I know I have 39kms today so I'm keen to get an early start but I was lucky enough to receive an invite from last nights family for breakfast as well. Packing my things I wait for the knock at the door.
The knock comes at 08:30 and I'm glad I made the effort to wait. Breakfast is an amazing feast of home-made cheese, yoghurt, butter and jam with fresh bread. Superb :)
As I head out of town last night's spiked collar rat-bag makes another appearance, but this time, like all naughty teenagers, he is looking a bit meek while his parents are around. There is no snapping at my heels this morning :)
A little down the road some kids spot me and call out. Running towards me when I stop I hold up the camera...
Like most people in these parts at the mention of "photo" they snap to attention so fast it would make the Army proud. Their mum, seeing what's going on, looks slightly panicked runs over. I hold off on my photo as I think she is coming to drag them away but as she arrives she proudly stands in between, not to be left out :)
She thanks me profusely then invites me for tea. The kids think it is incredibly funny having me sitting in their garden and the little boy is stoked to be able to play with the camera.
Making great time, by 1pm I only have 21kms to go...time for lunch. The clouds have been threatening to rain again and after yesterdays experience I don't want to take any chances. Finding a bus shelter I set my self up and just as I get comfy and start into my bread and cheese a car drives past then reverses back...
"Hey mate! Where are you from?"
"Australia! I'm from Germany...there's a party on down the road if you want to come?"
Party!? Of course! :)
The party turns out to be a village festival and is quite a big event. The whole town has turned out and we all get a big lunch before retiring inside for tea. The locals are very proud of their region and take me through some guide books and tourist pamphlets. There seems to be a lot to do here. Offering to let me stay the night, they inform me that there are some great walking tracks around the village where I can get nice photos. They even have the biggest nut tree in the world! This I would have liked to have seen but if I am going to take half a day off the last thing I want to be doing is walking in the rain :)
So after finding Faruk again to say "thanks, and good bye" he offers to take me to Narlihan, 20kms down the road. I decline his offer but am happy to get a lift back to the bus stop. The locals load me up with a huge bag of leftover lunch, which I gratefully accept and off we go.
Lightning and thunder start up all around us and I think I'm going to have to jump out of Faruk's car while it is in full motion. Faruk has decided that there is no way I will be walking in this weather and that since I'm only going to hitch anyway he might as well take me all the way...
Laughing "No, seriously...I will be walking. The only reason I'm going to be hitching is to get a lift back to the bus stop after you drop me in Narlihan..."
He shakes his head laughing "You are one crazy fucker!"
He's probably right :) but finally he gives in and takes me back to our meeting place. Cheers mate! You are a champion :)
So donning all my rain gear I head off into the storm. The lightning and thunder turn out to be all show as there is hardly any rain at all. My pants get wetter from sweat than they do from the rain...
The forest starts to give way to steep rocky hills and soon enough Narlihan comes into sight. I get adopted by a local teenager on a bike who takes me through town and finds me a hotel. The best part is I don't even have to bargain! Fifteen YTL straight off the bat for a clean room and a comfy bed. Perfect!
Turkey is playing the Czech Republic in a must win for them to stay in the European Cup. A good excuse to go for a beer so I track down a bar and join in the fun. Well, it turns out the first 75 minutes weren't much fun at all as Turkey was playing like crap and the score showed it, 2-0. The mood in the bar is pretty dismal as everyone seems to have given up hope but then Turkey scores! We all watch in amazement as Turkey makes a comeback and manages three goals in the last fifteen minutes! Quite a game!!!
Suddenly the streets fill with cars, horns tooting and even guns firing...you would think they had just won the bloody World Cup! It was pretty funny. I'm now really hoping Turkey can get it together and win the tournament. If this is how they celebrate winning a normal game it's going to be pretty wild if they can win the whole thing!