Wednesday, 16 May 2012
16 May Stage 34 Ayvacik - Ayvalik
Dep 9.40 Arr 5.10 Dist 114.3 km Total 3484.9 km
I dressed for dinner and when I sat down I was joined by Murat, who was to be my translator for the evening. He said he worked in a bar in Marmaris where they called him Ronaldo because of his facial resemblance to the footballer. Yes, maybe. He was another young man of about the same age as Ulker and the others and described them all as his friends. I couldn't figure out family connections. Maybe they all just live here in the pension. There was no menu so I asked what was convenient and ended up with kofte and cold pasta which was just about OK but I could have done with more. I did what should be done on these occasions and every scrap of bread. I asked for a beer and Murat said they didn't have it. I could buy it at the shop up the road. I was off like a shot immediately and the old chap, who was the chef, said something and Murat shouted after me 'not here please'. So I did without. Water and Turkish tea would have to do.
There was a washing machine in the washroom. Murat had gone off with some of the others and I asked another lad about some laundry. He asked the lady and she had a bit of a Paddy. This new lad explained that it wouldn't be free which I totally understood and accepted and went up to get my washing ready. She came into the washroom as I was stuffing things into the washer and I realised the stuff I had on could do with washing as well. I retrieved my base layers which I had brought to keep me warm in the tent. They had been washed weeks ago and hadn't been worn since. I hoped she understood and would leave while I changed. She eventually got the picture so I did the switch and ran out before she came back and saw me in this provocative evening wear. I heard her doing the necessary and stayed in the room for the night. I emerged later to hang things on radiators and chairs, hoping I would have something dry to wear in the morning.
I slept well and felt refreshed when I awoke. My clothes were all nearly dry so there would be no problem by the time I set off. I had checked the weather and it looked like I was facing another day with the wind against, although it promised to be lighter and the stage was flat following the coast after a couple of early hills.
Breakfast was OK but there was no boiled egg! Unheard of in Turkish hotel history. As I ate there was a steady trail of children of ascending ages in school uniform coming down and leaving. I went up to get sorted and the rain started. I forgot to mention that I avoided the rain yesterday after all the early threats. How miserable would it have been if it had been raining all day? I shudder to think. There were dark clouds ahead and I was heading upwards and towards them. I felt a few drops as I climbed and thought if I can get down the other side sharpish I might get away with this. That's exactly what happened. I got the early climbs out of the way and was freewheeling down behind a big truck that was on its brakes all the time. I heard a pip from a truck behind and some unpleasant sounds from the passengers. I moved over and found it was full of sheep. This guy then took his place behind the first truck and I slotted in behind the sheep - and they stunk!
The sea arrived from my right with the mountains on my left and the road flattened and widened through a series of seaside resorts all along the main road. I got my speed up and that thought was there again. 'If only I could have an hour of this'. I had two and broke the back of the day's ride, bowling along on the flat with no wind. I did a big 270 plus turn at Edremit so the sea was now to my right with a wide plain and mountains to my left. I found the wind was slightly against but it wasn't strong and I was making steady progress. I stopped for some Turkish tea and cheese on toast at one of the many sexy petrol stations they have up here and bought some biscuits to keep my energy levels up. I had the biscuits in the handlebar bag and was munching away, allowing myself one every 5 minutes until disaster occurred. As I reached for a biscuit I lost control of the handlebar momentarily and, in retrieving the situation with my other hand, dropped a biscuit. When dropping a biscuit is a disaster you know you are having a good day.
The wind got up a bit near the end and there a couple of little kick-ups of 100m climb or so (ahem - polishes nails on lapel) but I got into Ayvalik which is a lovely little seaside town, not as good as Fethiye though. I was coasting along the prom and there was this beautiful little hotel, the Sozer. I asked Kevin Spacey at the desk about the price which was acceptable and accepted and here I am on my balcony (ahem) completing today's story. I've had a shower in the immaculate and well-appointed washroom and will soon be venturing 100m or so into the town where I will be hunting for a beer and some food and may even have a shave. No, it's no good trying to stop me.