A Travellerspoint blog



sunny 26 °C

We waked into the beautiful shinny morning. Our batteries were loaded again and we started searching connection to Cappadocia which was our next destination. On train station we didnt have any luck and there was no train for this destination at all. On bus station we were extremely lucky and bought 2 last tickets for that day. There was still plenty of time for checking the town, eating kebabs and drinking tea with locals.
Later afternoon we started another long drive (640 km) with bus which last 12 hours. At 4 in the morning we finally arrived to Kayseri. Because next bus for Goreme was at 9 we decided to visit the town. Bus station is located 6km from the old city center and we pedaled there. Largest problem were edging stones which are around 40cm high and there is no other option, than step down the bike and lift it down on street to be able to ride further.
Kayseri is an very important industrial town in east Anatolia. It is growing extremely fast. In year 2006 it had around 650.000 residents, but today there are already 1 milion of them. It is placed bellow glacier Erciyas dagi (3916 m) which was long time ago a volcano. This was 1 of 3 volcanos which eruptions shaped land so magical thousands years ago. Local people are known for their trading talents and kindness. For me is interesting, that they have built a ski jump ramp on mountain near town which is extremely modern and one of 10 best in the world. They never jumped before and that is why they send 7 young talented ski jumpers to Slovenia for training. After 3 years of training, 2 of them are able to jump more than 150 meters. I am also proud, that ski jump was built by Slovenians which are experts in such constructions.
While we were taking the city tour, it was still dark and not much people on the streets. City looks very nice and clean. In old town there are still old fortress and beautiful park. We were ridding for a while, but than we got cold and moved to an restaurant for early breakfast. We didnt sleep whole night again and were tired again. After breakfast we went back to otogar and waited for our bus. As usual we were very interesting to other local people. They couldnt belive that we partly travel on our bicycles. One of the bus station employees even asked if he can drive 1 round with Teddy bike. It was really funny watching this scene. Otherwise, I must say that people are really friendly in Turkey and I had only 1 bad experience (Trabzon region) in my 1,5 month trip there. I made a lot of friends and they also saved me later, when I was in trouble:)
With bus we moved 71 km west to magical small village Goreme. Because we wanted to sleep,we emediately started to search for accommodation. First two owner didnt want to negotiate, but we also didnt want to pay more than 40 TL for the room. Here, almost each house have small cave rooms for rent and it is not hard to find clean and nice room for fair price. In third try we were lucky and find a nice pension Tabiat whos owner lowered a price and gave us a room. After some small talk with owner and other guests it was time for getting some sleep. In the evening we were had a nice party with owner Ibrahim and his friends.Now we were already travelling non stop for almost a week with no rest. We made already 2200 km with bus and drove trough half a country from this only 150 on bike:) We came here also to have some fun and rest and not to driving on buses. We decided that we will not enter any bus for at least 2-3 days and that it is time for some cycling. Because this region must be explored we decided to take few days off and stay at Tabiat pension.


Posted by Mitja 04:56 Comments (0)



In the morning we had to make new plan. We knew, that first planned route from Amasra to Sinop will be very hard to achieve and it would take us much longer as we first thought.
One of my problems was to many things on my bike. Although this was now my 4th bicycle trip, I made a big mistake again and brought with me to many things. My bags were really heavy and this made cycling uphill much harder. There were also spots, where I wasnt able to cycle and I had to push my bike. All the hills are signed with sign 10%, but we just couldnt belive that. Where I live, there are many hills, but only few so hard and worst is 16%...Probably their government bought somewhere those 10% signs and had to use them somewhere...I was training hard back home for this trip, but those hills were a hard nut even for me!
We both agree to move to another location with bus. Because we wanted to see Sumella Monastery near Trabzon, this was our next destination.
We bought a ticket for mini bus (dolmus), which took us over hills to town called Kastamonu. It was a 2,5 hour ride full of nice views. We started on Black Sea coast and climbed over the mountains. After we drove down on other side, landscape chaned to beautyfull green plateau. Strange thing happened when we were stopped by army armed with AK-47 guns in some small village. They camed on bus and arrested the man sitting infront of us. Than they took him down and we could drive forward. Bad luck for the man, but nobody knows what he had done... In Kastamonu we had to catch another bus, this time to Samsun which is placed on Black Sea coast. The reason why we turned over the mountains to inland is old bad road on which we were cycling previous day. Hills never end and are streching along coastline till Samsun from where it is possible to use coastal road. Nobody wants to drive twice as long for even shorter distance, so most of the people choose inland roads. In Kastamonu we had to wait arround 2 hours before some bus station employee arrived and start edexplaining something in broken english. Bus should arrive to peron 6, but now it is on some other location. He asked us to pack bicycles and all the baggage in old Renault 12. It was almost impossible, but we did it somehow!! In same car was besides of 2 fully loaded bicycles also the driver, two of us and another passenger:) Our luck was, that we had to drive only 300 meters in back of the bus station where another mini bus was parked. We couldnt belive, that we had to disassamble bicycles and load all baggage, since it would be easier to drive there on bicycles. It was very funny and in end we all laughed as crazy. Driver of bus asked us to lift bicycles on the roof of the bus. We did as he told us. In Turkey, there is no any problem to carry bicycle with you on the bus. Usually they shouldnt charge you any aditionally fee, but some private drivers do. This one didnt charge any fee, but he showed his kindness later:) Next 4 hours we were driving trough magic landscape again. We could see mountains on our left and rice fields on our right. Later we were driving along beautyfull river ........ I was sorry because I didnt cycle this part of the trip, but I couldnt foresee it...
30 km before Samsun in town Bafra driver made a deal with taxi driver and left us there. Taxi driver was payed to bring us to our final destination. Situation was similar as in Kastamonu, but this car was running on gas and it had a gas bomb in the trunk. This ride was little harder because we drove more than 30 minutes like fishes in the can. I had to sit between driver and another passenger on my right, while Teddy was ridding in the back with 2 bicycles and complete baggage- ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE!!
We were on the road almost whole day, but we still had a long way ahead of us. We had luck and catch the bus for Samsus. This time we waited only 10 minutes before bus left for Samsun. Another 2 hours in the bus passed by and we arrived to Samsun otogar arround 22h. We bought tickets for Trabzon and had to wait another 2 hours. One of my bad characteristics is being non patient plus I hate travelling by bus. My last long bus ride before Turkey was when I was 16 year old. I never wanted to travel with bus again, but this journey changed everything. On this trip I really learned how to be patient and also how to travel comfortable with bus:)
While we were waiting, we were drinking a lot of Turkish tea. This was keeping us awake and clear. Turkish tea was one of the best thing for me in Turkey. Compared to Sri Lanka black tea, it is not so strong and we could drink 5-10 cups per day. You can get it anywhere, a lot of time for free. For local people it should not cost more than 25krs.
Around midnight we entered the bus for Trabzon. Ahead of us was another 6 hours of ride. I was totally tired and wanted to sleep, but 4 teenagers behind us didnt allow me to. It was just to much noise for me. Tried to silence them few times, but without a success. Another funny thing were 2 boxes with chicken which where brought on bus. Because baggage department was full, there was no other way but to bring it on bus. At dawn it became like on farm and you could hear rooster shouting inside of bus. Soon after, chickens were also awake and start shouting back. This action was going on till our final destination Trabzon. It was 6 in the morning when we finally stepped out of the bus. After breakfast we took a small bus 30km toward Sumella monastery which is placed in mountains. In small village Macka we started to cycle uphill to find camping place. Now we really needed a sleep after 24 hours on bus. After fe km we arrived to camping place. We asked the owner if we can camp there and he agreed. Camp is placed in cosy canyon near river. In summer there is a lot of tourists here, mostly from Turkey. Soon after assembling tents we went to sleep. After 20 minutes loud sound waked me up. I thought that I am dreaming. When I looked outside I saw a big buldoser digging wholes 10 meters from our tent. I was really not glad and went inside the restaurant to ask what is going on and how long this is going to last. I asked the wife of the owner and she said something to her 3 adult sons eating near us. I couldnt understand what they were talking, but this guys got angry and start acting aggressive. I got their message and left the restaurant. Soon after they camed out and went to playground near our tents and started playing volleyball dressed as waiters. All this was strange and stupid. We were their customers and they wanted to disturb us while we were sleeping. We soon noticed, that we are not welcome there, althou we didnt understood why. People in this region are acting strange and as I noticed, they dont like tourist. I herd, that they also dont care about what is happening in Istanbul or other big cities and they want to live for them self. You can notice also that they have different faces and look different. This is because many people here are "lasi" and not turks. I am not sure if we had such bad luck or they are really so mean:)
We assambled tents and payed for the camping. No matter how tired we were, we went cycling towards Sumella Monastery. We were cycling in small canyon along river. It was a hard climb till we reached the top after 2 hours. I was out of power and had to sleep. The plan was to overnight here and than visit the monastery in the morning. After finding right guy we found out that he wants to rip us off. He was really rude and demanded 80 eur for the room. For our bad luck, he didnt want to negotiate and we also couldnt pay so much, since we didnt have enough money on us. We wanted to see the monastery, but it is 45 minutes of walk away and we were to afraid to leave bicycle and baggage with such people. Slowly we were getting really pissed. We couldnt understand what is wrong with this people. We didnt feel good energy arround here at all and decided to leave the area. We were hungry and stopped for lunch. Also this guy ripped us off and charged way to much. We didnt want to argue, but only leave as soon as possible. After lunch we cycled 50km back to Trbzon. We were riding downhill, but wind was strong and we still had to pedal hard to reach town. We went to bank to exchange the money, but situation was even worst. They wanted big provisions and it took us some time to find fair rate. At the evening we drove over Zidana pass towards trough Bayburt to Erzurum. I was so sleepy that no metter loud music I was able to sleep for at least 2 hours. We arrived at midnight and tried to find a bus for Cappadoccia. Because we couldnt find one we tried our luck at railway station. Trains dont run so frequently and we were stuck. We searched for cheap accomodation in Lonely Planet guied. It should be very close to where we were, but because of small twisted streets it took us some time to find it. At 2 in the morning we finally arrived to hotel Cinar. After 42 hours and around 1100 km on bus all I could do was sleep.


Posted by Mitja 06:08 Archived in Turkey Comments (0)


CAKRAZ BARTIN-CIDE (cycling-car)


After breakfast and nice chat with owner of hotel it was time to start cycling. When we climbed a hill or two we realized, that terrain is much harder than we thought. Basically road leads trough rough hills up and down all the way to Sinop. There is a long climb up and short downhill ride for reward and again the same. Road is quiet with almost no traffic. There is not many people living near road and all you can see are small villages and bays. After long 7 hours of cycling we were out of energy and hungry as wolfs. We cycled down to small bay where little restaurant was placed. After ordering some drink we didnt feel like cycling no more. we were close to town Cide where we want to overnight. We asked the owner if it is possible to drive us there. They were really polite and agreed to take us there after they finish they dinner. They probably noticed how tired and hungry we were and brought us also plates with food. We were very thankful and ate dinner with great pleasure. While eating, we had a chance to see ducks swimming in the sea. Funny thing...
After dinner, owner drove us to the town. We would probably make it somehow, because thee was only one hill left, but nobody was complaining. After finding a suitable hotel it was already getting dark. We were still hungry and went to town for some more food. This was last action for this day and all we wanted was to sleep. Little annoying was the mosque singing at 2 in the morning and waking me up.
We were on bicycle for 7 hour and made only 50km.


Posted by Mitja 11:00 Archived in Turkey Comments (0)


Arival to Istanbul and transfer to Black Sea coast

semi-overcast 25 °C

After long winter and spring, summer was near and I finally got a chance to escape again. This time Teddy joined me on trip again and we choose Turkey for destination. It was first planed to cycle 3 different routes, but things got complicated again...
We started from Ljubljana airport on 7.6.2010. Because my plane ticket was for return and Teddys not, we were on different planes. He left LJ airport hour and a half earlier than myself. The first problem occur short after Teddy went into the airport. He called me to come in and help. I was little surprised when I found out that my travel mate is not on the passenger list. I was the one who booked both tickets and I was sure, that I double-checked everything. We soon solved the problem and found passenger with "S" letter instead of "Š" letter. When booking on web, I didnt have "Š" letter to choose, so I decided for "S" instead. Funny what difference one letter can make...We had luck and Teddy was able to catch the plane in direction Istanbul. After 1,5 hour it was time for me to start with boarding. I also had some problems and they charged me additionally 50 eur for bringing my bicycle on plane. I started to argue, but soon I noticed, that it is better to calm down. The payment was their standard procedure, but informations on their web page were also unsuficient. I knew that they charge for snowboard, wheelchair, instruments, but nobody mentioned any bicycle. We settled this problem and I was able to hand over the bike to airport stuff. When I entered personal laguage control, they noticed my tent in the bag. Because I might damage someone with spikes during the flight, I had to go back again and hand my tent over to the stuff. I was not happy, but you got to do what you got to do. There was no reason for non cooperation and I was on the plane soon after.
Flight was not even 2 hours long. Because there was no meal served on the flight, I only drank few Efes beers which were free of charge.
After landing in Istanbul Teddy was waiting for me on airport. Together we bought tourist visas which are obligatory. If you arrive with plane, you must buy it on the airport before entering Turkey. For 90 days visa we payed 20 eur each. With visas in our passports we had everything we needed and we started to prepare out bicycles for the trip. I had some bad luck again and damaged first inner tube before I was able to cycle at all...This took me some more time to change the tube and than we were finally ready for transfer to main bus station. We bought the jetons for subway, but when worker noticed our bikes we had to buy 2 more. Not sure if this is obligatory, but we did as they told us. Main otogar (bus station) is on other part of the city, but you get there with subway in no time. By subway it is possible to reach almost all important destinations and it is cheapest way of transportation beside the tram.
From main otogar we wanted to reach small town called Amasra on black sea coast. There was no direct link between Istanbul and Amasra, so we had to look for other options. We soon found out, that we could maybe find bus to Zonguladak, another town on black sea cost 100km western from Amasra. Main Istanbul otogar is a bussy place which never sleeps. Bus companies employees are shouting from all directions and offering different bus tickets. Best way to search is reading advertisments with names of destinations. There is plenty of bus companies, but nobody can take you to all places. Turkey is huge country and that us why they need many bus companies. After hard battle we were lucky and bought one of last 2 tickets for Zonguldak that night . In Turkey most people travel with buses. Bus companies are well developed and provide services all over the country. Buses are comfortable, staff very friendly and rates funny low compared to western Europe. They have even stevardess (ussually a man) on buses which is serving drinks and snacks from time to time. Althou I dont prefer buses so much, it was special experiance which I dont regrade. Later I traveled with bus mny times and each ride was something special.
We were driving almost whole night and arrived to Zonguldak at early morning. Bus station was still closed and we had some time to drive into the old town center. Shops and bars were still closed and we only drove for a while to make few photos. On bus station we found out that it harder to reach our start destination as we thought. We alredy traveled for almost 24 hours and we were still not in Amasra. Now they told us, that first we must drive 50km to south to town called Devrek and than from Devrek to Amasra. We entered smaller bus and after one hour we arrived to Devrek. Here we had to wait another 2 hours for bus to Amasra. On this bus we had another funny experience. 10 km before last station bus driver asked few passengers left if it is ok, to went into car-wash and stop for a while. Because nobody complain we were soon enjoying washing bus on the petrol station. Ofcourse we didnt left the bus but stayed inside. I was feeling like a child for a while.
Amasra is really nice town on black sea coast. We choosed this town for the start destination because here starts old coast road to Sinop....Now we were really tired and hungry. First we wanted to eat something and than only rest. We decided for small restaurant in the town. We wanted to eat only 1 kebab and later in hotel some dinner. Qwner and cook had prepared a nice game for us and probably also for other tourists. Cook was speaking german language and camed to our table. Than he asked us into the kitchen to choose kebab we want to eat. We choosed the food and went back to our table. After food arrived we knew that we made an mistake, because it was served on plates. We wanted only durum kebab in pancake, but now they brought us dishes ala carte. We couldnt complain, because we actually ordered this dishes. After we asked for check we become little angry. They charged us 35 eur for the food and this was really to much (for durum kebap we would pay 5 eur). We payed the bill and left to search for accomodation. After checking few places we noticed, that people dont want to negotiate and all they want is a lot of money. We were expecting something else and that is why we decided to leave this unfriendly town. We had to cycle another 30km of hills in direction east before we reached cosy small village Cakraz Bartin. Here the tourist season starts in beggining of July and is ending in end of August. Mostly visitors are families from Ankara who come for summer holidays. Here you can find beautyfull small sand beach and aproximately 20 small hotels with sea view. Because camping was closed we asked for free room. First owner didnt want to negotiate so we went on. Second one was more friendly and gaved us room with breakfast for 40 TL 8arround 20 eur). Later we found out, that this is very reasonable price for room and you can get it almost anywhere in Turkey. We were very tired but after dinner there was still some energy for exploring the beach and the village.


Posted by Mitja 09:50 Archived in Turkey Comments (3)

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