I woke up in my tent close to Kocagöl, after a cold night. Being back in the elements felt rough, after all the comforts Istanbul had provided. For some reason I felt incredibly cold during the night, even though the temperature read 12 degree, with a windchill temperature of 9 degree. During this journey I had already encountered temperatures as low as 3 degree at night, hence I was confused about feeling cold. This was a warning to prepare myself for actual winter – for snow and ice, as Kayseri was already having temperatures below zero. I was thinking back, back to summer days, when I was sitting at a lake in Italy, cooking lunch, wearing a crop top and shorts – oh how I miss those days. It is a shame, that I will not experience Türkiye during warmer days, however it is safe to say, this will not be the last time, I am in Türkiye.
It was windy, hence I decided to cook breakfast keeping the tent shut. Afterwards the chores: packing and loading the bike. For the first time on my journey, I started cycling in long pants – winter had arrived. It was difficult to decide, what to wear while riding, it was a fine line between being warm and being hot. Arriving in the next biggest town, I went to the supermarket to stock up on groceries and water. When I came back to my bike, it was raining. I nibbled on some bread, dates and almonds before putting my rain gear on. The clouds were hanging low over the mountains surrounding the town. I was unsure if it was a good idea to head up into the mountains, but I had no other choice. When I studied the map, I noticed that there will be villages throughout my route. ‚If I get into a rough patch I stop at a village and ask for help’, I thought. Then I continued towards the mountains. The road was patchy, which made riding more challenging and tiring. Finding a flow, seemed impossible today, as I continuously needed to stop to put layers on or take layers off. Eventually I was ascending in full rain gear up the mountain. The clouds were hanging low and the fog was exceptionally thick – I could hardly see ahead. I barely met a single soul riding along this extremely remote road. After having had a break from riding, I felt nervous riding such a remote road in these terrible weather conditions. What if there is a problem with my bike? Since having exchanged my tyres, I felt blessed though, as I finally was not battling punctures daily. Hence I felt more confident riding in remote areas. Suddenly I was facing two huge barking dogs – ‘gooood boy, goood boy’, I said with a kind voice, clenching the brakes. The huge fierce dogs, started wagging their tales and ran towards me. Luckily their tales signalised: they want attention and love. After a cuddle, I tried to say my farewells and carry on. The dogs however, kept me company and ended up running besides me for kilometres. It warmed my heart and I enjoyed the company thoroughly. Eventually I came across three guys with riffles – hunters I was hoping.
When the rain increased to a pouring my mood declined. My mind was weak, longing for comfort and warmth. Instead I was fighting myself up the mountain in the pouring rain and cold. Additionally to that my lowest gear would not work, therefor ascending was more exhausting than usual. I could feel the wet clothes against my skin, wet from sweat beneath my raincoat. I was aware that I could not camp tonight, as I was already on the verge of getting sick. When I finally left the ascend of the day behind, I was descending down to a lake. The landscape was picturesque and in warmer or dry weather, it would have offered countless mesmerising spots for camping. At around 4pm I was soaked and my soul was crying for a warm space and a cup of cay – tea. Hence I cycled to the next village, in the hope, it had a tea house. When I found the tea house in the village, I entered with my rain gear covered in mud. ‘Merhaba’, I said to the men looking at me with curious eyes, one said ‚welcome‘ and offered me a chair and cay. I set next to the oven, in my wet clothes. Eventually I managed to get out of my clothes and change into something dry. With the help of google translate, I asked the owner for a place to sleep. He said he had something for me. Suddenly he brought me a tray with olives, fried cheese, bread and cay. I smiled gratefully and thanked him. Then another man put a bag next to me, ‚afiyet olsun‘, he said. Enjoy your meal. More olives, bread and cheese – Teşekkürler. Then the owner pointed me to follow him, to show me where I could sleep. He led me to a room across the tea house. There were two beds. I hesitated and asked, if he is staying there as well, as this thought made me feel uncomfortable. I was relieved, when he added, that he will sleep in his house. So I took his offer thankfully.
So long – güle güle from Araovacik!
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