Having an internet connection for the first time in a few days, we’re sitting over our maps and time table and figure we’re getting more behind our schedule than we thought. Our plans for Turkey are far too optimistic so we decide to skip our detour to Capadocia and head straight east on the D.100 highway which leads through the whole country directly to the Iranian border.
After leaving the highway to Ankara, traffic gets lighter again and people start to become more curious about us and the bikes – ultimately, we get our first invitation for tea at a gas station. The owner speaks only a few words of English so our topics revolve mainly about our travel plans, German football players and a few Turkish phrases, most of which we forget right away. On the way further east we stop in a small town to get our daily shopping done – pasta, regional vegetables and some spicy tomato sauce has been our standard dish for the last evenings (on which Chris constantly improves). As camping sites suddenly disappear, we camp on top of a mountain next to a skiing lift and the other day on a field next to a small river. A few people pass by on both evenings and nobody cares about us camping freely – the only thing we hear is a ‘Merhaba’ here and a ‘Salim’ there. Not thinkable in Central Europe.
As we’ve been left without an internet connection for a few days and really want to publish a blog post, the plan is to find a quiet internet cafe where we can get a few things done. We stop at the center of a smaller city called Susheri and ask a random bystander where we can find some Wifi – Alex gets directed to a backyard where he indeed finds an internet cafe with a guy barely speaking any English. With the help of a piece of paper and a few drawings he manages to communicate our demand and gets back down to the bikes to fetch the notebook. A crowd of people, mostly kids, have quickly gathered around Chris and the bikes and a younger man named Ali was called in to help with the language. He gets back with Alex to the cafe, invites for a coke and leaves him there with his faith. Getting work done is challenging as of the heat, the comparably slow internet connection and the kids surrounding him asking for facebook adds, sharing drinks and trying out their English skills. The attraction we cause is somewhat surprising for us as we didn’t experience it to that account before, but everyone treats us exceptionally friendly and helpful. Only when people hear about our plans to visit Iran we’re warned of terrorists there or even the PKK on the way through Turkey. For the moment, as the weather is getting stormy and it starts looking like rain, we’re even more in a hurry to find a spot for camping.