Sunday, 15 June 2008

Pilgrimage from Alifuatpasa to Tarakli 12/06/08

Still feeling a bit dazed and confused when I wake I realize that in all the fun yesterday I lost my hat :( Luckily it's still early so I will be able to get some kilometers in before it gets too hot.

Geyve appears after 15 minutes, but it's 2kms off my road. I don't have any food and only a little water, but I still don't feel like making the extra hike. According to my map Tarakli, the next town, is 28kms away and as I'm looking up the valley I get the feeling there isn't going to be much else. yesterdays walk was full of abundance, walking through a land of milk and honey, but today I have the feeling it's going to be a lot different.

I sit down in an orchard to contemplate my options and realize the battery is flat in my video camera. Replacing it with one of the spares I find the spare is broken! Lucky I have a spare spare as well :) Much to my horror this one stuffed too! Electronics!!! After using these things for a year they both decide to die on the same day! Why does this happen??? :) it's looking like one of those days...

After stealing a couple of sour cherries I decide to keep going. Twenty eight kilometers is doable on an empty stomach...

The Turks love these little fruit which they call "little apples" but in reality are more like unripe plums. Actually, I think that is what they are, but because the Turks think they are fine sour they never get a chance to ripen ;) Anyway, I soon spot one of these "little apple" trees and load up. It might be the only thing that saves me from starvation. I grab about 15 of them thinking that would be plenty but after 5kms I have demolished them all and feel slightly ill...

With the sun beating down on my face I'm sweating like a pig and wishing I had some battery power to film myself. Then I remember, I have the other video camera in the water proof casing which has a full battery. Perfect :)

Stopping to do the change I doze off as my body tries to deal with not getting any caffeine. The only disturbance is the occasional fly crawling up my nose or ant crawling in my ear. Two hours later I emerge from my slumber a new man. Everything is feeling great!

As I set off I run into two of the unsavory characters that must give this road it's bad name. They pull over in a big black van, looking rougher than I do after a week in the bush and drinking beer at 11am...

"Where are you going?"


"Where are you from?"


Big smiles "Aaaaah,, Australia!!!" One of them hands me his beer. "Here...drink, drink"

Perfect ;) It tastes great and luckily we are in the middle of nowhere or I would be quite happy to go grab some more and spend the day getting pissed with these two...

After a couple of minutes talking I continue on. Rapping a T-shirt around my head to get some protection i still have to walk with my head down to keep the sun off my face. It makes for hard going...

A man selling cherries appears in front me, looks like this will be lunch :) I get out 1YTL and indicate that I want that much worth of cherries, from the signs of seen previous probably about half a kilo. He grabs handfull after handfull and I finally have to ask him to stop! His smile just broadens he continues to fill my bag :) I end up with almost 3kgs and he doesn't even want my money!

I try to stop myself from eating too many but it isn't possible. I'm pretty hungry from walking and it isn't long before the bag is half empty...and I'm feeling sick once again... :)

Around 1pm I start to look for a place to wait out the heat and right on cue a restaurant appears! Magic :) I don't have to live on cherries after all.

I ask for a menu but the boy taking my order just keeps saying something over and over. Judging by the table next to me it must mean "fish", so I just smile and nod. Fish it is and it turns out to be a wonderful choice.

After three hours of gorging myself I set off, hoping to make Tarakli by dark. The walk is great with one amazing view after another.

At 20:30 Tarakli comes into sight, tucked away in a big basin. Finding a restaurant still on the highway I get a great feed of sausage and eggs and as I go to leave the young guy working there asks...

"Are you camping tonight?"


"If you want you can camp next to the restaurant, probably safer"

Sounds perfect to me!!!

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