Tuesday, May 22, 47 k
The alarm was set to go off at 9:00 am, but the street noise has me up at 8:00 am. Seems like most folks have left the hotel, and I pack slowly, not sure where I'm going. A big part of the problem is that this late start in the morning limits my options, as it's already getting hot. Aleppo, the big Syrian city that's not really on my "to-do" list, is 109 k away, due east. Idlib, another possible destination, seems to be 92 k from here: 47 k east to Reyhanli, then across the border and 45 k south. . My hotel manager indicates that Reyhanli has some sort of accommodation, but indicates that it's not a full, proper hotel like his is. Hmmm. Based on the raggedness of his hotel, staying in Reyhanli may not be an option.

It's getting later and getting hotter. I get directions to Antakya's tourist office (maybe they can tell me what to expect in Reyhanli.) I pack-up the bike, go across the street to try to get something to east, and end up with an excellent meal of stuffed-bell peppers and rice (who knew that the full luncheon selection was available at 10:00 am).

I bicycle by the tourist office, but it's locked up. I have to decide now if I'm going to leave this town or stay here an extra day.

It's 10:40 am and I start riding. If the hotel in Reyhanli really sucks, I'll just ride on until I'm somewhere else.

At 1:00 pm I'm at the turnoff for Reyhanli. The town is on the left. I ask at the gas station, "Otel?" pointing across the street towards the town center. The two attendants nod, "yes," but point the opposite direction. Hmmm. I go down the side road they've indicated; it seems to be a resort or a public park. There is a soccer field, a trampoline, a lake, swimmers and… a hotel!

I pull over, check out a room, resist the 30 TL quote, and agree to 25 TL. I take a hot shower (unlike this morning's experience) and I wash my riding jersey and socks. I'm absolutely thrilled with my situation! I have a beer at the restaurant bar and catch-up in my journal. Measuring on my map, it looks like the bus ride covered at least 300 k. That's four days, and it's already May 22nd, so I think that I did the right thing, based on the distance I still need to cover.

As I'm writing, I notice the first mosquitoes of the trip. This happens to be a zone marked "Malaria" on my CDC map of Turkey, so I guess I'm glad I'm taking the malaria pills. But I'll keep moving about, since the CDC seems to indicate that the pills are not entirely effective.

Road east from Antakya.
Wow - A hotel on the lake!.
Kids enjoyed the lake.
A rather unique merry-go-round.
  Next: Reyhanli to Idlib (Syria!)  
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