I woke up in my dorm in the hostel in Göreme. I was confused when I woke up, it was already close to 9am, normally I naturally wake up with sunrise. The darkness of the cave hostel must have confused my body clock. After breakfast and many cups of cay, I went back to the dorm, to pack my belongings. My father had informed me, that he was back from Mersin, back in Kayseri and I was certain: I want to cycle to Kayseri today! Soon it was time to say my farewells to my dear travel companions, Marcel and Frazer. After one last cup of cay together, it was time to part ways.
On the road again, alone again. I often feel like a lone wolf on this journey – loving the loneliness, and sometimes dreading the loneliness, not belonging anywhere, not belonging to anyone. Your travelling alone – alone by bike? Yes I am.
Cycling through the streets of Göreme I said my goodbyes and showed my gratitude towards Cappadocia, with all its unique and mesmerising rock formations. Then it was time to face the cold again. Soon my forehead was bitterly cold, hence I needed to stop to put my balaclava on.
On the main road I was cycling towards Kayseri. Green rolling hills, covered in patches of snow and frost were decorating the scene. Eagerly I was pushing the pedals, passing street signs directing me to Kayseri. While taking a photo, a van stopped next to me. The driver then offered me a lift to Kayseri, which I politely declined. He continued telling me multiple times about a steep hill in about 10km, with broken Turkish I tried to tell him: I am happy to ride. He then went back to his van and returned with two pieces of cake – Tesekkürler, I said and smiled.
Then I continued on the road towards Kayseri. 27km before Kayseri, I stopped for corba and ekmek – soup and bread. Followed by cay and the cake, the driver had kindly gifted me. With my batteries recharged, I headed towards Kayseri. When reaching Kayseri, I was on the lookout for the city sign “Kayseri”, as I always had imagined this moment as a celebratory moment. Unfortunately I must have missed it, so I shrugged my shoulders and cycled deeper and deeper into the centre of the city.
Until reaching Kayseri I was unsure, how events will take place from here on. Will I see my father today or tomorrow. Will I sleep at Sude’s place, Mustafa’s daughter or will I sleep at my father’s place. Overwhelmed by all these decisions and thoughts, I only knew one thing – I want to cycle to his place, I want to arrive there by bike. So suddenly I was cycling towards his place. When I arrived downstairs at the apartment block, I was unsure how to feel. I tried to gather my thoughts and almost left again. Then I texted him- ‘ I think I have arrived at your place’. For a while I did not receive a response, which made me even more nervous. Then he called me – and said he would come downstairs. Suddenly I felt incredibly shy. I turnt my back towards the apartment block, I looked away, I didn’t dare to look. Then I could hear him walking towards me, he stopped at the gate and said ‘Hallo’. Deep breaths, deep breaths. Unsure what to do, I turnt around, looked at him and walked towards him. He took my hand and hugged me: ‘ how brave are you?where did you get that from?’. We chatted and brought the bike inside. Then we went upstairs, where I got to know his mum – my grandma. We chatted about my journey and life. While talking, I was watching him with big curious eyes: was watching his nose, his hair, his hands, his eyes… the list goes on.
Later on he cooked a Jogurt soup for us, followed by traditional Turkish sweets. After dinner we chatted about the past. I was impressed by myself for not feeling resentful. Even though the past was not forgotten, I enjoyed being in the present, finally meeting my father, the second half of my dna. Finally seeing where my looks come from. Finally ending all the question marks in my head about his identity. Simultaneously however, I was aware, that I will leave this place, not having all the answers. For now I just knew – I am half Turkish and this is my very own Turkish experience. My own Turkish family.
I decided to stay at his place, I decided to immerse myself completely in this experience. 4,5 months I have cycled towards this day, cycled towards this moment. Now it has come. No matter if I was ready or not – I am where I am meant to be.
So long – hoscakal from Kayseri!
If you have followed along this journey until this day, feel free to say hi! Tesekkürler to each and everyone of you!
If you would like to thank me for all the hours and effort I put towards this blog or you want to reward me for reaching Kayseri, you can do this through my gofundme account. I am happy about any little support! https://gofund.me/7703846c Tesekkürler!
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