We are now stationed in Malatya in Eastern Turkey having braved a bit of an adventure through the mountains. Bearing in mind that Jet was feeling a bit bruised after falling off a horse we decided it would be best to take the ‘easy route’ out of Cappadocia. Our map had a green stripe next to the red main road route and looking at the map index this suggested it was a main road with ‘scenic route’. That sounds good we thought. In fact what the green stripe means is ‘you must have legs of Kryptonite’ to cycle this route. We found ourselves on a mountain road with three mountain passes, interrupted by thunder and lightning and rain. The consolation was the unending hospitality of Turkish villagers who put us up again and again when we could go no further. In one village we were told by the religious leader or Iman to wait in the local cay/ tea shop while they decided what to do with us. The cay shop was a whitewashed cob building with a blue door. Inside there were a few chairs and tables and a TV in the corner. Slowly the men of the village gathered there as the storm built up outside, drinking Cay, playing cards and having a chat. Someone had the TV remote but the channel kept switching back to the local TV Malatya, which seemed to be playing an endless loop of farming information on Apricot growing which is the main agriculture round here. The other channels-shopping ads, pop vıdeos, news bulletins, soaps, held no interest for them but when the ‘Apricot Channel’ returned the room would burst into a hive of chatter and debate and table slamming. Clearly this was at the heart of peoples lives. Eventually, as the rain hammered on outside, an older man sitting at the next table, gestured that he would put us up for the night. We were looked after, as we always are, as honoured guests, despite our mud spattered bike traveller look. Our bikes were housed in the grain store and we slept in the lounge, while our host slept in the hall. The next day Jen’s face was kissed on both sides by the wife of our host and her headscarf readjusted and then we were on our way again. Up another hill.
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