Rain and sunshine
Distance: 86km riding. 250km in a car (through the night)
It was dry as we left in the morning, but flying down the mountain to the town the air was cold! It made me wonder about the Giro d'Italia riders who were riding at over 2500m in the snow just a week earlier. I started out with my light jacket on but as cold drops of rain began to fall we pulled over so I could put my warm jacket on and my shoe covers. What a difference they made! Now I felt warm I didn't mind riding in the rain.
We stopped for more terrific food - potato gozleme, salad, meatballs, bread and the best profiteroles I've ever eaten. As we sat there, wet, in the cold wind, we began to feel chilled. But it didn't take long back on the bike to warm up again.
Over the past few days we'd encountered some terrible roads - many were made of the rocky asphalt we'd hated so much in Australia, except much more coarse. Other roads had been ripped up for some future resurfacing. And others were full of potholes or terrible patching jobs. On this day we encountered all the above. On this day there was a stretch with a dirt road next to it, and we chose that as the better surface.
During the day Sam kept asking if there was anything wrong. He would check my bike - were my brakes rubbing? But it was just my tired legs taking their time to cover the distance.
In the afternoon the rain stopped and the hot sun returned. We rode into Ayvalik to find out we'd just missed that day's ferry to the Greek island of Lesvos (Lesbos), and would have to wait until the next night. We decided to hire a car and spend the next day at the ruins of the city of Ephuses, which we wanted to see but didn't have the time to ride there.
Before leaving Ayvalik we had a swim in the cool ocean to wash ourselves. Just finding a spot to swim was a challenge though, as it was the first time Sam had driven a car (manual transmission) on the opposite side of the vehicle, on the wrong side of the road. Those first few minutes, trying to find somewhere in the city to park near the beach and swim, were quite stressful. But he quickly got the hang of it. As we were driving south along the coast we witnessed the most amazing sunset. Dark clouds still lingered but the pink hues shone through and we had to stop the car and admire the beauty of the sky.
That night we drove through the huge city of Izmir. It was quite an amazing sight - millions of lights covering the hills where the city was built around a bay. Unfortunately Sam didn't get to enjoy the beauty of the city as he was trying to follow some very confusing signs through a busy city. We wondered if this road trip was worth the hassle... To be truthful, we encountered the most aggressive and dangerous drivers we've ever come across. Maybe some of our readers have had similar experiences in foreign cities, let us know...
On the other side of the city we planned to stop and camp. But it was dark now, and we couldn't see anywhere to camp. So we kept driving.
We started going down some side streets into towns, but they were all lit up and we could see nowhere to camp. We were getting very tired. And very grumpy. Whose idea was this stupid road trip anyway?!
Eventually made it to Selcuk, the main town where Ephuses is. We had just decided to go to a hotel when Sam found a spot in an abandonded service station. Just as we settled in the tent the man from across the road came with flashlight and yelled at us in Turkish, peering in our tent, gesticulating wildly at us with his bright light in our eyes... but when he heard our tired English replies he let us be...
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Sam and Shanna Evans are from Melbourne, Australia