Before leaving home I was lucky enough to enjoy the splendid culinary skills of my friend and house mate, Tom and one of my best friends of many years, Wozzy (Warren). Both love cooking and are brilliant at it. It is traditional in my house for Wozzy to do the Sunday roast and between them they tend to take over the kitchen during the week as well! We all know what we are good at and generally stick to our corners. Personally, I am good at eating!
Before my trip, people kept asking me what training I was doing. The answer was “I’m bulking up”! Need to get some weight on me before I leave or I’ll waist away!”
The same catchphrase would be announced as I reached for each home baked Viennese whirl. It was a great excuse and one people seemed to accept willingly!
Now after 6 weeks of hospitality practically everywhere I go, I wonder when the putting on weight stops an the losing weight begins! Rhonda will have a few more stone to carry at this rate!
The Turks are very hospitable people!
The west coast of Turkey is as beautiful as I had been told and I am glad I have given myself some chill time to wonder down at a steady pace. Plenty of time to stop and “smell the flowers”!
Dan, had ridden with me from Istanbul for a couple of days on his GS650 Dakar. A great bike and very economical. We compared the two over several hundred miles and whilst I was actually getting 80 to the gallon (as appose to my previously reported 70), Dan was not far behind on a very respectable 75. Not bad at all considering it is a much heavier bike. I was impressed.
Dan was happy to just tag along and so I led us to Iznik lake where I had planned on finding a campsite. However, after a long day at the Motototal Honda centre in Istanbul we had left it rather late in the day. They had spent hours on Rhonda giving her a full service and a make over, with new lights in my hand guards and stickers on my top box to make me more visable! They left no bolt unchecked and I was glad to have such a meticulous team check her over.
We couldn't find the camp site so we tried to find a place to wild camp. It was now dark and not knowing the area this was not easy. Our first attempt led us down a dirt track, off the road, and in to some olive groves. We soon left as the barking dogs from all directions were getting closer and I was not happy to start cooking our sausages and pasta in a field full of hungry dogs! No panic just keep moving. Eventually we came across a hotel and managed to haggle a great deal despite the fact that at this time of night we would have paid double!
From Iznik we headed to a small town on the coast. Erdek was a lucky dip on the map and it worked out well. Great camp site and very hospital owner, who fed us for free and insisted on us drinking far too much Turkish Raki. So much so that I had to pour mine in to the plant pot next to me each time he turned his back. This guy turned out to be a little too pushy after a few and I was glad to have Dan with me. I had also wished I had worn the wedding ring that Lesley had lent me in Bulgaria for this very reason! He soon learnt and no harm done. Aside from the plant, which I can only assume didn't make it!
Dan and I then headed to Cunda Island and spent a couple of days camping on the beach and checking out the miles of trails. We stripped the bikes of their luggage. Now I had Rhonda at her best. We found mile after mile of windy, dirt tracks that took us through olive groves, along the coastline and to the top hills with stunning views. The sun shone and we road around all day stopping only for a drink and a dip in the sea at lunchtime. We finished covered in mud and smiling.
That night we had dinner overlooking the still tideless waters of the Aegean Sea and then pottered back to our tents where a good nights sleep ensued.
The next morning Dan headed back to Istanbul and I headed further south to Selcuk where I met some new friends who put me up for a couple of nights. We had a beer and fish balcony fest as we watched the lightning show move around us.
Can and his wife own a CRF250L and are both keen bikers. Ozgur, was a friend of theirs and gave me her sofa for a couple of nights. Ozgur and her cat were very lovely and I even borrowed her clothes so I could wash EVERYTHING as it was all very salty and muddy on my arrival!! They didn't seem to mind!
Now I am in Didim and head for Bodrum today, where I have been invited sailing by the Turgutreis sailing club! Wohooooooo! I’m going sailing for the first time in my life!!