After postponing the departure for another day or two, me and Alkım left Nevşehir together. We camped some days at a lake near Kayseri, where I learned how to fish in Turkey. I’ve made a small tutorial:
- Find a good spot where you are visible, this is very important.
- Start fishing. Do not focus on catching the fish, you are probably not qualified to do that. Instead, focus on catching the eye of the villagers. Do this by exaggerating your movements while throwing out your line, making big gestures of disappointment when taking in your line, etc.
- Wait till one of the villagers brings you an overload of fish
- Afiyet olsun!
The euphoria of being on the road again quickly got bombed by another broken axle, for which I found a replacement in Kayseri. This happened during the last week of Ramadan, and I really thought the mechanic was going to collapse while he was replacing the part. The axle itself took his example and snapped the very next day. Apparently my hub was deformed. Apart from that, cycling during the Ramadan was not that much different. People still offered me food, although I didn’t really feel comfortable eating, while a bunch of hungry wolves were watching every movement I made.
The road itself was very nice. I’d planned to avoid the main road, but when I noticed it was paved with the smoothest asphalt I’d rode on since Cyprus, I got hooked to it. In Turkey the roads, even the newly constructed ones, normally have a rough surface, which slows you down a lot. It looks like they’ve finally learned it. Only when the mountains began to rise, I started looking for alternatives. These small roads served me a daily 2000m pass. I hadn’t climbed for some months, and it took me some days to find my rhythm again. It was nice to see the landscapes changing very suddenly, from the dry Anatolian plateau, to the Black Sea coast, where the grass is green and there’s a small current behind every corner, which I’d really missed.
Sleeping was another thing. My first evening in the mountains several people stopped me to ask what I was doing. They told me not to sleep in the mountains due to the high bear population. People often warned me for animals before, and I’d never had a big problem, so I ignored the advice. This time it was not different, but during the night I started to get paranoid, I made a big fire, and whenever I heard a sound, I was sure it was a bear. Needless to say I didn’t catch a lot of sleep that night, so from then on I stayed in villages. A good choice, daily bed and breakfast.
A few days later days, after a quick visit to the Sümela Monastery, I finally arrived in Trabzon. Some minutes later I was already drinking çay with some other Iran-visa hunters, and Cüneyt, my couchsurf host, who owns a tattoo shop in the hearth of the city. Cüneyt is an excellent host, and opens his house to everyone, making it a very lively place. Then I thought back about the winter, when me and Sylvain flipped a coin on whether we would put a specific tattoo or not. The time had come to listen to the outcome of that event, and it was there before I realised it…