Thursday, May 10

I wake up at 6:30 am to stay on my "early clock." I head out to eat, make a photocopy of a part of my map, and basically use up some time until the scheduled noon rendezvous with Anna and Mark. I sort of float around, not really getting much done. Hell, I'm not even comfortable going into the places that seem to be serving hot food. Clearly I don't yet have my game on.

At noon, I meet Anna back at the hotel, and we go to a restaurant where Mark joins us. Wow - two people ordering in what sounds like perfect Turkish, and I eat the first good meal since Istanbul. I'm continuing my ride southeast tomorrow, and Mark offers to come down to the hotel in the morning on his bike, and show me the way out of town. A few minutes later Mark expresses interest in riding along to wherever I'm going tomorrow, explaining that he'll take a bus back to Eskisehir the following morning. My response: "heck yes!" The company will be great! Mark and Anna invite me to dinner at their place tonight, and I accept. Anna heads back to campus and I follow Mark around the downtown, as he gets organized for tomorrow's ride: a nut shop for trail mix and nuts, a bike shop for a few odds and ends, and travel agent to get a sense of hotel locations.

Although I'm leaving town tomorrow, I still don't know if what route I'm taking. Mark apparently bikes a lot, and he suggests that it's crazy to ride the freeways. "Either bicycle attractive side roads or take the bus" is his position. He is a fan of heading dead south through a small town called Seyitgazi, 42 k away, then perhaps to Midas Sehn, a 3000-year-old ruin that gets the maximum two red stars ("special tourist attraction") on my map. Forty-two kilometers sounds too short for my needs, but the travel agent mentions that there is a hotel in Kirka, another 29 k further south. I'm intrigued, and as Mark breaks away to do some other chores, I get directions to the tourist bureau where I plan to double-check this information, plus learn a bit more about central Turkey.

I find the office tucked away in a big administrative building on what seems to be the edge of the downtown-the perfect location to avoid tourists. But the two women in the office work hard to help me. Among the data points:
  • There is no hotel in Kirka!

  • If I want to ride north, there is a hotel at Thermo Spas Resort, 40 k north of Eskisehir.

  • There is no hotel on the long straightaway from Konya heading to Cappadocia-a ride I will be facing a few days from now.

I head back to the hotel. A few hours later Mark bikes over to join me and escorts me back to their home for dinner. There is another couple there as well and the group discusses where the two bikers should go tomorrow. There's consensus that north of Eskisehir is very mountainous and so the south route it will be. Mark's other guest is a Turk who advises us that there is accommodation in Kirka, and that the borax mine also has accommodations. The evening wraps up, and Mark agrees to join me outside my hotel at 7:00 am.

I head back to the hotel. The phone in the room rings, Mark's advising it will be 7:15 am because he wants to see his kids off the school.

Eskisehir downtown.
Eskisehir tourism office.
The view from the hotel room.
  Next: Eskisehir to Gazlikoy  
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