Rhodes: Ferry, then west to wild camp - Lookin For John Fairweather - CycleBlaze

March 9, 2014

Rhodes: Ferry, then west to wild camp

Saturday my last day in Turkey I reach the end of months with a purse growing heavier with next to worthless small coins from countries I've passed through. One good thing is I'll only have the euro to contend with from here on, albeit not such a great thing to look forward to as the ride onwards will be back in the Europe where living expenses are high and my wallet will be forever growing lighter. The sum of Turkish Liras left in my wallet is enough to buy a long missed watch. A Casio. I told the man in the watch shop in Marmaris I don't want anything stupid like a G-Shock. I just want to tell the time at a glance and at sixty LIras I've bought myself a simple traditional faced timepiece. I still have forty Liras with which to eat a good evening meal; lentil soup for starters, followed by, feta cheese and spinach pide, then move on to a patisserie and have strawberry cheesecake. Then still have money to stock-up on food at a market. Sometimes its just hard to spend money in Turkey. And finish off my Turkish Liras later with a few beers in the bar next the hotel, celebrating six wonderful weeks in Turkey.

Sunday morning, I consume my last Turkish breakfast of feta cheese and black olives and as much bread as I can possibly eat. My last Cay. Then in hast as its approaching eight o'clock, the lastest time I've to be there for the ferry, fix the panniers and all on the bike before rushing off to the quay feeling tired after not enough sleep and having drank three Efes beers, a significant amount of beer after months without any. When at the quay, it is a lifeless Sunday morning and I become anxious, wishing I'd asked when buying the ticket where the ferry terminal actual is, as it obviously isn't here. It is past eight and I think that I'm going to miss this ferry and will be stuck here in Marmaris another few days because of my own stupidity. Looking on the back of the ticket turns up a plan of the waterfront, upon which is marked something in red, not sure what, being in Turkish, but it must be the terminal, situated the other side of the boating marinar on the road out of town. Just then the café next door is opening up. I ask the café owner, who confirms that the terminal is indeed over there on the other side of the mariner.

There is still time when I get there and my heart begins to return to a more normal rate. I'm instructed to a counter to get a boarding pass, then join the queue of passengers putting their bags through the scanning machine. All the panniers must come off too to be scanned. Then its out of the building following the in English sign: To Ship; which is rather a small craft to be called a ship, being an old fashion ferry more suited to river or inland channel crossings, not open sea. Though later, the Mediterranean is calm on passing out of the sheltered bay leaving Marmaris. The boat tugs along gently rolling from side-to-side and being low down, almost level with the placid low rise and fall of waves, gives a better perspective of the sea, than when on a big ferry looking down from a height. As well as my bike there's a car on deck and room for a couple more, that's how small the boat is.

I take a comfy cabin seat and begin reading my book, but feeling it hard to focus on the page, instead, eavesdrop on the two couples in the middle years of life sat along from me. One is from Australia and have bought a yacht in Turkey after loosing their original yacht in a storm on the Queensland coast. The man remarks to his wife, "Thes seats are more comfortable than the five star delux ferry in Pee en Gee." The other couple, he's Greek and spends most of the time out on deck looking over the craft and talking to the crew, his wife English and still talks with the strong accent of her native Norfolk even after thirty years in Rhodes, where they own a boat rental business. She says "Our younger boy wants to study marine mechanics. He's a natural with engines. Been watching his father since he was a lad. When asked about his old yacht, the Australian says it was a fourteen metres with steel hull. Comfortable for two couples, though off the coast of Papau New Guinea once he admits, having on board a record fifty-four passengers and claims dismissively "In Austray-lia you'd be locked up if caught. A right nanny state the country has become."

Its after eleven when we see land ahead on the horizon and eleven-thirty when the boat backs up to the quay at Rhodes with castle defence walls along the seafront. The crew fix the ropes to the quay and all the passengers file off and enter the customs building to pass through passport control. There is no baggage check here for me anyhow though other's have baggage opened and belongings spread out on a table. Outside I ask the English woman can I get a ferry from here to mainland Greece and she informs me yes. There's a daily sailing to Athens and points beyond to the terminal.

For panniers, two small backpacks are strapped to either side of the rear-rack.
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I cycle out the port gates and follow the road round to where the English woman pointed. There's a ferry in port, but I don't plan on sailing today. It would be good though to have the sailing schedule. I come to a ticket office on the waterfront road which is shut, so turnaround and cycle back towards the old town, having decided to leave it for now. Then at traffic-lights, I'm caught by another bike with panniers and loaded up on the back. The rider has a thick blond beard and a bald head, though is a youth of not much over thirty and on addressing me, has a French accent. Clement is his name, a name easily remembered and tells me he left home in September, having spent the Winter island hoping in the Mediterranean. One item of equipage he has on his bike is a good stick for warding off Greek dogs and asks me are there dogs in Turkey, where he's off to next. We stop for coffee and spend a little too long sitting for my liking as I'm anxious to get on the road. We cycle further together through town until we come to a junction and stop to check the place on the sign with my Greece map. At this junction there's a bakery and as we are both hungry, decide to get something to eat. The display has spinach tarts and mushroom tarts. I ask for two triangle-slices of mushroom and Clement two spinach slices and something else. The girl behind the counter finishes putting our purchase in a bag and lifts two mini-croissants from behind the counter in a symbolic act of two rising arms from her chest reaching out to us with a croissant each in a gester of from the heart friendship, then asks where we are from. She is from Piraeus and says dismissively "There are no good people on Rhodes!"

Goats happily graze as I cycle by.
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Circa 1970 vintage.
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I leave Clement to go and see about his ferry and am glad to be cycling again after the days of waiting for the ferry in Marmaris. The way ahead follows a little in from the coast and is beach resorts, holiday-apartment blocks, holiday villages, bars, strip-bars and casinos. It is disappointing as there are few stretches which could be called countryside yet. I pass a Lidl which is shut, then a Carrefour, shut too on Sunday.

The rain closing in.
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When eventually the land to the side is more olive grove and fewer buildings, dark blue rain cloud is closing in just as the road ahead goes up a long steep slope. It is past five and I begin to look out for a place to camp, but there's still more houses. I descend and climb a short slope. At the top of the hill there's only a chapel within a walled-in burial ground and on the opposite side of the road there's a track in among old olive trees. I ride in, pushing the bike the last bit too rough to ride. A couple of goats wondering what's happening look on, before running a little away. I stand the bike and spend some time looking for the best most level spot, then clear stones from my chosen spot, but I'm hastened then to quicken my step, getting the tent out and up as big spots of rain begin to fall. With the tent up and stuff off the bike and inside, the rain decides to quit. In the remaining daylight I supper on cake and coke before laying down to sleep.

Today's ride: 39 km (24 miles)
Total: 11,869 km (7,371 miles)

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