My friend Joe who is an English Literature teacher here in Antalya is also a Caver. That is, he likes to explore very deep unexplored caves as a hobby. Well, good luck to him as I won’t be joining him anytime soon but in order to do that he needs to stay fit so most Sundays he goes for a bike ride. In fact, he cycles 20km a day going to his school and back but for Joe that is meat and potatoes.
I had met Joe a few months ago in the pub and through my alcohol bravado I said that I would be up for a bike ride with him. However, I then talked to people who told me about Joe’s bike rides and suggesting that I would be lucky to survive one as they just about died on the time he talked them into going with him so every time he mentioned it I ducked and dived the topic before it got to the stage where I couldn’t hide any longer…I had to actually show up one day and commit myself to a days riding with Caver Joe.
The first part of the trip once we had gotten out of Antalya Town Centre involved a fairly steep climb out of the back of the city past the Zoo and the big Statue of Ataturks head which is located beside a waterfall.
Fortunately he had a spare bike which is a lot more roadworthy than mine so because the tires were extremely hard and the gears were very good I managed to climb up the hills a lot easier than I would have if I had used my own bike.
We stopped off to get some food supplies at a bakery and we got some crisps and water from the adjacent shop. As we set off the shop owner called us back to give us a free cup of tea. I think he must have noticed that my face was bright red from the climb and thought I had better rest a bit before risking a cardiac arrest. Then he gave us both a plum. It may not sound like much but these things happen all the time here in Turkey and I really appreciate their hospitality.
Originally Joe had planned to take us to see a Cave that he had explored a few months ago but on the way he remembered a Canyon that someone had taken him to when he was in a car so he suggested we go explore it on the bikes.
He said “Don’t worry, it’s only about 10 clicks away.” I had to laugh at this. Bikers must have came up with this method of using the word ‘clicks’ instead of ‘kilometres’ to try and ease the thought of how far it is. So ten clicks on his dial later we reached the Canyon.
As you can see from the photos it was really quite a big canyon and as we found out there are actually two Canyons which join together. After stopping for a bite to eat we then proceeded to continue our exploration of the park instead of going back the way we had come in. We are brave explorers after all.
However, Joe has a new GPS toy. He loves this thing. So much so that he spent at least half the trip with his head fixed the GPS screen but it only works when you are on real roads not dirt tracks thus in the forest we got lost. For about 40 minutes at least we were deep in a forest just taking whichever left or right felt good to Joe. Hence I gave him the nickname GPS Joe. At that point it was more in hope than in any talent he had shown for navigating but eventually we found a man who gave us the right directions of how to get out of the park. Phew!
We then headed of to the cave but on the way there we came across a very interesting building. Joe reckons that it was a Seljuk building that was used to store things when the Silk Route was in operation. Take a look at the photos or videos and if you know any better could you please fill me in on the details as there was no writing anywhere which explained what it was used for. Very interesting find though and things like that make the trip more memorable.
We then found the cave and apparently there had been a church built directly at the entrance to the cave but there wasn’t much left there to see. Joe reckoned that they used to do that a lot in times gone by where the cave was symbolic of hell or the underworld. He told me that it takes 3 rope drops to make it to the bottom of the cave. I took his word for that and then we set off home.
On the way back we stopped off at a lay-by which over looks the whole city of Antalya for a banana when we spotted a Turkish wedding. I knew that if you show any interest in dancing here a Turkish person will grab you and throw you into the mix so I gave Joe my camera and next thing I know I am in the middle of this wedding party. The only problem is I prefer dancing like the Turkish women do rather than dance like the men so pretty soon everyone gets embarrassed at my antics and leaves me to it as you can see in the video. lol.
So, after freewheeling down the bottom of the hill I then had to cycle just 5 more click to get back to Joes but by this time my legs were hurting real bad. The last five kilometres were pretty agony and I struggled to keep up with GPS Joe but clung on as best I could. When we made it back to the house my legs were like Jelly and I realised what everyone told me about cycling with Joe was correct. He will try and kill you. What they didn’t say is that you enjoy it as nothing beats the Great Outdoors on a Sunday afternoon. Well, thats what I am telling myself as I have volunteered to be a regular cycling partner of GPS Joe. Some of my friends have suggested that I am having a mid-life crisis and I think they could be right. Check out the videos of the trip below.
GPS Joe – Tunnel of Love
After the bike ride we went to Joe’s garden to relax. When I saw the Hammock I was in that straight away. I had my little portable party machine with me and when Tunnel of Love came on Joe just had to show us his moves. Fortunately I still had some battery power in my camera and so if you are interested you can watch the full five minute performance below. I think it’s hilarious. 🙂