Minus four degrees at night the prediction says. Our sleeping bag label tells us it is comfortable to sleep in till four degrees, so camping becomes pretty cold!I Instead of freezing our toes off we decided to find a hotel near Cappadocia,Turkey.

We discover that prices for a hotel went up since leaving Georgia, now often around 25-30 euro, so we try to avoid hotels if possible.

After 2 nights in a hotel because it’s too cold to sleep in the tent, we decided to take a bus for the last 300 km to go to Mersin, on the coast where it is warmer. When we arrive, it is not just warm, it’s 30 degrees and even the sea is still nice to swim in! In the middle of November! Such a difference from -4 in the mountains!

Mersin, dragon made of oranges

For two nights we stay at Mehmet’s apartment via warmshowers (website to find a free place to stay for cyclists)

He looks like a normal guy, but when he opens his cupboards we see everywhere big five litre bottles full of alcohol! 

Mehmet has a fantastic passion: brewing wine, liquor, cider, whiskey, gin, you name it, he has it! And he is more than happy to share…all of them!

He has so many bottles that he sometimes forgets what is in them. Let’s pour all of us a glass to discover what it is!

The night is long (for us then, we are not in bed at our regular 9pm, but at 1am! Whoop whoop!) and our sleep is a knock out one! 

Cycling the coastal road is gorgeous, the scenery is full of cliffs, sea, mountains and lots of fruit trees! So many bananas and oranges! 

The amount of cars on the road can be a bit annoying, but we are here in low season, so it’s still ok. 

We pass many tourist towns without any tourists, like little ghost towns.

It means we have the beaches often to ourselves too, with great camp spots right on the water!

A few days later we go to Memet, also a cyclist host via warmshowers. He has a little farmhouse on his banana tree farmland on the coast. We do not know what to expect, but when we arrive we realise we are going to sleep in the most beautiful beach house  we have ever stayed in! All you see from your bedroom is sea! Just stunning! Above all that, Memet is an amazing host, feeding us delicious food and wine! He has to work somewhere else, but it’s no problem for us to stay in the house for 2 nights while he is not there. Such a trust and such luxury! 

The people we stay with give us a good insight in the lives they live in Turkey. We talk about everything; family, food, religion, social life, social pressure, politics. It is what makes this way of traveling by bicycle so special. We have the feeling we really get to know the country and its people. In the media at home we don’t get the real picture of Turkey and its people. Just as well as the media here in Turkey doesn’t give a realistic picture of Europe and its people. 

Ali, a man of 70+, offered us a beer, we had a conversation via google translate and ended up getting invited by him to stay at his girlfriend’s place in between the banana trees. The woman gave us a strange look when she saw us coming,’ giving Ali looks like ‘what are you taking to my home’!? But she was a smart, funny lady, very down to earth and she gave us a meal and a place to sleep!

To be here in Turkey and to meet the people that actually live here, to talk to each other, is a great way to break stereotypes, both ways, to experience the real life! 

For instance, at home if I hear someone say they go on holiday to Antalya, I always think of a boring city full with big hotels, catered for lazy Dutch and German tourists including Dutch restaurants where you can get your favourite ‘bitterbal en kaassoufflé’ while drinking Heineken. 

Stereotypical Antalya!?
A hotel made like Amsterdam Centraal
Botel of shore

Nothing could be more wrong, Antalya has indeed a huge hotel strip, BUT the city is so nice! I think I could live there for a while! It’s very green, the coastline and mountains are beautiful and it has a great old bit with lots of cool bars. I’ve got one less city prejudice now!

Antalya, east coast
City view!
A few beers please!

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