It is Saturday and was our first mountain biking day. Sonja arrived at the hotel early, had breakfast with me, and, when the other two bikers arrived, proceeded to fit us up with our bikes for the week. Katherine and Richard, school teachers from London, are joining Sonja, myself and occasionally her husband Murat for the week’s cycling. After making sure that our bikes fit and were ready to go, we set off through Dalyan on our way to Itzuzu Beach, sometimes know as Turtle Beach and the reason why many people come to Dalyan. Carretta sea turtles, a protected species, nest on this 5 kilometer long beach and sometimes can be seen at night.
We pedaled through beautiful countryside full of wildflowers and croaking frogs, past the reedy flats where there are now fish farms raising mackerel and sea bass for local consumption. This is a lovely stretch of water; however, no swimming or kayaking is allowed because it would disturb the fish. Next we came to a lake, where swimming is also forbidden; here we saw two boys and their father washing their flock of sheep in the water. Just past the lake the pot-holed road started to rise in elevation and we were sweating it up several kilometers of hill. We passed a small village on the way to the top from which we had a great panorama out over the beach and ocean to the west.
From here it was a few kilometers of fairly steep downhill to the beach. On this side of the beach are many stands of beautiful large pine trees; further west there are no trees at all, only grayish brown sand. In the summer this beach is crowded at either end where one can find shade under the pine trees while the middle two kilometers of sand are deserted because there’s not a bit of shade from the 45 degree summer sun and no umbrellas are allowed because they’d disturb the nesting turtles. Sonja went for a swim in the ocean; we three rested for the long hill climb back up.
After booting it down the other side, where unfortunately Richard had a flat tire, we made our way into a resort/restaurant lakeside and enjoyed a lunch of Turkish pancakes and tea. From there, fuelled by several chocolate pancakes, the flat ride back to the village was relatively easy. I spent a bit of time in the Saturday market, bought some tiny red peppers for an art piece I have in mind, and finished the afternoon off with a cold dip in the pool.
See pictures here.