(written by Nancy)
First, before I forget, we had a delicious dinner at the hotel last night. Fresh fish cooked by Alp, the hotel owner, with a big salad, couscous, potatoes and a lovely homemade dessert made by his mother. Dave has included a picture below. Alp was also nice enough to give us a couple of Turkey maps and some ideas of places to go in Turkey and information about the roads and terrain.
We both slept very well- it was very quiet and we were toasty warm in our little room. We slept so well in fact that neither of us woke up when there was an earthquake (apparently 3.1 on the Richter scale) somewhere nearby – actually, that probably tells you how tired we were from riding Turkey’s hills! We only learned about the earthquake in the morning when Alp asked if we had felt it.
We had a great Turkish breakfast while sitting on the verandah, watching the sun come up over the lake just across the road. It really is a beautiful spot and had we not already been dressed with the bikes packed I think we could have easily convinced ourselves to hang out for at least another day. Köyceğiz is a quiet little town but seems like a nice place to relax – certainly the verandah at the Flora Hotel would be hard to beat. To top off the great breakfast, as a going away present Alp gave me a pair of hand-knit wool socks made by his mother-in-law! They are very nice and may come in handy when we head inland, where temperatures are still quite low. (photo taken at night in Fethiye)
Alp also gave us his card and told us we could call him at any time if we needed help. Alp’s brother also came by this morning and we had a brief chat. He lived in the Netherlands at the same time we were in Amsterdam and loved the bike culture in the Netherlands as we did. He returned to Köyceğiz to work as a lawyer and he also offered his help if we needed any assistance while we were in Turkey. With all of that good food, gifts and offers of assistance we left Köyceğiz with smiles on our faces under sunny skies.
The riding today was not terribly scenic – mostly inland riding and we had lots of road construction to go through. We also had some decent hills thrown in with the construction. The temperature was pretty warm this afternoon – at one point Dave said the temperature on his computer read 35. The Turkish road construction method seems to be chip seal (oil and gravel) and at one point we had a relatively long and steep climb in the hot sun where we had to ride next to a recently oiled section the whole way. If the heat and the gradient wasn’t enough to make you dizzy the smell of the oil certainly did.
We had our first Turkish tunnel today, just before the town of Gocek. Bicycles are not allowed so we followed what must be the old road, climbing steeply up over the hill. Actually the climb wasn’t too bad – the road was relatively quiet, with switchbacks amongst the shady pine forest. We came down off the hill and stopped for lunch in the little harbour town of Gocek. It looked like quite a busy place – appears to be a bit of a touristy place, with a marina and several hotels and pensions, and lots of restaurants and cafes. We had a quick pizza for lunch and then headed back out into the sun to yet more climbing.
We made it into Fethiye about 3 and set about trying to find a place to stay. Fethiye is a bit city (75,000) and it is fairly spread out. We headed into the city centre area and ended up at the Yeniceri Hotel, situated just back from the harbour on the main road through town. There are some more hotels and pensions a bit further around the harbour but we were both hot and tired and didn’t really have the energy to keep looking. The hotel is a bit old but well kept and clean and we have a decent room with a balcony with a bit of view out to the water – a great place to dry our laundry!
We cleaned up and headed out to wander a bit and get something to eat. There are kebab shops galore surrounding the hotel and it didn’t take long before we were sitting with tasty chicken donors, Dave’s in a wrap and mine in pita bread. All of the shops have several ‘sales’ guys out front to encourage you to stop at their shop – you have to be very determined to get by them! After eating we continued our wander around the harbour area, Dave doing his usual perusal of the boats in the area. There are a lot more foreign tourists here than we have seen so far in Turkey. Many of the ferries from Greece come into this harbour and there are a lot of resorts along the beach that are a bit draw for foreign tourists.
We are having yogurt and fruit for our dinner (or maybe it’s our second dinner, or perhaps the donors were our second lunch?) in our room. And of course, we picked up some cookies and baklava at a patisserie around the corner so we will have to eat that as well. Tough to try to eat all there is on offer here in Turkey…
We had thought about taking a day off here in Fethiye but it seems a bit frenetic here for us so I think we will continue on to Patara tomorrow, about 75k or so from here – it sounds like a nice quiet spot that may be good for a day off.