It’s hard to believe that less than a week ago we were stuck in a muddy field with rain pouring out of the sky and now, just a couple hundred kilometers away in Antalya, the heat is sweltering. We are hard to please when it comes to the weather! Somewhere between 15°C and 25°C please, partly sunny but with some clouds to give a bit of shade and a nice tailwind if you don’t mind. The highs at the moment are hitting close to 30°C so with a hot day ahead we made an extra effort to get on the road early, making sure we had our bags packed and were ready to be first in line for breakfast.
As we came down the stairs, we soon felt pretty silly about all our eager packing. The clocks went back overnight and we forgot all about the time change so there we were in the lobby with plenty of time to spare before we could eat and get going. Our time was soon filled by a French man (also staying the hotel while he completes a move to Antalya) who had just bought a bike and wanted us to help with a few adjustments. Gilles was very proud of his new purchase and we couldn’t quite find it in our hearts to tell him that his bicycle was one of the poorest quality we have seen in some time. Not only were all the components flimsy, the brake pads were touching the wheel and installed upside down and whoever sold it to him had given him a bike several sizes too small for his height. The shiny gold frame and bouncy suspension seat seemed to keep him happy though and Gilles rode off exuberantly after we fixed his brakes so the wheel could actually run freely.
Breakfast polished off – we do know how to devastate a buffet table after a year on the road – we headed out to explore the coastline west of Antalya. The first few hours of riding were unremarkable. Aside from some towering mountains to our right we saw little of the water, the road was quite busy and the towns were filled with resorts. Our real joy of the day came from stopping at numerous little corner stores for ayran, a refreshing drink of plain yogurt, water and salt. Just the thing to keep your energy up and body strong during hot weather.
About 50km out of the city the scenery started to change into pine forests, giving us some refreshing patches of shade, welcome relief from the heat. We were making good time and then a couple killer hills finished off the last of our energy and turned our legs to jelly so we found a field just back from the road to pitch our tent in.
The field was used for bee keeping but we set our tent far away from the hives, admiring them from a distance. We have seen a number of bee hives set back from the road and several stalls selling honey. With the time change, darkness set in by 5:30pm so we are now returning to our winter hibernation sleep patterns, making up for any lost dreaming hours during the long summer nights! Who knows what time we’ll be falling asleep when we get to Iran and lose another 90 minutes from the clock.