Arriving to Turkey later than anticipated and then staying for three weeks in Cappadocia forced us to reconsider the route we had in mind.
Not only because of the cold, our equipment handles the cold well even if it is very hard to get out of the sleeping bag in the morning, but because of lack of time. Are we going to celebrate Christmas with family back home, or all alone in the dark?
Decisions have to be made.
Changing our course meant skipping some parts of Turkey I had been looking forward to. I mean, who doesn't have the city of Batman at the very top of their list of places to visit? I wasn't concerned that the Turkish aggression towards the Kurds in Syria would affect me personally, but it certainly didn't make the southern route more desirable.
My list is the same as yours I presume.
The direct path to Georgia from central Turkey is along the coast of the Black Sea and checking the temperature showed it to be around a very comfortable 22 degrees Celsius. I imagined myself sitting at a beach bar having a beer, wearing a t-shirt. It was very appealing, it had been several weeks since the last time I had a drink by the ocean! We chose to go by the sea.
To get to the coast we have to climb several mountain passes, two of which are above 2000 meters for a total climb of about 6000 meters.
For some reason, the altitude often seems to be slightly exaggerated on signs. "Rounded up", if you will.
Not obvious from a picture, but Şebinkarahisar is quite scenically located in the mountains.
A military guy in camo revealed himself right after this picture was taken. I still haven't found him in it.
Last peak before the sea!
While a 2200 meter pass doesn't sound too bad for a seasoned cyclist, it's higher than the tallest mountain in Sweden, Kebnekaise.
We thought that the three weeks of not cycling would have made us weak, but we found the climbs rather easy and satisfying.
On our way down, which is even more satisfying.
Closing in on Giresun, our first stop by the Black Sea, the temperature slowly rose, but so did the number of cars on the road. I started to get a nauseating feeling. While cold, the highland had had very little traffic and an abundance of opportunities for pitching our tent.
Down by the sea it's the opposite. Everything I detest!
Traffic! Crowds! Densely populated settlements! Tunnels! Seagulls!
The worst part, there were not a beach bar in sight!
What have we done?
What have we done?