It was still raining when we woke up, not heavily but just that sort of misty rain that can get you wet without noticing. We packed up camp and went off in search of some bread for breakfast with gloves on while riding for the first time on the trip.
We pulled into the small town of Karginyenice that had a store where we picked up bread and ate it out in the square. It was dry now and there were plenty of people milling about the town. Actually there was plenty of old men milling about, we didn’t see any young guys or woman at all. A few of the guys came up to us to chat, some spoke German or French but none English.
The morning ride was up high in the steppe and once the clouds cleared we got a good view ahead of the big lake Hirfanli where we planned to stop for lunch. The roads were still small, quiet tertiary roads across the barren hills, every now and then we’d pass some shepherds with their donkeys, flock and sheepdogs. One guy had a particularly mean looking pack of sheepdogs that he had to shout down from chasing us along the road.
The road went from nice sealed Tarmac to sandy gravel for a while over the top of the hills and then back to Tarmac as we started to freewheel down to the lake. Arriving in the town of Toklümen on the banks of the lake we set about looking for somewhere to get food for lunch.
There was one small shop in town manned by two young guys. They were out of bread and didn’t really have much else to eat except for some snacks. After a bit of google translate conversing we found out there was one place in town where you could get a meal. In a picnic area by the lake was a small kitchen in a portacabin and some guy in town would come down and cook fish from the lake if you called him up. The guys from the shop called him for us and we went out to the picnic area, maybe a km outside town to wait on the guy.
We were waiting a while before anyone showed up. Someone pulled up in a car, but this wasn’t the fish cook it was a Turkish couple on holidays themselves. The dude called up the number painted on the side of the portscabin to get the fish guy to come down. He then chatted with us for a bit and asked if he and his girlfriend could have a go on our bikes, to ride along the lake for a bit. No problem, we said and even took a few photos for them too.
The fish guy arrived shortly after and grabbed two fish swimming in a basin by the lake and cooked them up there and then. It was delicious (or, in Turkish: Nefis!). As they were leaving the Turkish couple came over and said they had kindly paid for our meal!
As tasty as lunch had been, we had spent about three hours not cycling. We were hoping to get to the city of Kirsehir this evening, and we could still make it we just had to keep riding as the sun set and then through the dark for a bit. On the road from Toklümen weasel through a couple of small settlements. At one of these an old guy, who must have been watching us approach from some distance, beckoned us over and after a little tug on our beards, demanded to know (at least we guessed, it was all in Turkish) just what the hell was going on. We soon got the point across and they (for we had now been joined by the rest of the guys from the village as well as some of the kids) were very interested. We chatted (gestured, mostly) for a bit and then had to get going as daylight was fading.
So it was maybe 90 minutes that we arrived in Kirsehir after this encounter. Kirsehir was surprisingly big with a busy high street where we picked up some dinner. We then cycled a short way out of town and found a petrol station with a nice grassy area to camp at and called it a day.