Salty Anatolıa

Cycling south from Ankara out of its bowl like geography I was soon sucking in breaths from the climb. Entirely too much time had recently been spent sitting around in cities smoking and drinking.

Fortunately I was diverted by a relaxing off road loop around Eymir Gölü, a small lake south of Ankara bathed in bright autumnal sunshine. I took an early lunch in the dappled light using the time to tlc the bicycle after its bus ride. My saddle and cleats successfully repositioned I got underway properly and joined the E90 south of Golbaşı.

My rhythm didn't return straightaway and I made hard work of the afternoon despite the good road surface. Gliding along with cheese cake hills flanking my left and large flat fields stretching away to my right I was flabbergasted to realise that this part of Turkey was in fact flat. Most disconcerting.

My one disappointing shot of the cheesecake hills

Even so I didn't make it very far before pulling over and making camp for the night.

The next day was far better as I found my groove after an early start. My good pace was rewarded with magnificent views over Tuz Gölü (Salt Lake).

A colourful expanse of vegetation fringed the northern edges of the salt flats

The lake was huge, easily extending 50 kilometers but its opal shimmerings constantly changed ensuring a new aspect revealed itself every time I glanced right.

Road side fires & the many faces of the Salt Lake

After a while I decided that I'd like to take a closer look and spying a likely looking track freewheeled down onto the salty expanse.

The sheer openness was thrilling and the surface not at all uncomfortable. I continued on in this manner for about 5k before realizing that the salt grit spraying up probably wasn't doing the bike much good and retreated back to the relative safety of the highway.

A quick wild camp just south of the lake behind some of the only trees in Anatolia

I stopped the next morning in a charming road side cafe which boasted a drawbridge for some Chi and a quick call home.

Who can resist a drawbridge?

The days riding was a return to vexing Turkish roads as I sought to cross the rough hills to my east. In no other country are road conditions so unpredictably changeable I'm not talking about one road being of good and another being of bad quality. Instead here one road can in just 50k veer from perfect to gravel to tar and back again thrice. This inexplicable variability meant that I often found grit in my eyes my wheels covered in freshly laid tar.

But these frustrations could not effect my mood because the outrageous beauty of Cappadocia was upon me and taking up all my attention.

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