Gozleme Garden (Tekmen) to Kizkalesi
Distance: 20 km
Time elapsed: 1:17:00
Average speed: 15.3 km/ hr
Max speed: 57.3 km/ hr
Temp: 37 C
Weather: Not too hot, lots of wind
Is that rain? No, just Şeride (mom at the gozleme garden) watering the plants.
In fact I'm not sure it rained at all last night. Chris heard it too but our uncovered bikes show no signs of dampness. Odd.
No bugs allowed!
After sharing a big table full of breakfast morsels (think a dozen small plates full of olives, tomatoes, fig jam, egg, etc., eaten bit by bit family style), Chris took the family's drill and began creating a lantern gourd. So easy! The whole family was excited by this project; Mustafa (father) especially watched with keen interest. I wonder if we can return to visit them in a few years, and will find out he's begun a lantern shop? He does have all the resources...
Yemek time with the Buci family!
Eventually we did have to say goodbye (Mustafa was genuinely sad, telling us no, we should stay 2 more night with them). Believe me I would love to, but sometimes we just have to push on...
Chris made a quick lantern (Get ready Gjiro! Their coming your way!)
Through a few more towns along the coast, pausing briefly at a beach park hoping to find showers (no luck, we are stinky today), and even past some sort of (perhaps wedding?) party. I regret not stopping to find out what the huge crowds (one large group of women then a few meters away a large group of men) were up to. It looked like they were eating a meal or something-- wedding is our guess since there are no specific holidays today. Some people even haydi'd us over, but in the moment we didn't really wish to stop, wanting to just finally get somewhere today. Now I wish we had (ahh! It's the journey not the destination!)-- probably would have met great people and ended up staying the night with them. ;)
Oh shady beach, do you have a shower for me?
Love that sea!
Well we didn't (grrr), instead tackling a very steep hill (mostly walking) under an intense sun. After about 25 km of this fun (journey right?) I threw in the towel, and we instantly caught a lift with a pair of trucks. The guys tossed our bikes over a pile of plastic bags (oh the irony) and we hopped up front with the driver, Ibrahim. They agreed to drop us in Kizkalesi, en route to their destination of Mersin. Great! Thankfully they did pick us up because the highway turned into a dusty construction zone that would have been impossible to ride on for most of the way.
İts the journey, its the journey...
Probably not the safest way to travel
Some hours later they unloaded our bikes next to the Kizkalesi castle, adjacent to the highway. This time we gave gule gules (because we were staying and they were going), then biked back through the town and onto the boardwalk. From the far pier is a great view of the picturesque Maiden's Castle, a fortress out on the water, some 300 meters offshore.
Legend says a prophet told the king his daughter would be killed by a snake, so he built her a special, impossible to reach castle in hopes of saving her life. Years later a snake, hidden in the princess' food basket, slithered out and fatally bit her. No escaping destiny... I am quite sure I've heard that same legend before (if you have too let me know).
I got your jeviz here...!
The crowded beach is lined by various hotel options, restaurants, and doner kebaberies. It didn't feel like a European enclave, but we didn't stick around long enough to really find out. We grabbed some mercimek çorba from a quiet place off the main road, then stopped at a bustling kebab joint for Chris to eat tantuni, the lamb skewer famous from nearby Mersin. He swears it tastes identical to carne asada, though we are positive it can't be pork!
Tantuni, Mersin's claim to Turkish culinary fame
Tonight turned out be to a full moon- the bright yellow orb rose magestically over Kizkalesi's castle, reflecting off the sea below. I bet it looked great from the pier near Maiden's Castle! That's another awesome photo opp missed today, which bums me out considerably. :(
Slightly disheartened, we pedaled out of town, a few coves over to find a place to camp. Fell asleep to a live Turkish singer, serenading hotel guests across the bay.