Cycling in Turkey, days 4 to 7

20130512-164221.jpgRoy wears the silly hat

We are having a rest day in Bodrum. That’s me in the silly hat. It is a helmet cover. Each day one of the ride leaders selects a victim to wear the hat; a few days ago it was my turn. You only need wear it for the first few kms and after that I slipped it over the top of my handlebar bag.

We have had every sort of weather from hot sun to cool cloud, a few showers, one drenching thunderstorm (we were at the hotel by then), and the occasional headwind.

The daily distance has gone up with an 80 km day and a 90 km day, and we’ve ridden on everything from the smooth shoulder of a busy expressway to quiet but rough rural roads where all you can do is select the least of the potholes rather than avoid them. I prefer the hilly rural country to the beach towns which are depressingly commercial and full of foreign-owned condos.

We’ve seen lots of ancient ruins. They are both sad and inspiring. Sad to see so much effort and such majestic buildings reduced to tumbled piles of stones. Sad to think it was done by slaves. Inspiring that people could conceive such things and build them with primitive tools. Art and craftsmanship are always inspiring.

It is a poor country full of contrasts. Women collecting sticks for fuel at the side of the road while transport trucks roar past. Small farms with a scant few cattle beside a modern agribusiness farm. Lovely beaches in a tourist resort town but the roadside in and out of town is littered with garbage and thousands of plastic water bottles.

I’m enjoying the rest day. Bodrum is a large and busy tourist town, one of the major ports for pleasure boats at this end of the Med. It has an interesting castle built during the crusades. The ride is hard but a good warm-up for the rest of the summer. I hope the pavement in Europe is better, but on the bright side, I am becoming much better at riding and especially doing steep descents on poor surfaces, and after the really bad sections, even the rough Turkish chip seal seems smooth.

Some photos…

20130512-164258.jpgStay dogs in a parking lot with our bus

20130512-164733.jpgSmall amphitheatre

20130512-164919.jpgRuins at the Temple of Apollo

20130512-165136.jpgOur bikes against a wall, tea break in a small town

20130512-165345.jpgMen at a cafe

20130512-165445.jpgAll hills in Turkey are 10% grade. Seems to be the only grade sign they have. Some cyclist disagreed.

20130512-165654.jpgThe mighty moose on my handlebar bag

20130512-165847.jpgWater reservoir in the hills

20130512-170033.jpgBeach at Bodrum

20130512-170139.jpgClowning with a headless statue at Bodrum Castle

20130512-170314.jpgTurtle at the castle. They are common in this part of Turkey.

20130512-170431.jpgThe English Room at Bodrum Castle