Friday, 8 June 2012

From Barcelona to Tehran : Day 37

Day 37: Marhaba Turkey; From Ceshme to Gezel Bakce in Turkey

June 6, 2012; Distance covered today: 60 Km; Total: 2615 Km

I could not sleep in the ferry; to bright, too noisy, and too uncomfortable. The ferry was supposed to arrive in Hios at 5 am, but instead, it arrived at 4. That meant I had to spend more time on the streets of the port until daylight to take the first ferry. 

There was a café open so I went there after I got the ticket for the ferry. I sat outside the café and watched the harbor. Later I had a pie there and got on the ferry where I saw a hard-core Harley Davidson riders with the full mounty: the tattoos, the leather jackets, etc, waiting for the ferry to Cesme as well. We greeted and like other cases when I met travelers, we ended up making good friends. They were really adventurous. They were on their way to Iran for the second time! Herbert was one of the first people who rode his bike through the Sahara desert in Africa. They were hard core. Right on!
My Harley Friends

We got to the Cecme in no time. Then we were asked to pay 45 Euros to get a Turkish visa. This amount used to be 15 Euros a couple of weeks ago. However, Americans pay only 15 bucks! Mmmm.
We didn’t have enough money, so we were allowed to get into Turkey without our passports to get money from a cash machine. Then we paid the fees and off we went together and went to a café to have a snack. They strongly suggested me to go to a campground in in Croatia next year. They were so much excited even taking about this place: Camping Mlaska. For people like them, who have done so much adventure in their life, being excited talking about a campground means the campground must be really something.
It was 2:30 noon when we finally departed and resumed our trips, me on bicycle, them on a Harley.
It was really hot when I started biking, but not as hot as Greece. At the beginning, the roads were good. Not a problem at all. I was thinking  of all the bad roumor out there about Turkish roads. Then after an hour of riding, I got to this:

I don’t know what to say about this kind of asphalt. Basically, it was lots of gravel thrown on the road, but they are stuk together and don’t move. It was really, painfully difficult to ride on this road. “If the rest of the roads are going to be like this, what am I going to do?”  I asked myself.
The Deserted Road

The Unpaved Way

 After a few kilometers, I realized that I needed to pump the rear tire up to fight the gravel. As I was pumping, the bike scaped from the tree I had put it against and it was going to slide down the ditch on the side of the road. I held tight on the pump and the wheel together, and I managed to control the bike. But the valve broke. 
Live and Learn

Now I had to change the tube, but the bad news was that I was left with one extra tube only.
The Road Got Better Later
I stopped and started a conversation in Turkish with him. He stood up, carefully picked a cucumber, and handed it to me. I thanked him and ate it. It was delish. I asked him how much I should pay him, but he refused to get money. After another hour of cycling, I got to a restaurant where I could read the word “Eyran”, meaning “drinking Yoghort”. I stopped and asked the guy to bring me some. He sent a waiter to me, “what would you like sir?” He asked very politely. I said “Eyran”. He went in and came back with a big tray with a small glass of eyran in the middle of it. He put it on the table in front of me and waited. I drank it in a sec. The glass was so small. I asked for another one. He went in and came back again with the same big trey and small glass. I drank it too and asked for the price. He went in and the first guy came back and reluctantly said, “five”. I knew that I was being ripped off, but I didn’t expect it in the middle of nowhere from local people. I paid 5 Lire and promised myself to ask the price of everything before I buy them.
I kept riding until I got to Gezelbakce where there was a campground. I checked in. This time I asked the price first, but I had no clue how much camping was in Turkey. Anyways, the guy asked for 20 which is about 10 Euro, the amount I would pay for a great campground in Greece and Italy. I paid first. 

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