The 5 days after Istanbul I spent crossing Turkey with the destination of Cappadokia. And as reality doesn’t obey any kind of literary arc of suspense, the climax happened on the second day.
After the days in the city of Istanbul I felt the need to stay in nature and crossed a mountain range via small forest tracks. As I got deeper in the forests, more and more mud puddles appeared across the tracks and made me think about going back. It would have been the prudent thing to do. While crossing one of the puddles the front wheel was sliding down a ridge in between two ruts and down I went. No big deal if only there was firm ground for me to find foothold and pick up the motorcycle. Instead I was wading in the puddle, pushing my feet deeper in the mud instead of lifting those damned 200 kg of plastic, aluminium and steel while cursing loudly and regretting, that I haven’t turned around while I still had the chance. Finally I managed to get the bike upright by unloading most of the luggage and putting some branches in the mud to stand on. The water was just about 30 cm deep but somehow I managed to get covered in mud up to the head.
Victory didn’t last long though. In a muddy and slippery downhill bend I took the wrong line and suddenly found myself stuck. With mud up to the front wheel axle and the motorcycle standing up on its own (oh the irony), there was no way for me to get it out there. No need and exhaust myself trying to pull the bike out, there was only increasingly deeper mud up ahead and an uphill slope to the back. I decided to walk approximately 10 km to the next village and ask for help, grabbed my valuables and hoped no one would find my motorcycle in the meantime. After 5 km I found what I was searching for, 3 turkish jandarma gathering wild strawberries. After I showed them a picture of the stuck motorcycle (again, no english) they agreed to help me and gave me a handful of their strawberries. They had a car and so I didn’t even have to walk back (but I felt really sorry for all the mud I brought into the car). Together we could pull my motorcycle out of the mud, I thanked them heartily and we went our ways.
I was rather exhausted and rode back to civilization, were I took a hotelroom in the nearby town of Geyve (must have been a sight to behold, me covered in mud asking the locals for a hotel). After a much-needed shower, I ended the day in a tearoom writing diary. In Turkey it is a symbol of hospitality to offer tea to strangers, therefore the owner of the tearoom refused to take any money from me.
The rest of the leg to Cappadokia was a lot less adventurous (thankfully), smaller and smallest roads were guiding me through the rolling hills of central Turkey, covered by wide grainfields. The landscape was dotted with small villages and numerous makeshift camps from syrian refugees in the countryside. I was told the refugees left the camps provided by the turkish government, where they had food, electricity and medical care, to earn some money with agricultural labour.