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Chris Sayer’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 11 Apr 2009

Location: Turkey

MapDay 11 April 11
489 kms on the bike.
We leave Cannakale heading for Kusadasi on the southern coast, for what will be a very long ride – over 400 kms. On the way however, we stop off at the ancient city of Troy. Well, what’s left of it, for it is only ruins that have been excavated over the past century. Some imagination is required when looking at lines of stone embedded in the ground, but to think that we are walking over 5,000 years of history – it’s rather mind-boggling. We are greeted by a replica of the wooden horse that lead to the downfall of Troy, according to legend, and it seems that much about this city is obscured by legend. But we had to pinch ourselves to realize just how much humanity had been here before us.
Then off to Kusadasi, and part of this long journey involved bypassing Izmir, 4th largest city in Turkey. Looking over the city as we skirted it, this must be the ugliest city we’ve seen – spread out over a huge area, very industrial (oil refineries, steel mills, cement works) and just myriads of high-rise residential blocks. But either side of this city was rural splendour – small towns with homely locals selling their wares by the roadside, and by far the most popular plant of choice olives. For hundreds of kilometers, plantation after plantation of olive groves. Quite incredible that this many olives can be consumed, and many trees were obviously very old, judging by the size of their trunks.
Once we hit the coastline, the views were fantastic – hills and mountains falling into the Mediterranean Sea. Clear blue water. Oh, and more olive groves.