An unforeseen break day in Pertek provided our bikes with their due maintenance and we were able to write another blog entry.

Last time we reported from Göreme. There we watched the balloons at sunrise and later had lunch in the village canteen. During the hottest part of the day we were at the hotel arranging a new shipment of materials for Georgia, researching the onward journey and working on the blog.

During the evening hours we visited various valleys with their rock formations and rock churches, for which the area is world famous. While exploring the Rose Valley, a young Turk followed us practically without a word. Later, a stray dog joined the party. David led our quartet confidently through the beautiful landscape and reacted just as confidently when our two-legged companion disposed of his empty water bottle in the countryside: “Did you just throw away your bottle? Yes, of course, it was empty and there is no waste bin here… Please take it with you, David asked politely. Reluctantly, the young man looked for a place in his pocket and carried the bottle to the nearest dumpster. In an unobserved minute, he threw the bottle cap away… perhaps it was too heavy? Such waste stories happen to us every day. The hospitality and kindness of the people contrasts with their careless waste disposal. Ironically, “Güsel” (=”Trash” in Swiss German) means “beautiful” in Turkish… 🙂

Aktiviere Karte Deaktiviere Karte

After our stay in Göreme we were glad to leave the very dusty place (all streets in the village are being repaved at the moment). Until reaching our next highlight, Mount Nemrut National Park, we were on the road for five days. Having stayed comfortably in Göreme, we had some motivational problems on the ride through the barren and not very scenic landscape. On some days tea houses, gas stations and the small markets were our glimpses of light on the horizon.

Around the countryside of the apricot region Malatya the journey became more exciting again. On the side of the road and on the rooftops we saw apricots laid out for drying. During a tea stop we were allowed to see how the apricots are processed from close distance. The whole fruits pre-dry in the sun so that later the stone can be pressed out by hand. If you pay attention while eating dried apricots, you will be able to understand the process. The stones are not discarded, but are cracked open and the almond-like seed can be eaten.

If you are interested in the (political) background of the Malatya region, we can highly recommend the program International “Turkey: Erdogan and the Apricot City” by Radio SRF (in German).

From Malatya the Mount Nemrut National Park can be reached by a 100km dead end road with 3000Hm. We managed the first two passes by bike and stayed overnight at a motel in front of the main climb. The last 1000Hm we could shorten with a autostop. Mount Nemrut is the tomb of King “Antiochus I Epiphanes”. To protect him from tomb robbers, he had his tomb covered with a 50m high gravel pyramid. On the eastern and western terraces there are figures with 2m high heads: Antiochus, four Persian-Greek deities and two lions and two eagles. The figures were overturned and their noses were cut off for desecration. It was not until 1881 that the tomb was “rediscovered” and probably no one has been able to penetrate into the burial chamber until today. The site is very impressive and the view from the mountain is phenomenal… but also very remote.

Two more cycling days led us to Pertek. After crossing the water reservoir by ferry, we asked at the nearby sports center for a place to camp for the night. The welcome was so warm that we gladly accepted the invitation for a rest day. Thanks to our dear host and his colleagues, we feel like at home here and are allowed to use the infrastructure including the pool. We were even invited to a boat trip 🙂

Tomorrow we want to leave early towards the northeast to gain altitude as fast as possible. Here at 800m.a.s.l. it is in the afternoon over 38°C hot in the shade, on the road the thermometer rises fast over 45°C. From tomorrow on we will be back above 1500m.a.s.l. and thus at cooler temperatures.