Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Between Balaban & Kepez

After the day before's snow & just bearable cold today started with sun & blue sky, remaining so for the entire day. However, like yesterday it was quite cold but I was well rugged up for it. It was a great cycling day.

To start things off with I had some trouble getting out of bed. Unfortunately the 15 Turkish Lira I'd paid for the hotel room didn't include heating. They did however provide nice thick duvets. I figured that with my normal enthusiasm for getting up early, if I felt like lying in a little while was ok.

Once going it was lovely. It was very dry country. The mountains & hills above the valley down which I descended were completely dry & devoid of anything green. Along the valley floor ran a vigorous river fed by snow melt from higher up. The water from the river was used to irrigate fruit groves along the valley. They were just bekinning to come olt in flower.
There were apricot groves all along the river banks. A lot of the houses, even ones recently constructed, used local earth as plaster giving them a pleasant light brown colour. The use of mud brick seems common here, though often mixed with bricks or concrete.

It wasn't late but I knew my tent needed to dry properly after being packed away wet 2 mornings ago. I'd had enough for the day by 5pm anyway. The road to Malatya that I was following ran parallel to a river. I found a little dirt track that ran off the road down to the bank of the river. There I found a wonderful spot. The altitude was a little over 1500m. It was under trees whose fallen leaves had provided for a soft platform for my tent. There was a small irrigation channel which brought water from the river to within touching distance of my tent. Not that the river was far away, only a couple of metres. The sound of the water cascading over rocks helped to deaden the noise from the occasion vehicle on the road above. To cap it off the Moon's light was strong enough to eat by.

I cycled 66km in 5 hours & 9 minutes

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