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November 7th, 2010 | Asia

Time Out in Tasucu…

Leaving Eregli and heading for Karaman...

Before breakfast, I wandered down to where the Big Fella was parked and was alarmed to see that a thin layer of ice had formed on the cover…!! The windscreens and back windows of the cars parked alongside the bike were also iced over…!!

The owner of the hotel had told me that the route I had chosen to get to the coast was not the safest one, as it went up through the mountains, where it could get very cold at this time of year, and sudden snowfall was not altogether unusual…

I had already been turned back by “sudden snowfall” in northern Turkey, and considered the possibility of this happening again on my way to Silifke…

By the time I had eaten breakfast, the sun had come out, melted the ice and dried the cover, allowing me to pack it into my pannier without fear of it wetting any of the gear packed inside… I left Eregli, and headed for Karaman…

The road ran south west for 90 km, crossing a high plateau between the two towns. We rode into a freezing headwind, passing through Ayranci, the only village along this route… I passed only two vehicles in the hour it took to get to Karaman… The area was desolate to say the least… Crops that had grown there had been harvested before the coming winter, leaving only empty fields…

Crossing the cold and windswept plateau on the way to Karaman...

The young man who bought me coffee and wanted to travel "just like you...!!"

I stopped in Karaman, desperate for a cup of coffee to warm me up… The young man who served me, was very interested in the bike and in broken English, told me how he would also like to travel the world as I was…

His parents owned the restaurant I had stopped at, and when I rose to leave, would not accept payment for the coffee… They did their best to convince me to stay and have something to eat, but as I had already had breakfast barely an hour before, I had to decline their kind offer…

The family gathered outside to bid me farewell, and waved me on my way… Before I left, I urged their son to take a closer look at the bike, which he accepted with alacrity, snapping photos with his cell phone, and explaining that they were for his Facebook page…

From Karaman, the road took us south, up into the Bolkar Mountains, and the higher we climbed, the colder it got…!!

Thankfully, the snow I had been warned about had not fallen, but there were other dangers which my Turkish friends in Eregli, had failed to mention…

Like the flurries of wind that blasted through the gaps in the mountains, buffeting the bike at the most inopportune moments… Like when I was riding one handed with my camera stretched out to take a photo, eyes off the road…: or looking down into the valley far below me, where the Goksu Nehri River turned and twisted on its way down to the sea… A few major “wobblies” got my heart rate up, and my eyes focused on the road…!!

Climbing into the mountains on the way to the town of Mut...

Nor did they mention that the road was under construction, and a fine layer of gravel littered many of the corners and the dividing line between the lanes… At the end of a long lazy bend that I would normally accelerate through, I ran onto a patch of this gravel, and felt the bike begin to slide out from under me… Luckily the road straightened out and I was able to open the throttle to get the Big Fella upright again…

After two more similar incidents, I pulled over onto an un-tarred section of the road, to allow my sphincter muscles to unravel…

Against a backdrop of blue skies and mountains, we stopped to take stock of the conditions...

The gravel that was causing me grief, was the same colour as the tar, and I had trouble seeing it in time to take evasive action. The fact that I was riding due south, and the sun, which now travels in a lower arc, was constantly in my eyes, did not help matters…!!

After chomping through a banana, while my heartbeat gradually returned to normal, I turned to the bike and said, “The ferry only leaves at midnight tonight Big Fella, and if you do not want my backside biting holes in your seat, I suggest you slow down a bit…!!”

That seemed to do the trick, and the remainder of the ride went smoothly…

Gnarly old Cypress Trees stand outlined against the sky...

Caves had been dug into this mountainside above the highway...

After cresting the mountain range, I watched as the altitude meter on my GPS dropped steadily, until we were running alongside the river I had seen far below us… The temperature improved and the wind died down as we rode into the town of Mut. Olive groves lined the road, and on a sharp bend, a crowd of people were peering down into a deep ditch, where only minutes before, a car had plunged over the edge…

I narrowly avoided sending a few of the “looky-loo’s” to join the car and its occupants in the ditch…!! They seemed to have forgotten that they were standing in the middle of the road, while they indulged in a bout of morbid curiosity…!!

The road curled along the banks of the Goksu Nehri River, on the way down to Silifke...

Sheer cliffs line the road as we head down into the valley...

Despite some of the nerve-jangling moments I had experienced on the ride, I thoroughly enjoyed the amazing scenery and clear blue skies I had ridden under. Once the road-works on it have been completed (and the loose gravel presumably swept away…!!) it will be one that any biker will be thrilled to ride…!!

This old castle stands above the town of Silifke...

Despite the bright sunshine, it was cold enough for a neckwarmer...!!

Kibris...?? Thats Turkish for Cyprus...!!

When I entered Silifke, I discovered that this was not where the ferries sailed from…

The little town of Tasucu, a dozen kilometres away, was where I needed to be…!!

At a little after 2.00pm, I located the ticket office that was across the road from the yacht basin, and went inside to arrange passage to Kibris, which is the Turkish name for Cyprus…

To my consternation, I was told that there were no ferries leaving for Cyprus until midnight on Sunday…!! My steady progress had been brought to a grinding halt…!! I could hardly believe what I was hearing, and checked with all three ticket offices to make sure that there wasn’t another boat leaving for Cyprus today…

All to no avail…!!

While the Big Fella waited outside the ticket office, I was inside, getting the bad news...!!

“I was told that there is a ferry to Cyprus every day…!” I said to the guy manning the ticket booth…

“Yes sir, every day…! Except Fridays and Saturdays…!” he replied…

“May I suggest that you stop using the term “Every Day”, and begin saying “From Sunday through to Thursday”…?” I told him in as calm a voice as I could muster…

It still astounds me that despite the millions of tourists that flock to Turkey every year, the vast majority of Turks that I have come into contact with, are more likely to speak Swahili, than English…!!

I consoled myself with a plate of tasty chicken kebabs...

I had been receiving sms’s from Willi, asking where I was and telling me that he would see me on Saturday morning in Limassol, where the Big Fella was due to be serviced…

While I waited for the lunch that I had order, I sent him a reply which in part read:

“You owe me a beer ! There are no bloody ferries leaving here today OR tomorrow ! Tasucu does not seem to be a place to spend a weekend in !”

I made my way to the Otel Olba, which Willi had stayed in a few weeks earlier, and found that it was closed for the season…!! The Hits just kept on coming…!!

I convinced the remaining two staff members (their English naturally comprised of “Hello” and “Have a nice day”), to call the owner to enquire whether or not he would “re-open” for me…

After a lengthy explanation, he agreed to put me up for two nights… I was however advised that there would be no food served, as the chef had gone on leave…

From my balcony, I watched the sun set over the mountains, and quickly accepted that there were worse places to get stuck in than Tasucu, and a few days relaxing here would allow me to write a few posts and take long walks along the beach that stretched away on either side of the hotel…

The sun sets behind the hills surrounding the Bay of Tasucu...

I had covered over 1500 km since leaving Marmaris on Wednesday morning, and I figured that this was enough to earn myself a little rest…!!

I fell asleep listening to the waves washing gently onto the shore, barely metres away from my window…

©GBWT 2010

6 comments to Time Out in Tasucu…

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