(written by a very tired Nancy so no guarantees on spelling or grammar!)
Very quiet in the Teacher’s House last night so both of us slept relatively well and were awake before the alarm went off. Dave wandered out about 7:30 to see if he could find someone to ask about breakfast as we weren’t sure if it was included with the room or not. He ran into fellow who was bringing up plates made up with breakfast so it turned out it was included after all.
As we got ready to leave this morning we could hear lots of kids about and then several groups of kids went marching by. One of the teaching staff came by and said that today was a school festival day and all of the kids were headed to the festival. We found out later that is a national holiday, National Sovereignty and Children’s Day. It commemorates the first gathering of the Grand National Assembly (the Turkish Parliament), which took place on April 23, 1920. Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, dedicated the republic to the children, and Turkish schoolchildren take seats in Parliament and symbolically govern for the day.
We had a lot of climbing today and it started just after leaving town when we had about a 6k climb. It was already warm and we had a bit of a tailwind on the way up, which made it even warmer. Sunshine is better than rain though, so we cannot complain. We came down off the first hill and were riding along a bumpy road when my front rack started to make some odd noises again. Uh oh… we pulled over and sure enough there was something loose. Thankfully it turned out that it was not fatal – the screw that Dave put in after the eyelet sheared off had broken. We were right near a little town so we pulled over at the first little café we saw to do some repairs.
The café wasn’t open (because of the holiday) but they had a shady area with some chairs so while Dave did some repairs I walked over to a market to get some cold drinks. There was a young woman in the store who spoke very good English and we chatted a bit about what we were doing. Later, while we were just finishing packing up after the repairs were done she headed over to where we were – It turns out the little café is run by her mother. Ilkay Yilmaz is from this little town (sorry, can’t remember the name of the town) but she is studying English in Ankara and was home for the holiday. She was very nice to help us translate a few text messages on our phone from Turkcell and helped us figure out what we needed to do to renew our sim card for the next month. We chatted a bit more and then waved goodbye.
We had two more good climbs to get over before we made our way into Tasuçu. The first climb was over the headlands to reach the town of Ovacik, a long steady one which wasn’t too hard but we had big rock walls on either side of us and boy was it getting hot! We stopped to get something to eat after we came down the hill in the next inlet. We couldn’t find much and ended up eating some fruit outside a little market.
From Ovacik we had a nice bit of flat riding through a valley. We couldn’t quite see where the road was headed but eventually saw a cut in the mountain above us. Hmmm… sure enough, we came around a corner and up the road went. There was road construction off to the right and we could see further up the valley a tunnel under construction so eventually it will be a nice straight shot through the hill. For now though, we had to go up and over it. The road was fairly narrow as it made its way up and over the hill but thankfully we did not have too much traffic. There were no guardrails on much of the way up, which felt a little bit scary as the drop off was pretty much straight down. Great views though, down the valley and out to the sea – seemed a bit like Bilbo Baggins territory.
We finally made it into Tasuçu and stopped to get a bite to eat before doing the hotel search. After a tasty chicken kebab we headed for one of the hotels in our guide book, the Otel Olba, down by the seaside. The room was decent with a balcony overlooking the sea and the price was okay so we settled in.
We walked back into town to get some dinner and picked up some cookies and baklava for dessert. Now it is time for bed – we are both tired from the climbing the last couple of days. Tomorrow we have a short day planned to Kizkalesi, a small seaside village about 35k or so from here where there are supposed to be a couple of very nice castles. So, we may even get a bit of a sleep in…