Hey my friends,
I arrived in Ankara and I’m writing this article from my tent in the garden of a hostel! Ahah, when there is no place I am ready for anything!
I left the beautiful city of Izmir on April 19 and after 90 km, with cloudy and windy weather, I arrived in the town of Selcuk. I didn’t want to spend the night outside because there was a risk of rain, so I went to a bar. As is my habit, I smile, I look at the people, I park my bike prominently, with the idea of starting the conversation!
Selcuk and his cycling club!
And this time it has never been so easy! =) Upon my arrival, a group of men called me, they were speaking English and they are part of the city bike group. Youpi I find enthusiastics bikers ! They make about a bike trip per week that gathers twenty people and they organize two or three weekends per year with more than 300 cyclists! Their convictions, their joys to bike in group, reminded me of my bike club in Couëron!
I told them about my journey, and Sahin offered me to stay in his house! I stayed at his home two nights and the day after my arrival we visited the surroundings by bike. We visited the temple of Artemis, the cemetery “Seven sleepers” in the mountainside and the citadel of the city which was a Catholic church then a mosque. As Sahin says; “I don’t understand how people can have the right to replace a church by a mosque, people think only of their interests and they don’t accept the diversity of religions.” Without forgetting the city itself, the city center is calm, cozy and well vegetalized. I enjoyed walking there with Sahin, it changes from the Turkish cities with disordered architecture and the background noise from the traffic.
What good memories in this small town rich in historical monuments and cyclists! Good surprise ! Thank you Sahin for your great welcome =)
After a day of rest, I hit the road … Under the rain! Since my departure from Bozcaada, days on the bike are difficult for my mindset. The climate plays a key role, I feel like I will never reach Cambodia and the solitude is troublesome.
Nazilli, a great host and many thinkings!
But fortunately, I arrived in Nazilli and I was welcomed by Barhi, a cyclist too! He is training to do 500 km in 24 hours with a racing bike. He also makes bike traveling, this summer he hopes to travel in Europe and why not do a woofing or a Workaway! We also talked politics together and the situation in Turkey is catastrophic according to him. He has many friends who have been fired, especially teachers. He sees no possible exit from the Erdogan regime … Thank you Barhi for your great welcome =).
In this period of French presidential election, my mind is disturbed! I face up to a complex choice for the second round, but only one possibility is reasonable and don’t worry I will take it! But also because during my journey I meet a lot of peoples who have an idealistic vision of France and French people. The social and economic situation is of course more favorable in France and the villages I pass through confirm this to me every day. But they don’t see what we have lost in love of life, in family bonds, lack of investment in local institutions, gain in stress at work, overconsumption, malnutrition … These are only examples!
My overall impression is that we have become the pawns of a society that makes us suffer rather than spend our days answering to our basic needs (those who really make us feel good) and to be happy simply. I read the book “La sobriété heureuse” by Pierre Rabhi, one of the pioneers of ecological agriculture in France, I advise it to you! His book is a step back on the current system and not an incentive to leave it overnight.
And what is the purpose of my journey you could ask me ? I want to find ideas and answers to my questions by observing the rest of the world, to better criticize the current system in the goal to get my mind and heart open and optimistic to change things. The aim of my journey is to meet people who innovate and respond to social problems. And above all understand how they do it and what are their sources of motivation. As a friend reminded me when we were discussing about the presidential election, the stake is also in local actions; I would cite two films that express this: “Solutions locales pour un désordre global” and “Demain”.
OOHH I lost you on the way, but it reflects well my state of mind during my long days of cycling =).
Pamukkale, almost a ski weekend …
I then arrived in Pamukkale, I let you discover the place in picture! I would like to thank Emin who was my improvised guide during the day, he made me discover the historical monuments of Pamukkale. For the rest, the city and the “white mountain” were too much tourist attraction to my taste.
Finally sunny weather =) I ride in direction of Ankara, the road is straight, dotted with beautiful bumps and the forests are replaced by fields as far as my eyes can see! In this context it is complicate to plant the tent! So I stopped in the small village of Bozan and went to have a drink in the bar behind the mosque. They offrered me several teas, I was the attraction of the village, thanks to google translate we could exchange ideas and we are now all friends on Facebook =). Vedat is the teacher of the primary school, he hosted me and cooked meals. I even attended a Turkish dance class; The Zeybek. And the next morning the children woke up the village with their cries, their smiles and their singing!
Thank you Bozan, a small village with a big heart! I still ask myself a question, which has been true since I arrived in Turkey, where are the women? In cafes there are only men, I meet some women in the street who do errands, but the rest of the time? Question to be clarified =)
After a night camping in a beautiful free land, I arrived in Afyon. I was greeted by Can, which I found via Warmshowers.org. He is a economics researcher in a school, but his profession doesn’t please him. He told me that he don’t produce anything physically, that he lacks, so he bought a land on a Turkish island and he will sit down there and live from permaculture.I love, I adhere, I encourage!
Finally, I took a bus to get to Ankara, yes I know it is not good. I plan on staying there for a few days to do some tinkering on my bike, shopping and getting my Iranian and Indian visas.
Bye bye, see you soon =)
Salut Tony. Merci pour tes photos, tes récits et tes reflexions auxquelles j’adhère à 100%. Malheureusement à mon âge je suis bien moins optimiste sur nos capacités à réorienter notre société dans une direction plus humaine et plus durable. Au travers de tes photos je vois que tu as eu un peu de soleil, mais c’est vrai qu’il a été trop rare en avril. Bonne chance pour ta chasse aux visas à Ankara, une ville qui a envahi des collines escaepées et m’a rappelé SF, où pour aller d’un point à un autre il ne suffit pas d e mesurer la distance horizontale. J’ai un tuyau à te donner: partout en Turquie tu trouveras de la bière chez Migros. Sinon, on peut trouver mais il faut se faire aider. Je ne sais pas comment tu as cécu la campagne du référendum de Adolf Erdogan mais, de mon côté je ne peux plus supporter sa tronche. Je suis en attente d’une fenêtre météo pour passer encore un col à plus de 2000m et entrer en Iran, pas fâché de quitter la Turquie et surtout l’Anatolie où je trouve l’atmosphère un peu lourde voire pesante ! À bientôt. Thierry
Sur la colline de Pamukkale, la vieille station thermale s’appelle Hiérapolis