Last climb in Turkey…

This morning started almost immediately with a 500m drop, down some of the steepest sharpest hairpin bends I’ve ever seen. It was probably the most exciting and terrifying bit of downhill cycling I’ve ever done, but I did the whole thing with a huge grin on my face.
Absolutely stunning views of the valley below unwound as fast as we hurtled down, and I could have gladly continued downhill for a few more hours, if it weren’t for the fact that there were more mountains to climb today.

Once on the plains, looking at the map a bit more closely I realised that the route planned took in an unnecessarily steep climb over the last mountains of Turkey. With a new course set we headed off again, where I had the chance to chat to Memek, who decided to ride next to me on his motorbike for a few km. Even while riding, everyone here seems friendly!
My stomach and head improved somewhat today, but there are other parts of me that have become not so comfortable. For the first time I have saddle sores, no doubt as a result of camping for 7 days in the desert, having left my chamois cream in Eskisehir. Hopefully it’ll clear up soon now that I have my cream back, otherwise its going to be a rough ride to Damascus.

Everyone feeling tired (and sore), we ended our day rather early, so that we could head to Kilis nice and early and sort ourselves out one more night in Turkey before heading into Syria. What we didn’t expect, as we were looking for somewhere to camp, were the sheer numbers of army barracks and towers everywhere. It was only after we stopped, and I had a chat with the olive farmer who’s land we’re on (in German again), that I realised we’re less than a mile away from the Syrian border. Apparently the Jandarma may not like people camping around these parts…

Everyone’s gone to bed now, with their tents dark, as the floodlights from the watchtowers shine in our direction.

I don’t know why the army always look so miserable. We’ve seen them all over Turkey, and they never return a smile, the only people in the country to do so. I’m sure some of them must be normal guys, maybe even a couple with bikes of their own. Maybe its just because they’re hot and have to wear all that heavy uniform. They should try out lycra and bike helmet instead. Its the future.

4 Responses

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  1. Ah, yes, and the world would be a funnier place, too!

  2. True. With lycra and bike helmet, and maybe a bike instead of the metal thing they carry, the world would be a lot more peaceful place!

    1. A very true and profound notion… But I more just meant it would make them look funnier : )

      1. Add an engine and you could even call it heaven!

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