Farewell to mountains

Oct. 15, 2011 (day 150) Turkey

After relaxing in Cappadocia, time had come to part with Marek. We cycled together to Develi, where he headed north and I continued east. For both of us that meant few days of lone ride across mountains. Fortunately, the weather had changed, and some clouds came in. They brought a bit of humidity into this arid land, and also covered it with a blanket that prevented temperatures from falling so low in the nights. That was good, given the fact, that I had to camp at around 1800m.

A short break after hard work

A short break after hard work

Perhaps I got used to the sight of mountains, because the numerous passes and valleys did not impress me as much, as those in the north. Also, there was more traffic, roadworks, and huge power lines cutting through and ruining some nice landscapes.

The clouds came in

The clouds came in

It took me four days to reach Kehramanmaraş. I entered the city with a plan to stay overnight, if it proved to be interesting. In fact, it was more about having a shower, washing my clothes and cutting the huge beard that had overgrown my face. And, of course, tasting the famous Maraş ice cream.

The center did not impress me, so I decided to skip the city. Not being careful enough, at one of the main crossroads I chose a wrong lane. Not wanting to wait until the next streetlight cycle, I followed the wrong way, just to get into some suburbs along a bustling bazaar street. There I stopped to buy some nice looking tomatoes, and quickly became a local attraction to a dozen of bypassers. After a small talk on the usual topics (where I am from, where I am going to, how long, why?), some guy offered to escort me with his car to the highway. I followed him, just to hear in the middle of the ride, that we were going to have an ice cream. That was not a question or proposition, just a statement of a fact that was going to happen. Famous Turkish hospitality never stops impressing me.

We entered a good looking restaurant, where I felt quite out of place, in my dirty trousers and a T-shirt showing interesting patterns of dried sweat after the hot day. Ahmed — that was his name — gave order to the waiter, and immediately I had a plate full of sweets in front of my nose. Baklava, fıstık, and a piece of the famous ice cream. Never in my life I had an ice cream so hard, sticky and sweet. Ahmed also introduced himself to be a hairdresser, and I probably could score a double combo (ice cream and beard cut) if we had not been in a hurry. He would have some appointment soon, and for me the sun had already set, and that meant very short time to find a place to camp. Quickly after warm thanks and farewells, I placed my tent on a harvested field in the outskirts of the city.

Since Cappadocia, I had not seen even a single melon. They all had disappeared suddenly and completely, and I was really missing them. But they were replaced by sweet, delicious grapes. Between Kahramanmaraş and Adıyaman they are one of the most popular plant, second only to cotton. The fruits are sold at roadside stalls, together with raisins, which are being dried in the sun on large sheets laying in the vineyards.

Grapes, raisins, all straight from the garden

Grapes, raisins, all straight from the garden

The landscape there is dominated by two major features: mountains in the north, and the Atatürk Lake in the south. The latter is a result of a huge dam on the Euphrates river, which means that I entered the drainage basin of the Indian Ocean. The mountains are the last ones on my way, before distant Ethiopia. To give them a proper farewell, I decided to climb the famous Nemrut and see both sunset and sunrise there.

Leaving most of my baggage at a camping in Karadut, I reached the summit. There, again I met swarms of tourists, driven here in numerous minibuses. They descended shortly after the sunset, just to reappear surprisingly at 4AM, over two hours before the sunrise. Although the night was not very cold, waiting there in the mist might encourage them to buy some overpriced tea at the local cafeteria. Apparently, the tour operators are real professionals.

Famous Turkish heads

Famous Turkish heads

Nemrut is very scenic, but it's a pity that the huge statues of Commagene gods and kings lay in rubble. It is supposed to be a result of an earthquake, which happened in XIX century. Before, for almost 2000 years they had been looking at every sunrise and every sunset. An impressive manifestation of power, for a kingdom that lasted just for few decades.

After a cloudy and crowded sunrise, it was time to go down. Goodbye, mountains!

Comments:

mama
mama
10 years ago
Ślinka leci! Podobno norweskie lody są pyszne - nie mam jakoś ochoty spróbować :). Cieszymy się, że dobrze Ci się jedzie i z przyjemnością czytamy wszystko. Prosimy o więcej!
Damian S
Damian S
10 years ago
Jak ja bym chciał tam z Tobą być ! ehhhh
Andrzej
Andrzej
10 years ago
Wspaniała wyprawa. Zazdroszczę Ci. Ja najdalej zajechałem do Portugalii, a Turcję znam tylko z wyjazdów autostopowych. Powodzenia!
Szymon Stoma
Szymon Stoma
10 years ago
Zaczyna sie robic naprawde dziko i egzotycznie. 3maj sie mocno i uwazaj na siebie!