Volkan said he would leave early for work today so we set our alarm clock to go up and have breakfast with him. That breakfast took a long time and then his parents and sister in law came to say good bye. We packed, talked to the visitors and weren’t ready for take off until 2 PM and Volkan still hadn’t gone to work.
Özlem and Volkan had promised to lead us out of town but first to his shop to show it and take some photos of us there. The road leading down from the hill were the Yalciner family lives is extremely steep and when passing a sharp turn on the inside it felt almost vertical…. Our breaks did a good job and soon we were at the shop and got our photos taken.
We were guided by Volkan driving slowly in front of us with his mother and Özlem as passengers. He stopped at the outskirts of town and we took more photos and said a dear farewell. We have become very good friends with the familiy and when we left them a feeling of loneliness struck us since it was only the two of us now. It took an hour or two and then it was like normal again.
Only 6-7 km after exiting Zonguldak a car with a bicycle hanging on its rear passed us. It stopped and two guys came out and wanted to talk. They presented themselves as Umit and Ramazan and told that they were touring cyclists themselves and asked if we wanted to come and stay the night in their town. It turned out that each of them were hosts in the warmshowers.org which is a hospitality network for cyclists that we have used a lot so far. This network gets better and better since we don’t even have to send e-mail any longer and the hosts pick you up along the road.
Unfortunately the town where Ramazan and Umit live was too far away so we decided to decline their kind offer and continue. We are however grateful for the offer and would like to say thank you to Ramazan and Umit.
The road was slowly upphill, had many curves but for most of the time a good shoulder for us to cycle on. Being a main road it had some traffic but it was never a problem. We passed two tunnels, the first one about 200 meters and the other one more than twice as long. When we exited the second one we were at >400 meters of altitude and could start descending. We didn’t know how far we would go and if to stay in a hotel or camp.
At the entry of the town Gökcebey we met another cyclist. He stopped and came over to us. Unfortunately his English was worse than our Turkish and besides that he spoke very fast too. It seemed he was out on some sort of cycling trip himself, but although trying very hard to understand each other, we were not able to have any meaningful conversation. That was really sad because I think we would have had a lot to tell each other.
Just after passing Gökcebey we saw a gas station that looked as a potential camping site 🙂 We rode in and even before parking our bikes we were offered tea. We sat down to drink our tea and one of the guys proudly said that the gas station had a free shower. We then asked if we could camp there and the answer was ”of course”. Another guy came out and told us he was about to drive and buy some food and asked if we would like join the staff for dinner 🙂
When sitting drinking tea at some tables outside the gas station we got a big surprise when a car came and parked. It was Volkan and his friend Hassan who we had met before. They were going to Hassan’s house in the next town and have a nice Saturday night with some friends and stay the night. Volkan had suspected we would be at some gas station and came by to look for us. It was a happy re-union only a few hours after saying a sad good bye.
After shower and with tent pitched and sleeping bags rolled out we went to the staff room of the gas station to have a dinner consisting of a giant tray with some kind bread in the bottom and grilled chicken on top. It was to be eaten with the bare hands and tasted wonderful.
This is truly a 5-star gas station.
* unlimited supply of tea
** wifi internet
*** camping allowed
and all for free……