Today was a day of two halves… One with the three of us crawling up a very hilly coastal route, the other with the terrific company and hospitality of our host for the night, Ethem Tolga.
We left our construction site house at 7.15 to avoid any early builders’ attention and met Ethem in Ağva at midday where he made us coffee by the lighthouse and we took our first plunge into the sea. Known as the Wild Sea, it is reputedly dangerous for vicious undercurrents which kill hundreds of people a year.
A mechanical engineer by profession but very much nature adventurer in reality, Ethem regularly welcomes cyclists to his house in Seyker on the Black Sea coast. As part of his generous welcome, he took us walking up the cliffs to see a 14th century castle and rock formations as well as introducing us to the pleasure of the Hayrats: public drinking fountains built from religious backing for the use of everyone.
We jumped at the opportunity to shower, having only used mosque fountains thus far, and enjoyed a terrific mix of Turkish and not-so-Turkish food and drink for dinner. From pasta with ketchup to raw meatballs in salad leaves and Raki (strong, pastis-like Turkish wine) and fish, we were extremely well catered for and are so grateful for Ethem’s wonderful welcome, which he provides solely for the enjoyment of meeting other cyclists with similar interests.
Fortunately, his route suggestions agreed with four planning, so no break ups there!
Şile to Ethem Tolga in Seyker