Bicycle touring Antalya: Narpızlı, Saklıkent, Dereköy, Kökez, Kar Çukuru, Feslikan

No one will look at these photos and say, “wow, what a beautiful route.” It satisfied two of our important criteria — close to Antalya and high (in a failed attempt to get away from the heat).

In mid-August Özgür, Tuğçe, Ferda, and I loaded our bicycles and gear into Özgür’s caravan and drove up to his mother’s summer house in Narpızlı Yaylası at about 1500m. We started our four-day loop the next morning.

IMG_20230815_093205 by bryandkeith on flickr
Continue reading
Posted in Bicycle touring, Turkey | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Selçuk (and Ottoman) monuments in Erzurum (again) and Sivas

I have written about Erzurum a number of times before on this blog so I’ll try to keep it short. Sivas, however, we visited for the first time!

Over the years I’ve watched Erzurum lose its edgy soul in the name of urban renewal/clean up/gentrification. The process seems fairly complete at this point. This area to the south of the fortress (kale):

IMG_20230722_194820 by bryandkeith on flickr
Continue reading
Posted in Traveling, Turkey | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Auto-touring Artvin: Şavşat and Ardanuç

Artvin is Turkey’s most beautiful province (il). For Ferda’s parents first time in eastern Turkey we decided to take them to some places we had been before, places we knew we liked and were excited to visit again. Previously we’d traveled here by bicycle. This time we rented a car which of course made the trip very different.

The drive through Kars and Ardahan is rather flat, perhaps rolling hills. We had barely crossed the provincial border when we were treated to a view like this:

Ferda and I have bicycled in the valleys in the back half of this photo. by bryandkeith on flickr

Those valleys behind Ferda and her parents in that photo is where you find Tamara Kilisesi, Pona Alabalık, Arsiyan, and other places I described in this post.

About an hour later we took a nice break at Laşet above the village of Kocabey.

Continue reading
Posted in Traveling, Turkey | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Kars and Ani again

If you read my blog about Kars and Ani from the start of our bicycle tour two years ago, you can skip this one. We’re in the same places. I will, however, try to avoid describing stuff we’ve done before (eating goose, enjoying the architecture) and see if I can find something new.

This mosque complex in the center of the city is new.

a new mosque complex since the last time I was in Kars (two years earlier) by bryandkeith on flickr

The young Kurdish guy working at our hotel said a new mosque is the last thing Kars needs. All the (Turkish sunni) worshipers in Kars can’t fill a single small mosque, he joked.

As I wrote before, one of the things I like about Kars is its ethnic diversity. Some of the various groups include terekeme, Azeri, Alevi, yerli (which I think means Sunni Turkish (Turkey’s majority group) in this context), Kurdish, and malakan.

One day when Ferda’s father and I were checking out the Russian (with Armenian stonework) Aleksandr Nevski Kilisesi (now a mosque),

Continue reading
Posted in Traveling, Turkey | Tagged , | 1 Comment

From Greece to Armenia: a quick (motorized) journey across Turkey

Be warned, however, that we didn’t go to either Greece or Armenia. We could see the Greek island of Samos from Özdere, where we spent the kurban bayramı holiday with Ferda’s parents. Does that count?

IMG_20230703_105702 by bryandkeith on flickr

Defne and I had a short 5:30am self-guided tour of Selçuk when we switched buses between Antalya and Özdere.

Continue reading
Posted in Traveling, Turkey | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments