Friday, 18 May 2012

18 May Stage 36 Yenisakran - Izmir

Dep 9.50     Arr  3.20    Dist  71.6 km    Total  3637.1

Yesterday evening I had just about achieved an acceptable level of pinkness when the sun went down over my little bungalow. Guldem, the lovely lady responsible for this establishment, had recognised my craving for Turkish tea and had very kindly brought me a couple of cups while I was blogging away in the evening sunshine.

I went and got dressed and found a place to eat by the seaside. It was a bit cloudy and cool but looked like a nice sea front. I had chicken kofte and a Tuborg and returned for my high tech link-up with the FIG gang in Ovacik, not Fethiye as I had earlier reported. I think it went well. I don't think I made too much of a nit of myself and allowed people to see that there was really somebody out there.

I came back and phoned home and also rang Nigel from the Thursday night gang, just as he was sitting down to his first pint in the Anvil, or so I thought. He was at home. It turns out that they hadn't gone out at all. This is unheard of. I will have to get home and fix that!

I awoke in the morning just after six to the unusual sound of rain on the window. The sky was very, very gloomy and I did the only decent thing. I turned over and went back to sleep. An hour and a half later the weather was at least as bad but I got up and started the long, slow process. I was making a coffee when I saw a shape at the door. It was Guldem with a tray of Turkish breakfast. The room was a right mess with my clothes randomly dispersed so I was a bit embarrassed. I thanked her profusely. What a gesture. I knew breakfast wasn't included in the price and was prepared to stop to eat after an hour or so. Now, I wouldn't have to stop so early which was a great bonus. I don't think Guldem realises how important that is. Her kind thought made my day so much easier. When I finished loading the bags onto the bike we had a couple of photos and I set off actually saying 'I hope we can meet again' and meaning it. I had really enjoyed my short time in this little holiday camp.

The ride was quite uneventful, mainly because of the rain which didn't happen. I couldn't believe it. There would be dark heavy clouds ahead and I would the veer to the left and so on, several times. The wind was here and there but never a major problem. I caught a few drops of rain in Aliaga and actually got wet in Menemen but soon dried out. My computer was missing bits so I had to rely on road signs for distances and they were decreasing nicely thank you. Menemen is quite a big place itself and the centre is more than 30km from the centre of Izmir so I was amazed to see the end of Menemen followed about 3km later by the sign indicating the start of Izmir, population 3.5 million or so, and there's the rub. An hour later I was still picking my way carefully through the suburbs of this very big city. Carefully is the operative word. I was no longer a novelty. I was a nuisance and it was as if I wasn't there to other drivers, dolmus drivers especially. I soon got to know my place and that was hugging the kerb and not venturing out past the inside lane.

I found the hotel which was like a University campus. It is owned and run by the Turkish Water Board and is used mainly by their workers. This had been arranged for me by Terry through another FIG member who has connections in that field and what a beautiful place it is. The room is so comfortable and clean and modern so a big thanks to Jill, I think her name is. Apologies if not.

There are no obvious eating place nearby so I jumped on a dolmus with the intention of jumping off when I saw somewhere. There wasn't anywhere nearby. There were plenty of places to get new wheels for your car but eat, no.  I found myself 10 minutes later in the middle of a spaghetti junction leading to a highway 3 or 4 miles long with nothing either side. We came to a suburb with a few bars which looked promising but I couldn't get off because I would never find my way back. I stayed on for another 20 mins or so until everybody had gone and the driver stopped and asked me where I was going, in sign language. I explained that I was staying on so I could go back to where I started. He then explained that he was going home for his tea and pointed across the road to a dolmus going the other way. I jumped off and started back and then recognised the 'promising place' so I took a chance. I had a beer and some sausage and chips and the waiters told me which dolmus to get back to the hotel.

I made it back OK but was still hungry and asked at the reception if there was a restaurant. There was indeed in another building and I went and stuffed myself with the old stand by, chicken shish and an Efes of course.

Back in the room now planning tomorrow's ride to Kusadasi which isn't far away. Big check on the weather. I can't be as lucky again, surely?

Today's track

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