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Monthly Archives: June 2019

Amazing People of Turkey

The next morning, we took a walk along the harbor. The town was waking up with the smell of fresh baked bread in the air. Fishermen were busy getting their boats and nets ready for the day. Barely a ripple disturbed the surface of the water. Tiny fish swam in the crystal-clear water.

Returning to the hotel a wonderful breakfast was waiting for us in the open-air café. After enjoying a couple cups of Turkish coffee, we slowly packed up the bike to continue. We wanted to remember the past few days and the kindness we had experienced and friendships we had made.

Continuing south we followed the sea as closely as we could. It was a beautiful day with cloudless blue skies blending into the calm seas. Later In the day we stopped for a late lunch, coffee and free Wi-Fi. We made reservations on booking.com and headed south to find the homestay. The days were getting shorter and we arrived to find…nothing. The directions led us to a three-way intersection. After riding a round looking and asking anyone we could find about the hotel, we were stumped. Nobody knew of the place, but no one spoke English either. As dark was coming on we made another stop in front of a small farm to ask again. With a similar reaction of confusion from the residents, no English, I pressed the bikes start button again. Nothing! Not even a click.

I took off the seat to get to the battery, connections good. I hooked up my power pack to jump the bike, nothing. I worked on connections for about 30 minutes without anything. It was almost dark. An old woman crossed the yard and approached us. In her hands she was holding a Pomegranate. She offered it to us as they didn’t know anything else to do for us. We accepted the kindness gratefully. Such a kind gesture.

As we were riding around, Melanie had noticed a small, closed hotel a mile of so up a busy road. There was a side road that went to the hotel, mostly uphill. We started pushing. Finally, in the darkness, we quietly arrived at the side entrance to the dark hotel. The gate was slightly agar, so I entered. In the back I noticed some lights on by the pool. Two women and a man were sitting at a table eating dinner. I startled them as I approached and said hello. I was a sight. Dirty motorcycle gear and drenched in sweat. They quickly regained their composure and in perfect English, welcomed me in. Telling my story, they told me that their hotel was closed for season and they were getting ready to head back to their home in Istanbul. In the next breath the kind man said we were welcome to stay in their hotel; they would ready a room for us. He readied the room as we unloaded our gear. But next was the biggest surprise. They told us they wanted to feed us supper. “Please, take a shower and come down and relax and have a beer. We will make you something to eat”. They reopened the kitchen and made us a wonderful meal. They told us we were welcome as long as it took to fix the motorcycle. After supper the front gate was opened to bring the motorcycle into the property to be secure. Never was the topic of cost or payment brought up by them.

After a wonderful night sleep in a beautiful suite we came down to figure out the bike. A wonderful breakfast was waiting for us. There was such a variety of foods and beautifully presented. Dish after dish was brought to our table. Just amazing.

Breakfast

As we were miles from any city, I was stumped. Everything checked out, but the battery was just bad. I contacted Ferhat in Gulluk. He was upset that I had waited so long to contact him. We were 200 kms south, but that seemed not to be an excuse. It was Sunday, but he said he would take care of it and would call me back. As we waited our hosts brought us a pomegranate from a tree in their yard to snack on. It was amazing.

A couple hours later my phone rang, and it was my friend, Ferhat. He had found a friend, a member of the Turkish Hells Angels, that would find me a battery, deliver it and install it. He wanted detail of the battery along with dimensions. An hour later they had found a battery. They had called two motorcycle shop owners to check for a battery. Remember, its Sunday and shops are closed. They had all done this to help us. The guy was bringing the battery to me and would be there in an hour or so. You could hear his Harley pull up outside of the hotel and I went to great him with my host. With the host being an interpreter, he introduced himself and his son, that was riding with him. Within minutes he confirmed that the battery was bad and had the new one installed. I thanked him and offered to pay him for the battery and his time. He accepted the money for the battery but refused anything for his time for helping me. Such kindness.

Our host insisted on us relaxing for the rest of the day and spending another night. The beach was within walking distance, so we set off. Just so happens there was a bar right on the beach. Being on a cove with mountains surrounding us, the views were fantastic. With the beer being US$1.50, it was a perfectly relaxing afternoon. We were again served supper, had a great night sleep and an enormous breakfast. We insisted on paying for everything, and, as expected, the bill was very small. The Turkish people have been so kind.

Cheers,

2WANDRRs

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Categories: 2-up motorcycle travel | Leave a comment

Wonderful Turkey

The line was already starting to form as we pulled up to the ferry port. People were walking down the road pulling overstuffed suitcases. Everyone was looking for coffee, but we had to wait until we were boarded.

We queued in line and started talking to a couple from Athens. She was in her car and he was riding his GS. Whatever works, I guess. Tickets in hand we went back out to the bike waiting for the ferry to arrive. Several people were standing around that looked like part of a group, with a couple photographers along. My curiosity got the best of me and I went over to talk with them. They were taking part in the UK version of “The Amazing Race” called “Race Across The World”. They were starting their second leg of their journey. Melanie is a fan of the US version, but had already boarded the ferry and was up on deck.

Finally it was my turn to board so I rode up a very uneven docking made worse by thick hemp ropes filling in the cracks. Once on board I lashed Yellow Donkey to the rail and headed up to find Melanie. I told her of the people on board and we ended finding each other, both interested in the others trip. We enjoyed conversation and shared coffee, my gift to them, since they are traveling on very limited funds. It was just great. In the end we were also asked a few questions by the cameraman and had our picture taken.

A short 30 minute ferry ride had us in port at Cesme, Turkey. Shortly after riding off the ferry we found an ATM and a small cafe for our first of many Turkish coffees. The owner was fascinated with our trip and loved that we had decided to come to his country. He proudly showed us where he lived above the cafe and his pride and joy, his motorcycle in the clean alley behind the store. The owner made wonderful coffee and pastries.

Back on the bike and headed to Seluck and the ruins of Ephesus. We had found a small hotel that seemed to have a view of the city on booking.com. We climbed and higher into the hills and the roads went from bad to worse, then to, well nothing. It seemed the hotel didn’t exist. Back down the hill and into town, closed roads and the market. We finally found a hotel that was quite nice, but way out of our price range. Across the ally was a hotel named the Australian/New Zealand Pension. Rooms were nice and the new owner had bought it from the Aussie that had opened the place.

After booking in to the hotel we set out on foot to explore the city and find a bite to eat. Passing a small cafe with seating on the street with an attached rug store, we were ushered by the owner to a nice table with a colorful umbrella providing shade. He recommended a wonderful lunch and sat and talked with us. The business was his and his wife’s. She did the cooking and he spent his time between Seluck, Istanbul and the United States. Every year he would spend a couple months driving through the US selling his beautiful rugs.

Later that evening as we walked the streets looking through the shops we passed another cafe and the owner came out to talk to us. We had a fun banter which resulted in him calling me his brother. Deciding this was where we wanted to eat we sat down to order. After we ordered our meal, dishes would come to the table which we didn’t order. He was very proud of our food and wished to share them with us, including dessert and and Raki. The bill only included what we ordered. the rest was his gift to us. Going back the next night the same thing happened. At the end of the night, many hugs were passed around. We ate in the shadow of an ancient aqueduct in the shadow of the Temple of Artemis, (built around 550 BC), and considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

The next day was spent exploring the ancient city of Ephesus. Built in the 10th century BC, it is close to the coast and is one of the 12 cities of the Ionian League. Among the ancient building is the Library Celsus and a theatre capable of holding 25,000 spectators. Ephesus was an important center for early Christianity from about 50 AD. Ephesus is one of the seven churches of Asia that are mentioned in the Book of Revelations. It is believed that Gospel of John was written here and Mary lived out the last years of her life here. The place is spectacular are took several hours to walk through.

The next morning we headed out without a real destination, just south. At a stop for fuel and coffee we were sitting at a table and a car pulls up. A man jumps out and runs inside toward us. The conversation went like this. Him: “Is that your bike outside?” Me: “Yes.” Him: “Are you from the US?” Us: “Yes.” Him: “I want to talk to you and get to know you. I don’t have time right now, I’m with my boss. Please meet me at the Mayday Bar in Gulluk, down toward Bodrum, about three hours away at 3 PM.” Us: “Okay. See you there.” And he ran out, jumped in the car and sped away. We both looked at each other and said, why not? Who can really turn down an invite like that. We spent a couple hours exploring the city of Bodrum since we had some time to kill.

And that is how we met this fantastic man and friend, Ferhat.

We sat at the bar, run by a lady from the UK, and talked, drank, ate and met his friends throughout the night. He had an amazing philosophy on life and working. He was a Tug Boat captain and you could tell, loved life. He was such a kind soul. He found us a place to stay at the nicest hotel in town. At the end of the night he gave me the ultimate compliment by “placing me at the top of his head”. If I needed ANYTHING, he would be there for me. Little did we know that would happen two days later.

But thats for next time.

Cheers,

2WANDRRs

Categories: 2-up motorcycle travel | Leave a comment

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