1 September 2011
My touring friends – the coastal breeze and high altitude – are no longer with me. I’m on my own now. As a loaded the Family Truckster at 0930 this morning it was already over 30 degrees in the shade. As I got onto the highway to Şanliurfa it was 35 degrees and even at 2130 it is still 33 degrees.
I’m glad it was an easy riding day. The heat really got to me today. With only 122 miles (196km) travelled today I reached the hotel in Şanliurfa just after noon. Mostly motorway type conditions today along the vast plains of eastern Turkey. Other than my descent from Mardin there was nothing overly spectacular about the scenery today.
For the first time it was actually cooler to have the visor on my helmet closed. When open it was like a hair dryer blowing in your face.
No stops today. Just straight through. Enough petrol to get me there, just.
This could have been a mistake and I’ll probably revise my hot weather riding strategy going forward. It is easy to dehydrate in these conditions. I rested in my air conditioned hotel room for several hours on arrival to get my energy back before exploring the city.
You also develop an odd facial suntan in these conditions. My nose and cheeks are red but around my eyes (shielded by sunglasses), my forehead and ears(covered by my helmet) are still relatively pale. My lips are sunburnt. Even though I apply sunscreen, sometimes several times a day, it is not enough. I’ve become soft living in the UK where there is either no or at best gentle sunlight. The sun here is every bit as strong as you find in Australia. It needs to be respected.
As with most of this country there is history in Şanliurfa.
The remains of a large fort on the hill in the centre of the old town.
An oasis like park sits below the fort, including water features filled with sacred carp.
It was packed today, every bit of shade inhabited by locals enjoying the last of a series of public holidays to celebrate the end of Ramadan.
And finally, a typical, labyrinth like market provided some respite from the hot sun.
Over the next few days I’m planning to head back into the centre of Turkey. I need to work out a better way to manage the heat. Luckily tomorrow is another low mileage day as I continue the long haul back to London on my Turkey motorcycle tour.
Distance travelled today 122 miles (196km), cumulative 5,325 miles (8,570km).