Akşehir, Sultandağı, Çay — we spent a couple days skirting the north edge of the Sultan Dağları (mountains) on tractor roads. These cities are connected with a busy, fast road, the major highway connecting Konya and Afyonkarahisar. We had to cross it a few times, but except for short stretches before and after Çay, we managed to avoid riding on it.
These agriculture roads were kind of fun, not least because we could stop almost anywhere and eat fresh fruit that was literally falling off the trees — sour cherry, cherry, apricot, apple, plum, mulberry. The sour cherries were the most plentiful. The cherries were my favorite.
It turns out that Sultandağı has a nicely restored caravanserai. I wish we had known that before we sat down for drinks and a bite to eat at a typical Turkish village tea garden, full of men hanging out. How much more fun it would have been to do the same thing here:
We could have even played pool!
Avoiding the main road between neighboring Yeşilyurt and Çayırpınar took us onto a pretty faint (but easy to ride) track.
That evening we camped in a fruit orchard (was it apricot?) in Pazarağaç where the owner said we could stay 10 days and eat as much fruit as we wanted.
During this whole week we were plagued by the loud, polluting engines of the patpat, shown here:
They take an engine that’s designed for pumping water out of the ground and make an inexpensive vehicle out of it. The only place in Turkey where these vehicles (?) are made is Büyükkabaca where there’s a patpat statue in the center of town.
Like Thailand’s famous tuktuk, patpat is also an onomatopoeia for the same two-stroke engine. A week was enough. I’m happy not to hear those anymore.
We were heading south now, back toward Antalya.
Ahmet ran out of time in Senirkent. We said goodbye to him there, and he got a ride in a car back to Antalya.
Ferda, Yasemin, and I crossed the mountains again, using the Kapı Dağı road from Uluborlu to Gönen.
First though we stopped at the Roman Psidian city of Apollonia, more recently known as Uluborlu Kalesi where the most interesting thing we found was the arched bridge (aqueduct?) called Cirimbolu Su Kemerleri:
The climb the next morning was hot and steep at times.
Climbing higher didn’t help with the heat as there was no shade at the top.
With one exception everyone else we saw thought it was hot as well.
We spent our last night of the tour at the pretty Atabey Baraj Gölü (a reservoir).
Our last sightseeing was (of course!) another Roman ruin, Seleukeia Sidera. A team is excavating the theater. There’s not a lot to see.
We rolled into Isparta and easily found a bus to take the three of us and our bicycles to Antalya. If it weren’t for cold showers and air conditioning, we’d really be suffering here (43°C, they say today, warmer tomorrow). But we’re getting ready to leave again, this time hopefully to somewhere a bit cooler. Stay tuned…
And the numbers:
- 602 tour distance (km)
- 13219 total elevation gain (m)
- 17 days of the tour
- 16 cycling days
- 13 nights in the tent
- 57 most distance cycled in one day (km)
- 1517 most elevation gain in one day (m)
- 38 average distance on cycling days (km)
- 826 average elevation gained on cycling days (m)