Diesmal nur auf Englisch, sorry. Deutsch in wenigen Tagen!Sometimes I think it'll get boring but it never does. I slept badly in the guest house as some other guests were noisy. Because I didn't really exercise that day when I fixed my bike I wasn't really tired and got up at 5.30am. I found I had a puncture in my front wheel. Puncture #5. Great start of the 50th day of the trip. It seemed weird and I suspect that someone might have pinched it with a needle. I parked it in the main foyer.
I was happy to leave Aksaray behind and cycling out of town I felt bad and then realized that all my Spotify playlists had disappeared from my phone, disaster. (I have now recovered them).
Anyways the day was only gonna get better as I was headed for the beautiful Cappadocia region and a nice tailwind was forecasted.
I wanted to get as close as possible to Erciyes, my next peak.
I was struggling to find good food (fruits and vegetables) and was delighted to pass a small village with a market where I stocked up.
I have also been invited by some gentlemen to drink tea which I happily accepted.
I passed a lot of magnificent rock cliffs and the views were spectacular. Thousands of caves have been carved into the rocks, really cool.
A nice tailwind helped to make good progress and I soon could see mount Erciyes, the highest mountain of Central Anatolia (3917m).
The weather forecast was bad and climbing it seemed out of the question. It was covered in big clouds as I came closer.
After two nights in the guest house in Aksaray I wanted to camp outside again. There were lots of strong thunderstorms and I was relieved to find a park with little huts a few kilometres up the pass to the Erciyes ski area. As night fell more and more people came to the park. Apparently it's were the young people hang out. Soon some of them found me, a group of 6, maybe 18 years old. I was tired and wanted to sleep but the kids were hanging around. We didn't have a common language but they wanted to hang out and I think they offered me some cocaine. I declined and eventually they left me alone. They were friendly but still I felt a bit uneasy. I didn't have anywhere else to go. It was dark and raining. I didn't want to leave the shelter.
I got up early as I still had to cycle up the pass: 15km and 700hm. It's pretty tough first thing in the morning.
Although the sun was shining it didn't seem possible to climb to the summit of Erciyes. Strong winds, high chance of avalanches; I decided to take it easy and go for a hike in the mountains. I was delighted to see that a gondola in the ski area was operating. There were 5 guys in the gondola station and I have been invited to an awesome breakfast. Afterwards they let me use the gondola for free and I could leave my stuff with them.
The hike was splendid but the wind was incredible. I went to about 2900m. The 3000m would've been nice but the gusts were unbearable. I called it a day and decided to make use of the tail wind to carry me further east towards my next destination: Dogubayazit at Mount Ararat, 5137m, highest mountain of Turkey.
From Erciyes to Dogubayazit it is a distance of 925km. I don't think a lot of tourists go this way. Adventure lay ahead of me. I passed Kayseri, the transport hub for touristic Cappadocia and got lunch at Burger King and Starbucks.
I cycled another 100km and stayed the night in an empty building. This is working out great.
The conditions were perfect the next day, maybe I could cycle 200km?
It was going well and I had 100km at 11am.
Unfortunately a spoke in my back wheel broke and I decided to get it fixed. I found the dirtiest and most chaotic bike shop in Sivas. It took about 1 hour: The guy was welding his tools together to take my wheel apart but eventually it was fine and the guy did a great job. It took another hour eating and drinking tea (I was invited). They wouldn't take no for answer but I enjoyed the food and company. At 2pm I finally got going and immediately noticed a slow puncture. Not surprised, the garage was so dirty. Some dirt must've come into the tyre pinching the tube. I cycled away from the shop, fixing it a few hundred meters later by myself. I set a new record: Changing the tube in 21 minutes, from stopping to getting going again. Most time is lost for loading and unloading the bike.
The wind was still strong and I got to 180km by 6pm.
A storm was coming and I was looking for shelter on a construction site. I was surprised to find about 20 workers here and they were all friendly. Communication was difficult, mostly using Google translate which isn't all that great. I have been given food and they offered me a place to sleep. I also got my clothes washed and offered to wash myself. I didn't know what was going on and we drove by car to: A HAMAM! Awesome (I was relieved that this one didn't have a hot pool).
This turned out really well. We drank çay (Turkish tea) until 11pm and I went to bed tired and exhausted.
It was good to get a great rest. Today will be very hilly and I need good legs.
Thanks for reading, Martin