“We can’t stop here, this is Hazelnut Country!”

The next day, when we resurrected from our deep sleep, it was snowing in
Akkuş. We still had 60km to go to the Black Sea, and it didn’t exactly seem like it was all going down hill. So we hitched another truck going around halfway.

The views out of the truck’s window were spectacular, although often concealed by the heavy fog. We tried to make some nice shots out of the moving truck.
The driver stopped several times, so we could make a nice shot, but he always stopped in the worst spots, so we continued to take pictures out of the moving vehicle.
Turkey produces 70 percent of the world’s hazelnuts, and almost all of it comes from the Black Sea region. So no wonder that, cycling through this landscape, there were more and more hazelnut bushes.
This photo contains 80 percent hazelnut and 20 percent sky 😉 This kind of landscape extended around 300km, till Fındıklı, which means actually Hazelnut in Turkey, but where the farmers now all settled fot tea.
While Ferrero is by far the biggest buyer of the turkish hazelnuts, supplying the whole world with it’s infamous Nutella spread, Turkey has also a couple of their own hazelnut spreads. Some of them are only hazelnut with some sugar or honey, and the result is actually much nicer than Nutella and all it’s stpinoffs.
Hsiang-Hsin staring down two dogs
Finally, the Black Sea (Somewhere in the background)
Cycling is fun, no doubt. But if there is one thing about it that i hate, then it’s cars! And there is one place where the traffic becomes even more scary than normally: While crossing a 4 kilometer long tunnel on the way to Ordu, with very bad lighting system, so we were riding on the elevated side, where we had to get off the bikes every hundred meter, because some box was in the way, i was contemplating about all the other cyclists who must have passed here before and the possibillity to have some bicycle related stickers to stick them somewhere in there, to give cyclists hope. And just when we left the tunnel finally, i saw this on the emergency phonebooth: 4 Stickers of different cyclist projects! What a coincidence. Just a little bit late to give us hope 😉

After finally arriving in Ordu, Serdal our Warmshowers host picked us up and welcomed us in their home. His wife Ayşe, who was the one who speaks good English was stil out, but even with limited language, we managed to become good friends already. Serdal showed us his wood carvings, his self made lamps, he also plays music and he showed us his humour by acting playing the piano while the demo mode was playing some demanding piece of classical music. Like so many times in Turkey we stayed much longer then planned, and had days of feasts, laughing and talking. Ayşe and Serdal are this kind of people where you feel like old friends almost immediatly. On our arrival Serdal told us, “this is your home”, and it didn’t actually feel like a phrase but very genuine.

Serdal wanted me to teach him a german song, but since i can literally not play any, i just played some improvisation, him trying to follow eagerly. I tried to tell him that i just make things up, so everytime it sounded different, but since he didn’t really understand we had a very comical situation 🙂
In addition to teaching theatre in the morning and being a student in the conservatory in the afternoon, after coming back in the evening Ayşe always insisted on cooking at least two dishes, even when we prepared already something, to relieve her. So we ended up having always a table full of different dishes.
Hsiang-Hsin made this great Animation:
çok, çok, çok, çok güzel!
While we were in Ordu, the local bicycle club “Bisiklet Safari” did a tour. It was an interesting experience, riding with so many people, but also without luggage for once.
We had to cross the bridge. But a couple of cows came first…
Finally, the way is free. At the end of the bridge were already some people of the club, who took another way, just to get a good shot of everyone crossing the bridge.
Spectacular views, and lush scenery.
Upon arrival, we had to write our names in a list. At first irritated by this seemingly unneccesary bureaucratic chicanery, it turned out they were doing a lottery. Several bike-related articles were to win and it seemed like almost half of the people there won something.
And guess who was one of the happy persons 😉 Exactly! I won a new backpack! Just in time, since my old one starts to open by itself every now and then.
Time for the Picknik!
Ayşe made Börek, i made my infamous Baba Ganoush and there were two different choocolate cakes! Mmmh 🙂
On the bicycle group tour, there was also a guy called Erim. He has a restaurant where he invites all the bicycle travellers passing through Ordu for a meal and a chat. The walls are full of photos from these encounters, already a few hundred!
At the end of our stay, Serdal embosomed me so much, that he gave me a bicycle bell in a proposal like ceremony. How could i say no? 😀

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