Leaving the fortress, heading to the Black Sea!

After leaving the fortress city of Ankara, we headed north towards the Black Sea. We have heard so much of the Black Sea, its charm, its warmer and rainy climate, its abundant in fruits and most important, its people known for their hospitality!
(Turkey … 18.10.04 to 1.12.04)

In Yahsihan village, our first turkish family after 9 days in Ankara. Our host, Yasar with his grandson, daughter and wife having snacks after dinner. It is very common to eat these seeds especially with tea.

Waking up at 4am to have breakfast with Yasar and his wife. Although we do not fast during the day, we still followed some of the families to wake up and eat early in the morning before they start the fast. Most of the time after eating, we would then return to bed and wake up 2 or 3hrs later to start our cycling, again.

The Sungurlu boys, Mehmet and Murat with their mother. It was Mehmet who brought us to their house when we were pushing our bikes through their village. Mehmet approached his father and the rest was history.

With the children, Filiz (15yrs), Esma (14yrs), Murat (13yrs) and Mehmet (11yrs) outside their house before we went on separate ways – they to school and we, on the road again.

Following Rufail back to his house in Elvancelebi village. We met him when we approached the 1st house on our way in. Much to our surprise, he invited us to his house instead of putting up at the 1st house. A very approachable and friendly chap. He talked to us non-stop all the way to his house. 8-p

Rufail brought us on a short tour around the village of 800 people. He works in the village council, seeing to the water and electricity supply. Out of his free time, he also paves road to earn ‘extra’ money. (Picture) In the only tea house in the village. We were generally the centre of attraction there as everyone who came into the tea house would come over and shake hands with us. So many hands, so many faces … beside Rufail and his son, we actually could not remember the rest of the people.

In their house compound with Rufail, his wife and baby. Renovation is on-going around the house but the pace and progress are dependent on the availability of money …

Packed and ready to go! We met Hayrettin at his fruit stall where we had our lunch. During our casual conversation, he asked where we would be putting up for the night. Even though we had initially planned another 10km, we actually have no idea where we would end up at that night. Almost instantaneously, he offered his place, barely 1km away from his fruit stall. Only condition, we had to wait until he finished work at 4pm. Well, why not? 8-)

Baking bread in the brick oven at Hayrettin’s house. Notice the corns inside? Hayrettin picked them from his corn field that morning and baked them in this oven for us to eat! Before we left, he wife even gave us a loaf of her freshly baked bread!

With Hayrettin (the plump man in the middle), his wife and relatives who lived under the same roof.

“Buda Malayziye, bu Turkiye…” explaining our route to Kadir, in Bogaziai, a small village sitting on the hills along the road to Samsun. We arrived at Bogaziai, apparently the only village around, after a 7km shivering descent. It was approaching darkness and we had to seek accomodation fast. Kadir met us while walking to the mosque. He offered to help us but we had to wait outside his house until he finished his prayers in the mosque. Back at his home, Kadir tried to explain that God had brought us to him. Even though we could not understand his true meaning. Through his repeated actions and explanations, we could feel the sincerity behind his words. Çok teşekkür Iman Kadir!

Turkish delight – Dolma, beet leaves wrapped with rice. Along the way, especially during the ramasan month, it was common to find this tasty food as part of the meal after they broke fast in the evening.

Waking up at 4am to have our meal with the family before they start their fast for the day. That was in fact our last opportunity to eat at such early hours together with the locals as ramasan month will end by the next day.

Wrapping rice with pancak (beet) leaves, the women making Dolma in the Terme household we put up in. The large quantity of dolmas was for the end of ramasan month celebration. There were 13 mouths to feed in this particular family.

A visit to their village the next day – end of ramasan month. Many people (girls especially) would dress up for the occasion, visiting friends and relatives. Family members would pay a visit to their parents and to receive their blessings. Along the way, we met Ismail (2nd man from the left) who joined us in the walk around their village.

With Ismet, Ismail and his wife (from left) in their house for lunch. It was a slow-paced day with Ismet and Ismail, strolling through the village and seeing friends. We have stopped at the local tea house, their friends’ summer campsite and even the petrol station for tea with their friends.

Hello Black Sea! This the black sea at Terme. For the remaining leg of our journey in Turkey, we would be riding along the Black Sea coastline, reputed to the one of the most beautiful coastline in Turkey.

After a day of r & r, it was time to work – bring back the cows from grazing!

3 families, 3 generations all under 1 roof! This is the Duran family with whom we have put up with during the ramasan celebrations.

Stopping for lunch at a small town after the most (& only) demanding ride over the hills along the black sea coast.

Melina with pumpkin from her garden. It was at her place that we got to taste the sweet desert from pumpkin.

Bulent with his air rifle. One of his favourite pastimes is hunting in the nearby forest. They shoot wildboars during the spring-summer times but as they are muslims, the dead wildboars are left in the forest.

With Bulent, his mother Melina and wife (from right) at their 30yrs old house. The family just returned from Ankara where they had lived for 20 over years. Now due to Bulent teaching in Ordu and his wife pregnant, they will settle down in Ordu and renovate the house for permanent residence.

At Bulancak Shell station. We had a surprising lunch stop at this petrol station when the guys insisted in sharing their catered lunch with us! Our sincere gratitude to this dynamic workforce!

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