The scenery is beginning to change....
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Where I stayed
This morning w got a few snaps to remember passing through and it all began to wear a bit thin. The friendly people started getting a little irritating. They’re clearly after something all the time and their hopelessly unsophisticated attempts to appeal to our western mentality was just grating after the novelty of the first few.
A girl today started trying to engage us in conversation after we parked on her tourist attraction
Talking of which there were two toilets this morning but someone seemed to have moved into one of them. The Turkish practice of leaving food in tepid metal cans all day and then serving had made my stomach feel slightly unsettled and there was no waiting for the troubled individual in the normal, Western toilet so I had to make do with the other one. To call it a toilet was a compliment, it’s a hole in the ground, incapable of flushing or accepting toilet paper. The easiest thing in the world in this position is to shit in your own underpants but I avoided soiling myself and mostly hit the target, rather proud of myself that I had succeeded on my first attempt. Marcin came back from the shower and told me someone with real power had been using the toilet. I admitted it was me. When we packed the bike I sniffed the air and there was a foul, sickly aroma wafting around the entire hotel lobby. He grinned and said, "it was me
So after a number of encounters with various Turkish people who were offering every imaginable favour as a special gift and the constant rush-hour traffic that lasts all day we finally got on the road out of there. We headed for a major bridge, Marcin was very keen to get on it. I was a bit disappointed because it was just a bridge. A big bridge but just a bridge. So it took us close to 40 miles to get out of the city sprawl. Istanbul is just that massive and seems to reach on forever. A city of 14 million people of whom roughly half own or work in the mindless, endless mostly identical cafes that all have the same food at the same price and the rest just drive around, bumper to bumper until they crash into something. The wind was still fairly strong and I was buffeted a lot although Marcin seemed fine.
We stopped to gas up and have some lunch at a petrol station on the motorway. The station was the biggest I have ever seen with a mall literally attached to the petrol station. It had half a dozen restaurants, shops, cafes and bars. Just utterly ridiculous. The toilets were even more so. The urinals had TV screens above each one and everything was so clean you’d honestly think you were in a first world country. The food was expensive and second rate
For whatever reason the weather seemed to improve. The wind died down so I could comfortably add a few extra miles per hour and the trip was far more comfortable. Even though it was warmer than we’re used to it was still cold to ride in it. The wind blasting over us and the slight humidity means we’re effectively experiencing the same conditions as the inside of a fridge and for those that want to know it does appear that the light stays on. Soon after that the terrain changed. Even though we were on a motorway the scenery went from banal to spectacular. Green hills took hold of the horizons and rolled into infinity around us and then the mountains lumbered out way. The ground flattened out into a barren rocky wasteland peppered with yellow bushes and stretches of water glistened a deep blue under a perfect, cloudless sky. The ride was everything you could ask of a road trip today.
Somehow Marcin lost a catch on his helmet but my handy box of spares put us right
We reached Ankara after duelling with several coach divers who drive with their accelerator buried in the carpet in all conditions and several myopic and stupid drivers who shouldn’t be allowed to walk on their own let alone take control of a car. To say the driving mentality here is unsophisticated is like saying Marcin smells a bit when he farts.
Our GPS took us to the heart of the town. Anatomically it looked like an organ lower down in the human body where things are disposed of