Just like yesterday I had a morning visitor as I was packing up camp. This time it was a shepherd: a man in his forties riding a donkey alongside his 200-odd sheep and two big white dogs. When he reached me he attempted to find somewhere to stick the stake that was attached to the donkey with a rope. The ground was too hard so he gave up, letting the donkey wander free. Obviously his curiosity to chat with me outweighed the effort required to catch up with his donkey later. Once he realised he couldn’t really have a conversation with me, he quietened down and seemed happy watching my morning routine. Halfway through, he walked a lap around his sheep to push them closer together. He stayed with me until I was prepped, stretches complete and ready to ride. We said goodbye. I began pushing my bike the kilometre back to the main road and he wandered off to find his donkey.
Thirty kilometres later and I was called to a stop at a police barricade. I have passed several so far in Turkey (in place to allow a quick road closure if required) but this was the first time I’ve been made to stop. I could tell from the beginning though that it was just because the police were curious. The guy who waved me down had really good English. He said ‘I want to ask you about your journey’, directing me to the side as he finished checking the boot of a car.
I was given a seat at a table covered in the day’s newspapers, one with a completed crossword. As I chatted I was brought a packed meal, one cop even deshelling a boiled egg for me. I enjoyed an egg and cheese wrap, olives, juice, bread and honey. Several tomatoes, cucumbers and juice were packed up for me to take away. The surprise meal fuelled me for another thirty kilometres. Lunch number two was a tomato wrap, apple and juice. As I was eating and casting my eyes over my bike, I was dismayed to see my rear tyre was flat. The culprit? A tiny piece of metal wire.
Back on the road I began to tire fairly quickly. After about 20km I came across a stream and decided to use it to fill up a bottle for drinking, and to wash my body-wash-cloth and some dirty underwear. It will be a lack of clean underwear that will force me to seek accommodation, so now I can continue camping a bit longer. It was about 3.10pm when I stopped here, just short of my 4pm deadline. I decided I would follow the stream around the corner and see if there was a good spot to camp. There was. I decided to stay – my body was tired and the extra time would allow me to do some camp-routine filming. While washing more clothes in the creek, I was befriended by a shepherd boy around 15 years old. He let his sheep go on ahead and hung out with me as I prepared dinner. It’s now 7pm. Time to read for a little, then sleep.
|Distance ridden today||83.09km|
|Average cycling speed||18.2kph|
|Total distance ridden||24,922km|