Friday, 9 May 2014

Is it because I lied when I was seventeen?


The weather has not been too kind to me over the last couple of days so I have spent a lot of time riding in the rain. I still made it to Capadoccia in good time after leaving Kas and had a lovely walk in Ihlara valley (the sunken city). It was a long climb down to the valley floor and an even longer climb back up! I was drenched by the time I got back to the bike. Rain soaked outer layer and sweat soaked inner layer all being held in by the waterproofing in the middle! Nice! It was a lovely experience all the same and the car park attendants found my drowned look amusing so it was worth it!





The Verve plays on repeat in my head.

From there I headed over to Urgup, checking out Derinkuyu underground city on route. 8 floors of cave rooms and narrow staircases which housed 20,000 people and it's livestock. Now though, it was full of old tourists going in the opposite direction to me. Having been raised with manners, I moved over and waited as they all wheezed and dragged their hefty bodies up the dark shallow stairwell. I waited 5 minutes but still they kept coming! Some stopped to take pictures of me as they passed! I didn't ask why.  At one point I came close to panic. Stuck underground with a load of OAPs. Was I in hell? Was this the queue for the Gates of Hades? 10 minutes later and the coast was clear so I made a bolt for the exit having only made it to the second floor! I wasn't taking any chances! Get out while you still can! You're still young! Go go go!

The next morning, having slept overnight in a lovely cave hotel in Urgup, I found myself up at 4am and waiting for my lift to take me on my first ever balloon ride over the "fairy chimney" rock formations of Goreme! The weather allowed and by 6am I was floating gently over a stunning landscape courtesy of Sultan Balloons. It was just breathtaking and an experience I would highly recommend to anyone visiting Turkey!

I had fully intended on making it from Urgup to Nemrut in one day. However, the rain once again came down and I managed to mess up my mapping so after 300 miles of not very pleasurable riding I called it a day, having realised that I still had further 120 miles to go, and honestly? I had most definitely had enough by then. I spent the night in  truckers motel for £8 and actually had a good nights sleep despite my initial paranoia. Click here for video diary of how that turned out!

This morning the rain was coming down in bucket loads again and I wondered why I bothered!!
However, after my usual hearty turkish breakfast, which I always make sure I eat to set me up for the day, the rain gave me a break and so I rode the final miles to Karadut at the base of Mount Nemrut Dagi.

I had been warned to be careful in this area and going forward towards Iran as this is the stomping ground of the Kurdish rebel group - The PKK. I was advised not to camp alone and to stay in hotels around other people. This put my plans of camping near the stone heads at the top of the mountain out (apparently the sunset over them is stunning) and so I thought I might find a hotel nearby. The weather was unpredictable anyway so it was probably a good call.

The 120 miles today was harder than the last 2 days put together. I just couldn't shake my tiredness of the last couple of days and I counted down every mile. As I got within 30 miles I stopped to get fuel only to find that they only had diesel. They did have tea though and invited me in for a quick brew! Common place these days! I met a lovely young Turkish guy and his Serbian friend, and we played the usual "Give us a clue" game for 20 minutes, sharing our stories in mime, before I headed back on the road. They tell me (or so I thought) that I could get petrol further on. Wrong! My GPS was also very confused and so I switched it off and followed a track up towards Nemrut.

I am now sat in the last stop hotel before the mountain with no fuel. The young Kurdish lad who speaks
great english and actually knows where Wales is, tells me there is no petrol sold around here and the nearest is 50km away. I am so grateful for his perfect grasp of the english language as he arranges for fuel to be delivered!

We have been chatting all afternoon and as I am the only guest, he invites me to join them for lunch,
while the boss is out shopping! He is the only one who speaks english after a couple of years living in Istanbul working for a tour company.  I have learnt a lot about this area and how arranged marriages are common place, as are honour killings, should they have sex before marriage. Well that certainly helped me take my eye off the stunning young man who has just brought me some more tea!

Now I feel relaxed again. With the rain stopped, the fresh mountain air and the stunning view (I meant the mountains not the staff!). I suddenly remember why I bothered.

Click here for route so far and current location.

Genuinely, thanks to everyone who is following and sending words of encouragement. It really does make a difference when you have those cold and wet days!










18 comments:

  1. Brilliant story so far. Pity you got drenched but that's inevitably part of what its all about. Hope you got you petrol and your bike like you are doing well. Good luck and enjoy what are very special experiences very few people ever have the opportunity to go through.������Eric motorcycle tech centre wirral

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  2. Wet........ your from Wales girl xxx you should be used to that

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    1. I've had by fair share that is for sure! Having a lovely time regardless! Hope you're well Calum xxxxxx

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  3. I can feel the water seeping in, Steph ;-) Enjoy and keep your eyes & ears peeled.

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  4. Yeah, but apart from the rain, goats, mozzies and no fuel how's it really going Steph? Great adventure, ride safe....

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  5. I like your take on things. You pull us into your story because you have good insight, you are comfortable enough in your own skin to candidly share how you feel, and you write well. Good stuff Steph :-)

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  6. Don't ride tired, take a break, time is on your side.

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  7. Ride on! Ride safe! Have fun!

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  8. Great fun reading what you are doing Steph though I don't envy your story about being wet both inside an out yuck it's horrible. Now being the Techy genius that I am have managed to share your story on my F.B. page. Uh Oh just realized I could be breaching some copyright rule or something else illegal Oh well.

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    1. Thanks for sharing it Alan. Please feel free and safe in the knowledge that you have my blessing : 0 ) x

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  9. I just enjoy reading your posts and I wish you a safe and happy journey. Take Care!

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  10. Reading about all of your adventures has been wonderful. A hot air balloon ride sounds absolutely wonderful and thank you for the link to the underground city. I hadn't ever heard that such a thing existed on that scale.

    Looking forward to reading and listening to more of your adventure. Stay safe!

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  11. You are Wonder Woman! I don't think I am brave enough to do what you are doing. Reading each post with great anticipation to see what you've been up to. Ride safe!

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  12. Where is CRF Steph? It is on Balloon:-),

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  13. Hey! Wonder woman you are. Take care. See u in Gurgaon.

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  14. ... hey Steph, great blog, great journey. If you make it to Zimbabwe, let me know - you're welcome to come and stay.

    Oh - Careful you don't see a tunnel at the end of all these lights... great band, great song. Ride safe and stay well.

    R

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