(written by Nancy)
Decent sleep last night – very quiet in the hotel. We were down for breakfast with the bags packed on the bikes by 8am. We had the usual Turkish breakfast – Dave promises a post on Turkish breakfasts generally in the next couple of days so I won’t spoil it.
On the way out of town this morning we rode by Lycian tombs that are cut into the hills above the Fethiye. These are 4th century BC tombs built by the Lycian people who lived here before the Greeks. These tombs apparently dot the countryside – the ones in Fethiye are right above town, with houses built up right next to them.
At the edge of town we connected back up with the main highway, the D400, and had a gradual gentle climb for about 15k. The road was still pretty rough as it turned inland from the sea. At a small town called Kemer the road turned south, back toward the sea. We rode through a beautiful valley that ran between snow capped mountains. Unfortunately it was very hazy so the pictures of the mountains did not come out too well, but trust me it was very picturesque. Lots of farming in the valley, green fields and olive trees.
As for the subject line of the post, at one point we stopped for Dave to take another picture and when we started riding again I had a weird sound coming from my front wheel. It took a bit of figuring out but we eventually realized that the eyelet on my front fork that holds the rack had broken clean through. Hmm, not good. We were on the side of the road in the hot sun so decided to take the bag off the rack to avoid further damage and ride up a bit to the next market or service station where we could get a bit of shade and perhaps a place to sit down.
We pulled into the next place we saw, a tiny little market where the proprietor sat on the porch and watched while I unpacked the bike bag with all the tools in it (at the bottom, of course) and Dave worked on trying to adjust the rack to the second eyelet (thank goodness for that second one!). The fellow didn’t speak a word of English but he came down and sat next to Dave on the step and watched him while he worked – even patted him on the back and called him ‘Champion’ a couple of times. Success in the end, as Dave adjusted the rack and the bags went back on. Hopefully we can make it through the rest of Turkey without another eyelet breaking.
After that interesting diversion we got back on the road, passing lots of young kids lining the highway holding out bags of green almonds for sale. They were spaced about every 200 meters or so, yelling out ‘hello’ to us and then much more in Turkish – I am sure it was a very good sales pitch but we couldn’t understand it! These almonds are apparently very fresh and the whole fruit is eaten when they are in this state. They are about the size of your thumb, with what looks like fuzzy skin. May have to try a bag.
We continued through the farmland, passing by a huge area covered with greenhouses near Ova. From a distance it looked a bit like everything was covered with snow but it was just rows and rows and rows of greenhouses – pretty amazing. We could see into some of them through open doors or windows and they seemed to be growing mostly tomatoes in them -Tomatoes for UK Tesco shoppers no doubt.
We stopped at a service station for a bit to eat and had to make a decision as to whether we should turn off and stop at Patara or continue another 10k or so to Kalkan. We debated a bit and decided to push on to Kalkan as it looked like a bit bigger town with more accommodation options, though the guidebook noted that it was a more expensive town than its neighbors.
While it was only 10k or so it was mostly uphill for half of it and then a downhill back to the sea into Kalkan. There were some very nice views when we finally climbed up to the top and saw the sea again. We rode into town down a very steep hill and started a long search for a place to stay. We looked at several pensions but none were really stellar and they were relatively expensive. Never a good sign when they quote their prices in Euros – obviously a lot of European tourists here. After about an hour we finally found a little place up a very steep laneway that was in our price range and would suffice for the one night we were planning to stay – the Gul Pansiyon. We have a little balcony off of our room that looks straight out to the sea so we can’t really complain.
We cleaned up, hung our laundry out to dry on the clothesline helpfully provided on the balcony, and headed out to get something to eat. There are many restaurants in this town, most with terraces with views out to the water. We ended up at a restaurant down by the harbour for a decent meal – though by that time I think anything would have tasted good to us! Now it is off to bed – a short day tomorrow to Kas, a low-key town only 30k from here, where we will spend a few days. There is a storm forecast for Monday with lots of rain so we plan to sit it out in Kas.
Today is a full year on the road for us (actually, 366 days given the leap year this year). Watch out for our ‘year on the road’ summary coming soon!