(written by Nancy)
We had a good sleep last night – it was very quiet at the hotel and there was very little traffic on the road outside. I think it is really a sleepy little town. Dave has included a picture of dinner from last night – we went to a restaurant recommended by the woman in our hotel. We had a great kebab platter to share, with all kinds of meat, veggies, rice, the whole works.
The title of the blog refers to the view we came upon after climbing one hill – as we headed down the other side toward the sea we could see rows of tanks on either side of the road, army tents in the background by the dozens, and many men dressed in army fatigues milling about and standing at attention on the tanks. We rode down slowly, not sure if we were supposed to be riding through the area or not. A couple of cars went through ahead of us without a problem so we kept riding, watching the army guys watching us (yes, Dave waved at them – and even a few waved back). There were a couple of guys standing there with flags as though they were getting ready to say “fire” but nothing happened while we went through. There were multiple signs alongside the road saying “no filming, no photography” and for once Dave obeyed (I think the tanks with their guns pointed out may have spooked him) as well so you will just have to take our word for it! Very weird.
Today’s ride was mostly along the coast and was generally either up or down – very little flat areas! It was scenic though, so that kept us distracted from the pain a bit. The areas along the coast is rather stark – not many trees but lots of low lying shrubbery and tons of wild daisies, poppies and even lavender. The air was hazy but looking ahead all you saw were bumps and more bumps. Despite the starkness of the terrain pockets along the coast appear to be developed into some kind of resort villages or condominiums developments, most of them not very attractive. They look a bit odd, large groups of identical looking buildings stuck onto the side of a hill or down in a canyons that run down to the water. Many of them look deserted at the moment – you don’t see any people wandering about so perhaps they pick up more activity once the high season rolls around.
We stopped for a quick tea and pastry in Dogenbay about 11 or so, and then stopped again at a store a couple of hours later to get some more snacks to see us through to Selçuk – Dave picked out one of the strange yogurt drinks and two pretzels so that’s what we ate for lunch. More ups and downs to the turn off to Selçuk, which lies about 5k inland from the sea. On the way to Selçuk we passed by one of the entrances to Ephesus (Efes), which is the major attraction in this area. More on that in the next day or two after we take our tour of the area.
We pulled into Selçuk and headed to the tourist information office, where we got a decent town map and some info on where the hotels and guesthouses were. We rode just a kilometer or so to the first one, the Boomerang Guesthouse and a restaurant right next door that was recommended by the tourist office. We sat down and ordered a couple of gozlemes to fuel us for the accommodation search – very good food and from reviews we have seen online it looks like many travelers put this restaurant at the top of the list for the area. I suspect we will be going back there several times.
While we waited for our food Dave went into the Boomerang Guesthouse to see what they had on offer and he came back out saying we were sorted. So here we sit at the guesthouse – we have a nice room at the back with our own bathroom and a little tiny courtyard. There is a nice terrace on the third floor where we are currently sitting, after drinking our welcome apple tea. We are planning to stay for three nights, to give us time to see all of the sites around the area. Efes will probably take a full day and there are enough sites in the town area itself to take up another day. We also need to plan out a few more days after we leave here, so we have more than enough to do to fill up our time.
It is not too busy at the moment as it is still low season so it seems quiet. I think even it if it was busy we would sleep through it tonight as we are both pretty bushed from today’s ride. We are used to thinking about riding 100k+ days and arriving at our destination by 1pm or so, from our time in SE Asia so it is a bit of an exercise to not feel like we are “behind” (whatever that means) when we look at our clock and the Ks on our computers during the day. We also left much earlier in the morning in SE Asia, which has been difficult here as breakfast is often not served until 8am, meaning that by the time we eat and get ready to roll it is close to 9am. . I suspect we will have to mentally adjust our expectations on length and time of arrival while we ride in Turkey – but perhaps that is not a bad thing.