Cycling again, Turkish style – 12 to 26th March

Monday 13th March 2017

Bodrum to Milas

Distance:  53.97 km

Average Speed: 10.99 kmh

Fastest Speed:  63.20 kmh

Total Distance: 10579.14

Yesterday we had a lazy day as Bahar had gone cycling with her club and we had the house to ourselves.  A frenzy of TV watching ensues – namely series 1 of The Lucky Man with James Nesbitt.  Not bad just series 2 to watch when we’ve got a spare 10 hours.  Today we’re up fairly early (9ish) and head off to Eray’s lock-up to fetch the trikes only to discover the key is no longer held in the cafe next door and even worse there’s now a padlock and chain on the door.  Within 5 minutes a chap comes along with the key to the door but he has no idea where the new padlock has come from.

We ring Bahar, she rings Mine.  Mine arrives on her scooter but she has no idea where this padlock has come from.   She makes a phone call and after a further 5 minutes someone else turns up who actually has the key to the padlock!

Back at Bahar’s we start loading the trikes and Daz cooks up a huge saucepan of porridge… bleughhh! But it’s supposed to be a good cycling breakfast,  slow release energy blah blah and we still have over 2kg of rolled oats to get through!  Unfortunately I’ve never been a porridge fan and whilst this is about the 6th bowl I’ve managed to eat since my Mum brought over 2 x 2kg of porridge oats, the consistency of snot is vile and often makes me want to vomit!  


After brekkie it’s time to say farewell to Bahar. She has been absolutely fab, hosting us yet again and helping out with our admin. One day we hope we can repay the generosity.  And so at 9 minutes past 11 we cycle out under sunny skies for the first time this year.  We plan to keep our biking legs short so today it’s the main road from Bodrum to Milas,  just over 50km to our warmshower host, Alp, in Milas.  We climb out of Bodrum at a nice steady rate; we know we’ve lost our bike fitness over the last few months.   It’s a pretty route with rolling hills and views of the dramatic coastline.  Later we head inland and stop to get a closer look at some flamingoes wading in the shallow waters beside the road.   

After a couple of hours we get a little peckish and stop at a Kofte wagon parked at the side of the road.

The converted bus has got a charcoal grill and a few tables and chairs inside,  but we sit out in the sun to enjoy our ‘meat’ sandwich (it’s kokorec – grilled animal intestines) and salty yogurt drink.  After lunch we see lots of beautiful spring flowers along the road and thanks to the tail wind we’re making good progress.  

There are a number of pottery outlets along the main road, maybe it’s a local clay? They have a lot of windmills on display, all spinning in the wind.

The traffic isn’t too bad.  This is our first cycle ride in Turkey and we have many people waving, calling greetings, speaking to us as they drive passed.  We’re really pleasantly surprised.  Only a couple of trucks skim past a little too close for comfort!  Towards the late afternoon the sun disappears and we have a long ascent to Milas. We are a little tired as we roll into Milas, and also, as we realise later, a little sunburnt!!  There’s a nice new blue cycle path into the town centre and we stop in the town square.  We are accosted a couple of times by people wanting to practice their English on us.

After a short scout around, and a cake and cup of tea we cycle the last kilometre to Alp’s house.  Unfortunately our route takes us over a dual carriageway which we cross using a footbridge.

 Its got a great ramp, but the switchback corners are too tight for our trikes so we have to get off  and manhandle them around manually… 4 times up, and 4 times down the other side!  We finally arrive at Alp’s. He lives with his parents in a beautiful big house.   They retired from working in Istanbul as a nurse (mother) and radiologist (father) but instead of downsizing they upsized – in a big way.   

Alp is a keen cyclist, having cycled over 15,000 km around the Aegean and Mediterranean coastal areas.  After getting cleaned up we sit down to a fantastic family meal.  It’s delicious.  We chat to Alp and he acts as translator for his parents.   Alp also shows us his YouTube interview of a Belgian cyclist who visited him earlier this month.  But by 10pm we are yawning our heads off after our first day’s cycling and call it a night. Just time to write the day’s blog before we are soon snoring the house down!!

Tuesday 14th March 2017

Milas to Akbuk

Distance:  52.67 km

Average Speed: 7.02 kmh

Fastest Speed:  63.05 kmh

Total Distance: 10631.76

We’re up at 0830hrs and have a lovely Turkish breakfast with Alp and Sacide, his mother (his Dad has gone to Work).

We chat over breakfast but then it’s time to leave.  Alp brings his camera and tripod out and takes some shots for us and has a go on our trikes. He thinks they are very comfortable.

We head off into Milas. Our first stop is a visit to the Tomb of Gumuskesen.  Milas’ most famous monument is a late 2nd-century Roman tomb called the Gümüşkesen, a particularly unlikely name which means “silver-cutting” (or “silver purse” in some translations). A marble tomb with elaborate columns and a pyramidal roof, it was probably modelled on the much more famous Mausoleum of Halicarnassus in nearby Bodrum. The only problem is it’s at the top of a steep hill!

Then we cycle back down, into and around the market; no mean feat given how busy it is with only narrow walkways between the stalls.  I would have expected people to be annoyed with our presence since everyone has to get out of our way but everyone is incredibly friendly and shout greetings to us.

Considering we have been told Milas is Turkey’s carpet capital there was not much sign, well actually none, of carpets.  After the market we head out of Milas and after about 10km we turn off the main road onto a much quieter back road.  It’s so pretty cycling through these valleys with the spring flowers in bloom and the olive groves with a carpet of white flowers.  

We pass a field where grass is being grown for turf, Croquet anyone?

It’s sunny again today but sadly we have a head wind.  We’ve done about 10km when the hills start and from then on they never really stop.  It’s tortuous and probably a dumb route choice for day 2 but with such beautiful views.

 Also we’re really on quiet back roads and discover there’s no shops or cafes, in fact nothing.  By 2 pm, absolutely shattered and ravenous we stop and eat the aubergine pie given to us this morning by Sacide.  Thank God for it, I was about ready to chew off my own arm.  She’s saved our lives.  It barely touches the sides. We see lots of lizards basking on rocks. Some scuttle away as we approach, others don’t seem to mind.

Finally we find a shop but it’s woefully short of provisions.   We were hoping for bread, cheese and meats as a minimum but it’s only got drinks, crisps and biscuits.  

We decide to push on for Akbuk, after all it’s only 10km.  How bad can it be?  Well very, very bad! We’re exhausted.  Our knees hurt from grinding up hills; our backs, feet, bums and legs ache and burn.  We’ve seriously overstretched ourselves today.  Finally we make Akbuk and find a restaurant.   We then proceed to shovel down our food as if our life depended on it.

 And then, overcome by the toughness of day 2, we head off to find a real bed and hot shower (yup -not camping!)


Wednesday 15th March 2017

Akbuk to Soke

Distance:  57.35 km

Average Speed: 9.67 kmh

Fastest Speed:  45.38 kmh

Total Distance: 10689.11

After a wonderful night’s sleep, followed by breakfast we head off and follow the promenade out of Akbuk – and along the deserted beach.

It’s very pretty.  Then it’s out of Akbuk to the main road – nice new smooth tarmac – it would’ve been fast except now there’s a hellish head wind, but after yesterday it’s a doddle.  After a steady climb we drop down again and have some Kofte for lunch then head off the main road for a detour around lake Bafa.  On the way to the lake we see a man and 2 women sitting in an olive grove.  They wave us over, and although they speak no English,  and us no Turkish we have a cup of chai and share a bit of bread and cheese with them.

We also spot some young Kangal pups and manage to entice them over for a belly rub.

As we reach the lake we see some fishermen and stop to watch. They seem to be catching the small fish at a rapid rate.  From here we leave the gravel track for a rough dirt track atop a dyke. There are flooded fields either side with grazing cows.  We can see the lake off to our right.

Lake Bafa is encircled by the Beşparmak Mountains, aptly named after the “five-fingers” the range resembles, but known as Mt. Latmos in mythological legends. Lake Bafa is a 60 square kilometre landlocked lake that was once the Aegean’s inland reach. The lake is now 50 percent salt water, providing for both salt and freshwater fishing, which along with agriculture, consists of the region’s prime sustenance. It’s slow going along the rough dyke, but the scenery makes up for it.  

After about 7 kilometers we come off and then enter a village after crossing a large river. There’s a very old fording bridge, but luckily we take the newer one! 

After the dyke we find ourselves in a small village and try and pet some rather scrawny puppies. Then back to main road.  It’s straight as a rule now for the final 20km.  We follow the main road into Soke and navigate through the busy centre to a bike shop.  Our warmshower host has given us this location so we assume he’s here even though I could have sworn he’s a schoolteacher.   We are greeted and given coffee then there is a photo frenzy and testing of our bikes.

We sit around for a bit and then the guy looking after us takes a phone call.  It’s our host on the other end, who gives us his address.  Off we go but just as leave they present us with a Turkish flag to hang off the bike and some lights!!  At Ayhan’s house we’re greeted warmly and he finds the trikes very funny.  Ayhan has 2 folding bikes, a mountain bike and a new VSF steel framed touring bike.  He’s done a lot of touring in Turkey and whilst he prepares dinner we watch his bike touring slideshows and then finally sleep.

Thursday 16th March 2017

Soke to Selcuk

Distance:  50.93 km

Average Speed: 9.79 kmh

Fastest Speed:  50.84 kmh

Total Distance: 10740.04

Alarm goes off ( for the first time) at 0650hrs.  It seems Ayhan is king of the snooze button and actually falls asleep between each alarm blast.  Finally we admit defeat and get up.

After boiled eggs for breakfast we all head into town, with Ayhan on Daz’s trike.   He’s well impressed.  In town Ayhan heads off to his school where he teaches 10 year olds and we head out of town, stopping briefly for a caffeine hit.

We’re on the main road again and even with the head wind make reasonable progress.  Sadly the hard climbing from Day 2 has left Daz with sore knees and sore achilles tendons.  In addition he’s suffering from a mild case of ‘Delhi Belly’ for the 2nd day.  We’ve eaten the same food but clearly I have the constitution of a waste disposal unit whilst Daz is more sensitive.  Urgent road side stops have become ‘the norm’ when travelling with DD (Diarrhoea Daz)!!

We stop at Magnesia.  According to the legends and ancient sources, Magnesia was founded by settlers called as Magnetes who came from Thessalia (Thessaly) on Greek mainland, following an oracle of Apollo and led by their leader Leukippos.

The location of the first city of Magnesia is not known, but it’s said to be somewhere along the Meander river (today’s Buyuk Menderes river) near Bafa Lake which was a bay on the Aegean Sea back then so it was accessible by the boats. Due to the epidemic outbreaks caused by the continuous changing of the river bed of the Meander and for the fact of being open to Persian invasions, around 400 BC Magnetes moved their city to its actual location next to Gumuscay river.

After looking at the main site we even cycle up a rough track to the stadium.  Very nice.

On we go just stopping for the occasional snack or drink and finally arrive in Selcuk.

It’s still fairly early so we head off to Ephesus – more ruins. But very impressive ruins!

Located within what was once the estuary of the River Kaystros, Ephesus comprises successive Hellenistic and Roman settlements founded on new locations, which followed the coastline as it retreated westward. Excavations have revealed grand monuments of the Roman Imperial period including the Library of Celsus and the Great Theatre. Little remains of the famous Temple of Artemis, one of the “Seven Wonders of the World,” which drew pilgrims from all around the Mediterranean. Since the 5th century, the House of the Virgin Mary, a domed cruciform chapel seven kilometres from Ephesus, became a major place of Christian pilgrimage. The Ancient City of Ephesus is an outstanding example of a Roman port city, with sea channel and harbour basin.

The area is surrounded by peach orchards that are now in blossom, vivid pinks everywhere.

We get back to the trikes and head for where we think Adnan lives – our warmshower host.  This involves a very rough, rocky track but with the added entertainment of some sections fully submerged.  Fortunately it’s not too deep and so no need to back track. We get to the coordinates for Adnan’s house but it’s just a big field.  We phone him but get no answer.  We decide to find a cafe but then he phones and says he’ll meet us at the hospital in about 20minutes.  We’re a little confused and wonder if he actually knows we’re his guests.  However all becomes clear.  He’s been in hospital most of the day after falling from the roof of his ‘cycling house’ and hitting his head.  But he comes to greet us with a huge smile but very bruised head and cheekbone – he’s lucky it wasn’t much worse.  He takes us to his ‘cycling house’ – it’s a stop over and meeting point for cycling clubs and touring cyclists.   

Adnan is famous; I think not only in Turkey but further afield for his cycling exploits but also for his hospitality.   After cleaning ourselves up we head to Adnan’s home for dinner.  We meet his wife, mother and daughter and there’s also several visitors who have come to check on him after his fall.  It’s a delightful evening; the hospitality we’re receiving is incredible.   Soon we’re too tired to socialise longer and head to the ‘cycling house’ and bed.


Friday 17th March 2017

Selcuk to Izmir

Distance:  41.25 km

Average Speed: 11.03kmh

Fastest Speed:  29.44 kmh

Total Distance: 10781.29

After a great night’s sleep we start the day with tea and granola and then cycle through town.  We stop near the Old City walls, opposite a new metro train station that is under construction.  When it’s finished it will link Selcuk with Izmir.

As we cycle out of town we get a great view of the castle high up on a hill. This recently renovated castle was built during the time of the Byzantine Empire and later remodeled by the Turks. On the outside you will see the emblematic Turkish flag and the face of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, father of the modern-day Republic of Turkey.

Out of Selcuk there are more beautiful peach orchards with dramatic cliff faces beyond.  We are cycling along a wide valley, the sun is shining and the it’s easy going.  We pass a tractor trailer and marvel at the leeks piled high in the back, the smell is exquisite.

So far the road has been smooth new tarmac with two wide lanes and hard shoulder, excellent!  But soon we are back on old gravelly tarmac and our speed reduces significantly .  A van pulls in ahead of us and we notice we are being videoed as we pass, it then goes by and stops again and the driver gets out and greets us before passing us a large pack of Turkish puddings. We later find out they are mini churros in syrup, Google translate calls them pump dessert!! We also pass a coach parked up on the hard shoulder.   The coach driver has stopped to take photos of us.

Then just before Tomboli 2 media guys on a moped stop and take details and pictures.  We think they work for the town newspaper which has an online edition, so we will keep watching incase they make us famous!

In Tomboli the clouds have arrived and it starts to drizzle.  We’re here to catch the metro into Izmir.   We go down in a small lift; it takes 3 runs with the trikes and baggage.

However at the barriers the lady, she says no! It’s against company rules (although bikes are permitted).  She tells us to get the overground train. Back up in the lift, a repeat process. At the overground the train man also says no to bikes. By now it’s raining hard.  We wait to assess the likelihood of getting on the overground but when one arrives we realise that there really is no where to put the trikes.  Whilst we’ve been waiting we’ve petted a mummy cat who has her 3 kittens in a cardboard box.  So cute!

So now for a final strategy.  We can see we’d easily get on the metro and that there’s plenty of room but we think seeing both trikes and all the baggage can look overbearing.  So we lock up my trike and go down to the Metro with just Daz’s trike and bags.  One final attempt to get on the metro. We plead injury, rain, and a burning need to get to Izmir today… finally the woman makes us stand under a CCTV camera then phones her supervisor who can see the trike thanks to the cameras.  He says yes!!! But only one bike one train.  So Daz gets on and I have to wait 20 minutes for the next.  ( You should have seen his face – sheer panic at being separated)

We have picked a station name to agree to get off at. Then I get on alone, helped by all the train staff!! I’m daydreaming away when after about 5 stops suddenly Daz gets on my train.  He’d found out our agreed train stop is nowhere near Izmir – it’s 30km north of Izmir. Fortunately he jumped off his train at a deserted station, waited for my train and jumped back on.

As we near Izmir the train becomes very crowded and as we reach our stop it’s virtually impossible to get off with the trikes. But finally we manage to get everyone to move out of the way and let us off.   We cycle through town via the Culture Park (lots of statues and empty fountains) then grab some food.

With all the train shenanigans we missed lunch and we are starving, so enjoy a Turkish version of KFC. We then hit the seafront and cycle along a new promenade for about 6kms.  It’s Incredibly beautiful as the sun sets over the sea.

We arrive at our warmshower host and Mehmet welcomes us into his home.

We share dinner and raki and find out about each other. Mehmet used to live the high life in Istanbul but decided he needed a quieter life so moved to Izmir.  He now teaches in a Maritime school and has left his wild Istanbul days for dull, slow Izmir life! (His quote not ours; I think he misses Istanbul and his friends there).

After dinner we teach him cards – nomination whist.


Saturday 18th March 2017

Izmir to Outskirts of Aliaga, beach.

Distance:  19.81 km

Average Speed: 7.45 kmh

Fastest Speed:  28.72 kmh

Total Distance: 10801.1km

Mehmet prepares a fab Turkish breakfast for us before we set off to explore Izmir.  We had thought we might spend 2 nights here but Mehmet doesn’t think there’s that much to see, so we’re not going bother.  We cycle along the sea front and then head off to see the Asansor lift.

Asansor is what it sounds like if you translate it into French or Spanish; it’s an elevator! This elevator is very special to the people of Izmir and is a popular place to hang out with friends. It also serves as a means of getting from the lower town to the upper town. Plus many couples who get married or families for special occasions come here to take photos together. The reason is it gives the best view of Izmir and the Aegean Sea from an elevated viewpoint. It has truly stunning views!

Then the clock tower and mosque.  We then cycle down the narrow streets, busy with people, to the ancient Roman Agora.  

Our last stop is the  Kemeralti Bazaar.  Trying, and coming close to emulating the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul, Kemeralti Bazaar  should be on every Izmir visitor’s list. Just as in Istanbul, the place is crowded and packed floor to ceiling with an array of everything you could ever need and more

Izmir done we return to the sea front to catch a ferry to Bostanli. No dramas with the ferry, thank goodness.  

At Bostanli we cycle to the nearest metro station.  We’re hoping we won’t have the same dramas as yesterday but sadly their first answer is a resounding ‘No’.  However we show them photos of yesterday’s train ride and they immediately capitulate and then can’t do enough to help us (or perhaps get rid of us). 

Sign on door of elevator at the metro station – the elevator we’ve used repeatedly.

The first train pulls in and the bike compartment is absolutely chocca so the train guard says we should wait for the next train which has more coaches.  Whilst we’re waiting he teaches us to count to 5 in Turkish.  The next train pulls in and he helps us get the trikes on whilst asking people to get out of our way.  The train terminates in Aliaga, about 30km north of Izmir.  Once off we head for the beach but get distracted by a large market.  It’s a huge indoor market with 2 floors; clothes and bric a brac on the ground floor and food upstairs.  We have a wander round and then stop for dinner, a chicken kebab sandwich.  

We pick up some provisions as we cycle through town then head to the seafront.  We’ve got our eye on a possible wild camping spot on the beach about 6km away.  It’s another lovely promenade and easy cycling.  We reach our target and sure enough we manage to find a spot of grass next to the beach.  Our first wild camping spot in Turkey!  Someone comes along in a while and tells us it’s not possible to camp here, but we tell him we will be gone in the morning and he leaves us alone.

Sunday 19th March

Outskirts of Aliaga (beach) to Bergama

Distance:  45.73 km

Average Speed: 12.24 kmh

Fastest Speed:  53.28 kmh

Total Distance: 10846.83 km

We enjoy a nice lazy start.  Porridge (yuck!) for breakfast by the sea.

After packing up we cycle out, it’s easy cycling again along the main road all the way to Bergama, another ancient site we have been told to visit. On the way we pull into a oe horse town by the name of Yanikent on the lookout for lunch.  The place is dusty and run down, but in the square there are a couple of tea rooms and lots of kids playing.  We ask if there is food and then the kids escort us around the village from food point to food point, but none are open to business!!

We end up back out on the main road at a petrol station stopping for ice cream and chocolate wagon wheels!!


We push on to Bergama and meet Cihan, our warmshower host at his apartment.  He is a nurse, and works the big MRI machine, but is studying to be an oncologist.  After a while another guy comes round- Erdam is an English teacher and has come to help Cihan with the conversation!  

We all go out for food and are shortly joined by more members of Bergama cycle club – a mother and daughter. Then after dinner they take us to a cafe for baklava and then on to another cafe to hear Turkish folk music where we are joined by more cyclists.!! As we chat with them we ask a bit about Turkish culture and religion.  The people are predominantly muslim and there are 5 calls to prayer a day.  Usually younger guys go once on a Friday.  It’s normally only the old men in the mosque 5 times a day.  Women however often just pray at home.  

For those that have jobs, particularly in the service industry there is often no day off. For example, the shop we eat baklava in stays open till 11 pm. She only closes the shop for 30 min prayer then reopens.  Even Cijan, a nurse in the government hospital often works 12 hour days six days a week, this in part due to a lack of trained staff.  It’s a great evening, but we can see Cijan is flagging and so are we, time to call it a night.


Monday 20th March

Bergama to Avylik

Distance:  75.69 km

Average Speed: 12.56 kmh

Fastest Speed:  30.02 kmh

Total Distance: 10922.52 km

Cihan is up and off at 8 am for work. But he says goodbye and gives us keys to his flat. Just lock up when we leave! So we cycle to the cable car that takes tourist up to the Pergamum Acropolis. It looks like it’s not running, but someone comes and lets us in and starts her up.

At the top we look around.

The ancient site of Pergamum should win an award for its stunning location alone. Rolling across the hillside, five kilometers from the modern town of Bergama, the Acropolis area was once the beating heart of a powerful Hellenistic city. The most striking feature is the 15,000-seat theater, set into the steep southwest slope of the hill and reached by a narrow flight of steps from the Temple of Athena. Adjoining the temple are the ruins of Pergamum’s famed library, built around 170 BC and once home to one of the largest libraries in the ancient world, with 200,000 volumes (later carried off to Alexandria by Mark Antony as a gift to Cleopatra). To the west of the library is the Temple of Trajan, built in the Roman era, with its marble colonnaded terrace. Below the theater, the Altar of Zeus was once decorated with elaborate friezes (moved to Berlin in the 19th century).

After we come down we head to the Red Basilica. This massive red-brick ruin was originally built by Hadrian (AD 117-138) as a temple dedicated to the gods Serapis and Isis. Later, in the Byzantine era, it was converted into a church and dedicated to the Apostle John, who had earlier called this grandiose pagan temple the throne of the devil.

Then we cycle to a Turkish greengrocer lady. Wemet us last night, doesn’t speak a word of English, but asked us to visit. We drink tea with her then pop over the road to a carpet shop for a snoop around.

Then it’s back to the apartment, pack up, a cup of tea and some pasties and set off once again.

It’s 12am already but the ride along the main road is easy. we come off the main road to go for lunch in Dikili, a seaside resort frequented by Turks rather than tourists. We let some young kids pose for pictures on the trikes then followed the road close to sea.

Finally we returned to the main road until a turn off for Kucukkoy.   A quick shop for dinner provisions and then we hit the beach again looked for a camping spot.  Finally we find somewhere “suitable”. Wild Camping next to a camping site in a lagoon area.

But the mosquitos are out in force so we in turn are forced to an early bed.  As we were setting up we were asked to leave, but again they relented when we told them it was only for one night.


Tuesday 21st March

Avylik to Akcuy

Distance:  51.13 km

Average Speed: 10.82 kmh

Fastest Speed:  54.00 kmh

Total Distance: 10973.65 km

This morning we wake up to an extremely wet flysheet for the tent.  We try to dry it whilst having a cup of tea accompanied by the guy that owns the campsite next door and who initially wanted to move us on last night.  He’s happy enough chatting to us whilst we pack up. We head off into Avylik for a full Turkish breakfast by the harbour.

A great start to the day.  Back on the road Daz snaps his bottle holder and wants to stop at any cycling or outdoor shop.  We spot an outdoor shop with a guy just about to leave on his folding bike.  Daz asks him where we can buy a new bottle holder and he only gives us his!

For 20km we cycle around the Avalik Island Nature park; it’s a nice quiet road with some parts next to the sea but the road surface is rubbish and it’s a hard slog.

Then we make better progress back on the main road for 20km before heading to the coast at Oren. We stop for a coke and some bread and cheese and an ex naval man starts chatting to us.  We’re trying to dry our tent and work out a route and mileages and this guy insists that we sit and talk to him.

We think he wants to show us a wild camping site and take us to his bar to drink Raki (but who knows???)!  He accompanies us out of town and seems really disappointed when we say our farewells.

From here we continue on the backroads and actually most of them are being dug up so it’s loose gravel and hard going.  At one point we’re told the road is closed but we’ve seen loads of traffic heading that way so we refuse to backtrack.  About a kilometre later the road is closed by a mountain of gravel but we manage to cycle over it whilst most of the cars have to backtrack.

We’re in Akcuy now and stop for provisions before looking for a wild camping spot.  We thought we’d find something on the beach and whilst we are close to the beach we end up in a semi constructed bar owned by Yilmaz.

He’s happy for us to put our tent up in the unfinished bar and we’re keen to eat, wash and get to bed but for the next 2 hours it seems like most of the village want to visit the construction site. It’s dark by the time they disappear and we grab a cold shower from a beach shower point. Clean at last after 2 hot sweaty days!  We’ve settled down for the night when a group of men appear, build a campfire 15m away and proceed to eat and drink.  They’re rather noisy and apparently don’t leave until midnight (Daz kept guard, I was dead to the world).


Wednesday 22nd March

Akcuy to Assos

Distance: 61.55 km

Average Speed: 11.33 kmh

Fastest Speed:  49.26 kmh

Total Distance: 11035.2 km

We were expecting to be woken early by the workmen but all is quiet.  We pack up and have breakfast and still no sign of them.  We leave at 0930hrs just as the first workmen pull up – excellent timing. We cycle along Akcuy beachfront and along the pier.  It’s very picturesque so we stop for a coffee.

Once again we’re stopped by a number of people asking for photos; we feel like celebrities! Out of Akcuy and onto the main road where we fly along with a lovely tail wind.  35km done and it’s only 1230hrs. We stop for provisions at Kucukkuyu before leaving the main road to handrail the coast to Assos.  It’s beautiful; olive groves on both sides with views of the sea.  We stop at Yali for lunch, peanut butter and jam sandwiches, whilst looking out over a beach.  A perfect lunchtime stop.

On, on we go. It’s been gently undulating and then we hit a big hill and spot a group of cyclists coming the other way.  There’s 4 of them, all from Istanbul,cycling to Izmir.  We stop for a quick chat and a trike test ride.  We’re just about to head off when a lovely black dog appears.  It’s only followed them from Assos campsite.  Poor thing must be knackered, and thirsty; it’s 28 degrees today.

Finally over the huge hill and it’s not long before we see Assos; yup you guessed it, up another hill.  We take a stroll around admiring the incredible views from the hilltop.  Assos was founded in the 700s BCE by colonists from Lesvos. Aristotle came here and married King Hermeias’s niece, Pythia, before sailing over to Lesvos.

Atop a hill surrounded by olive groves are the ruins of the Doric-style Temple of Athena (530 BC) surrounded by crumbling city walls and an ancient necropolis (cemetery). Nearby is the 14th-century Ottoman Murad Hüdavendigar Mosque. The hill offers spectacular views of the Aegean Sea and the nearby Greek island of Lesvos.  Down the steep seaward side of the hill at the water’s edge is the hamlet officially named Behram, but actually called İskele (Dock, Wharf) by everyone, with old stone houses now serving as inns, hotels and restaurants. It’s hopelessly charming and picturesque. The small pebbly beach is less of an attraction than the boat tours and the picturesqueness of the hamlet itself.

Finally we head out of Assos and soon find a wild campsite for the night. Scrambled egg for tea.  Yummy.

Thursday 23rd March

Assos to Tavakli

Distance: 39.30 km

Average Speed: 8.58 kmh

Fastest Speed:  58.46 kmh

Total Distance: 11074.5 km

A great night in an idyllic spot.  Porridge for breakfast and then we hit the road.  It’s a beautiful route but a little tough – it takes us an hour to do 5km but it’s worth it to be in this beautiful countryside, on a quiet road with barely any traffic.

We push on, and after some effort reach Tuzla, a busy little village. We stop for a proper workmen’s lunch, which in Turkey is rice, beans, stew and chicken.

Fortified we head on, back towards the coast line, but during our stop the wind has picked up and you guessed it, it’s a head wind.  Just out of the village we come across two cars beside the road.  The drivers point up the hill and mention a hot water pool.

We walk up to investigate and it reminds us of Iceland.  It is in fact a geothermal pool, murky, but hot.  There are also little rivulets running down the hill with scalding water in them.  But no skinny dipping for us.  We push on, either up hill or into the wind. At about the 40 km mark we spot a shop just up from the beach. We decide it’s time to get tonight’s provisions because we’ll definitely be stopping soon.  Then the shop owner says we can camp on the beach, he has showers, toilets and hot water.  He wants 20 Lira and after seeing the facilities we drop him to 15 Lira.  So an early stop after a tough ride today in beautiful scenery.  Time for a cold beer as we sit in the sunshine on the beach… shame about the wind.

There’s also a bar and a puppy, an obvious place to spend the evening.

Friday 24th March

Tavakli to Troy

Distance: 52.46 km

Average Speed: 8.84 kmh

Fastest Speed:  43.8 kmh

Total Distance: 11126.92 km

Wne think the wind has died down after a gusty night in the tent. We get back on the road, but not before Hels tips her trike on some adverse camber as we join the road! Thankfully all is OK and she only lands on her bad arm (horse ride incident) again.  We soon realise the wind hasn’t left us alone as we continue and it’s another headwind.  Factor in the rough asphalt and it’s slow going for most of the morning.  We do spot a tortoise – or is it?

We pass ancient Alexandria, but it really is ancient.  Just a few piles of stones and one area of old housing.  The notice says free entry, but the gates are locked and nobody’s in!  We drop into Dalyan and follow signs for the ‘antik harbour’.  It’s not much to look at, but we stop for coffee and sit in the sun for a while.  Then it’s on towards Troy, or the village that now stands next to ancient Troy.  On route we stop for a roadside lunch of tomato, onion and bread salad drizzled in the olive oil we were given in Crete.

The roads after this are mainly downhill and better tarmac’d, that is until the last 12 km.  We turn onto a gravel road that goes across flat arable fields on a raised dyke.

The wind is fierce on this exposed road and it’s a hard slog for about an hour until we turn off it.  Just a couple more kilometers to go now.  As we head into Kalafat Hels spots a big kangal dog ahead and is nervous enough to suggest we arm ourselves with stones (first time we’ve taken this precaution).  Then a shepherd and his flock appear.

The dog starts barking at us, and coming towards us.  We expect the shepherd to take some action as we have now stopped cycling and are standing up hoping to intimidate the kangal.  No such luck and the shepherd seems happy with the kangal’s behaviour.   The dog, by far the biggest we have seen, with spiked collar glinting in the sun, stands between us and the flock.  As the flock moves ahead of us on the dirt road the shepherd calls the dog, but he stays to the rear, Barking and keeping an eye on us.  We follow at a safe distance ready to take evasive action if necessary .  Then the flock go off the road into a fenced field.  We try edging past but the dog is growling and watching us intently.   We’re not feeling the love!  after My goosebumps are piled on top of each other.  We try creeping forward but we really don’t want to antagonise this beast.  We’ve heard that a trained sheepherding kangal gives no quarter when his flock are threatened.   By this time the shepherd decides to take pity on us.  So far he’s stood in the field with his sheep with his phone out, taking pictures of us or perhaps waiting to video us being ripped limb from limb by his gangal.  He has waved us through a few times but we’re not taking any chances.  He walks to the track and by now his kangal has flanked us and is on the other side of the track.   We’re between him and his sheep.  The shepherd says ‘it’s OK, it’s OK’ but as soon as we start to move the dog starts growling and coming towards us.  The shepherd shouts at it with absolutely no effect and so resorts to throwing stones at it as a deterrent.   Why am I not reassured.  Finally we creep nervously forward,  Hels asks him, “Kangol?”,  “yes” he replies. “Friendly?”, “No!” is the answer!  At last we’re passed and give a wave goodbye.  Two more kilometres and we are in the village of Troy; our finishing point.  We enter the village and cycle around most of it until we find the shop.  Provisions purchased and we ask if it’s OK to camp in the village.  ‘Yup no problem’.  They point us to a grassy area just beyond the town square.  It even has toilets and a shower (cold water though!).


Saturday 25th March

Troy to Canakkale (Kilitbahir)

Distance: 38.31 km

Average Speed: 9.55 kmh

Fastest Speed:  53.00 kmh

Total Distance: 11165.23 km
It’s a very slow and lazy start today because we are waiting for the Canakkale Bisiklet Turu.  There’s a bike festival in Canakkale and the first organised ride is from Canakkale to Troy and back.  They’re stopping here for lunch and a tour of Troy before completing the return leg.  They aren’t due in until after 12 so we take our time packing up.  We get a visit from a couple of young men from the village who are happy to play on the trikes.  We grab a couple of coffees in the village square then cycle over to the site of Troy itself.  The road in has a large Jandarma presence and as we arrive at the gates we see lots of flags, banners and an inflatable arch to welcome the cyclists.  

There are also food wagons, tea wagons and music.  We go through the arch, we are the first cyclists to arrive!  We park up and help ourselves to some of the free food then sneak into the back of Troy without paying the entrance fee!  Troy isn’t as impressive as Ephesus or Bergama, but then it was from a much earlier period, as far back as 3000BC!  There are mainly a lot of bastion walls and a few palace walls, oh and a wooden replica of the famed Trojan horse which you can climb up into.  

We head back to the cyclist area and soon the cyclists start arriving, a few to start with but very soon there are hundreds and hundreds.  We later learn there are over 3000 cyclists involved.  The area we are in is soon awash with parked bicycles and people in a huge queue for the food.  

We hear an exclamation in English and turn to to meet Dan Ham.  He has also cycled from the UK but is heading south around Turkey as we go north.  We spend a while chatting with him as we stand in the food queue.  We also give him 3 spare poles for his tent as he has broken 2!  We know what that’s like from earlier experience.  The place is really buzzing and we get lots of interest in our bikes, being the only recumbents there.  Dan is leaving the tour here as he will continue south and we are going to ride with it back to Canakkale so we say goodbye and wind our way through the masses to the road out.  There are already people setting off.   We we were expecting it to be a big group start, but it looks like some are getting a jump on everyone.  We are worried that we will be slow so we follow on.  We cycle out to the main road to Canakkale and are disappointed in the route to begin with as we cycle along the dual carriageway hard shoulder.

But then the Jandarma are ahead and we see they have closed one side of the dual carriageway and we filter onto the closed section.  As we climb a long steep hill with a few cyclists passing by occasionally we look in our mirrors and see the main pack behind us.  Soon we are being passed by the horde.  It really is great fun.  

Then we turn off the main road and descend a very steep hill back down to the coast and a quiet road into Canakkale.  By the time we are cycling into the finish it’s getting late, but still more people are coming in behind us which makes us feel good.  

We grab a coffee and soak up the atmosphere, rappers on stage, bike stalls, kids doing tricks on bmx.  Then we spot Cihan and Ebrar from Bergama and we catch up with them.  Cihan, bless his heart, even tries to arrange accommodation for us in Canakkale.   He is amazing, but we don’t want to put him to any further trouble.  He cycled here in one day from Bergama and then did the ride today… he must be knackered!  We end up booking ourselves a room for 2 nights in a hotel, a rare treat so far.  This will allow us to join all the cyclists tomorrow for the Gallipoli memorial ride, this time without all our baggage.

 We catch the the free ferry over to Kilitbahir and are soon ensconced in a comfortable room with hot water and cozy bed!

Sunday 26th March 

Kilitbahir to Eceabat to Kilitbahir

Distance: 12.45 km

Average Speed: 11.19 kmh

Fastest Speed: 40.21 kmh

Total Distance: 11177.68 km

We had a great sleep last night and today we are having a rest day… sort of!  We have breakfast in the hotel then head out on our unloaded bikes to Eceabat, 5km up the coast.  This is where today’s Gallipoli memorial ride starts.


When we arrive the streets and market Square are jammed with people and bikes.  We get lots of attention from different groups of cyclists who have come from all around Turkey to participate today.  After a lot of announcements there is a ‘last post’ bugle call followed by a rousing singing of the Turkish national anthem.

Then it’s mayhem for a while as everyone starts moving off, cyclists funnelling through the start banner.  We are surrounded by everyone and soon cycling down the main road, chatting with everyone that we pass or pass us.  At times there are bottlenecks where cyclists have crashed or had a puncture and had to stop suddenly.




We are soon cycling back through Kilitbahir,  past the big castle and out the other side where we stop at a huge statue monument to Seyit Ali Çabuk (1889-1939), usually called Corporal Seyit (Turkish: Seyit Onbaşı) who was a First World War gunner in the Ottoman Army. He is famous for having carried three huge shells to an artillery piece during the Allied attempt to force the Dardanelles on 18 March 1915. 


We sit in the sun looking out over the water and watching all the cyclists pass. So this is our rest day, we’ve only done 10 km and once everyone is gone we go back into the village and the hotel.  For the remainder of the day our ‘rest’ consists of updating and publishing the blog, updating the blog map, cleaning and maintaining the bikes, laundry, kit admin, throwing out clothes we never use and generally not resting!  But at least we’re not cycling.



More Turkish Delights – 29th Jan to 11th Mar

Sunday 29th January

Today it’s market day in Göcek.   We don’t hang around this morning.  One cup of tea and then we’re up and about; feeding the animals, rubbish bags into the car, laundry into the car, laptop and electricals into the car and we’re off.  We stop off at our closest neighbour so we can tie up Lina and Aussie but also because he likes to visit the market.  Unfortunately there’s no one in.  This could spell trouble with the dogs.  They’ve already followed us down from the house (as we expected) but if they’re not tied up they might follow us all the way down the hill.  We’re just debating driving back to the house to tie them up there, when they suddenly spot something and start barking and running into the undergrowth.  Whilst they’re distracted we drive off.  I’m still watching my rearview mirror expecting any minute to see all 4 of them chasing after us.  Fortunately we make Göcek without a doggie escort.  At the Göcek house we get the laundry on, start downloading some movies and then head off to the market.   It’s bigger than on our last visit. Last time the wet weather had deterred many stall holders.  There’s plenty of choice in vegetables; almost half the market is made up of fruit and veg but there’s only one meat stall and that’s just chicken and one cheese stall.  We stop and have our breakfast – potato pancakes with pickles and Turkish tea.  After a couple of circuits of the veggie stalls we have enough to start our own farm produce shop, but we will definitely be eating healthily this week.  Let’s hope the resultant wind farm doesn’t blow the new house windows out!

We head to the supermarket for the odd few items we couldn’t buy at the market.  We really wanted some fish but there was a tiny selection at the market, nothing in the supermarket and nothing in town because all the fishmongers are shut.  

Shopping done and it’s back to the Göcek house.  We need to publish the blog, do another wash, download another movie or 2, answer emails etc.  The internet via Daz’s Turkish Sim card is only good for the most basic stuff up the mountain and sometimes even that’s a struggle so we’re trying to get it all done down here where the internet is pretty good.   Finally we’re done and we head back up the mountain.   We manage to get there before it gets dark and all the animals are fine and waiting for their dinner.   After unpacking the car and having dinner, we treat ourselves.  It’s movie night, The 9th life of Louis Drax and a bottle of red wine.  Daz sold this film to me ‘Hels it’s got Jesse from Breaking Bad and the guy from The Fall – James Dornan’.  He knows I think both these guys are hot.  It’s an excellent movie although Jesse plays only a minor role.

Monday 30th January

We had hoped to take the dogs out this morning but there’s a fine drizzle.  Instead I make up some more sawdust bedding bags for the dogs and cook up some dog food with the meat we bought in the market.

I attempt our third cake – carrot cake.

At last a success.  It’s really good and looks and tastes like it should unlike the last 2.  Dinner is mushroom stroganoff.   Movie night 2 is a disaster – Silence with Liam Neeson. We manage about 40 minutes before the boredom becomes too much.  Even Minature Whiskey (favourite cat) is bored but still overwhelmingly cute.

Tuesday 31st January

Today we head off to find a new walk.  We head for the gorge that sits below us on the mountain and then walk / climb up it, until an hour later, we finally hit the ridge line.  Once at the ridgeline we see there’s a track just below us.  We start following the track downhill and realise we’re coming round the back to the fireman’s lookout.  So now we can just follow the road back to the house.   A challenging circular route.

 Back at the house, after tea and cake, we decide to find some chores to occupy us.  First we get some wood from the wood pile by the other house but the chickens roost here and there’s chicken muck everywhere.  We wonder if we can tempt them into roosting in the pen so we create some perches in there and we plan to feed them here from now on.

Once that’s done we head off to try and clear the paths as Tayip requested.

Tonight’s dinner – Braised Coconut Spinach & Chickpeas with Lemon.  This evening’s viewing – Planet Earth.  Absolutely stunning.  

Wednesday 1st February

We have some visitors this morning.  They’re here to do some pruning and trim back the vine on the trellis outside the old house and prune some of the olive trees in the Orchard. They don’t like Lina so we have to tie her up until we head off for a walk.  A nice circular route passed Tayip’s uncle.  

We stop and wait for the mobile shop for our milk purchase whilst Lina takes a dip and then Daz pasteurises the milk and makes his yoghurt.

In the afternoon we do some more work on the paths and go up the hill to collect some logs for Daz’s woodwork project.



We are achieving greater success in attracting all the chickens into the pen at night.  

At least this reduces the ‘shitting zone’.  Dinner is warm potato, egg and tomato salad.  Another success.


Thursday 2nd February

Today we drive to Göcek once we’ve tied Aussie and Lina up at the neighbour and asked if he wants to come into town.  We need more dried food for the furries so we need to visit the vet.  Then we do some laundry, some shopping and post a letter.  We download some more films and research local tourist attractions.   My mum is coming out soon so we’ll be able to do the touristy sightseeing things with her, which will be a much needed relief.  Cabin fever is already setting in.   

Back at the house we bake another coffee and walnut cake (using a different recipe) and it turns out well.  Dinner is broccoli and stilton soup which turns out to be rather disappointing.  

Friday 3rd February

We’re both a bit apathetic this morning so we don’t do much.  We play a couple of rounds of Gin rummy. The weather has been cloudy or rainy for the past few days so we can’t work a sweat up as there’s no hot water from the solar heater!  Well that’s our excuse anyway.  

Saturday 4th Feb.

Another quiet cloudy day.  We take the dogs walking and Tayip’s brother visits with some friends, but they don’t stay long.  

Sunday 5th February

Market day again, so we skip breakfast as we are looking forward to pancakes at the market.  Down at the market we buy chicken carcasses to make the dogs’ food and then our vegetables, cheese and eggs we will need for the week’s recipe list.  We also buy a halibut and ask him to fillet it for us so we can make Zanzibar soup.   Then we have our pancakes, a potato filled one to start then a lemon and honey one to finish, all washed down with Turkish tea. Yummy.  We enjoy sitting at the pancake stall watching the locals go about the market.  

Monday 6th February

At last we have some sun, but it only lasts about half a day so the much delayed shower is only about 32 degrees, but beggars can’t be choosers!!  Daz cooks a lovely roast chicken dinner and I bake another carrot and walnut cake…scrummy!


Tuesday 7th Feb

We’ve booked a horse riding lesson today and the sun is shining as we drive down to the coast and along to the stables.  We haven’t ridden in about 18 months and that was American style, so rather than going out for a nice hack along the beach we thought it would be better to have a lesson first.  The stables are very nice and we meet Yusif, part owner and instructor.  After an obligatory cup of Turkish tea he soon has us saddled up and riding around the arena.

 We do some easy trotting and moving around the arena and slalom poles, but after an hour we are both hot and aching in places that haven’t seen any action in months!  The stables are near Fethiye, so we have arranged to meet Dave and his partner Bev, from Calish Beach.  We then go out for a lovely walk in the sunshine, taking them geocaching around the local area and beach.  To finish off we have a bite to eat and drink in a beach front restaurant.



It was lovely to see Dave again and to meet Bev and to introduce them to geocaching although I don’t think they’ll be converts.


Wednesday 8th  to Monday 13th February

The last few days have been pretty mundane.  We haven’t done much as we’re saving our sightseeing trips for my Mum’s stay.  However Daz has been creative.  There’s his woodworking project –

and his kitchen creations.  One is spinach and mushroom plait, the other?????????


On Monday we’re up early to feed the animals as we need to be at Dalaman airport for her arrival at 0815hrs.  It’s still dark when we do the feed and even the chickens are a little confused and don’t want to come down from their perches!  Fortunately the airport is only a short drive away and we are there just in time to greet mum as she walks out of the arrivals’ hall.  She might be getting on in life (she’s 85 this year), but she has flown overnight via Istanbul to see us once again (her last foreign visit was to us in Iceland) – amazing!  Daz picks up her suitcase and nearly falls over with the weight!! She’s brought us some goodies from England, hence the excessive weight. We are soon back up the mountain, drinking tea and relaxing.  Mum’s in the new house, upstairs with an ensuite.  Fantastic views.

As it was an overnight flight we don’t have anything planned other than a short walk around the property and land.  The rest of the day we spend catching up on gossip, playing cards and an afternoon snooze.

Tuesday 14th February

Happy Valentines Day!  We are off to Fethiye today to show Mum around.  We walk along the harbour looking at the boats and trying to spot a turtle but with no luck.

Then it’s off over to the weekly market.  It’s much bigger than the Göcek Sunday market and Mum is soon parting with her Turkish Lira on gifts for people back home.

 We have to drag her out of the carpet shop as Daz definitely won’t be able to lift her suitcase to go back home!  Mum is amazed at the choice and size of the market and thoroughly enjoys the hustle and bustle.  We pick up some provisions and then have a lovely lunch at a waterfront restaurant.  We also manage to speak to a couple of boat captains about a boat trip.  We are particularly tempted by Tom who promises us a day’s trip with fishing and a BBQ on board.

We will check the weather for the next few days and make a plan.  Mum is very impressed by Turkey especially the incredible view across Fethiye harbour to the snow capped mountains on the horizon backed by incredibly blue skies.  She chats to several Turks and tries to memorise ‘hello’,  ‘good morning’ and how to say thank you in Turkish!

Wednesday 15th February

Today we just spend the day at home, walk the dogs, read, play cards and relax.  It seems we’ve unleashed a ‘card shark’.  It turns out Mum is another card counter and as competitive as Daz.  His winning streak is at an end.  She even beats him at backgammon (Hee hee).  Apparently Mum was a keen card player as a child and we introduce her to Gin and Sergeant Major and whilst claiming ‘Beginner’s Luck’, she just keeps on winning.  

Thursday 16th February

We’re off on a sightseeing trip today.  First we head to Iztuzu beach, a beach visited by nesting turtles but they are not due for another couple of months, then it will be longer still until the baby tutles hatch and make their run for the sea as seen on “Planet Earth 2”.  

We are alone on the long sandy beach and we have a nice walk before checking out the turtle rescue centre.  But unfortunately this is also devoid of turtles and is in fact closed. Any stricken turtles should call the next nearest rescue centre!! After the beach we head around to Dalyan town.  This is a lovely town on the banks of the Dalyan river and overlooked by some amazing rock tombs from the Lycian Era.

We have a wander by the river then head into the town centre for lunch.  We enjoy a kebab and ‘mixed toast’ which is basically a mixed beef  sausage toasted bun.  The proprietor is very friendly and tells us there is a festival on this Saturday,  the Sea Bass festival.  There will be some fishing, where the person who catches the most seabream is crowned festival king, and then feeding (BBQ sea bream obviously) and singing. Apparently the singers are both local prodigy who are famous in Turkey and will be returning for a concert.  We may have to come back!  We then head out of town and catch the car ferry across the river.  It’s a small ferry, only 2 cars but we are the only customers at this time of year!  Across the river we drive around and up a hill to Kaunnos, an ancient Roman archaeological site.  

There is quite a nice view from the site down to the sea and mum is very impressed by the theatre and other relics.  There’s even a geocache to find!  From here we head to Koycegiz lake and a renowned mud and swimming bath area that is popular with the summer tourists.  Just as we set off we come across an indigenous tortoise crossing the road, no it’s not a joke and there were no chickens crossing either.  

We stop to say hello.  He’s a speedy fellow for a tortoise and not unfriendly,  staying out of his shell for the occasion.  Pictures taken we carry on.  The drive through the pine forest is lovely and we pick up a geocache on the way too.  When we arrive at the mud baths on the lake shore it’s actually got some customers, but only in the swimming pools that are heated by a geothermal source.  The smell of rotten eggs (sulphur!) is strong and the mud baths do not look at all inviting.

Darren is disappointed that all the bikini clad women covered in mud are absent.  From here it’s time to head home, so we catch another little ferry across the Dalyan river and head home.  Darren cooks pancakes for tea, yummy!

Friday 17th February

Another quiet day at home.  We drive up to the fire lookout ( we tried to walk it the other day but it’s too tough for mum).  The views are stunning and mum’s suitably impressed.  

Then we walk down with the dogs whilst Daz takes the car back.  Now Mum and I can have a lovely stroll downhill with the dogs.  Daz meets us halfway to finish the walk and is sitting on the roadside with his new friend, Eric, the tortoise.   Our second wild tortoise spot. Sadly after a long downhill,  the last stretch is up hill, back to the house and I remark it’s a shame Daz didn’t leave the car here. Mum keeps stopping to catch her breath and I assume Daz has gone ahead to make tea but then the car appears.  He’s only gone back home to fetch the car to get mum up the steep drive.  Favourite son-in-law is definitely getting serious brownie points in the bag!  Back at the house we’re just in time to see the peacock display.

Back at home it’s time for lunch and a round of cards.  Sadly he might be favourite son-in-law but Mum’s not averse to trumping him at every opportunity – most entertaining!  


Saturday 18th February

We are off to the fish festival!!  It’s a cloudy day, so the festival will cheer it up hopefully.  When we get to Dalyan we notice the market is on so we do the obligatory market sweep and pick up some Turkish biscuits and walnuts.  

Mum has another holiday gift spending spree and buys some more pashminas for people back in the UK. We then walk along the river towards the town centre where crowds are gathering.  We can see people wandering around with fishing rods, so it’s obvious the fishing part of the festival is over.  Once we get into the crowds we can see huge queues of people all being served up fried fish, chips and a bun.  We join a queue and are soon enjoying the fish, not only is it delicious it’s free too.  You wouldn’t get this at the village fete back in the UK!  

As we sit enjoying the food there is some prize giving going on at the nearby stage.  Then we hear the crowd clapping and whistling for the first of the famous singers.  It’s a man, but that’s about all we know.  The music is good though and gets even better when the female vocalist starts her set later on.  There are lots of families out with their children and it’s a great atmosphere.  

Daz enjoys a few beers (I’m designated driver 🙁 !!) and the female singer but then it’s time to go home.  A lovely day and amazing that they must have fed more than a thousand people bread and fish for free… not since Jesus have we seen such a generous festival council!!

Sunday 19th and Monday 20th January

A quiet couple of days, apart from Market day on Sunday in Göcek we take it easy, enjoying the sun and mountain air.  Favourite cat is still being spoilt rotten and the ‘card shark’ is still winning most games.  We’ve even introduced her to ‘Hand and Foot’ ( a form of Canasta).

Tuesday 21st February

Another road trip today.  A drive out to Tlos ancient city and Saklikent Gorge. The weather is anything but nice up on the mountain as we set out but soon we are on the coast and the sun is shining.  Tlos is an ancient Lycian settlement on a hill range about an hours drive away.  It has been further settled by the Romans, the Byzantine Empire and latterly (19th century)  by the Ottoman empire.  As well as the normal Roman amphitheatre,  stadium and necropolis there are ancient burial tombs from the Lycian Era cut into the hill side and sarcophagus dotted around the land.  It’s an amazing site and although on a rocky hill we manage to drag mum to the top.

We are all very impressed with the views and the ancient relics.  From here we take a drive through the gorgeous countryside to Saklikent Gorge.  This huge cleft in the mountains reminds us of Ha Gorge in Crete. But at least here there is a raised walkway that takes you part way into the gorge so mum is able to enjoy the sights too.  

The river rages below us as we walk along and soon we come to an area where the river comes directly out from underneath the rock face to join the main confluence.  It’s an amazing place and in the summer when the river isn’t at full flow you can wade across and carry on up the gorge for a couple of kilometers to the first waterfall.  We think from there you would need rapelling equipment again, so we won’t be doing it with mum!!  There are 2 guys with backpacks who seem determined to go upstream despite the deep, fast flowing river which they will need to cross.  Good luck to them, it’s going to be cold!  

After lunch we head back to Fethiye to pick up some fish (sea bass) from the market for tomorrow’s dinner.  We also get talking to the proprietor of a carpet shop and he soon drags out lots of carpets, ancient and new, for our consideration.

They are incredible and each tells a tale of the creator.  Many are the work of young girls trying to prove their suitability to their future mother in law.  The proprietor explains the different patterns, symbols, materials and the quality (knot number) and how to differentiate between hand and factory made.  It’s very interesting.  Mum is very taken with one carpet although I’m convinced I saw it first.  We’ll see who decides to actually make the purchase , but I think Mum is very keen.   A great day out!

Thursday 23rd January

Yesterday was a quiet day at the farm with baked sea bass for lunch.  

Today another road trip.  This time we are heading for Karakoy, a deserted village that was abandoned around the time of the first world war and Oludinez beach, mecca for paragliders landing from Babadag mountain.  

We decide to drive across the mountains from our house instead of going straight down to the main road.  It’s a lovely drive and there are quite a few villages that seem cut off from the world. It’s a very primitive way of life, something we aren’t used to in the West of Europe,  but everyone we see has a smile on their face and a friendly wave. We reach Karakoy, the abandoned village.  It’s now a tourist attraction sitting on a hilly peninsula above Fethiye.  We enjoy a nice walk around in the sun, looking at the old dilapidated houses and churches. The village was abandoned between 1915 and 1925 when there was a period of population exchange between Turkey and Greece, mainly to swap out the Christian communities (Greeks) for Muslim communities (Turks). After we stop in a little eatery.  We order pancakes and the old woman comes out and lights a fire in the fireplace then starts rolling the pancakes.  We are soon tucking into delicious potato pancakes and decide to follow it up with a lemon and sugar one.

All served with spicy pickles and Turkish tea.  After food we head out and drop down the otherside of the peninsula to Oludinez.  This is a beautiful beach and lagoon. The waters are very blue and we can see the draw that brings in huge numbers of tourists in the summer.  Even though it is still winter the beach is littered with sunbathers catching a few winter rays.

No sooner have we pulled up than we are badgered by someone trying to sell us a paragliding tandem ride.  This guy is quite chunky and purports to be a seasoned pilot with over 12000 jumps.  Later we learn he is nothing more than a tout for other pilots!  Although the price he quotes is attractive we would rather go with someone we trust! We sit having a drink on the beach front and another pilot shows us his pictures and videos, he seems more professional so we take his number and tell him we will be back next week once mum has left. It’s been a lovely day of sunshine and sights.


Friday 24th February

Boat trip day!  We are off out early today as we are meeting a man with a boat, Captain Tom and the Summer Breeze, for a day out on the high seas.  Well we are going bay hopping and fishing.  The weather, unlike yesterday is cloudy and chilly,  great! Mum is quiet this morning and it’s not until later we realise he was worried about the boat trip. Last time she went on a boat she was ill, but that was over 50 years ago. But the sea is calm and she soon perks up.  We spend the day motoring around the coast, dropping anchor occasionally for a spot of fishing.  Even mum has a go, but yet again the ‘competition’ is eventually won by Daz the seaoned cheat fisherman with a score of 7 fish to 4.  Mum didn’t catch one.  But we enjoy a fab barbecue which Captain Tom cooks on a small grill at the back of the boat, served with an assortment of salads.  Later we ask to visit one of the islands, Sovalye.  It has a geocache.  We are soon rock hopping looking for it, this time I find it first and claim the win. It’s a small island with no roads but lots of pricey houses looking out over the hills or beaches, very nice.  A spot more fishing and then it’s back to Fethiye harbourfront.  A nice day, if a little chilly with Captain Tom!   

Sunday 26th February

Finally it’s time to say farewell to mum, she flies back today.  We certainly think she won’t forget the wonders of Turkey in a hurry. Last night we had a final walk around the Göcek seafront and then she treated us to a lovely meal in the number one (TripAdvisor) local restaurant, West.  

It was definitely worth the number one spot and was absolutely delicious.  A fabulous treat. We drop her of early at the airport then the rest of our day is normal Sunday Market routine.

Monday 27th February

We pop over to Calis Beach today to meet Dave and Bev who have some mail for us. Brett, a colleague from our Army days, and good friend has sent us a great Christmas present,  a new groundsheet for our tent. It will add another layer of protection to the tent base and will also allow us to put up the tent in the rain!  It also extends the life of our tent which is not to be sniffed at.  He’s also included some cyclone proof tent pegs (does he know something we don’t)  and some para cord – very useful.   Bonus, thanks Brett. We take a walk with Dave and Bev down the sea front to Fethiye from Calis and see some motorised paragliders.

 I’m still hoping for a turtle sighting, and even though the walk is 5 kilometres I still don’t spot one, but we do find another geocache.

We enjoy a nice lunch on the front near the Marina and at one point I think I see a turtle’s head pop up in the water over the road, but I can’t call it a real sighting as it’s gone very quickly… who knows in my fervour to see one maybe I’m starting to hallucinate turtles!!!

Wednesday 1st March

Today it’s tandem paragliding day.  We head over to Oludinez beach and drive up Babadag mountain to our takeoff point with our pilots from Reaction.  Daz of course is completely relaxed whilst I’m pretty damned nervous which only seems to entertain my pilot.  I’m not sure how I’m going to feel but once the take off is done, I relax a little and enjoy the incredible views.  We’ve picked the perfect day and my pilot is keen to extend my torture by picking up some thermals and going higher.  I’m OK except when we try to do some fast turns (very scary) and when my kite is right next to Daz’s or my feet are on his canopy (I hated this bit, really hated it but my pilot just ignored me!!!).  The landing, like the takeoff, is a doddle.  I’m so glad we did it and Babadag is one of the best and most popular sites for paragliding in Europe; the views are stunning.


 Back on the ground we meet a local recumbent enthusiast. 

Back in Fethiye we have a lovely lunch and then Daz treats himself to a haircut and a Turkish shave.  The guy is incredibly thorough.  Daz is given two shaves with the cut throat, 2 shampoos, a blow dry (Hee hee), burning off of remaining facial fluff, ear and nasal hairs and a shoulder and head massage.

 And he looks great for it, with the softest skin.  Our last stop in Fethiye is a return to the carpet shop we visited over a week ago.  Mum decided not to buy the rug we both loved but after extended discussions Daz and I have decided a beautiful Turkish rug is the perfect momento of our time spent in Turkey.  We ask to see some others but it’s the first one we still love.  So an expensive day and now it’s time to head home.

Friday 3rd March

Yesterday was a morning of torrential rain but that meant it was another planning session.  Tayip is back next week (7th) so we’ll be heading back to Bodrum and then north to Istanbul.  We’ve been doing a lot of research not only for Turkey but also Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan so that we have some idea of places we’d like to visit and how we’ll manage with the timing constraints due to visa restrictions.  It’s also a baking day because Dave and Bev are coming to visit the mountain and we want to treat them to lunch after they’ve looked after us so well. Arghhhh – best do some cleaning too includes removing the vile ticks from the cat – arghhhhhhh! Gross.

We head down to Göcek to pick up Dave and Bev, they’ve picked a beautiful day to visit.  Back at the house we show them round.  They love the new house and the idyllic spot.  They’ve even brought treats for the animals.  After a tour we stop for coffee and carrot cake.  

Then we walk up the mountain to the fire lookout.  Bev even spots another tortoise – apparently they’re coming out of hibernation now and are a common sight unlike my precious turtles.  After our walk we have lunch; warm potato and egg salad followed by a lemon tart.  We then head down to Göcek for a walk along the Marina and stop for a beer.  We sit on a jetty out over the water enjoying the sun until it sets behind the coastal hills.  Then it’s time for Dave and Bev catch the bus back to Fethiye.   It’s been a great day and Dave and Bev are a super couple, and we’ll definitely stay in touch and perhaps meet them again in Turkey, one day.

Sunday 5th March

Hi it’s Daz, my turn to blog today.  We are off to the market his morning, but it’s not a big shop as we only have a couple of things to buy.  Then we head over to Yanikular for a horse riding lesson followed by a hack out.  On the way we stop at a beach just outside Göcek which is popular with the locals. Even in early March there are lots of families out having picnics and barbecues.  We also pick up another geocache on the headland just  couple of kilometres from the riding stables.

We have our lesson which is quite sedate, and watch the locals having a Sunday ride/walk experience in the arena with us.  They pay 20 Turkish Lira to sit on a horse and be led around the arena 4 times.  It might sound strange but it’s very popular.  Then after a rest we head out on the hack.  It’s a beautiful sunny day and we make our way along a small road to the beach, with a little trotting along the way.  There’s me and Hels then another man and woman and the instructor/guide.  We get to the beach, part sand and part pebble.  We walk our horses through the surf, past fishermen and more families picnicking.  Then we head round the back of a cafe onto a sandy track at the rear of the beach.  There are two large dogs chained at the cafe but they’re barking and pulling at their chains trying to get to us.  The horses seem fine as they can see the threat, but no sooner are the barking dogs behind us than the horses start to get skittish.  Mine makes a bolt for it, and it takes me a few seconds to get its head turned around and get it to stop. Unfortunately Hels is now in big trouble and she can’t get her horse under control.  Her horse has bolted and I watch as she hurtles along the grassy area to our front, then my horse starts playing up again and as I settle it.  By this time Hels is in full on screaming mode.   I am really worried now, but still struggling  with my horse.  The next thing I see that Hels is down, near a tree and I fear the worst.  I dismount and run with my horse over to her.  As I near a few people from the beach have reached her.   She is still lying on the ground, in a patch of brambles, making a pathetic mewling noise.  I tie my horse to the tree and race to her side.  She’s conscious, but badly shaken.  I ask her if she is OK, and listen as she tells me in some pain that she doesn’t know. Moments go by, I can hear the locals asking about ambulances as I worriedly gaze down at Hels.  She has numerous scratches from the brambles and is covered in dust and sand. Finally she manages to sit up.  She’s in pain, but we think nothing is broken. ( Hels:  I’ve never been so terrified and by the time I entered full scream mode,  I was just mindless with panic.  My horse was heading towards a deep ditch on the left and when I finally turned her, she was heading straight towards a large tree with low branches.  At this point I decided I needed to leave company with the horse rather than hit the branches at such speed.   All I could think was ‘ how do I stop this horse and I wish we had some insurance!  The shock and pain of the fall was horrendous but possibly worse the locals who were first at the scene were desperately trying to get me to stand up when I was still lying in a quivering agonised pile!!!)   We decide to walk the horses back to the cafe at the beach and get a coffee so Hels can settle her nerves.  But she is still very trepidatious about getting back into the saddle.   But as the old saying goes, it’s better to get back on the horse that bucks you (maybe!!) ( Hels: Actually it’s ‘get back on the horse that threw you!’).  We ride back towards the ranch, no more trotting or white knuckle gallops thankfully.  However our guide does divert from the path into the river.  It’s a great photo opportunity with the horses walking up the shallow river bed and we stop for a group photo when all of a sudden my horse gets on its knees, sits down and rolls over in the cooling water.   Thankfully I somehow manage to dismount in this process and only get soaked rather than squashed!  My horse then gets back up and starts pawing at the waters madly, finally it settles and I can remount, now soaked through!  So an eventful ride, and that’s why I am writing today as Hels is really sore and achey from her terrifying ordeal.


Monday 6th March

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to Daz, happy birthday you old git you…. Happy birthday to you!  Did you all sing along? Yep it’s my birthday, but it’s a very quiet affair.  After yesterday we are both very tired, and Hels is still in some pain and still picking bramble splinters from various parts of her body.  48 years old today, I even have a shave to celebrate.  We spend some of the day tidying up as Tayip is back tomorrow and it will be the end of our stay here in the mountains.  A great birthday activity – NOT!

Tuesday 7th March

We have a lazy morning, Hels is still stiff and sore, but slept better last night.  Then we head down the mountain to pick up Tayip who has returned from Thailand.  We enjoy lunch in Göcek then bring him back up the mountain.  He is soon busy unpacking.  First he says hello to all the animals then unpacks his suitcase and bags which are full of cuttings from his travels in Thailand and Vietnam.  

He’s collected mainly Fig, but also mulberry and a few other bits and pieces. We sit and have a glass of wine with him in the evening, chatting about his plants, and his travels.  He explains grafting and shows us some of the techniques he uses with his cuttings.  He is amazingly enthusiastic and loves ‘The Fig’.  He doesn’t like to be known as a Turk but simply as ‘The Fig Man’.

Wednesday 8th March

Rain rain rain. It’s been raining during the night and the day looks grey and dismal. But we are up early as Tayip is going to give us a lift to Mugla, about 2 hours up the coast, where we will catch the bus to Bodrum.  We say goodbye to all the animals and then head off.  

On route we stop at a roadside stall for freshly squeezed orange juice and Tayip chats to the stall ower about grafting prickly pear.  

Later we stop for a typical Turkish breakfast in a tent, on a farm, in the hills before Mugla.  

It’s a great breakfast, all the produce is from the farm it is served at.  Even the bread is freshly baked on the fireplace.  By Mugla Tayip has already collected 2 lots of fig cuttings; one lot from a tree on the breakfast farm and the other from a dying fig tree on the roadside.

In Mugla Tayip shows us around the old town and then sadly we have to say goodbye at the bus station.

He has not stopped talking about the flora of Turkey and his plans for figs.   There may even be a book to write in the future he thinks.  We wish him and Deborah well in their future endeavours in Turkey.

It rains for most of the bus ride to Bodrum and the bus is full, hot and sweaty.  I can feels Hels stiffening in pain at every jolt in the road and think we might have to postpone the start of cycling for a few days rest in Bodrum.  Mind you, I have some parts to replace on the trikes, and that means a major mechanical overhaul. It could be days before they are rideable again!!

Thursday 9th to Saturday 11th March

Thank God for Bahar (our Bodrum friend and host) because the weather is so vile we’re not going anywhere in a hurry.  Tayip has run into terrible floods on his ‘fig’ trip.

In fact some days we barely make it out of the house especially after a particularly raucous, over indulgent sesssion at the quiz night. We have been to check our trikes but realise we don’t have the right tools for the required modification.

Finally on Saturday the clouds clear and it’s safe to go forth and enjoy a fabulous Turkish breakfast;  locate a 10mm Allen key to get the trikes sorted and organise our biking gear.  The forecast is looking good so I guess our procrastination must cease.   Sunday or perhaps Monday we will hit the road again.


Trike modifications complete.