Day 53. Wednesday, September 20. Construction yard camp to Amasya. 133km of riding, with 1,173m of climbing.
Today was the last of our five-day run of riding days, the longest stretch between rest days of our entire adventure. Travelling west over these days, the hills of Anatolia have softened from sharp mountains to gentle rolling countryside.
The valley we’re riding down has broadened too, giving rise to mid-level plateaus with more farming than just on the valley floor. We took advantage of that this morning, climbing from last night’s campsite by the highway to country roads up on the higher ground.
More farming means more dogs. While the Turkish ones have been more laid-back than their fierce neighbours back in Georgia, Will, one of our riders from England, had the bad luck this morning of coming across some fierce Turkish ones.
Wisely, he got off his bike and put it between him and them. But one darted behind him and bit his left buttock. Fortunately, only one tooth managed to penetrate his cycling shorts and skin. But still, he’s now an anti-rabies course of tablets for the next few weeks. He’s our third rider to be bitten so far.
Alerted to the incident by Lorna, our sweep (the crew member riding as last-of-us-on-the road), we Dane Trainers stopped to slip a few stones into our shirt pockets just in case. But as we passed the offending farm there was thankfully no sign of the dogs.
When it came time for our afternoon drinks stop, we found a very hospitable café with a fine view over the main road. The staff were keenly interested in our journey and insisted on having a photo of the Dane Train…complete with a new Turkish flag the proprietor had just bought.
While we were lining up for the photo, a ladder truck from the local fire station turned up to feed the new flag’s rope down the new flagpole.
As we continued down the valley, it began to narrow again and the hills steepen. I kept wondering how the terrain would play out to allow room for Amasya, the sizeable town that was our destination today and our place of rest tomorrow.
We turned a corner and all was revealed. The town lines both sides of a narrow gorge of the Yeşil River.
Within a few kilometres we were riding along one river bank, through by far the most attractive town we’ve come across so far on our travels.
Soon after we crossed a foot/cycle bridge to the other bank…with our hotel just to the right of the bridge.
For the record, over the past five days we’ve cycled 674km, climbed 7,737m and descended 9,413m. That’s a daily average of 135km, 1,547m of climbing and 1,883m of descent.
Phew! We did the quintuple!…and we celebrated over dinner at our hotel. Thank heavens, tho, tomorrow is a rest day. Which then leaves us seven more cycling days (plus one rest day) to Istanbul.