“Meaning is not something you stumble across, like an answer to a riddle or the prize in a treasure hunt. Meaning is something you build into your life.”
We started our Turkish adventure in the rain, though thankfully, along with the rain came a whole lot of friendly people and chai.
From the sea we climbed up into the hills, and eventually, into the mountains where we found more rain, a bit of snow, and more really nice people.
After climbing a few passes, we reached some of the most beautiful valleys we have ever seen, and as we climbed and dropped a few more times, we were rewarded with some pretty spectacular views. Nothing like a little bike ride to make you fall in love with fall, right?
We then climbed a whole lot of passes, of varying heights and degrees of difficulty, before arriving into the much more desolate dessert like part of Turkey.
Though the terrain was sort of boring, we enjoyed our sunny fall weather as we passed through small rural villages on our nicely paved roads.
And like always, our favorite part of the day was when we cooked dinner at sunset. No matter where we end up for the night – in an orchard, in a field, or by a river – our tent is always home.
We really enjoyed the eastern part of Turkey for many reasons; for the hospitality we encountered, the smaller rural villages we passed through, and the many shepherds we encountered along the way. We often “chatted” (played charades) with these lovely fellows since they always seemed to be passing through with their animals whenever we stopped for the day. We appreciate these semi nomads greatly as they too live in the outdoors, and because, in a lot of ways, we can relate to them a whole lot more than to anyone who lives in the city. Plus, I’m animal obsessed and hanging out with them gave me a chance to admire their goats and sheep!
Before we progress any further into Turkey, I think it’s high time we visit a few mosques, since after listening to the call to prayer five times a day for the last two months, they are sort of unforgettable.
We ended getting picked up by a van right outside Van (read more about it all here) and lucky for us, ended up in a home stay just as the snow started to fall.
After a few wonderful days with the family, we took a ferry across the lake and started on our way once again.
Then, we stumbled across our first cave just before Cappaocia, and spent a peaceful night enjoying the wind/rain free shelter it provided us!
Cappadocia! The place everyone talks about, due to its funny rock formations, underground cities, and caves. Though it was snowing and rainy for days, we enjoyed our time exploring this unique landscape.
Though Istanbul marked the end of our cycling, it also marked the beginning of our month long vacation with my best friend and brother who flew out to join us for the holidays.
… and hot springs (Pamukkale)…
… and since we wanted to show them how we live, we brought them camping!
We then visited Cappadocia again, before heading up north and into the snow!
And there you have it, a glimpse of Turkey through the lens!