(written by Dave)
We had weather worries today but it turned out to be a pretty good day. The weather people got the forecast right. They called for 80% chance of rain and some thundershowers. It rained early in the morning and was lightly raining when we got up. Keeping in mind that 80% chance of rain doesn’t mean it will rain 80% of the time, we decided to get up, pack and see how things looked after brekkie. By the time we finished eating, it was clearing and there was no rain. We decided to go for it.
The ride from Aksaray to Sereflickochisar was almost flat. And even better, we had tailwinds and some really smooth, newly paved roads. They are re-paving some parts of the route so there was the odd 2 and 5k sections where two lanes travelled on one side of the carriageway but most of the time we had a wide shoulder on our side of the road.
The route today basically followed the edge of a large inland saltwater lake called Tuz Gulu. Most of the time this meant a whole lot of nothing to look at. We had small mountains to our right and the flat lakeshore off to the left. The area had quite a bit of cultivation, mostly grasses but some potatoes and onions as well. Around many of the non-grass fields there were almost permanent tent like structures where the workers were living. We passed many groups of workers and their families, kids and old folks included. These people don’t live a life of luxury all of them gave us a good wave. I’m pretty sure that we look like some form of outer space creature to them as we pass.
All up, with the occasional glimpses of the lake, the agriculture and the farm workers, the flat ride was far from boring. It could also be that it is one of the few really flat days we’ve had riding in Turkey. You wouldn’t want every day to be like this but now and again, being able to churn out the k’s without a mountain to cross can be an ok thing. Tomorrow was have a longish day (125k) with at least 75k along the same road and the lake as we had today. Maybe by tomorrow night we’ll be looking for a hill to climb.
We arrived in Sereflickochisar about 11:30. Yes, that is the town’s full name and correct spelling – I have yet to figure out how to pronounce it. When we change towns every day, it gets to be hard to remember where we have stopped or where we are heading. When people ask us this, we often give them blank stares unless our map is handy. Not that it would matter as even when we know the name, we commonly can’t get the pronunciation right so they have no idea what we are saying anyway.
We would have liked to ride further but it doesn’t like there is much up the road and rain is forecast overnight. So we pulled into town and found a local hotel. While I looked over the room, Nancy befriended the owner of a restaurant across the street. The room was ok but while we contemplated the price, we had to have our dose of lahmacun (Turkish pizza). Fortified, I returned to the hotel and negotiated an appropriate discount. And we have a nice place for dinner. The owner of the restaurant spoke pretty good English and has already booked us a table. He sits in front, on the street, meaning we can’t leave the hotel without him knowing. We are now part of his extended family – I think.
After a shower and nap we headed out to look at town. There are 30,000 people here so it’s not too small. I managed to find a new water bottle at a bike shop that sells bikes, prams, luggage, tea cookers and vacuums. And it is called a bike shop. Nancy managed to get mauled again by a wandering gang of school girls. They really seem to like her. I think it is her hair and skin colour. Both are dead giveaways that we speak English – the kids like to practice their limited English on Nancy. I get to take the pictures. Like yesterday, our bare legs collected many looks. It is quite funny that almost everyone walking towards us looks at our legs until we catch them, then, once caught, they either giggle or give a slightly disapproving look – depending on the age of the person.
We are off to eat now – you know where we are going. As noted, tomorrow is a long day and rain is again forecast. We are hoping that the weather people are pessimistic but we won’t know until the morning.