Turkey Part 4
Murtici to Kadriye
In the morning, we packed our bikes and went to say a huge thank you and goodbye to the owner. He couldn’t let us leave without a glass of hot, black tea. We swapped details and took photos together, and later saw that he had posted these photos onto social media.
The mountain road gave us some last brilliant descents and switchbacks before joining the busy highway along the coast. We couldn’t wait to see the sea; in fact, ‘turquoise’ comes from turc, meaning ‘Turkish,’ and was derived from the beautiful colour of the Med on this southern coast. We only saw glimpses of it, as the road took us through industrial areas. We stopped in the beach town Kadriye, which in the high season must be absolutely buzzing, but in the low season, just seemed quite sad and forgotten.
Kadriye to cafe
We were woken during the night by the loud cracks of thunder, and headed out in the fresh drizzle towards Antalya, a popular location to escape the harsh European winter. And in fact, when we arrived in Antalya, the sun shone and our coffee stop by the harbour was rather nice.
Back out of town were some huge craggy mountains, and we cycled up and around, noticing lots of orange trees – they were like Christmas trees decorated with orange baubles. As we stopped at a spring to fill our water bottles, a family stopped by the give us some oranges.
Cafe to Demre
More thunder and lightning in the mountains, and this time the descent made us cold and very wet. Luckily, the sun greeted us on the other side of the ridge and we had a glorious coastal ride following the turquoise sea.
One of the best takeaway foods we had was a dürüm – a Turkish burrito with slow-cooked chicken or lamb. And on the theme of food, we also would recommend the pastries – often filled with spinach and cheese or meat, that we later learned are called börek.
Demre to Kalkan
Once upon a time, Demre was the place of work of a man called Mr Nicholas. He was a Bishop here many years ago and, being a kind fellow with a wealthy heritage, used to secretly drop bags of gold at the doors of the poor families. However, one day he was caught and the village thanked him by making him a Saint. Thus, the tale of St Nicholas – and the gesture of giving at Christmas – was born. All of our beliefs that Santa Claus was a winter-dwelling gift-dispenser from Lapland/the North Pole were soon put into question. He was, it seems, a thermophile from the sunny south coast of Turkey. Maybe there’s a link, maybe that’s why we have Turkey for Christmas dinner?!
Every cycling day in Turkey has involved a climb; and today was no different. And what goes up (at least near the coast), must come down – and as we rode into the town of Kas, the descent and views of the sparkling sea and harbour were awesome. Will squealed in delight and couldn’t help but race down ahead. Though full of hysteria and delight, the last 10 kilometres became an absolute struggle, however, as the fierce headwind whipped around the rocks and battered against us. Feeling so close and yet so far; no 1 kilometre is the same as the next.
Kalkan to Fethiye
Kalkan is a compact little town, clustered on a hill overlooking a stunning bay.
Snowy mountains gave us our backdrop today, but otherwise we compared the routine of cycle touring to the routine of work; had we replaced one with the other?
Fethiye to Akyaka
We couldn’t leave Fethiye without saying good morning to the sea; and littered with fishing boats, the sea was calm and shimmering; there was also a notice to suggest this was a protected nesting site for turtles.
The closer we got to the little town of Akyaka, the fewer places opportunities there were to camp; this was a tourist area and a great spot for kitesurfing – Will’s mind was whirring…maybe this would be a great place to come back to for some water sports!
Akyaka to Cokertme beach camp
The small quiet road along the coast offered some short sharp climbs, though we managed to pedal fast enough to escape the chase of an angry three-legged dog.
We missed a turning and sped down a steep hill towards a bay where the road ended. It turned out to be a perfect place for a coffee stop – then a quick swim in the crystal clear fresh waters of the Med!
Back up the hill and back en route, we climbed a lot more through little stone villages. We later found a pebble beach just before the town of Cokertme. No one was around, and the sea was too inviting to resist.
Beach camp to Bodrum
Our final day cycle touring in Turkey took us to Bodrum. We ended up staying in a hotel all to ourself, where the hotel staff treated us to cake and dinner of pide.
From Bodrum, we caught the ferry over to the Greek island of Kos – we saw the ruins, the tree of Hippocrates, enjoyed some swims and some lovely Greek mezze platters. We then caught the overnight ferry to Athens to start our European dash back to the UK.