I’d finally come to accept the assistance of public transport and on the advice of another cyclist, I put the bike on a bus and skipped the leg from Çanakkale to Izmir. I particularly hate cycling fully loaded in big cities, the bike is so bulky, slow to speed up and impossibly slow to stop and god help anyone who accidentally steps in front of you without looking. Luckily there’s a brilliant cycle lane along the coastline in Izmir and once I met up with that, I could follow it almost all the way to my friend’s house. Leaving Izmir however, was another battle. First the steep hills, then the sprawling city and hectic roads, after some hours I found the quiet back roads to make my way towards the coastline.
I was really looking forward to some secluded beachside camping. Typically I failed pretty badly at finding these secluded beachside camping spots. Mostly because by late afternoon I was too tired to scout out a nice secluded camping spot and because the secluded coves are at the bottom of steep, slippery paths which I couldn’t be bothered to drag my bike up and down. On my first night out of Izmir I did manage to find a peaceful camping spot though, no beach but with views across the water to Kuşadası. I was disturbed by pigs just on nightfall, but by this point I was becoming an old hand at shooing away pigs so they didn’t bother me too much. I was also awakened the following morning by the familiar sound of shepherd dogs barking at my tent and sheep grazing unperturbed. I waited for some distinctive human sounds, so I could pop my head out and get the shepherd to call the dogs away, but I heard no one. I realised these dogs must be left to roam with the sheep unsupervised, which created a problem for me. As long as the sheep stayed, the dogs would stay and there was no chance of leaving my tent with the dogs nearby. I had no choice but to wait for the dogs and sheep to move on. It felt like a lifetime but thankfully the pasture was pretty sparse so the jingling from the sheeps’ bells eventually went quiet and I was able to speedily pack and leave.
I made it to Selçuk that day for some sightseeing time, or rather people watching the instagrammers at ancient historical sites. The hilarity was seeing a fellow ‘grubby traveller’ in amongst the sequined ball gowns just sitting quietly, taking in the site while the girls flounced from photo point to photo point. I decided Pamukkale was worth a visit, but didn’t want to detour several days on the bike. Instead I got sucked into joining a cheap day trip, which en route stopped at a ‘traditional’ jewelry shop (tourist trap) and included a gourmet lunch (disgusting buffet with added flies). All this plus the tour guide ranting about how bad the Syrian refugees are and that Australian’s killed his relatives in WW1, quickly reminded me why I hated tours. In hindsight I probably should have put the bike on the bus part of the way and cycled the rest, but I did still enjoy seeing Pamukkale.
After my little historical stop I was back on the bike ready to enjoy the Turkish Mediterranean coastline by bike (check out my route through Turkey).
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