Day 7

Day 7
Siphaler to Egirdir

There’s a theory that St Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus – complete with blinding light and voices – may have been a symptom of epilepsy.
Or that he may have headed north to avoid the malaria-ridden swamplands
Given the route I took today I find it hard to believe he was thinking clearly as he continued his first missionary journey.
Leaving Siphaler this morning and turning down yet another glass of chai with Dorsun, I once again was forced to follow the markers through steep scrubland and woods.

The path wound ever upwards until it reached a summit of a large boulder field.
Then – my personal hate…a downhill path stepping on loose stones and grapefruit sized rocks..each step fraught with danger

I slipped and staggered several times as the sweat burned my eyes.
But I managed to retain my legendary good humour…….

The thing is that if something happens out here – a twisted ankle, a broken leg, you are in serious trouble. No-one is coming to help you.

I met two people all day. In a clearing a young boy and his teenaged sister had set up camp to tend their goats.

The sister saw me first , jumped up and rushed towards me
I thought she was just happy for some company but the real reason became swiftly apparent.

From around the side appeared the Hound From Hell. A bristling, snarling teeth-baring nightmare.
The girl screamed at the dog which backed away…without taking its eyes from mine for a second.

Despite the heat, the sweat at the back of my neck had turned cold.
They tell you NEVER get between a dog and its herd/flock
The creator of this trek Kate Clow scrawled one word on the map I am using in reference to an area just North of here
It says,simply, DOGS
The modern equivalent of “Here BE Dragons”
The route took me across a large area of what I think is a dried lake with earth the colour of Nottingham sandstone back home
I followed the GPS which kept me bang on track, for the first time I ignored the markers as they tried to take me through yet more boulders and scree. The GPS saved me extra toil
Coming down into the valley I found myself face to face with a donkey which had broken free from its tether.
The track was perhaps 3 feet wide. He looked at me. I looked at him.
And then he turned and bolted the way he’d come
I am the donkey conqueror…
That was my 15k for the day and i headed towards the main road
On the way a one-armed farmer handed me 3 apples….well he didnt hand them to me,his wife did. Because he had one arm , see.
Three youngish lads stopped to give me a lift into the lakeside town of Egirdir
Furkhan, Eren and Annul all work at an agricultural institute in Isparta.
They invited me to their fish BBQ in a park beside the lake where families,friends and young couples were picknicking.
I am delighted to report that Turkish men argue as much as we do about the best way to light a BBQ
But we ate delicious (bonito) fish and drank “red carrot juice” which I’m pretty sure is beet root.
As we were eating, a car – impossibly filled with 7 middle aged Turkish men – pulled up with loud traditional music blaring from the speakers
“Turkish arabesque music,” winced Furkhan
“You don’t like it,” I asked
He fixed me with a stare

Turns out he’s more of a Metallica man.
The boys refused any money from me.
“You are our guest” And the drove me to the pension where I have a great view over the lake. Marred only by my hand washed clothes being blown over the balcony onto the almost sheer cliff face below
I met up with the redoubtable Markus
He’d met the two Alexanders from last week who , forgoing the luxury of showers , are now starting to smell a bit, apparently.
But more interestingly Markus – who has been to more exotic spots than I’ve had arguments – got lost yesterday and ended up walking 25km through mountains and streams to get here.
There is no way I could walk 25k in this heat. That guy is one tough trekker
He saw footprints in a dried river bed and assumed they were mine
I had to confess that I had avoided that by thumbing a lift.
I suspect he secretly wonders how the hell I’ve got this far

The view from my balcony this morning.



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