“Good health to your feet” would be the exact translation of the sentence the Turkish use to say goodbye.
-I wish you good health- our friend said- to be able to come back.
And again we´ve taken small and solitary roads instead of the motorways, and that´s how we´ve found ourselves riding up ports of mountains through dirt tracks, going through the mid mountain on tractor paths …When people give us the directions they indicate us the ways they use themselves, but it seems they don´t realize of a little something: we are riding bicycles, and on top of that: they weight a ton!!.
They don´t seem to notice that our engines don´t get gas simply by pressing the accelerator….ours work thanks to our wilpower, they´re nourished of our sweat, motivation is what boost them, and patience is what keeps them moving..
Despite their best of intentions, they end up sending us to tortuous paths, but, eventually these trails take us to solitary and beautiful places where we can rest and nurture our strengh and willingness. It´s a give and take what makes the wheel moving.
We left from the very heart of Turkey, after having visited the North to get the Iranian visa, which by the way, turned out to be easier to achieve than expected.
Cappadoccia was another one of those unexpected gifts the journey gives you back and that leaves you mouth open and out of words to describe it; no words to depict this unique place where the beauty of Nature goes beyond descriptions……… Literally, I am wordless, so the best I can do is to recommend you to visit it and to soak yourselves on this wonderful land..
The journey from Capadoccia to these Kurdish lands has been tough, due to so many ports, and so many kilometers uphill. During these past 7 days of constant pedaling and virtually no rest, we have gone from heights of 1500meters, where the wheat is green, to the yellowish and brown colour it has down here, at around 300 meters above sea level.
These last 2 days of pedaling, and after going through the mountains, we´ve passed,all of a sudden, from the spring season to the purest and hottest dessert summer.
The scenery has turned much drier, even desertic, the land is no longer so plentiful and the only crop is garlic, some wheat and pistachio. Sandy soil, poorer people, thinner cows…the South brings the heat again, and the poverty, but also the kindness and open spirits of the people we keep on finding in our track
Aitor´s much stronger than me, not just physically, but mentally, and he´s held up well all this lenght, but for me, the long days and the accumulated kms in my legs, with no rest, the ports, the dirt tracks, the insistent ups and downs, and above all, the heat that dropped on us like a Stone ,made me arrive more than tired, I got exaushted to Sanliurfa, and it made me rethink everythinng, even my own sanity.
It is in those moments where the situation gets extreme, when we discover something new about oneself, it is interesting to know where you´re able to reach to and in how you do it. The fact of having been through it makes me now enjoy the memory, while I write to you from this mystic and small square surrounded by archs, where the trees and some canvas protects all of us and, the cool wind makes us forget that there are semidesertic lands, burning with heat, out there. The sweet smell of sisha, the sound of dominoes-like that old men play, the carpets hanging from the walls….So this is our gift and what´s made to tip the balance to the “it´s worth it” side: the arrival to Urfa.
In Urfa, or Sanliurfa is where, for the first time since we lef Spain, we feel transported, not only in space, but in time as well. Urfa “ city of prophets”.
Jesus was here, and many others, Abraham was born and died here ( the prophet jewish, cristians and muslims share). There are vestiges of old civilitations almost 12000 years old.
A place where each narrow street, each corner in those endless bazaars, await for you with an incredible new visión, with a new surprise… men in elegant turbants and kurdish pants, those with the crotch all the way down to the knee, women covered in shiny sequins cloths, hand-painted sidecars, centenary barber shops which work as social centres too; bakeries where, for a few coins, they will roast for you anything you take in a tray; coloured spices, bags of nuts; dark and fair eyes looking at each other in this land that has bring us new beginnings: the rough heat of the desert, the Kurdistan, this new culture that makes us hungry for more flavours even though between spoons sometimes we get a sour bite. But the chance to immerse ourselves in these unique and magic places keeps tipping the scales in favour of this thought:
“It´s worth it”.