Day 50: Meeting Mama Nadia
Thursday August 15th - Day 50 - 47miles - 1996miles
Being in Turkey, but not yet in Istanbul is a challenge. We want to experience the cities we are in but we also want to reach our goal. This is only exacerbated by the heat, hills, and headwinds, which make the days very challenging. So today we set a 6am alarm, bags packed and down for breakfast early to get a head start on the day. There are no foreigners at this hotel... at breakfast it looked like a bunch of truck drivers at the other tables. They all ate practically a whole loaf of bread each, all dipping it in a mixture of honey and jam. Very tasty habit to copy.
We cycled out of town on a nice wide road. Bruce's bike computer stopped working just outside of town, so we stopped to try and make it start working again...the only problem was that we stopped right next to one of the several military installations on the edge of town. We tried to fix it - wipe off the sensor, adjust the sensor and receiver and changed the battery...with no success. But of course this took a bit of time, so by being on stationary on the roadside outside a military base we attracted the attention the of the military sentries... Two of them approached us (one was armed) they were very nice and one even spoke a little English but they watched us very closely until we left......
There seems to be a military base on every hilltop around here. Turkey has a mandatory military service, so we guess that they need a place to put all the young men in service. On the road, we passed a live fire training! This gave Andrea the boost she needs to overcome a 20mile/hour head wind and still book it down the way... away from the live shooting up on the hill.
The terrain was similar to yesterday with a similar if not worse headwind. We climbed some big hills and went down some big hills. The road was great for about 10km out of Kirklareli, then it went back to being the old road, with no shoulder and a rougher surface.
We passed through the town of Pinarhasir and stopped at a gas station at the top of one hill for a rest....we were already tired! Surprisingly we were actually a bit chilled from sweating up the hill and then being blown by the wind.
A little while later we stopped for another rest by the side of the road for a potential yogurt break... So we stopped at a small pull off which turned out to be a driveway. As we sipped water, the owner of the driveway (a small older woman) motioned to us to come in and take a break in the shade. She had a patio table that was shaded so we sat there and waited for her to join us.
So we walked our bikes down to her patio and sat in the shade of her little patio set. She first bought coffee; then bread, tomato, cucumber, olives, cheese and hot peppers from her garden; then an egg & tomato dish (matsaman?); then cold tzatziki soup; then honey in a honeycomb. We kept asking her to come and sit with us... and she kept bringing out more food! Then when we didn't finish it all she looked perturbed and packed it all up in a bag for us. She tried to chat with us even though she didn't speak a word of English and we only know "Teshekular" which means "Thank you". She wanted pictures with Andrea and told us she had 5 children. Apparently the honeycomb she served can help you get pregnant....great! ;) She had not a single word of English and clearly we speak no Turkish, but it is very strange when a foreigner just speaks louder and slower to you in Turkish expecting you to understand... We found out that her name is Nadia. So we named her Mama Nadia... since little did we know we would gain yet another mother figure on this trip... especially a Turkish one.
Mama Nadia took Andrea on a tour of her back garden while Bruce filled up the water bottles. She had corn, blackberries, tomatoes, hot peppers. She gave Andrea more tomatoes than she could carry to take on the road.
We took more pictures after Mama Nadia plugged in her phone for a few minutes to charge. Inside her house there were Turkish rugs on every surface and a small TV.
We thanked her profusely and then we headed on our way to climb some more hills with a headwind...but we had full bellies now to do it with... and an appreciation for the Turkish people from just that one experience. Thank you Mama Nadia.
We came downhill into Vize and stopped on the outskirts at a gas station to take a break under the canopy. We drew the attention of the family sitting outside waiting for their car to be serviced as well as the attendants and the little boy with his father who had played leap frog with us for the past 5 miles.
We chatted with everyone which became even easier when a young man stepped in and spoke very nice english. He had worked at Ocean City Maryland for a summer at the amusement park. The grandmother liked Andrea's eyes. We got a round of applause when they found out it was our honeymoon. The attendant was very interested in Bruce's maps.
Traffic-wise, the trucks were a bit close today due to the narrowness of the road and slightly busier traffic than we would have liked. There are minibus shuttles from one town to another... which take probably about a half an hour. So when the same driver goes back and forth several times a day, they see us slowly plodding along up hill, down hill, and on the flat battling head winds... they beep their horn at everything here... not sure if it is a friendly beep or a get out of the way beep usually until we see the waving arms or head out the window as the offending beeper passes.
The kids here (like anywhere) are very cute... they all learn the same English phrases "Hello" "What is your name?" "Where are you from?" When you respond however, you get a chorus of giggles and confused looks.... but they are very cute nonetheless.. there even some red heads to boot!
Because Bruce's computer was broken, Andrea shouted out the milage as often as she noticed it on her computer... although she waited usually until the whole or half miles... to not be too annoying... so we counted down mile by mile today... hoping the road would turn just a bit so that the wind would become a tailwind... usually however it was a side wind gusting every time we came out from tree cover...
Military silos on the hill sides with huge Turkish flag to designate their ownership... like that was a question... and there are two types of police plus military standing guard everywhere!
We are now in Saray at the Hotel Sezen listening to the afternoon call to prayer after the local municipal announcement... we presume... at first it sounded like an ice-cream van intro and then like a Turkish sleep away camp. There are loudspeakers on every streetlamp which every so often will burst into life with an intro chime and then babble away. We are sure they are announcing that the shuffleboard tournament will be starting on the poop deck at 10am......
No air-conditioning tonight... Hope it cools down soon... We went for a walk to get dinner...went to town square...ate at local restaurant and got Turkish boat pizza (called pide), salad and Kofte which seems to be mini-burger patties.
When we went to the grocery store to get water, we ended up purchasing a bottle of soda rather than soda water... But it tastes like IRN BRU! So if you are ever in Turkey and are having a hankering for IRN BRU you should try the fake stuff called - Uludag!
Back to the hotel to sleep. When there is no AC we always have the bug vs. open window conundrum...with windows closed, get undressed, shut off light and then open windows again.
We did some research about the final couple of days into Istanbul....supposedly there is a hotel in Subasi... then do we take another day, do we go to the Black Sea coast, or go straight to Istanbul?
Find out what we do next in the next episode!
The World is Ours!