I cycle out of the city Kastamonu. A city about 100 kilometer inland from the coast of the Black Sea. Loud sounds I hear from the mosques along the way, “Allahu akbar!” I’m used to it, it wakes up and I go to sleep with it.
It really gives me the feeling of being away from home.
Initially I had no plans to go inland. A Turkish man had put my bike and everything into his van and took me to lunch. We drove about 15 kilometers inland somewhere into a town. He gave me a map of Turkey and adviced me to take a shortcut to Samsun. The road along the coast would be impossible to cycle on my bike. “But is it not beautiful there?” I tried. “No beautiful,” he said while shaking his finger menacingly no.
With still fresh in my mind what had happened a few days ago, it seemed wise to me to follow his advice.
The day I cycled into Kastamonu was the hardest day of the whole trip so far. I woke up at 1000 meters high under a layer of snow, then it snowed all day and rained with a strong headwind. Frustrations went through my mind “Why did I started this? There will be never any end. Why do I have to live up to this selfish travel ambition? Alone in the cold, in the rain, in these mountains. For what I do this?”
These are the moments where I have no energy left to think in a positive way. I especially try not to make important decisions during these moments, otherwise I was already home again. Which will be no harm for my girlfriend Lisa.
When I finally arrived in Kastamonu I had no energy to cycle out of the city anymore to find a camping spot. I went looking for a cheap room. Somewhere in the middle of a neighborhood I got something what in my opinion could not be expensive. I stepped inside. The man behind the counter was friendly. He spoke no English but that was no problem. He took me down the street to a store two blocks away. I left my bike in good faith, on the side of the road. In the shop it was translated that the room would cost me 30 Turkish lira (about 10 euro) but I would have a shared shower and toilet. I did’t care at all, I just wanted a good sleep.
And then on a rainy day there turned out a series of most spontaneous events of my cycle-tour. The morning showed nothing of that. No indeed, it looked to be like a depressive dark day. It began with dark clouds and soon it was raining, not much later I also got an incredibly need to go to the toilet.
I saw a construction area with road workers and a large canteen. On to the entrance of a large enclosure. My bike was left at the entrance and I was taken by one of the guards to the toilet. Oops, no toilet paper. I asked the security guard who made it clear with a beautiful hand gesture how Turkish people take care of that. Off course they don’t use toilet paper. No, it happens with a bowl of water. Well there I went, the rest is history.
This history took quite some time. The security guard was gone when I finally got the job done. I walked outside and there was someone walking directly towards me. He made an eating gesture with his hand. Soon, I was having lunch in the canteen. In front of me a documentary about huge boa constrictors and beside me 20 Turkisch road workers who all stared at me and apparently had more interest in an unkempt-looking white boy than in those weird snakes. Sometimes I heard drop the words ‘Hollanda’ and ‘bızıklet.’ I had told one of them and now they were all busy arguing about me. I emptied quietly my plate.
Later that day I cycled into the coast town Bafra. I went to one of the many internet cafes in the city, one with 15 large screens and special lounge sofas. The whole cafe was full of Turkish young people who played FIFA 2015. A chaos of English comments: “And he’s taking some risk there, is he going to score!?”
I sat at a table and almost immediately there followed a Google Translate conversation with the guy behind the counter. It was Hasan who after some translation let pop up the magic words on his screen saying: ‘be my guest tonight.’
And yet my first Google Translate friendship developed.