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Cycletourer logoAs several people have asked us we thought it would be great to have some guest bloggers contributing to our site. If you would like to be a guest blogger on this spot and write an article that is relevant to cycletouring then please get in touch. As this is a non commercial site we are looking for articles from genuine touring cyclists, therefore no commercial articles please.

4 Wheels 2 Hearts 1 World - A Day in Our lives

4 Wheels 2 Hearts 1 World
Aurelie and Marco

By Aurelie and Marco

My eyes had only been open a few seconds and already I knew that the alarm was not far behind. Maybe it was the light. We had camped under a thick canopy of Mediterranean pine trees and those few rays that managed to sip through were not aggressive, on the contrary, the soft light was a pleasant way to start a brand new day.

4 Wheels 2 Hearts 1 World
The only person around; a friendly shepherd

Having written the log just before bedtime the night before I knew it was day 176 of the trip. 8275 kilometres since we had started pedalling in Helsinki and, only on rare occasions, didn't I wake up with a feeling of longing to get on the saddle.

Actually, quick change of subject, that's by far the question we get asked the most by our non-cyclists friends and family members; “aren't you sick of it yet?”. More often than not the answer is a simple and long “no” pronounced slowly and with a little tilt of the head as to pretend to be really thinking about it. The truth is that we are still loving every second of this trip and we wouldn't even know where to begin explaining it, so those two little letters and a quick recent anecdote as to steer the conversation somewhere easier is the preferred tactic.

4 Wheels 2 Hearts 1 World
Aurelie and our "secret" spot seen from above

Anyway, even though the day was only a few moments old, it had in fact started well; nothing had barked during the night and nature had given us a soft lullaby of far away leaves rustling and the occasional splash coming from the water. But yesterday bitterness had managed to lower my morale and immediately I wished we had bought more supplies so that we could just lounge around that little piece of heaven on earth 24 more hours.

It was one of those previously mentioned rare mornings that I didn't feel like cycling and, as always, it was due to external factors. Having spent 6 weeks in Turkey we had already gotten used to the local way of driving and behaving around foreign bike tourers, but the day before had been different; we both got the feeling that we had found a special pocket of Anatolia where people were a lot less welcoming to two-wheeled strangers and acted in such a way that we hadn't like at all. Apart from seeing the first hugely awaited cave dwelling of the trip, the only good part of the whole day had been arriving to that beautiful spot which really eased our sore souls and was an almost perfect ending to an otherwise not great day.

4 Wheels 2 Hearts 1 World
Capadocia; a whole world to explore!

The site in question was a quiet and solitary crater lake about 2 kilometres wide. The water was rather warm and bubbling from the breath of the dormant beast lying underneath it, there was a large, human planted forest which gave us warmth during the night (october nights are cold in central Turkey) and shade in the morning (without mentioning stealth from possible curious eyes) and there was even a small set of explorable caves in the vicinity which provided an excellent afternoon activity and a chance to stretch our legs a little before going about the evening chores.

Trying to forget the uneasiness felt the previous day and concentrating more on the fact that that day was going to start with a few kilometres of awesome, rare and well-deserved volcano downhill gravel path, we consumed our breakfast in silence and listened to some Queen as we proceeded to pack everything away just as we had done 175 times before. It's amazing what “Don't stop me now” can do to your mood.

Even though we had set an early alarm, we had taken the usual 2 hours to get ready and the sun was already beating down hard. The climb out of the crater took care of the warming up and, having stopped for just a minute to look down on that impressive place one more time, take one more picture now that the sun was shining from the “right” angle and, having wiped the first sweat of the day off my forehead, we moved toward the dirt path which was going to take us down.

4 Wheels 2 Hearts 1 World
Just before dawn the balloons are just flashes of light

We soon realised that “our” crater was just the smallest member of a large terrestrial cone family which proudly stood in the middle of a huge plain in front of our eyes and, although I am highly annoyed by stopping too frequently first thing in the morning, I actually suggested that we should get the filming equipment out of my forward right pannier and take the time to immortalise that moment, something which always takes a lot longer than expected but that it's usually well worth it. Oh and yes, it definitely was!

Although we hadn't felt 100% optimistic at the beginning of the day, that quickly changed and we were soon speeding towards some famous underground dwelling (which we really liked) and we finally set off for one of the most awaited destinations on our trip; Cappadocia. This unique area of central Turkey is not only where we were going to rest for a few days, but we had also arranged a RDV there with some cyclists we had met along the way and we were eager to arrive.

4 Wheels 2 Hearts 1 World
On a good day, hundred or more can be seen!

Cappadocia is famous for many things and I really think that 5 days are enough to enjoy everything it has to offer; it's a huge, sparsely populated natural park, ideal for horse riding or, in our case, hiking. Together we walked many trails around this unique territory and explored its numerous and incomparable valleys, getting lost as we had given up trying to navigate using only rudimentary maps and no mobile coverage and, after having spent uncountable hours climbing and crawling, we also just did some good old sitting around feeling overcomed by the sheer size of this huge network of ancient tunnels and houses which were skillfully carved out of the rock using nothing more than hand-held tools many, many years ago. The cherry on top of this unforgettable experience was being able to spend a night in one of the abandoned stone carved houses we had discovered; an utterly unforgettable experience!

4 Wheels 2 Hearts 1 World
Although a huge chunk of Central Turkey is a plateau , it's really not that flat!

Last but not least, Capadocia is also notorious for its simply breathtaking sunrises which even managed to get us out of our warm sleeping bags at 6am!

Stress, uncertainty, tiredness and alienation are factors which all bike tourers must face on a daily basis and which can really get to you when you are so far from your comfort zone that you can't even remember your postcode but, when on the road, you also learn that as long as you have a bike and the motivation to cycle a little further it will, in the vast majority of the cases, give you the chance to go to bed with a smile on your face, a few more anecdotes in your pocket and a lot more wisdom.

4 Wheels 2 Hearts 1 World
The harder the climb, the greater the reward!

After spending a full day touring and acclimating in the area around Alghero, we began a slow ramble to our first destination town of Bosa. Again, we explored the area for one full day and then headed south for our next destination, an “Agriturismo” located somewhat inland near the town of Santu Lussurgiu. From here we headed on to Oristano and spent a full day exploring the local area along the coast. Our next destination was located up in the hills above Guspini near an old abandoned mine. Then it was off to another Agriturismo located in the hills between Buggerru and Nebida. This particular section included a gorgeous ride out of the hills and down to an endless abandoned beach.

4 Wheels 2 Hearts 1 World
Aurelie and Marco

Should you wish to find out more about Aurelie and Marco's adventures or to to donate to their admirable causes please visit their website 421adventure.wordpress.com or follow them on FaceBook, Instagram, or their YouTube channel.