Saturday, 19 October 2019

Time in Tasucu

Ok, I should be in Cyprus now meeting the hostel owner at Tempo Market to guide me to the 'special' apartment where my bike could be safely secured overnight. In fact I'm still in Turkey because the ferry was cancelled, no explanation!

Ok, I feel shattered so maybe delaying the crossing is good. There is a bar here, the first I've located since Istanbul...and there's live music, relaxed conversation and smiling people. After recent experience of local custom I feel almost guilty joining them .... a feeling that mysteriously evaporated after a glass of Efes local pilsner.

Earlier, a local diver returns with his catch, harpooned or 'shot' as he said. The seas are choppy today. 







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Gösku River canyon to Silifke

The Taurus Mountain range is formidable and gruelling cycling the edges of the canyon formed by the Göksu River. The canyon formation is breathtaking in parts The river a vivid tourquoise blue colour and the first significant river on the trip.

Near the coast Silifke castle stands on a high point and this town has been on the map since Roman times. The ferry port of Tasucu is a distance along the coast.

I'm shown and taste olives with Hakan, a friendly Turk, who had been to Europe working on ships. Another Can, with farming colleagues, who was very engaging and spoke good English and is a very sucessful local businessman. Can manufactures a soil rotating type machine which systematically builds up earth around the lower stems of rows (and countless rows) of tomato plants ..... and the stem becomes root and the plant grows stronger. A good tip for tomato growers!

Interestingly these two are the only two people I've met who asked about where I was from and my journey.





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Thursday, 17 October 2019

Taurus Mountains to Mut

The Anatolian plateau finally runs out and its uphill into the Taurus Mountains and over the Sertavul Pass. The scenery changes drammatically and the descent is long, losing the newly gained elevation to the pass and much of the plateau elevation. Its noticeably warmer at the lower level in Mut.

Mut has twinned with Karaman in the past as capital of the Karamanid dynasty and has its own castle of course. Known to be originally a Byzantine castle but probably earlier in origin.

It isn't flat in Mut and a mountain range looms in the direction of the Med. Without any doubt whatsoever I can confirm Turkey is a big country and very mountainous.

The practice of drinking çay seems an absolute necessity. Kebabs are the only source of meal unless you go really up market from my experience. Serving both must be done with great urgency and someone is hovering to remove your plate at all times. It is the custom!





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Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Karaman

Passing mountainous volcanic rock outcrops was the order of the day. A long, too long really, day in the saddle largely on the main highway.  Limited climbing made it possible from Konya to Karaman.

The fortress in Karaman goes back to the Karamanid era which established itself between the periofs of the Seljurk Turks Empire (and the Crusade period) and the Ottoman Turks.

Tomorrow is another day and its hoing to be mountainous. Scanning outside my daily route on the road I was confused at first by a large blue area ahead....the Mediterranean!





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Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Konya

I confess it was a miserable overnight at the Sahib Ata Termal hotel in Ilgin and a street kebab would have been a better choice than their offering. I stuffed the meal down regardless including breakfast.

Taking secondary roads I quickly got caught up in picketing outside a factory. So closely together were lorries parked there was no way through .... another unexpected detour!

The highway was today my friend, after the various issues encountered, and on a lumpy section the plateau rose to a few meters short of Ben Nevis summit. The entire massive plateau level is well above Snowdonia.

Konya on the map looked straightforward enough but I had no idea it was a 1.3 million population city. The shrine of Rumi, the celebrated Persian poet and mystic, is here and it's the destination for Sufi Trail travellers from Istanbul. The shrine is now a museum and I'm seeing for the first time, since leaving Istanbul, tourists! And overhearing a bit of spoken English is quite comforting.

Rumi is the founder of the Swirling Dervishes movement which I seem to remember as a child had rather a bad reputation. All that trance enducing stuff and rather incomprehensible. It seems he taught of love being the current that runs through all life. The green tiled tower is constructed over the shrine of Rumi.

Rather more famous is a well preserved section of the Silk Road leading east from Konya with very well preserved caravanserai but I'm heading more southerly on my route to the Mediterranean.

David Jury, walking to Jerusalem is currently ferrying over to Cyprus.


  



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Sunday, 13 October 2019

Ilgin thermal waters

In the morning sunshine the clear outline of the walled hostel used by travellers on the ancient caravan trail can be seen.

At the end of the day I find Ilgin has been a source of thermal water bathing since Roman times. Maybe its out of season but it feels a rather depressing place to spend the night.

Today Wales rugby team make it into the World Cup quarter finals.



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Saturday, 12 October 2019

Sufi Trail in Sultandagi

The fortress castle in Afyon is likened to a crow's nest. Photos of the plateau are inadequate really.

There is more upbeat activity as the wheels roll on southwards and greater interest and friendliness. People are smiling and there is a sense of fulfillment in work being carried out. The arid conditions have given way to more arable land  though fields have mostly been stripped of their Summer harvest. Some vegetables are still being uncovered and collected by children. 

At this stage I am shadowing the Sufi Trail and its curious to share the sights of those who travel the trail to the shrine of Rumi in Konya, the great Persian poet and Sufi mystic. It is also the route of the Ottoman era 'hajj' to the holy lands via Konya. So many journeys have been made!

And many travellers will have enjoyed the security of the caravanserai, the walled hostel on this former caravan road...
looking through the main gate.

Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.