. Unfortunately the rough track is undoable by bike, but as long as you avoid the main road, the roads are rather free of traffic and enjoyable to ride. I took some time off to visit places like the ‘Butterfly valley’, where the steep path down along the cliffs is quiet a challenge for someone who is afraid of heights.

Some days later, in Üçağız, I stumbled upon what looked like a nice place, wandered around a bit, and met Ahmet, who inherited the piece of land from his father, who died recently. He and his friend Erhan started to buid a self-sustainable ecofarm there, and I could certainly stay there as long as I wanted to. After two days of helping them a bit and exploring the area, I moved on, although it was tempting to stay longer.

But doing some distance here is harder than you would think. the same day I got invited to join some students, who knew a perfect camping/fishing spot, an offer I couldn’t refuse. It was weekend and the place was crowded with locals, stuffing me full of food and rakı. There I met Moritz, a German guy riding his motorbike around the world, who was guided there by some fellow bikers.

We met again the next day in Olympos where we camped together with a Swiss couple driving their old Volkswagen van to Mongolia. I could only smile when they were talking about the high gas prices and the amount of paperwork that needs to be done to get a motorized vehicle into some countries.

Olympos itself was a big dissapointment. It’s described in every guidebook as a paradise, but under the skin of artificial relaxedness hides capitalism in his purest form: overpriced drinks and rooms, smiles and helpfullness that disappear as soon as it’s clear that you’re not going to spend any money, and so on.

Rahman and UmutThe first day in Antalya my couchsurf-host was unreachable, so I joined Rahman and Umut, a hilarious duo, who were sleeping on the beach. As far as I understood, they started a bicycle trip some time ago, sold there bikes, and continued hitchhiking to I-dont-know-where, and I don’t think they knew either. The next day I got hosted by Hande in Kaleiçi, the historical centre. Four days passed by quickly and I moved on, since I didn’t want to end up like this guy, who got stuck in the city after his bike had been stolen – or the other way around.

On what appeared to be my birthday, I made it to Alanya. It had been a lonely, big cycling day so the joy was great when 5 minutes later I stumbled upon Rahman and Umut again. We celebrated with some Rakı, and stayed two nights on the beach, disturbed by security and rain.

Being fed up with the heavy traffic coast road, full of holiday resorts that look like prisons, I dived into the mountains. Time for some training, and I definitely need it. The price was high: a steep climb to 1500 metres altitude. Suffering I did: because of the lack of traction on the wet surface I had to walk some stretches. But the reward was big as well: after some kilometres I stopped for a çay and got offered a complete meal. When the same thing happened not much later I felt I was in Turkey again. It surprised me that the same day I left the steaming hot Alanya, I was camping between piles of snow again. This feast continued for five days and meanwhile my wallet sunk to the dark bottom of my pannier again, accompanying stuff a bike traveler always carries, but seldomly uses, like soap and a toothbrush.

I’m now in Taşucu, where I have to wait two days for a boat to Cyprus. Nothing to see here and I’m slightly bored…

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4 Responses to Yavaş Yavaş

  1. Steven says:

    looks great!!!! (again) Enjoy yourself!

  2. Wannes says:

    Well done! Nice pics!

  3. hmm, Laurens, lovely travel story. I definitely liked Butterfly Valley more than Kabak, which I heard is similar to Olympos. Take care of yourself between the snow in the mountains! But of course you are a Belgian, so you can take some more cold than the regular Turk. 😉

  4. Julia says:

    Really good article! Nicely written!
    Nice style, almost sound like poesy to me actually : “my wallet sunk to the dark bottom of my pannier again” …
    can’t wait for the next one!

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