On Christmas day I was back on the bike again after a not very traditional Christmas Eve. But since they are not celebrating it here I never got into the Christmas spirit, I only saw the occasional Santa Claus in some stores other than that it felt like any other day. But it was very nice to sit down and skype with my family in the middle of their Christmas celebrations. I haven’t been home sick before but this day when family come together and have a big feast I do wish I was back home eating a great Christmas dinner with loved ones
After a few rainy days Christmas-day morning had blue skies, and even if it weren’t that warm at least I wasn’t wet. And after a nice Turkish breakfast at the guesthouse where I was the only guest I started the day with a little climb and was soon warm. After turning south in Söke I had a long straight road ahead of me, and with the wind in my back and music in my ears I was speeding down the road. But eventually the flat straight road ended and it was back up the hills again. And for some reason they don’t like making the nice winding roads up the hills, most roads are very straight up and down and not that nice to cycle up on. The only good thing about it is that it’s a lot of fun going fast downhill. So as of now my new speed record reads 73.6 km/h.
The first day on the bike after my Christmas break ended up being a long one. I reached Milas after about 110 km and was thinking about finding a cheap hotel because I was a bit hesitant camping since I still hadn’t gotten rid of my cold. But after passing through the town and with the weather still being pretty good I decided to go for a night in the tent after all. I turned in to a little village just after Milas to ask the people there for a place to set up the tent. After asking the people I met there no one had a place for me or didn’t understand my attempt on explaining myself in Turkish. But I found a decent place among the olive trees on a little hill just outside of the village and slept in my tent for the first time since before arriving to Athens. It was nice to be back “home” and even though the nights are starting to be a little cold I manage to stay warm in my tent.
The next day started with a long and boring road uphill, I was averaging 6 km/h for more than an hour. I was struggling uphill most of the day with the occasional downhill. Tonight I had an invitation from a guy outside of Mugla, so the thought of a warm shower kept me going. I met up with Veli outside the university where he studied and stopped there for dinner before riding our bikes to his home. The next morning we slept a little too long so Veli and his roommate had to hurry up to make it to class in time. I packed my bike and had my breakfast in the little town center where a nice man gave me some Turkish tea. My host knew a man running a bike shop in a town on my way and suggested I swing by there on my way. To Köycegiz I only had about 50 km so it was nice to take it a little slower today and stop there for the night. The beginning of the day was mostly downhill and the last bit down to the sea was a great nine kilometer winding road.
When arriving in Köycegiz I quickly found the little bike shop and introduced myself to Tarkan the owner and explain that I had stayed with his friend the night before. I sat down with him and some other men for some çay that they were making on a nice little stove by the road. He made a call to someone who had a campsite there and said it was ok for me to stay there for the night. The location of the campsite was very nice right by the beautiful Köycegiz Lake. But the campsite was another story, it was run down and if it was just closed for the season they had a lot of work ahead of them to make it nice for the summer. But for me it was fine and after walking around there looking for the best place for the tent I noticed some small cottages on the ground. Most of them were locked and the once that weren’t locked was very dirty and smashed up inside. But I was lucky to find one open that had a bed with a mattress inside where I could also fit my bicycle. In the morning I had a very nice breakfast at the bike shop with Tarkan and some other people before getting on the bike for a ride to Fethiye.
The day started with a little rain that intensified and the fog was so bad that at times I could only see 50 meters in front of me. When the rain was at its worst I stopped to seek protection by the side of the road. When I stopped a man in a little house waved me in and I sat down with three old men who were having some drinks in the middle of the day. They were very friendly and one of them spoke a little English. He made me some lunch and one of the men was playing his Ney flute. The rain never stopped but I only had about 20 km left to Fethiye so I got back on the road for the last bit through the rain.
I had looked up a cheap hotel and got there soaking wet. But when they didn’t have Wi-Fi and with no other guests at the hotel they gave me an offer from there other hotel that was a bit more expensive but very nice. I decided to treat me self to a little luxury and stay there over the New Year and since it looked on the forecast like it was going to rain for a few days it felt like a good idea. The contrast from my previous night in the run down little cottage on the camp ground to this nice hotel was big and I feel a little out of place in a hotel like this. But Turkey isn’t very expensive so I can stay in a nice hotel and eat at a restaurant here for the same price as a campsite and lunch back home in Sweden.
The start of the next year looks like it’s going to bring some warmer weather and a stop of the rain that has been going on for a couple of days now. So from here I will be continuing along the cost towards Antalya.