Gorgeous day along the Datca Peninsula – Datça to Marmaris (73/13,460k)

(written by Dave)

Today’s ride was simply stunning.  We knew we were in Turkey but often felt as though we were riding the fjords of Norway.  We rode along the Datca peninsula for most of the day, several times climbing through saddles to chase the road onto the other side.  This didn’t make for a flat ride but it made for a fantastic, every-changing view of the sea on both sides of the peninsula.  At one crossing we could see the road for what seemed liked miles ahead.  We were sure glad that we were going the direction that we were as the downhills seemed even steeper.

We had some interesting grade signs today.  The vast majority of the signs say 10% as the noted grade.  Sometimes the actual grades are much more and sometimes much less.  Today, after the first sign, the grade only reached 4%.  A little later, we saw our first 5% sign, which was followed by a difficult extended section of 8-9% grades.  I’d really like to talk to someone in the roads department to get the story – are the signs and their numbers only indicative, or should we read the numbers and drop into granny gears???

We started earlish, for us these days anyway.  The first 15k were relatively flat with some nice views of old and new windmills.  The old ones were used to grind grain after the harvest.  The new ones are used for power.  The old ones now are kept for their aesthetic value with many of them no longer having the wheels.  Even if the old mills were in service, they would not have sails up unless there was grain to be ground.  We did not see any sails.

There were also lots of wild flowers again.  The wattle (acacias) is in full bloom creating near tunnels of bright yellow in some sections.  We also spotted nice fields of wild poppies.  The poppy is used on Veterans Day in Australia – as a symbol of ANZAC pride and honour.  As the ANZAC story really started with the WWI battles here in Turkey, you can see how a field of poppies would have held a special place in the minds of many service men.

On one climb I stopped for photos while Nancy rode ahead.  This particular section had nice views and places for cars to pull over.  Riding up Nancy spotted a box of open, yet not consumed chocolate bars.  I guess it took her a second to register what it was and by then she’d ridden past.  Her next thought was “I hope that Dave sees them and picks them up”.  Well, I am happy to report that indeed I did spot them and yes I did stop and pick them up.  Our best guess is that someone stopped for photos, ate one bar and drove off with the unfinished box on their car.  At any rate, we did not care, free roadkill chocolate bars beats roadkill sweet potatoes that we found in Australia.

The road had few towns so morning tea was a roadside pastry (we bought this one in Datca, it was not roadkill!).  We were pretty happy to see that the junction to the Bozburun Peninsula had two roadside restaurants.  Nancy ordered lunch as if we didn’t have another 1,000 foot climb to go over before reaching Marmaris.  The two Turkish pides and salads were great – too bad about that final climb, especially on full stomachs (and onions).  We were both pretty happy to reach the top of that last climb and see Marmaris at the bottom of the hill on the coast.  The last 8k were downhill – perfect.

We made our way to a pension noted in Lonely Planet.  Nancy went in to check the room and came back with one of those looks on her face.  She was followed by the owner’s mom – trying to convince her it was good.  Next came the owner’s dad, giving Nancy the hard word.  And finally, the owner himself.  The price even went down by 10 lira.  I never went in to look but even with all this selling, Nancy still had that look on her face.  We eventually pulled ourselves away, telling the owners we need some lunch and would come back.  There is lots of competition and it is always very hard to leave a pension once you’ve gone in.  The hosts are always very nice and quite compelling.  But when Nancy has that look, it is better to be doublely sure it is the only option.  We rode around the corner and checked the web.  There were a couple other options nearby that sounded better.  We headed off to check one out not making it very far before we pulled over at the Otel Dost – that just happened to be on the way there.  Nancy went in and found a fantastic room for the same price that the earlier pension was quoting, except with this one breakfast was included.  She actually gave me a fist pump when she came out to tell me what she found – yes, much better than living through a night with “the look”.

Once we settled into the hotel and had our showers, we decided to give those roadkill chocolate bars a try.  I can report that they were quite tasty.  Nancy is napping but that has more to do with today’s hills than anything sinister in the chocolate bars – ok, I think we might be losing it…

There are lots places to eat here as Marmaris is large town (many ferries from Greece dock here).  We are now starting to think about dinner.  It was a great day but those hills do really take it out of you.   We’ll need more than a few roadkill chocolates to complete the refueling.

Tomorrow we head for Koycegiz, a small town about ½ way to Fethiye from here.

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7 responses to “Gorgeous day along the Datca Peninsula – Datça to Marmaris (73/13,460k)

  1. Love the poppies photo!

  2. Wow, what a great ride, wish I were there riding with you guys!

    • The pictures were only half as good as it was in real life. Turkey is much prettier than we thought it would be. Hilly, but picturesque.


  3. The fresh veggies w/lemon look delicious, as do the “roll-ups”! Stay well and healthy!

  4. The ride looks great.I wish I was there too!

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