The weather was perfect leaving Eğirdir… not a breath of wind, clear sky and chilly enough to need a jacket. The wind did pick up a little later from the north, so a headwind, but no more than a force 3 and thus didn’t detract at all from what turned into the best day so far on the road here… a day on which the bike felt properly a part of me and the kilometres peeled away as I watched my shadow grow shorter then longer again… One of those days on the road I might well get all misty-eyed about when I’m a boring old duffer… (thus opening myself up to all sorts of commentary….).
Eğirdir is a good place to be a duck… aside from a beautiful spot the lake is very clean and clear and duck doesn’t appear on the menu anywhere….
the rather fabulous road along the western shore of the lake
it follows the lake in a lovely twisty, rolling fashion for about 50km..
once the lake is left behind there is quite a lot of bugger all for a while… some deliciously empty space
until… apples. The apple harvest is a big deal in the area, this is just one pile of many and is destined to to be juiced
the guys filled my bottles, gave me chocolate and insisted I put their photo on facebook..
the ‘crux’ of the day was a 10km climb, steep in places.. it wasn’t really a crux at all, I have rarely enjoyed a climb so much.. the temperature was perfect at around 25degs C, there was no traffic and the parched mountain scenery was perfect The mountains here are not big, the climb only gained around 1200m in altitude.
the descent was equally as good…
a very definite sense of vastness about the place
the village of Karacaoren where I went in search of bread for dinner… I was shocked that no-one bought me tea ;-)
all the towns and villages hereabouts have a public loudspeaker system.. it’s used for such things as local news, naming folk that have died, lost a sheep, failed to pay their electricity bill.. that kind of thing
on the road in central Anatolia
folk selling potatos.. as compensation for the poor tea showing in the previous village they offered me a sack of spuds .. if I could fit them on my bike :-)
probably doesn’t need a caption
sunset is around 6pm at the moment so as the shadows lengthened into late afternoon I started looking for a spot to spend the night. A likely looking dirt track took me up into the hills where I found a terrific little, not too rocky, spot flat enough to put my tent. Dry of course but with a terrific view of the valley below and some rocks to sit on. Perfect :-) It was another very cold night.. but not as cold as that night at the Salda Golu…
before sunset I had some time to indulge in vain pursuits such as a rare self portrait with my camera on timer.. but it’s for my mum really, I’m sure she reads this rubbish from time to time and will be reassured to see that I am not yet roadkill or emaciated from too many miles :-)
So now I am in the town of Afyonkarahisar, or Afyon for short… it is, on the face of it, an unremarkable provincial town with very little prospect for tourism.. but it does have an ancient castle on a mountain in the middle of town (tomorrow’s plan… legs were too tired to bother with the 570 steps up there) and a wonderfully crumbly old town. The locals are conservative and don’t show the same openness as the country folk.. but once the ice is broken they are equally lovely. There is a (very quiet…) tourist office in town and they have a map showing features of interest… and to my mind any town whose tourist map includes features such as the Provincial Directorate of Hydraulic Works and the prison, not to mention the cement factory, has to be worth a visit even if only in recognition of the effort to attract folk. The town is also famous as being the place where Ataturk kicked a lot of Greek arse during the 1922 Battle of Dumlupinar.
I’ve been for a wander around the old town with my camera, found it hard to find my street photo groove.. tired from riding and also very aware of the conservative nature of the locals so not wishing to be rude or intrusive in any way at all. I have tomorrow too… I have decided that although I could flog myself and get back to the Sea of Marmara and a ferry to Istanbul in time for my flight.. I have no great desire to ride through all those busy,industrial places again so instead winding down and going to savour the ride between here and Eskesihir, ending the journey there and hopping a bus back into Istanbul before heading home. I am comfortable with my laziness…
Anyway, some Afyon pics… probably more tomorrow.
a sausage shop.. the sausage, called sucak, is particularly big in Afyon. It is spicy and served in slices, fried… it is very good indeed.
the citadel on the rock towers over the town.. it has history dating as far back as 1350BC.. quite old then.
the source of my sausage dinner (sounds awful doesn’t it).. he was a super chap.. the food was good and he left me with a smile on my face :-)