Thursday, 19 June 2008

Pilgrimage from Cayirhan to Akkaray 17/06/08

One of the best things with sleeping under a bridge is that there is no sun to wake me up in the morning. Eventually dragging myself out of bed around 9am my bread and cheese stays in it's bag, still not doing it for me. Maybe there is only a certain amount of bread and cheese one person can consume in a lifetime and my quota is already up... :)

Beypazari is 20kms away and I still hope to be there for lunch. Already it's bloody hot though and the going is hard. Over every rise I eagerly search for signs of habitation, a restaurant, a service station, anything at all that will offer me a place to sit and rest...but all I am greeted with is endless fields of wheat!

After two hours I top a rise and see a patch of trees below. Three woman come into view, hurriedly working there way around one of the trees like busy ants. Drawing next to them I drop my pack and collapse in a heap. One of the woman tries to communicate with me in German but we don't get far. She hands me one of the berries she is collecting and indicates I should eat it...

Now, I have seen these trees many times before laden with berries but I have never seen anyone eating them. They look like big white blackberries and I have been tempted to try them on numerous occasions, but then hear Sabine's story in my head of a guy who did a pilgrimage around America, got lost and died after eating berries. She had seen a movie about him and that was all the warning I needed to stay away from strange looking fruits...

But surely this woman isn't trying to knock me off so I give it a go. WOW!!! Boy have I been missing out! They are great!!!

So now there are four busy bodies working their way around the tree. The women call it a day and drive off leaving me to gorge myself stupid...which I do :)

Not long after they leave I get a visit from the local ferret/mongoose/prairy dog community. I don't really know what to call them but all these types of creatures fascinate me. The best thing is they are not too worried about my presence in their yard and as long as I don't get too close, are happy to play around in front of me.

I get moving and 5kms later come across another of the same type of berry tree. I know realize how much of a good job the three old ducks did of stripping the last one. Even though I still got a good feed, the berries I was eating were only half the size and half as juicy as the ones now in front of me :)

The walking is hot and the country dry but I eventually drag myself into Beypazari. Heading straight to a restaurant then to an internet cafe, it isn't long before it's six o'clock. I better get moving. Unsure as to the facilities ahead I stock up on some nuts and water...

Everyone I've talked to in this town has pointed West making "guzel, guzel" (beautiful, beautiful) noises and the guys in the nut shop are no different. Asking if I have been up that way I indicate a negative and that's that...there not letting me leave without seeing the pride of their town!

So after being bundled into their car we head West and five kilometers later the road gets engulfed in a huge canyon. Very impressive! The guys take me to a restaurant, lead me right to the back of the garden where we have a great view of the cliffs, sit me down and then excuse themselves to go talk to a couple of friends that were out the front.

My tea arrives, then some rice, then a salad. I suddenly realize the table has only been set for one and I start to wonder what has happened to my "mates"???

A sinking feeling comes over me as I notice all I have with me is the video camera and still camera, everything else is in their, the other video camera, passport, credit cards, money... :(

Ten minutes has already past since they left so I figure if they have ripped me off there is not much I can do now. Without any money this might be the last meal I get for a while so I might as well enjoy it. Once again it's the type of situation where what's done is done and I just have to hope it all turns out fine...

And it does, just as I finish the food they turn back up apologizing for taking so long. Ordering an absolutely superb dessert to finish off they then refuse to let me pay. Champions!!! Thanks guys :)

It's 8pm, but being close to a full moon I'm not worried about walking at night. I grab a couple of beers on the way out of town and start walking. The moon is directly in front of me and as it starts to get dark I have a incredible feeling of contentment with where I am, what I'm doing and with life in general :)

Stopping to get out my head lamp I crack open a beer. There are few things better than sitting in the middle of the desert completely alone and just enjoying the silence.

The guys at the nut store warned me about the big dogs over the next 30kms so I prepared the only real weapon I have with torch :) Toby in Amsterdam had a dream where this torch saved my life, so last time I was there he gave it to me as a present. Now you are probably thinking to yourself "what the fuck is Ben on about here???" but this isn't just any old torch. This is €200 worth of power stuffed into a penlight! Even if you shine this thing at your face with your eyes closed it still hurts :)

And now I'm about to get the chance to test it out! I hear a dog start up in front of me and after spotting it with the headlamp it attacks. I let it get within a few meters before letting loose with my secret weapon...

The dog doesn't know what hit it and quickly scuttles back up the hill :) It works...I'm impressed!!! Cheers Toby :)

In all the commotion the owners of the dog appear. Waving me over I'm happy to sit and have a chat for a while, really funny guys.

Passing through the next town the stray dogs are roaming around but with my new found confidence none are willing to get very close. I end up making 17 kilometers from Beypazari and around 12:30, after finishing my second beer, call it a night...


Steph said...

I WIN!!! It only took me fifteen kilometres to drop the camera :)

Ben :) said...


i remember ;)