What a week. Back in Ankara, after seeing the good doctor off (sniff) and suffering my first (partial) data loss due to a crashed Internet cafe PC. But let's try to put things in order.
This week was meant to be spent with Ping-Yi doing some classic tourism in Cappadocia and not moving about too much as she's not stocked up on protective equipment for the bike through the years like I have, and we didn't want to take any chances.
So we spent five days in Goreme, the center of Cappadocia's tourist attractions (the ill-translated "fairy chimneys") doing some sightseeing.
My calorie intake this week has increased dramatically, both in quantity and quality. We had a number of elaborate breakfasts/lunches/dinners on the bike, with more food than I would ever prepare in my flat's kitchen!
We visited underground cities and also did some serious walking, like the Ihlara valley which was a good walk for 5-6 hours in a beautiful gorge.
Dramatic rock structures:
The gorge is full of cave houses, carved in the rock. Very impressive.
Oh yeah. That day I made a mistake. I didn't lock the panniers, and as a result one of the lids (that has started coming loose for some time now) opened and flew off in transit. We didn't realise what happened until I had a routine look (being paranoid I always glance around the bike while riding to make sure everything is still there). Luckily, the lid was less than 10km back and nothing from my personal belongings had flown off with it. Unluckily, the lid had been ran over by a couple of trucks and was in a sorry state:
So I just held it in place with a couple of bungee cords, wished for the best and carried on.
Luckily it hasn't rained from that day, as I'm only now going to take the time to fix this - with sunny weather a mashed pannier lid is not enough reason to steal time from the good doctor.
So after wasting away for five days in Goreme (2 in a pansiyon and 3 in a camp site, camping was far superior as we had the whole place to ourselves) we grudgedly packed aaaaall of our stuff and moved to a campsite next to Hattusa, the ancient capital of the Hittites.
The strongest memory of that day would not be seeing the ancient remains, but meeting a guy who instantly became our best friend when he realised that Ping-Yi and his girlfriend were born in the same city! Oh my oh my, we got a ride with the taxi, a personal tour of the nicest parts of the ancient site, while the site attendant was waiting for us to lock up and go home, then got taken to the village square for chai (tea), were shown pictures (both touristy and personal), did some tech support on the guy's laptop, got tips on other things to do and see... overall, the royal treatment! Very nice indeed.
Which brings us to today, on our way to Ankara, we stopped at a petrol station to fill up and were immediately approached by the owner, offered chai (yum!) and had a short but succinct chat about where we were from, what did we do, how did we meet etc. It's fascinating how much you can share with a few words of common language. But Esperanto is still high on my to-do-when-I-become-a-deity list. Anyway. So much friendliness and hospitality from complete strangers is just breathtaking. I see the little children turn around and wave at us as we drive through villages, kids and adults pushing their faces against the car windows as they turn as much as they can to look at us on the road, I hear truck drivers honk the horn and see farmers at the end of a weary day still take the energy to tip their hats at us, and I wonder why? They don't know us, probably will never see us again. What is it about travelling on a motorcycle that gets people of all ages fired up?
I don't know the definitive answer, but dammit, I'm really enjoying getting all this love! :-)Posted by Alexandros Papadopoulos at October 18, 2009 03:16 PM GMT
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