We left Ersan’s flat after a good night’s sleep out of our silk liners and hit the road at about 8:15, making a special detour to ride 500m on the only cycle path we have seen so far in Turkey. The exit of Samsun was far less glamorous than the entry as we became embroiled in a dangerously chaotic junction, worsened by roadworks and mud all over the road.
Unscathed, we started heading along the coast, completely flat and comfortably wide, Ant and I trying to catch mopeds and lorries to draft behind! About 20 km out, after we had just wolfed down a breakfast of bread and nutella, a man waved us over from the side of the road in a very enthusiastic fashion. Keen to accept any welcome, though slightly unsure as to the nature of this encounter, we stopped and followed the man – who happened to be the town hairdresser – into his office! Along with his apprentice, and around 10 different locals who wandered in and out, they gave us some çay, bought us some cake and made as much conversation as possible. We were also provided with fresh water, melon and nectarines all while none of them ate or drank anything making it feel even more friendly.
The biggest shock, however, was yet to come. Ant’s particularly grubby hair must have vexed our host as he encouraged him to sit in one of the chairs as the smiley apprentice washed his hair twice! This incredible treatment was followed by a back massage, forceful yet enjoyable, and a blow-dry and wax for the great Turkish hairdo (see Ant’s and my rather punked-up hair in the photos). A ridiculously funny experience and so completely unexpected…
We travelled well until about 130 when we hit the beach for some lunch (bread and cheese), some sea frisbee and a nap. We then headed further towards Ordu, where we hope to pick up Alex’s helmet tomorrow morning, stopping for the night in Fatsa. As Alex went to find wifi, Ant and I sat on the street and within an hour were provided with bread, cake, ekmek fırını, and some kebabs by generous people living in nearby apartments!
Alex and I scouted for a place to stay and decided to be bold: as I write this in bed I am sat below a defunct lighthouse at the end of a pier with a view of the Black Sea in front of me where the sun will rise and Fatsa behind me lit up with people filling up their stomachs ready for tomorrow’s fasts! Ant is unfortunately still unwell after sunstroke yesterday and perhaps more today, though he felt ok during most of the day, and so is wrapped up in my -15 degree sleeping bag while I am wearing all my clothes ready for the cold sea breeze!
Change of plan… There are a lot of visitors to the lighthouse… Sleep may not be so straightforward!