25 August 2011

I was made feel very welcome on my arrival in Safranbolu. It seemed everyone was happy to offer whatever assistance I needed.

And good thing for me too.

This is an incredibly pretty place, said to be Turkey’s most thoroughly preserved Ottoman town. I’ve not seen architecture like this before, mostly houses, some in a poor state of repair, but many tastefully renovated.

Notwithstanding, at the end of 300 miles on the Family Truckster, my initial reaction was this is the most motorcycle unfriendly town I’ve ever visited. The combination of narrow, steep streets rising up from the valley and the cobbled paving of smooth stones, uneven and generously spaced, made it almost impossible for the Family Truckster.

I had a hotel in mind, courtesy of the Lonely Planet Guide book, but it was completely inaccessible. Half way around an uphill corner I decided not to proceed. Turning the Family Truckster around almost proved to be as much of a challenge as the hill itself. The bike would not roll backwards and the front wheel would not turn due to the wheels settling in the spaces between the stones.

Cars were beginning to back up in both directions but there was no honking. I could feel their sympathy as I struggled with the weight of the bike. Either this or they were waiting for me to drop it – and I almost did not disappoint them. At one stage I had to get off the bike completely just to get my breath and composure back.

Eventually I parked the bike on the main road at the bottom of the valley and walked to find a nearby hotel.

Next phase was to move the bike closer so I could unload my luggage. Then I had to turn the bike around again (this time with the assistance of a fellow tourer on a KTM from Switzerland) and ride it up a short hill into the hotel car park.

It took over an hour from the time I checked into the hotel to when I finally parked the bike. I just hope the downhill run today is easier to negotiate. This is how the terrain looked on my return to the hotel after dinner.

But absolutely worth all the effort.

A Massey Ferguson would be more suitable in this town. I genuinely had difficulty walking around the streets in a pair of thongs.

I would recommend that anyone coming to Turkey make a visit to Safranbolu.

Take a quick look around for yourself to see why.

Overall a great Day 29 on my Turkey Motorcycle Tour.

Total miles today 293 (472km), cumulative 3,872 (6,231km).