As mentioned in previous posts our ad-hoc host Deniz in Istanbul had told us not to miss Tasköprü which is famous for its garlics. People we meet often ask where we are going and during the last few days our reply has been ”Bangkok, but first a stop to enjoy garlic in Tasköprü”
It is interesting to see the reaction in people’s faces when two complete strangers on bicycles tell that they are on the way to visit what their local community is famous for. So thank you Deniz for informing us about Tasköprü and providing us not only with an interesting place to visit, but also an icebreaker in our communication with people we meet along the way.
After having chosen not to camp beside any empty coffins the previous night we had pitched our tent 13 km west of Tasköprü. We left the camp in the early morning with the plan to have a breakfast with intense garlic aroma in Turkey’s own garlic capital. As soon as we entered the town we quickly found out that garlics are not in season now and we had to leave the town without being able to stock up on garlic to use in our coming dinner.
The town looked nice with a little stream flowing through its centre and an old stone bridge with beautiful arches across. Tasköprü has an annual garlic festical in September when Miss and Mr. Garlic are choosen. The festival attracts thousands of visitors and I bet it will be much easier to find fresh garlic then.
One interesting thing about Turkey is that gas stations don’t sell road maps. We have one that we bought at the border shop when entering from Bulgaria. It covers all of Turkey and is not detailed enough for our needs. Turkey is a large country and even our lousy map has a few places marked as sights worth to visit. If a map with too few details tells there is something to see, then it must be worth to visit for sure.
Tasköprü has one of those few places and it was called Pompeipolois and is located just outside town. We rode there and found a steep track up on a hill. We didn’t know what it was and couldn’t ask anyone about it either. When we got to the top of the hill we met a sheperd and asked for ”Pompeipolios” and he pointed to two fenced areas. When arriving there we understood that this probably was a place that had been excavated by archeologists.
There was not much to see so we rolled back down again and then met a guy walking towards us with a walkie talkie in his hand. He asked if we were tourists and pointed towards a building and made a sign that we interpreted as to wait while he went for the keys.
It turned out that Pompeipolios was a Roman city that had been abandoned and that was now being excavated. In the building they stored 2000 year old artifacts that the man with the walkie-talkie wanted to show us. Later we went to have tea with him in his little office and chat via google translate and do some reading about the site in English information leaflets he had.
We then continued towards Boyabat. It was hot and after a while I got completely exhausted due to low levels of both glycogen and motivation. This is not a new situation for me and when it happens when riding with my team in Elmhults Sport Club there is always some kind team mate who will push for a while. When only being two people carrying large panniers it is not so easy to push and certainly not for Wej. The only thing I could do was to stay close to her rear wheel and just keep going.
After a late döner lunch I got my energy back and we could go on riding. We entered a big valley with rice paddies in the middle and dry mountains around it. There were also a large number of factories producing bricks and other kind of building materials.
In the late afternoon it was time to try to find somewhere to sleep. After a day of hard work in the sun on dusty roads we really wanted to shower. Just a few kilometers before the town of Boyabata we found a gas station and stopped to check if we could sleep there.
In yesteday’s post I started to call the guys who fill tanks as ”tank-fillers”. My friend and cycling team mate Iain, who is from Scotland dropped me a mail to tell they are alled ”gas station attendants”. Thanks a lot for the clarification Iain…. 🙂
The attendant at this station got exited when he saw us and started to talk for a long time about something that we understood as another cyclist who went from Spain to India and who had pitched his tent at this gas station. When we asked if we could camp there too he took us around to show possible places to put the tent.
After an acrobatic shower in ice cold water with a less than one meter long water hose connected to a tap 30 cm above the floor, we were ready to socialise with the local people
This gas station had very few customers so the attendant had plenty of time to take care of us. We got lots of cups of tea and in later he shopped up some cucmbers, tomatoes and sliced some bread for us to have as a shared evening meal.
At the attendants office there were two more people sitting watching football on TV. It was a middle age man and his teenage son. The man spoke a bit of German and acted as interpreter. He told us he was a truck driver who had been driving his truck almost all over Europe and was now waiting to go to one of the nearby brick factories for loading. His and my German was just as bad and we could hardly communicate. He seemed to know the attendant and spoke to him as they were old friends since long time. Maybe he usually stops at this gas station while waiting for loading, or maybe it is simply the Turkish way of life of sharing an evening with a complete stranger….
It was a nice evening and we went to bed later than planned. Since it was warm we had only pitched our innertent to improve ventilation. It was nice to be able to fall asleep while watching the stars from inside the tent.