Saturday, 9 June 2012

A day of highways

On the road at 7.00 am this morning because Gail read her watch upside down and thought it was later than it really was. So we beat all the traffic out of town.
Today was all on highways that ranged from 2 lanes each way to 4 each way. Not a lot of traffic apart from round the city of Eskisehir.  Not far out of Eskisehir we passed what looked like a nomad camp with tents similar to the nomad tents we saw in Iran last year and their flocks and dogs. Not a lot further, on the rolling tundra-like plains became heavily cultivated with what looked like wheat, beans and possibly oats. We could see tractors working the land like isolated ants in the distance but there was no evidence of houses or villages so where the people come from to till those thousands of acres is a mystery. That landscape went on until we reached the outskirts of Ankara, which we bypassed, and then it resumed again but this time with villages and small towns visible set back from the highway.

As you can see the quality of the road is very good so we were able to keep up a good speed. Most of the traffic travels well below the speed limit, probably because of the high cost of petrol at about $2.20 a litre which is a lot of money here, so we spent a lot our time in the overtaking lane. I had a ball but it was boring for Gail on the back.

A major surprise was Lake Tuz which we had noted on the map but until it came into view we hadn’t realised it is a salt lake and a bit of a tourist attraction.

We lunched at a salt-side restaurant and walked down to the lake to crunch around a bit on the salt which probably didn’t do our motorcycling boots a lot of good. There was shop there selling all sorts of salt based “health products” at inflated prices.

We diverted from the highway at Sereflikochisar and found what appears to be the only hotel in town, the Yildirum Hotel, where they wanted 175 lira a night with breakfast but we negotiated it down to 100 (about $56). Probably our best room yet but it ought to be considering last night cost us half that.
We’ve been in Turkey 3 days now and have seen only 2 other bikes over about 150cc. Our bike always attracts attention whenever we stop. A couple of times someone has pointed at the bike and asked if we are from Bulgaria. I think they are confusing the GB plate on the back with the BG plate that Bulgarian vehicles have. When people learn that we have ridden it from England they are incredulous particularly when they see our grey hair when we remove our helmets. One guy asked my age and commented either that the trip was very strange or that I am very strange, I couldn’t catch his English, but they are probably both true.

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