The road to Kayseri was everything but a problem, the 70km there were quickly done.
In the outskirts, we went to a huge supermarket to refill some stocks. („Metro“ - sounded quite familiar to us - and coming inside it everything looked absolutely identical to the German Metro markets..) We bought some trouts and dorades for a decent barbeque that evening.
Up on Erciyes, the landscape was not too overwhelmingly beautiful – just like an austrian ski arena during summer. And indeed, as we were just talking about this similarity we met a former ski instructor who worked at the Arlberg for quite some years and invited us to sleep in fromt of his deserted hotel, use the bathroom and his shower. The name of the complex: „Otel Arlberg“. We talked to him about german football teams and turkish football players as usually, but went back to the picnic area at around 2200m to grill our fish.
Again we can say that Turkey is the perfect country for a roadtrip like ours. At the picnic area we found little huts with a fireplace, table and bench and also roomy bathrooms and plenty of running water.
The next morning we tried to reach one of the summits. Unfortunately, the cable cars only worked in the first section until 2200m – climbing up to 3900 was then a little bit too much.
We chose a smaller summit (with smaller snow fields) of Erciyes. We climbed trough ski slopes and construction sites for quite some time, before reaching alpine-like meadows, and finally the volcano-shape 40° incline that goes straight to the summit. In these rock fields, we had a great view over the volcanic landscape and all the sheperd camps at lower altitude.
Usually, an area in cool climate directly next to heat-stirring a 1-million-metropole (as Kayseri is) is a guarantee to find all picnic tables occupied at the weekend (we knew that from Uludag and Bursa). This time, it was Ramadan, and as Kayseri is a quite conservative city, the tables stayed empty until late afternoon. Our new neighbours came late and gave us curious looks, and a handwave and „Merhaba“-shout made them come over instantly. Only one son of the family spoke a little Engish, but that did not keep 5 other people from also visiting. We exchanged some Maoam for the little kids for the melon and Baclva they soon brought us. After the grilled fish diner (as usual), we then got a huge delivery of ramadan diner, including salad, kebab, bread. Maybe you eat this much when you fast the whole day – we did not, so we were more than stuffed when we tried to finish all the tasty dishes they brought.
Well fed, we headed for the Black Sea shore the next noon, after some tuning that Kalimero wanted - to compete with the local Ford Transit Dolmuses.
|Kalimero's 3-ton hydraulic press|
Surprisingly - adapting the habits of his 2 inhabitants of being lazy in the sunshine - Kalimero began to have some hard time to start his engine when it is still warm (tank stops, etc.). This got continously worse, and at a tank stop after some time, he did not want to run at all. A quick checkup told us everything looked fine, except for the diesel filter that might be clogged. Michi wanted to change it anyway back home (one of the many preparations that we should end up doing while traveling), so it was quickly done. And indeed, after pumpming some air, Kalimero was snorring like a little cat. We went on, but somehow Kalimero sometimes missed some engine power. At a stop in the afternoon, he even stopped running once we pulled over. After some troubleshooting, the explanation was quite simple: the new diesel filter lacked a sealing ring in the line back to the tank. There, air came into the filter and was delivered to the injection pump. As we realized on quite many tank stops already, Kalimero unfortunately does not depend on love and air, but definetely needs Diesel to be happy. We had another new diesel filter, this one with sealing ring – and after the exchange, Kalimero started like a little kitten.
|left: new, without sealing ring. right: new, with sealing ring|
We drove through the magnificient backcountry of the black sea region, to arrive at the coast the next day.
On one of the few sandy beaches, we chose to stop for the night. It was Sunday, so it was packed with families, but we were optimistic to be on a lonesome beach by night.
Indeed, most of them left as the sun went down. Next to us, however, there was a huge family preparing their Ramadan feast. One of the daughters knew some English, but this did not keep the rest of the family from also talking to us in Turkish. A fold-up map of Turkey definetely caught the interest of the father and sons - we were given some sightseeing tips for the Aegean coast by one of them. Luckily, we did not miss too much on our trip. The father is an offroad-driver from the area (Gezenbilir Forum), so he suggested us some routes.
In the evening, we were once again invited to some delicious Ramadan soup and Kebab.