Sunday, 22 June 2008

Pilgrimage from Akkaray to Basbereket 18/06/08

Waking early in a farmers field I get straight into it, arriving shortly at Akkaray. Sitting drinking tea at the local cafe I'm amazed at the constant stream of people coming and going from this tiny little village. One bus after another stops with passengers getting on and others jumping off...what are they all doing???

I don't find out before making my move and as I wasn't able to get breakfast in Akkaray I'm happy to stop a short while down the road at the first restaurant I find...

"Pide please"

The guy walks over to the clock and points to the "6", a thirty minute wait...

"What about salad, can you do a salad?"

He looks at me like I'm being a stupid impatient Westerner (I don't know why ;) ), then points at the "6".

OK, OK, I get the picture...I don't really feel like walking anyway.

Going next door to buy a drink I'm once again surprised that they don't have Sprite or 7-Up! Seems to be a bit of a scarcity around these parts. As I'm searching for something else to quench my thirst I spot what looks like vegetable juice. Picking one out I turn to the shopkeeper...


He pulls a funny face and shakes his head but now I'm curious so I buy it anyway. On my first sip I could tell what he was on about...tastes like drinking sea water, only more salty! On closer inspection the label tells me it's "Fermented Carrot Juice". Must be good for me!!! ;)

Sitting waiting for my pide a guy pulls up in a car and takes a seat at my table. He can't speak much English but keeps me company for about 15 minutes, then before he leaves goes and pays for my meal! Champion :)

By the time I leave it's 11am and starting to get really hot! Slogging away for two hours I spot an empty shed and take cover, soon to fall asleep, waking two hours later to find the temperature has only increased. I'm sure Ayas must be close, it was only 23kms from my starting point so I set off with thoughts of a cold beer driving me on. A couple of kilometers down the road a sign appears "Ayas 10"!!! Still ten kilometers!!! How did that happen? I know I've been walking slow but that means I have only covered 13kms in the last 8 hours!!! Not impressed :)

The only thing to cheer me up is that cherry stalls starting appearing with super happy owners eager to load the funny looking tourist up with more cherries than he'd be able to eat in a lifetime. Keeps me going :)

Finally hitting Ayas at 5pm I don't even realize I'm in town. For some reason I thought it would be quite big but I stop at a service station for a drink and ask one of the workers...

"How many kilometers to Ayas?"

Looking slightly confused and pointing to the ground "Ayas, Ayas"

OK..."How far to the town center?"


I can see 500m down the road and it looks like that's just about where the town ends. Oh well...

It turns out Ayas is slightly bigger than I could see as the town center is located down the hill from the main road. But As there is internet and restaurants close by I have no need to walk down and have a look.

Over the few hours I get a continuous stream of tea and cherries. The funniest moment comes though while eating dinner. The guy sitting at the table next to me hasn't said a word to me or even looked my way. But then he gets up, pays his bill, walks across the road and comes back with a handful of cherries which he proceeds to dump on my table and walk off...still without saying anything! Takes the cake for the most random act of kindness for the day :)

But I have to admit it's times like this I get the feeling someone is playing a practical joke on me. Like the kid who has "Kick Me" written across his back, maybe someone has taken the time to tatoo "Feed Me" on my forehead without me realizing... :)

Making a move around 21:30, with the full moon guiding the way, I make another 12kms before calling it a night.


Leigh Norrie said...


Sorry been quiet. But will get an email to you very soon. Loving the blog and the vids on youTube... Excellent stuff, wonderful achievement. Will send an email asap.

All the best and look after your spirits.


Ben :) said...

hey mate!!!

great to see u here :)

for everyone this is THE leigh norrie from Japan-6000 miles on a bicycle ;)

can't wait to meet up and swap stories some time...

ben :)