Update 8 - From Selçuk,
Aegean coast to Göreme (Cappadocia), central Turkey.
20th October 2001.
We arrived in Selçuk on the Aegean coast of Turkey.
Matt had the cold from hell and the intense daytime
heat and hills were beginning to take their toll after
over 2 weeks of doing no serious exercise in Istanbul.
It was time for a rest!
to Selçuk is the mighty Ephesus - a big preserved
pre and post Roman city. Very touristy, but inspiring.
The main 25,000 seat Great Theatre is the highlight
- see photo. The rest of our time was spent wandering
around and resting up and, of course, eating everything
within sight. We even managed (finally) to do some bike
But before long, the time had come... It was time to
leave Selçuk and start cycling again. Before
us lay a 870km stretch to the touristic village of Göreme
in Cappadocia. This leg took us eight days, including
a rest day in the conservative town of Konya.
Loads has gone on, but the main thing is that it has
got COLD. Since Selçuk we have been climbing
hills (what fun!) and the temperature has plummeted.
Our toasty warm sleeping bags have really proved their
worth and the thermal underwear has been unpacked for
the first time.
Also, as always, we have all learnt more about the
local way of life as we meet more Turks. Firstly, they
all love rubbish tv soaps. Get to any petrol station,
roadside cafe or shop and all the staff are glued to
some badly acted 2nd rate version of Eldorado. Also,
drinking tea is more than a pastime, it is a full-time
profession. Foreigners here call it 'Turkish Tea Poisoning'.
It is considered rude to refuse a cup of Turkish tea
and we must be getting through at least 5 cups a day
route took us to Pamukkale - a nice big lump of calcium
deposit in the middle of nowhere - see photo. That same
day we were cycling on a minor road and were suddenly
being chased by a 30m high tornado. At first we started
to laugh.... there's a tornado heading towards us -
how ridiculous! And then we realised.... there's a tornado
heading towards us - how dangerous. It was time to move...
quickly. It came within 10m of us! I still have visions
of us being sucked up into the air, spinning round and
That night we rough camped at a petrol station and
found out that we had accidentally thrown out the pasta
that we were going to cook. But some local villagers
came to the rescue and gave us more bread, potatoes
and apples than we could ever eat. They were so friendly
and willing to help us. They all smiled, shook our hands
and laughed. We almost unworthy because as 'rich' westerners,
we had nothing to offer in return.
We pushed on to Konya throughout a beautiful day of
cycling. It was hilly and hot, but there was such a
mix of beautiful scenery. We found ourselves going through
valleys, lunar type terrain and mountainous ranges.
The view of Konya from the nearby peak was inspiring.
is regarded as the most conservative and religious area
of Turkey. It was time to cover up and put some long
trousers on, but Konya was a great place to spend a
rest day. Young people and a lively and friendly atmosphere
made this town unforgettable.
One night Matt had the midnight munchies and went in
search of a kebab shop. The cook, owner and kitchen
staff were so pleased to see him that they gave him
free food, took a group photo and chatted (using International
Sign Language) into the night. Experiences like these
are truly priceless. From Konya it was only two cycling
days to the touristic village of Göreme in the
beautiful region of Cappadocia. More about Cappadocia
in the next update. What an amazing place!
Turkish people have continued to be as friendly and
hospitable as always. Petrol station owners come and
sit with us and give us tea (more tea!), school children
go crazy and wave and shout greetings to us and line
up to give us high-5s as we go by. But my favourite
greeting has been by a slow train as it rolled past
us a few days ago. The driver kept honking a very loud
horn and the passengers were waving at us.
All seems to be going well. But, we do have a major
logistical problem. It seems that it is impossible to
buy any more Calippo lollies from now on. We're gutted!
Total distance to Göreme: 5125km. Click here
to see the Progress Chart.