This blog will soon become just tales of Turkish generosity..
A beautiful climb and then descent from Safranbolu in the setting sun led us to a small village along the road where we found an empty collapsing house and a mosque in which to wash. We did not really like the atmosphere in this village as people seemed very suspicious; we are, after all, an unusual sight. However, as I came back from the mosque, I started talking to an old local man who was keen to find out more about our trip without a word of English. Ant joined shortly after and we accepted some çay which turned into a full blown dinner once he had understood we might be hungry! Alex then joined too and a couple of hours later he had offered us to sleep in his house which we accepted.
We left this morning at 7 am and headed towards Araç. The road has been slightly uphill most of the way only broken up by heavenly fresh water sources and some builders pulling us over to join them for some çay. Ant crashed into a pavement while trying to extricate a lace from his gears and has bent his crank arm, causing some very uncomfortable cycling which will hopefully be fixed over the next two days in Kastamonu where we had planned to stop for a rest. He somehow managed not to fall over so is fine himself!
I was invited into a café in Araç where we ended up staying a couple of hours while the owner kindly gave us çay, Ayran, water and juice. As Alex slept at the table and Ant looked for a hammer to fix his bike, I played cards with the locals learning a game simple enough to explain without words and tried to tell them as much about us as possible! It was a surreal atmosphere to be in – a fairly large café / tea house / restaurant with a solid flow of attendants but not one of them eating or drinking anything as today is the first day of Ramadan.
We cycled about 12k further up into the mountains before we found a small stone building to camp in and a glorious sunset over the horizon to watch as we cooked our dinner.
Tomorrow (now today as I post this) we are heading to kastamonu going over a 1230m pass on the way where we will stop for a rest day on Thursday.