Thursday, 10 July 2008

Pilgrimage from Kesikkopru to Hamzali 04/07/08

Feeling extremely lethargic when I wake it's a struggle to get going. The alarm was set for 06:15 but it's two hours later that I finally make a move.

By the end of last night my stomach was feeling pretty ordinary and this morning it starts to feel the same. I need some real food! Even though the hotel had a restaurant the night before last they only served pide for dinner, and pide for lunch, just more bread and cheese! :( Living on bread and cheese is enough to keep me going but after a few days my body needs more nourishment. From Kaprukoy I have only found one restaurant serving meat...But that's the price I pay for sticking to the small roads.

It only takes 3kms to reach Kesikkopru, being on the main road and marked on all my maps I'm sure they must have something. Eagerly searching around town I'm just met with mud bricks and dirt roads! Where are the shops???

Some kids are doing some chores in their front yard so I go to ask...

"Is there a restaurant here?"

He thinks this is incredibly funny and indicates there isn't...

"Is there a market?"


Shit! I hardly have any food and I'm meant to turn off the main road in another 200m, then face the possibility of another 40kms of nothing :( What to do?

I have a few options..

1. Hitch to the nearest town to stock up

2. Take the road on the north of the river which will probably add an extra 10-15kms to my travels and has more towns, but still doesn't guarantee any food.

3. Take the road on the south of the river which is the shortest route but only has one town in 40kms.

While I'm grabbing some photos of the river a local passes by and I ask him if there is a restaurant in the next town on the north road. He doesn't know but tells me that there is something wrong with the south road (which I couldn't understand) and that the north road is the only possible route.

Adding an extra 10-15kms really doesn't appeal so I opt for the south road anyway, just praying the only town will have facilities. Locating the south road is my next mission. I can see a dirt track making it's way east but it doesn't look big enough to appear on my map. Spotting a road sign which could be a turnoff farther on I go to investigate. It turns out to be 1km up the road and another dirt track that ends after 100m :(

So in very poor spirits I make my way back to the river, soon to have them lifted with a funny sight. Two hard looking men walking down the road holding hands. Even though it is very common in many parts of the world it still makes me laugh to see two men holding hands in public, especially forty year old working men :)

They stop for a chat and I'm happy to follow them back to their office for tea. It turns out the office has a kitchen and a full time cook and there is no way I am turning down an offer for food. I get presented with one of the best bowls of soup I've ever had the privilege to consume! It must look like I haven't eaten in a week because before the bowl is empty they already top it up again for me :) Awesome!!!

Hans tries to explain that it is quicker to take the north road rather than the south, which is probably true for cars but I'm sure it isn't by foot :) So after eating my fill I head down to my little dirt road to see where it leads me.

The track winds it's way along the river side and the valley is stunning. Makes for perfect walking. A truck pulls up beside me and guess who pops his head out of the window? Hans!

"Ben, what are you should be on the other side of the river!"

"No,'s OK" I say smiling

"No, the other side, the other side! Here, jump in" He indicates i should go with him in the truck

"Sorry, I can't...this road is fine"

He doesn't look so happy and shaking his head leaves me to it. A kilometer later one of the other drivers from the same company, who I met earlier as well, pulls up and I have the exactly the same conversation, also ending with him shaking his head while he driving off. Could this road really be that bad?

As I'm searching for a spot to take a brake Hans drives past again...

"Come for tea" He points at a small shed just down the road

Really I can't be buggered sitting there with them all trying to convince me to go to the other side of the river but they have looked after me well so I figure I should. I get out my computer and have a look at the map so I can name a couple of towns this side of the river, making it look like I know where I'm going...

"Abuusagi?" Pointing down the river

"No, no" Pointing up the river

"Tuzla?" Pointing down the river

"No, no" Pointing up the river

I have a brief moment of panic thinking that the world was turned upside down while I was sleeping but then I come back to reality and realize he is just teasing me :)

Knowing that I do have some idea where I'm going keeps them happy and the best thing is while I'm sitting there having tea lunch arrives!

"You will stay for lunch?"

Bloody ay! "Sure"

What a feast! We get more soup, fresh salad and an absolutely superb dish of stuffed capsicum. Wow! I was craving nourishment and here it is. Even if I don't get to eat for the rest of the day this should do me.

Setting off again in great spirits I stick to the river edge. The ground is hard and there is hardly any vegetation, so even when the road veers off I just go cross country.

I don't have a clue how many kilometers I'm covering but I'm enjoying every step so it doesn't matter. Sweet whiffs of something wonderful are in the air and are making my stomach wish for more food. Right in front of me appears a huge herb farm with every wonderful fragrance one can imagine all assaulting the senses at once.

Aaaahhhhh...could life get any better?

Erciyes mountain makes it's first appearance, still with snow and then just to top the day off I also find my first sandstone caves! It's a shame they weren't farther along or I would call it a night, but tomorrow night I'm determined to stay in a cave...

Around 20:30 two young farmers call me over and before I know it they are cooking up a storm on there little burner. They finish, hand me all the food and sit back...

"You are not going to eat? This is just for me?"

"Yes, yes....for you."

WOW! This will do me for a week! Somehow I manage to finish, and as it starts to get dark I go to leave. One of the guys offers to let me stay at his house but it is 7kms drive away and I'm not sure if I will be able to get back here in the morning.

The way the guys described the walk ahead seems straight forward, just stick to the road. It's amazing how such a simple task gets complicated very quickly. No sooner than I leave them the road splits! One road is bigger than the other with the smaller one is sticking to the river???

Choosing the big one I feel I've made a mistake after a couple of hundred meters as the road keeps swinging south. There is hardly any vegetation so even though it is dark I go cross country angling back towards the river.

Hardly any vegetation soon turns into ankle high vegetation, which turns to knee high vegetation and suddenly I'm walking in between bushes taller than me...and I still haven't located the river or the other road! By torchlight every gap in the bushes looks like a track and I have no idea which direction I'm walking. Getting covered in spider webs I just have to hope the little beasties aren't angry enough with me to cause me any problems...

Turning on my mp3 player Infected Mushroom comes on and it all starts to become a bit surreal. With the music keeping my spirits high I'm happy zigzagging around aimlessly, getting flashbacks of my younger days at dance parties...

It's all wonderful! ;)

Finally finding another road and emerging in a farmers paddock I set camp...

A perfect pilgrims day!!!

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