[‘Friends of the road (Vrienden van de weg)’ bestaat enkel in het Engels, excuses hiervoor]
I’d like to dedicate a page to all people who help me on my way to Taiwan.
People who offer me a night stay in their garden, stable, garage or flat. People who offer me a shower, breakfast, some food for the road, home made tidbits, water or a nice chat. People who put effort in showing me the right direction.
People who mean a lot to me.
People I instant like and love.
People who make my journey memorable.
People who deserve a special thank you, bedankt, merci, danke schön, děkuji, dzięki, спасибі, mulțumesc, благодаря, teşekkürler, …
People I call friends.
Thanks a million!
Wow, I was so happy to arrive in Turkey. The country was so different and I had for the first time since months a little bit of tail wind. I stopped at a water fountain (in every village you have at least one, I like) and refreshed a bit. This man and his daughter stopped to talk. It was my first encounter with turkish people and it felt great. The man spoke fluent german and said to me that the western part of Turkey is way more modern, so I didn’t have to cover myself with long sleeves and trousers. ‘Check my daughter’ he said, ‘that’s normal here.’ ‘Welcome in Turkey’ #Turkey
In the first city I stopped I bought fruit and bread (well, buying, they actually offered me). The man on the left spoke German. and came over to offer his help… In the cheese shop, with buying a phone card and even with finding a free night stay. That last offer I skipped, I was looking forward to find the perfect camp spot #Turkey
The day before I entered Istanbul, I met these kind cyclists. They started talking to me and slowed down so we cycled at the same pace. So kind. They also adviced me to go to their bike repair shop near Istanbul, Sena Bisiklet, kind guys are working there, they said… #Turkey
My gps didn’t find the address of the bike repair shop I wanted to go to. This friendly man of a petrol station called the shop to get more information. I could also use his phone and internet for other things I had to check. Thank you so much 🙂 #Turkey
I am fond of watermelon and was so glad I saw these watermelon trucks on the road. I wanted to buy a piece. Unfortunately that couldn’t, you had to buy the whole melon. I started talking with the vendor via Google Translate and suddenly, out of the blue, he checked which watermelon he could open for me and let me taste it. I also could taste the other melon, as much as I wanted. I wanted to pay, but that was out of question. So sweet! One of so many tastes of turkish generosity #Turkey
May I present you, the nicest guys from the best bike repair shop in Istanbul/Büyükçekmece (Sena Bisiklet). Really, you have to go there when you’re around. They were just fabulous. Erkan (the man on the left side) is faster than his shadow when it concerns bike repairing. They spolied me so much. Not only with a nice hour in their shop, a free bike maintenance but also with Turkish Delight. Thank you so much guys #Turkey
You can’t believe this… really… I was in the middle of a traffic jam around Istanbul (imagine an eight lane street, one way, cars all around) and Burak (the guy sitting next to me) opened the window of his car and asked me: ‘Do you have a place to sleep?’. He continued by saying he is a warmshowers host and he saw my bags so he thought I could use a bed and shower. We had a small chat along the way, he offered me his gps (mine didn’t find the right address) and was was welcome at his place where he lives with his sister and niece. It was just a wonderfull evening with great talks, good beer, nice food and a lovely view on their roof top terrace. Thank you so much Burak! An unforgettable evening, for sure #Turkey
It was my birthday when I was in Istanbul. My best friends came over to celebrate. They told the realy kind waiter Hasan from Kybele Cafe that at midnight I became a year older. Without knowing anything he arrived at 12 p.m. with a big plate with Turkish pastry and candles to blow. Too sweet! #Turkey
With my friends, I went to see one of the prince islands of Istanbul, Heybeliada. The friendly waiter knew it was my birthday and surprised me with a small birthday cake with a candle on top. Wonderful! #Turkey
Leaving Istanbul was a moment ful of detours. Luckily I met these pizza delivery boys who told me not to continue cycling uphill because I couldn’t cross the bridge with a bicycle. Thanks guys, you saved my muscles #Turkey
In the middle of two villages I met this bunch of people, some family members who were going to a funeral. First I didn’t know that, so we just had a nice chat. Finally, they invited me to the funeral dinner. I felt a bit uncomfortable with the idea going to a funeral dinner from somebody I didn’t know know so I thanked and continued my trip #Turkey
You see a lot of street dogs in Turkey, they’re mostly marked with a chip. I was cycling through an area with remarkable more dogs. Suddenly I understood, they had a good life here. I met these three people from Huysuz İhtiyar who are volunteering by feeding the street dogs three times a week. Isn’t that great? When they left with their van, the dogs were running behind the van for at least a kilometer. Lovely and sad to see #Turkey
It was on the boat from Bodrum to Datça peninsula that I met Arzu and her brother in law Korer from Ankara. It was just after the coup d’etat so there was a lot to talk about. Actually I took a boat to enjoy the scenery but the conversation was so nice and interesting that my eyes and ears were only direction these two nice people. Hope you’ll stay safe #Turkey
I was mailing on a terrace in Datça to find a place to sleep for the night (via couchsurfing or warmshowers). Unfortunately I was a bit too late with my request so the people didn’t answer. Inge and Cem from The Netherlands were sitting at my table too, we started talking. One hour later they showed me the free room in their appartment. We also went to a friends place and had there a lovely barbecue. It was once again an unforgettable evening. Thanks a lot sweet Inge and Cem for the lovely time #DatçaPeninsula #Turkey
I was camping not so far from Knidos on Datça peninsula. I had a beach and bay just for myself, wonderful. There was only one problem I didn’t had enough water for washing, drinking and cooking. Luckily, this sweet man passed by. He lived not so far from the beach. He asked me if I needed some water. Was I drying out that much that he saw that I was in need of water? I could join him to his house and he was very proud to show me his garden full of fruit and vegetables. He gave me his phone number so I could call him if something happened during the night… so sweet! #Turkey
And again I was running out of water. So I stopped at this house to ask for water. They filled my bottle and gave me a big bag full of lovely tomatoes from the garden #BozburunPeninsula #Turkey
Because of the heat (44º C) the new asphalt sticks not only on my sandals and pedals, but also on my tires. The tire tread disappeared in no time. These young and most friendly guys helped me removing it. They didn’t want me to pay for it. I didn’t want to let this happen #Turkey
In Dalyan I stayed on a campsite for a couple of days. I was sick and had to rest. The fourth day it was time for some action. I met German Sandra and Tobi on a boat trip. The trip wasn’t so special but the nice encounter was worth it. Have a lovely trip towards India sweet Sandra and Tobi, hope you’ll have the time of your life! Check Hippie at Heart on facebook to read their nice on the road (with their VW van) stories #Turkey
I was cycling on my way to Pamukkale, near Göcek. This man, Faruk, opened the window of his camper and told me I couldn’t cycle further. There’s a tunnel only allowed for vehicles with engine. He could give me a ride or I could cycle 13 kilometers extra in the mountains. I knew what to choose. Thanks for the ride Faruk! #Turkey
On the mountainroad to Pamukkale it was harsh cycling, temperatures above 40 degrees and a lot of 8-11% climbing. Luckily there were fountains now and then. This sweet man, Mohammed, who has a tea and corn stall, invited me to have a seat, gave me a couple of yellow fluorescent teas and a towel where I could sleep on. He also called somebody who spoke English to ask that person if I was in need of something… He was so great! Thanks for the nice pause Mohammed! #Turkey
I was cycling on a mountainroad. Not so far from a village I found a lovely fig tree near lots of olive trees, the perfect spot to camp. Suddenly a motor with a man and a woman arrived on my terrain. It was actually theirs. They invited me to their barbecue in the fields #Turkey
It was in Denizli (near Pamukkale) that I stayed in warmshowers host Barbaros house. He was so welcoming, offered me a good bed, a great shower, the most lovely food (also a big thank you to his mum, the best cook of Turkey), tips to cycle through Turkey and Georgia and very very interesting conversations. He knows so much about his country and the political situation there. He also cleaned the chain of my bike like a professional. The picture is taken on his terrace. Four years ago, the mosque in the back was build. Every time there’s a call to prayer, he plays a cassette of Metallica and turns on the volume. How funny is that 😉 Thank you so much Barbaros for this unforgettable stay #Turkey
Because of the heat I start cycling at 7 a.m (or earlier). It was in a very tiny village, I ran out of food for breakfast and was really glad to find this little shop open. The friendly man offered me a chair and table, a newspaper as tablecloth and called a villager (who spoke german) in the street inside so we could talk. When I left, he waved me goodbye but first he went inside to take a bar of chocolate and offered it to me #Turkey
Gas stations are my favorite spot to refuel electricity. Every time I meet sweet people there. Here the family of the man who is working in the gas station came over to check who I am and what I do in their country. They offered me ‘karpuz’ (watermelon), home baked ‘ekmek’ (bread), ‘su’ (water) and ‘çay’ (tea). They wanted to give me more, I couldn’t except. ‘Trop est trop’. Actually this time I wanted to rest on the couch, but I couldn’t 😉 #Turkey
I camped in the middle of the fields. I didn’t saw any house around. This man with his cute and very shy little daughter came along. He explained (in Turkish) to me I couldn’t camp there. In one or two hours at least 10 or 20 sounders of pigs would come to the fields. And probably more, because it would rain and wild boars love mud to wash themselves. I was to lazy and into some adventure. So I stayed there. He gave me his phone number in case something would happen. The next day he came over to check if I was still alve 😉 #Turkey
That same evening two other motorcycles passed by. These guys were the last who came along. They told me there are also snakes. So it would be better if I leave the place. I stayed. The next morning they came again, invited me for breakfast (mine was just finished) and had a ride on my bike #Turkey
On the road to Cappadocia I met this beautiful Dutch/Turkish family. They passed by with their car and stopped. They were here to visit their family during their holiday. We had a little chat and waved goodbye. A couple of minutes later I saw their car again. They stopped and invited me at their families house to eat, refresh and have a rest. I wanted to continue my journey, so I said no but was amazingly pleased with the kind invitation #Turkey
I was interested in the sunflower field next to the working place of the ladies (they were standing on a truck while cleaning carpets). The sunflowers were covered in colorful plastic bags, to catch the seeds. I asked to take a picture of the sunflowers. Suddenly I was offered lots of yummy watermelon and a bag full of organic tomatoes and cucumber #Turkey
In Göreme I stayed on a beautiful camping with a stunning view on the Cappadocian mountains (red and rose valley). The owner and staff were the most friendly people. This man was called ‘my person’, according the owner (he didn’t know the word ‘staff’). He was too sweet. While I was working on a blogpost he brought me a hot meal, çay (off course) and cookies. Later that day he brought me again a hot meal. That night I couldn’t sleep because of all the food he offered me #Turkey
Meet lovely Lottie and Ross from the UK, in total they will be six months on the road. Not only they are lovely, also their bicycles are (check breadwinner cycles). It was great to meet them. Now and than I also met them on the road and we finally decided to cycle two days together, had a picknick and camped together as well. Good fun! Hope to see you later guys. Meanwhile enjoy the rest of your trip #Turkey
These men were having a break in the shade next to all sunflower seeds. I asked them if I could take a picture from the seeds. We started talking a bit and I got some explanation of the procedure. They gave me a bag with seeds for the road. Way to much seeds, way to much kilos #Turkey
It was 30 kilometre before Nurhak that the family Gunes stopped with their car when they passed me. Meral asked me ‘Qu’est-ce que tu fais ici?’. I explained I was taking a picture and that I was on my way to Taiwan. She asked me if I wanted a place to stay. They were visiting their family in Nurhak (they live in Nancy, France). Because I was camping already 7 days, a bed and shower were very welcome, so I said yes. It was a very cosy evening at their house with a lovely shower and great dinner. Thank you so much Mehmet, Meral, Toprak (3,5) and Hasan-Dogu (6,5) #Turkey
After I left Nurhak there was this little climb. Ibrahim, the man on the picture, started spontaneously pushing my bike. It was really hilarious. I was cycling, he was running and pushing, till the top. We couldn’t stop laughing. What a nice encounter 🙂 #Turkey
That same day I met another Ibrahim, sitting on his donkey, riding to his field. He invited me to his place, down in the valley, to eat üzüm (grapes) together. I refused because I wasn’t into climbing from the valley to the main road again. But it was just a nice encounter #Turkey
It’s not always easy to find a campspot. I saw a little wood and thought that would be the perfect place to camp. Till I came closer, the wood was surrounded by a high fence and belonged to Yaman gas company. I asked the guardian (left on the picture) if I could camp there. He asked the owners of the company (right on the picture). I couldn’t sleep in the wood, it was to close to the gas and they didn’t find that a safe spot. After cooking dinner for the guardian and me, I slept under the grapevines next to the guardians small building. In company of lots of ants and mosquitos Despite that I was very glad I had a place to stay #Turkey
I wanted to buy some fruits and this young vendor offered me tomatoes for free. ‘Because you’re my sister’ he said. Soooo sweet #Turkey
On my way to Nemrut (2150m) I knew there was some very steep climbing (average 13-18%). An ascent I knew I had to descend again because I couldn’t cross the mountain. Because of that I hided most of my luggage in a deserted cabin in a village 20 km from the top. After 11 kilometers I passed a kind of restaurant/hotel (deserted). Zaynal, the guy of the restaurant (picture) offered me lots of tea, a place to sleep (which I thanked for) and he also told me that I could cross the mountain. He said that he would go and find my luggage and bring it to me. Meanwhile I could cycle to the top in the most luxurious position (with only a small bag and the bag in front of me). Wow, what a difference. #Turkey
Crossing the top of Nemrut (2150m) wasn’t that easy as I thought. There were first many, many stairs and after that lots of stones and rocks to cross. The man with the blue shirt started talking to me in French (they are Turkish people living in France). He asked me why I did this trip. After explaining the trientrapt story, Hussein, the man in the left offered me just like that 100 turkish lira (€30) for my project. I couldn’t believe it. Sooooo friendly! 100 % of happiness #Turkey
The last stretch to go to Nemrut (2150 m) was with stairs, stones and little rocks. I wanted to see the sunset and I wasn’t allowed to camp on top (there were guardians with guns). So I asked these two men (Mehmet and Sadin) if I could camp next to their cafetaria, 600 m before the top. It was really, really, really windy. They offered me a night stay for only 10 turkish lira. We ate together menemen (a typical Turkish egg plate). Thank you guys #Turkey
I cycled together with Lottie and Ross from the UK. Finding a campspot in the mountain area we were cycling through, wasn’t that easy. Ross asked this very kind man (Memet) if we could camp on his field. It was possible. That evening he offered us a bag with tomatoes and onions. In the mornig he offered us a bag with dried apricots and dried mulberries. More than enough for the three of us. Wow, thank you so much Memet! #Turkey
In a small village I passed, one of so many, I wanted to buy ekmek (bread), peynir (cheese) and domates (tomatoes). The guy of the shop couldn’t help me. He felt so sorry that he instantly conjured a hot meal for me. I couldn’t resist, that was out of question. As a dessert I received fresh water melon. Alişan, just a lovely guy #Turkey
I had some lovely cycling along the river Euphrate. I entered the beautiful village Kemaliye, and passed by this ‘market’. Osman, the boy right, spoke very well English and was really kind. He is studying in Ankara. It was his fathers shop (in the middle). I wanted to buy one, max. two roll(s) of toiletpaper (it’s hard to carry six rolls). They only had packages of six. But suddenly they found a package of two, old, dusty rolls. They didn’t dare to sell it to me, so gave it as a present. How sweet! While I was sitting in front of the shop, eating bread and cheese. They came over with cheese from the region, a present as well. When I left, they quickly gave me a bag full of dried mulberries. I was way too spoiled by this lovely family #Turkey
Normally in Turkey you find everywhere water fountains or small shops. On day 152th of my trip I cycled already half a day and I couldn’t find anything, not even a house. Suddenly I passed this one. I stopped to ask the people, sitting on their terrace, if I could have some water. I could. They also offered me tea, breath, cheese and cucumber. They called their son (who speaks English) to ask me if I needed something. Turkish hospitality is everywhere #Turkey
I thought I had my last Turkish climb yesterday. But I didn’t know that on the way to the national park I wanted to cycle through there was very steep dirt road uphill. That meant pushing my bike. I asked locals how many kilometers the pass was. 5 kilometers they said. 2 kilometers further I asked again how far it was: 5 kilometer was the answer. And a third time I asked it, I got the same answer… I was getting tired of all the climbing the last days, weeks, months. When this truck passed by and stopped to ask me if I needed a lift, I said ‘yes’. I couldn’t believe myself that I said that, suddenly the road wasn’t that steep anymore… You can imagine that I felt horrible. And also, it was only 1,8 kilometer to the top. Anyhow these people were very kind to me and the last kilometer to the top would have been a pushing moment again 😉 #Turkey
Going down is normally one big party. This time (my last downhill in Turkey, going from 2500 to 0), was a very bad downhill road but a memorable one. It started with mist, changed into mist and rain, and changed a thirth time into tunder and lightning, oh and rain. I was completely alone, the road became very bad, putholes, stones, mud. I was realising that if I would fall nobody would find me. After kilometers of descending at slow pace I suddenly saw a truck and two men. I asked them if they were planning to go downhill. They were! For the complete 7 kilometers I got a hitch of these two kind men. Wow, great, finally a bit warmer. On the picture you would think the weather is great, well it wasn’t. After one minute it turned into tunder and lightning, they followed up each other that fast that I couldn’t count which one was first. In one two three, I was completely soaked. But hey, thank you guys for the warm 7 kilometers #grateful #Turkey
When I came back to civilization, after my unforgettable descent, I stopped in the first village were I saw a mosque. I wanted to ask the Iman if I could sleep in the mosque. He wasn’t there. The man in the back of the picture (right) did so many effort, in the non stop rain, to find a solution for me. He ran from here to there and back. And he found one. The mayor, Yusuf (left) wanted to drive me to Trabzon. That was a thing I didn’t want. I ended up sleeping next door, in the barbers place, in the back, there was a bed. O, because of the bad weather there was no more electricity in the village. We had some light thanks to a big battery ans some led lights from the mayor. The next morning Yussef came over to have breakfast with me #wow #Turkey
In Trabzon I had to take care of my bicycle. I had to mount new chainrings and chain. I missed one big allen key. Hasan made a lot of effort finding one. He also has a garage, I could use his place to work on my bicycle. I could also use some of his power to help me with detaching the old chainrings. Thanks a lot Hasan, it was a pleasure meeting you #Turkey