I woke up on a heated blanket in a room in Araovacik. Due to drinking too much cay the night before, while chatting to locals, with the help of google translate, my night had been cut short. After waking up slowly, I went over to the tea house. Here the owner’s son greeted me with a cup of cay. I prepared my breakfast under the eyes of the locals. Afterwards it was time to load the bike, show my gratitude to my dear host and start cycling. A long day in the mountains was lying ahead of me. My bike and my rain gear had been completely saturated in mud, the day before. Unfortunately once again the clouds were hanging low and the minute I started cycling there was light but continuous rainfall. Nevertheless I felt optimistic and energetic. My legs felt much stronger, than the day before, as well as my mind. Maybe it was the thought of reaching the coast until sunset. But before I had to climb a mountain. The first kilometres led me through green rolling hills, covered in pine forest and small raw villages. I tried to imagine the life, that people lead in those villages, they conveyed the feeling of travelling back in time. I remembered dreaming of a hot shower last night – would these houses have a hot shower?
This route was truely remarkable, it led me through the remote pristine countryside, far from traffic. Just in time for ascending up the mountain it started to downpour. I was pushing the pedals, counting up all the mountains I had cycled on this journey. The ascend was not as steep, as I had assumed, which I was grateful for. The road led through a seemingly untouched pine forest. Higher and higher was I ascending with my loaded bike, rain pouring on my face. ‘You’re doing good Madeline, keep on pushing’. The surface of the road was rough and not easy to ride. Soon thick fog immersed mountains and trees into an eerie atmosphere.
Due to the rain I did not have my phone, and with it my navy, mounted on the handlebar, but in one of my bags. When I was curious, how much longer the ascend was, I noticed with excitement, that there was only about 500metres climbing left.
Shortly after, I was descending through green hills covered in pine trees, until I came to an opening, overlooking green mountains and olive orchards. And there – was this the sea at the horizon? Light hearted was I descending further and further, surrounded by olive orchards. I was watching locals harvesting olives. When I arrived in a town called Havran, I scoffed down some bread, to have enough energy to make it to the coast.
Looking at the horizon, the sky was glowing where the coast was located, as if a treasure was waiting for me at the coast. While cycling towards the coast, people were looking at me in disbelief – my bike and me were saturated in mud – I guess it was not raining at the coast, I thought.
When finally reaching the coast, I was looking for a room, as I felt like a ‘wet dog’ – wet and cold. My soul was longing for a hot shower, additionally I was worried about getting sick. To my surprise the guesthouses were so pricey, that I decided to wild camp instead. The shower had to wait. Instead I eyed out a grassy spot on the beach, here I wanted to set up my tent in darkness. First however I cooked dinner on the steps of a deserted hotel. These are the moments, when bike packing can convey the feeling of homelessness, the feeling of living on the road, cooking on the side of the street. While preparing dinner, I suddenly realised, my phone was missing. It was past sunset and almost dark, in panic I started running back to the beach, investigating all the places I had been, praying to the universe – and there it was, lying on the ground – thank you universe!
At ease I returned to cooking and eating dinner. Until after darkness I set up my tent at the beach and soon after was overcome by exhaustion.
So long – farewell from Bahçelievler!