Day four and we bid farewell to the wonderful staff at the hotel and set off on one of our toughest days cycling in Turkey so far, I thought the ride up to Akkus was tough but man this was worse. It started with a nice little 550m climb over the first pass, some relatively flat or rolling hills for a while then we dropped about 200m before climbing another 650m to get over the second pass at 1650m, at least from there it was downhill to Yildizeli !! Never before have I been so hot, it was like riding in a furnace, I just couldn't quench my thirst !! We certainly earned our fellow road users respect that day !
Needless to say with such altitude comes great views and photo opportunities and yes I stopped quite often to capture them for your entertainment, nothing at all to do with me needing a rest of course !!
On the final flat ride into town Naomi got a puncture, I started to fix it and as I did so a car stopped. The guy got out and offered to help but we were ok so after a brief chat he left. As we got into town Naomi's tyre went down again so we pulled into a side street to fix it and guess who came down the street, yep the same guy who stopped on the road. Next thing you know he's bought us ice cream and water…man the people here are so generous 😉
Tyre fixed we went in search of a hotel, we pulled into a police station hoping they might be able to help, they pointed us to a Teacher House across the road. This was our second stay in one and this one certainly equalled the first for friendliness, cleanliness and cost but it also came with WiFi, hurrah !!
Yildizeli might have been an interesting town but to be honest we were both tired and all we wanted was a shower, food and bed, so we didn't really explore the town to much, sad really but we can't see everything.
Well rested we set off to Sivas, a fairly short day, staying quite high most of the day, we were only on our bikes for just under three hours. But first breakfast, a truckers cafe did the job nicely although having to cross the main road to get there wasn't so good.
Again like all days here, there were great views the scenery really is fantastic, the patchwork of colours in the landscapes are just amazing !!
We also came across the railway, there aren't many in Turkey which is a surprise considering it's size but I guess when your country is so mountainous it's tough to put in the infrastructure. We road along side the railway most of the way into Sivas, stopping occasionally to photograph it's journey through tunnels or over bridges.
We turned of the main highway for our run into town and stopped for coffee and baklava while we sorted out directions. The garmin I bought before coming has certainly helped with this and I wouldn't be without it now !!
With the GPS providing the route we were soon on the street our intended hotel was on, however we came to another hotel first. Naomi went in to check prices, we liked the rate, dropped our kit, parked our bikes, filled in forms, went to our room and showered. It was a few minutes later that Nao said she'd inadvertently paid for two nights, odd, why I asked ? She was a little confused as to what she'd done and went to see reception, they then told her that the rate given was per person and not for the room, that's why she'd ended up paying double what she thought she should have paid, oh well it's still fairly cheap and we learnt a valuable lesson !!
Well at least having had a fairly short ride in we now had some time to take a look around town. Sivas is geographically in the centre of Turkey and is as old as the hills that surround it, it's also an important trade centre due to it's location. The mix of Asia, Africa and west meet here and create a unique, diverse culture which is quite simply, wonderful. We took a walk into town and quickly located a cafe with what we hoped would be great views of the Mosque, Tashan and several other historical buildings, we were right…..what a view !!
After coffee we took a closer look and despite it being a very busy city and also very hot I think we did well….
Our next ride took us from Sivas and on to Sarkisla, 84km but very little climbing so we kept up a good steady pace. Out of Sivas we headed south and for quite a while we were caught up in roadworks, this meant having to share one side of the highway, so no shoulder to ride on and busy roads !!
It wasn't pleasant but thankfully most drivers gave us plenty of room and eventually we could return to our own side and the safety of the shoulder. More trains, tunnels and bridges, more wonderful colours in the landscape and yet more fantastic Turkish hospitality !! We'd stopped at a petrol station for drinks and got invited to an early lunch by the manager, he spread newspaper on a table and started bringing out bread, cheese, honeycomb, tomato and cucumber and before long we had a feast. We'd helped ourselves to drinks from the fridge and expected to pay for them…not a chance, it seems that yet again we were humbled by a complete strangers generosity !!
As I say we made good time into Sarkisla and were soon on the last little downhill into town, at the T junction we looked along the high street and spotted the Otel sign and made our way along the pavement towards it. There was a note on the door with a phone number and thankfully one of the guys from the cafe across the road came over and made the call on our behalf. A guy turned up fairly quickly after that and we were soon in, washed, dressed and back out for a little walk up to the monument at the top of the hill, great views but man it was hot. By now we were hungry so back down for a light snack, we prefer to eat later when it's cooler, and this is precisely what we ended up doing !!